Nothing is more disheartening then seeing your hot pepper plants get eaten up by bugs and disease. Sometimes your plants are salvageable, and, oftentimes, you need to say goodbye.
I don't want to say goodbye anymore.
So you may be wondering what your options are. If you're growing your own peppers, chances are you don't really want to contaminate your harvest with chemical pesticides.
You don't have to!
Below, you'll find my best pest and disease control methods. These organic solutions help put a stop to chilli diseases and garden pests before things go beyond repair.
Protect Indoor Pepper Seedlings and Pepper Plants
For your indoor seedlings, you have to be especially vigilant in making sure they don't suffer from disease like damping-off. This often takes the form of discolored, wilting seedlings that quickly fall over and die.
Make a weak chamomile tea solution and add it to the water you give your plants to help prevent bacteria.
Do this every single time you water.
You wouldn't believe what a difference this makes!
Add cinnamon to the top of the soil line to prevent mold.
Be sure to do this for all indoor seedlings and any pepper plants that you may be winterizing indoors.
Place your indoor seedlings/pepper plants in an area that gets good airflow.
If necessary, open doors or run a small fan to help circulate the air.
This helps strengthen your plants and makes an inhospitable environment for mold.
Add yellow sticky traps to your plants to help catch insects that hatch from your potting mix or find their way indoors.
Some people use these on outdoor plants as well, but I choose not to because it's possible to kill beneficial insects.
Protect Outdoor Hot Pepper Plants
Outdoor peppers have their own special requirements. They're not as sensitive as indoor seedlings, but they will endure the new stresses of an outdoor environment.
Here's how to make them thrive...
Place your plants in an area that gets at least 8 hours of sunlight.
You may be able to get away with 6 hours, but I wouldn't recommend it.
Again, be sure to space your plants apart for good air flow.
Apply a thick layer of mulch, such as straw, to the top of the soil line.
This is an awesome defense against weeds, and it helps your chile plants retain moisture.
Release good insects, such as ladybugs and parasitic wasps, into your garden. Talk about an awesome pest control method!
Spray all plant parts with a strong blast of water to knock off any bugs that are present.
I've done this to help control whiteflies and aphids.
I recommend you do this in the evening when the sun is going down so your plants don't inadvertently suffer from sunscald.
Pest and Disease Control Methods for Both Indoor and Outdoor Pepper Plants
These next solutions apply to all of your plants, whether inside or out. If you're diligent, you will definitely prevent some nasty damage.
Regularly remove all of the fallen and/or diseased leaves from your plant.
I once got lazy with this and I had an outdoor infestation that you wouldn't believe! Needless to say, this step really helps stop bug and disease activity.
Inspect your plants every day for new bugs.
If you can't do it that often, be sure to at least monitor everything weekly.
Cut off all leaves that contain insects and eggs, then quickly dispose of everything to get it out of your growing environment.
So there you have it. Please feel free to comment below and let me know what your favorite methods are for protecting those hot pepper plants!
(Be sure to check out the article on getting rid of fungus gnats for more pest control tips.)
And for those of you looking for more information on taking care of your plants using organic methods… Make sure to check out The Chile Plant Hospital. You’ll discover some of the most common issues that affect chillies, and get the exact remedies you need to fix each problem fast. I’m always here to answer questions!