Slow Growing Pepper Plants? 11 Causes and How To Fix It

How to Fix Slow Growing Pepper Plants

Don’t get too hot-tempered when your peppers aren’t growing as they should be. There are a number of factors that come into play that could affect their growth rate.

Here are some of the most common causes of slow-growing peppers and how you can fix it! 

1. Cold Temperatures

Cold Temperatures
Image: Captive Roots

How To Fix: 
Option #1: Relocate your plant to a warmer location.
Option #2: Install a protective barrier against the cold winds.
Option #3: Add mulch to help regulate temperatures.

The ideal temperature of growing peppers is around 70°F/21°C to 80°F/26°C during the day and between 60°F/16°C at night.

If temperatures are below these, then you’ll have to move your pepper plants to a more conducive environment for them to grow quicker.

Not sure how? Here are our suggested fixes!

Relocate your plant to a warmer location.

DifficultyVery Easy ●○○○○
SpeedFast-acting

If possible, simply move your pepper plants to an area that has more heat. Try to observe spots in your garden that receive the most amount of sunlight and are usually warm throughout the day. 

Alternatively, you can move your plant indoors near heat sources such as boilers, radiators, heating vents, or even on top of appliances.

Here’s a quick step-by-step guide on how to do that:

What To Do
1. Locate a sunnier location.
Observe which areas in your garden receive the most sunlight daily. Monitor how much sunlight it receives during the day and how hot it gets.
Be wary of moving your pepper plants to a spot that receives too much sunlight because you could risk sun scalding which will also hinder growth.
2. Prepare a spot for your pepper plant.
3. Move your pepper plant.
4. Observe for any changes.
Since your pepper plant will be exposed to more sunlight than it’s used to, it could react badly. If you notice wiling or scorched leaves, relocate your plant to an area that’s sunnier than the previous space but not as hot as this space.

Install a protective barrier against the cold winds.

DifficultyEasy ●●○○○
SpeedSlow-acting
Things You Need• Row cover
• Stakes

If you thought plants only wilted in the heat, well, you thought wrong. Cold temperatures, especially for warm-season crops like peppers, germinate very slowly.

In the same vein, it can cause pepper plants to droop, discolor, or stunt its growth. If temperatures are too cold, your pepper seeds may not even sprout at all.

Adding row covers will shield your plant from the strong winds, keeping a more regulated temperature. 

If you’re not sure how you can install row covers for your pepper plants, read our guide below:

What To Do:
1. Select the best type of row cover for your plant and location.
Row covers can come in fabric, plastic, or mesh netting form. Thus, it’s important to choose which type best suits your needs taking into account what the temperature, light conditions, and weather is like.
2. Give your plant a trim to lessen its foliage, if necessary.
Prepare your plant for installation by trimming any excess foliage that won’t fit into the cover. 
3. Put in place support structures such as PVC pipes and stakes to hold up the row covers.
When installing, be sure not to pierce it too close to your plant as you might injure its root system. 
4. Drape the row cover over your plants.
Cover your plants ensuring that the row cover extends all the way to the soil. If your row cover is bigger than your planting area, simply fold the edges over and secure with a heavy rock to set it in place.
Alternatively, you can cut your row cover to size.
5. Monitor and observe your plant for any diseases and pests.
Since row covers are meant to bring warmth to the enclosed space, it could cause moisture buildup during hotter periods. Check regularly and remove if necessary.
6. Provide ventilation a few hours a day.
During the warmest time of the day such as in the afternoon, open the row cover to improve air circulation and let pollinators in.

Add mulch to help regulate temperatures.

DifficultyEasy ●●○○○
SpeedSlow-acting
Things You NeedMulch of choice

Mulch acts as a blanket, covering the soil from the cold weather by serving as insulation to help preserve warmth. Since the cold air doesn’t directly make contact with the soil, it’s able to retain its heat.

Without it, you run the risk of your soil freezing, which will severely damage your pepper plant’s roots. Hence, maintaining favorable soil temperatures is required for your plant to grow healthily.

How To Do
1. Prepare the planting area
Before you add the mulch, you’ll need to clean up your planting area first by getting rid of any weeds, debris, and unnecessary things. You’ll want a clean surface to allow the mulch to easily decompose.
2. Water your pepper plant.
Watering your pepper plant before applying mulch boosts the moisture content in the soil, helping the mulch to blend in the soil better.
3. Calculate how much mulch you’ll need for your planting area.
To get the most out of your mulch, it’s recommended that you put a 2 to 4-inch layer all over the planting area. Identifying how much you need will help you plan out how much mulch to get.
4. Add the mulch onto your soil.
Put an even layer of mulch onto the soil starting from the area closest to the base of your pepper plant, working your way outwards.
Avoid putting your mulch too close to your stem as this could promote pests and diseases or inhibit ventilation. Instead, start your mulch about 5 inches away.
5. Reapply mulch as needed.
Over time you’ll notice your layer of mulch decreasing as it decomposes and integrates itself with the soil, gets washed away, or simply compresses. 
Thus, you’ll need to add a fresh batch of mulch onto your later, maintaining a height of about 2 to 4 inches.

2. pH Imbalances

pH Imbalances
Image: Sandia Seed Company

How To Fix: 
Option #1: Mix in well-rotted compost or manure.
Option #2: Add elemental sulfur.
Option #3: Put limestone in your soil.

Among others, pH imbalance in the soil can hinder the uptake of nutrients and resources. So even if you have the best soil type and an abundance of fertilizer, it won’t matter because your pepper plant won’t even be able to absorb it.

If your soil test reads that you have a pH level of 7.0 and above, this means that your soil is alkaline. High alkalinity levels lead to nutrient deficiencies as they’re less available in the soil.

Here are our suggested fixes!

Mix in well-rotted compost or manure.

DifficultyEasy ●●○○○
SpeedSlow-acting
Things You NeedCompost or manure of choice

Well-rotted compost or manure is one of the easiest and most cost-efficient ways to bring down the pH level of your soil. Over time, these will decompose and release organic acids and nutrients such as nitrogen and sulfur that help lower the pH. 

To boot, compost and manure feed the microorganisms in the soil that play a vital role in nutrient recycling and availability. As a result, you can expect your pepper plant to be able to hold onto and intake more nutrients.

What To Do:
1. Test the pH level of your soil.
Before anything else, it’s important to conduct a soil test to identify what its pH level is. You can easily purchase a soil testing kit at your nearby gardening center, online, or send a soil sample to your city council.
2. Prepare the planting area
Before you add the compost or mulch, you’ll need to clean up your planting area first by getting rid of any weeds, debris, and unnecessary things. You’ll want a clean surface to allow the compost or mulch to easily decompose.
3. Water your pepper plant.
Watering your pepper plant before applying mulch boosts the moisture content in the soil, helping the compost or mulch to blend in the soil better.
4. Calculate how much compost or mulch you’ll need for your planting area.
To get the most out of your compost or mulch, it’s recommended that you put a 2 to 4-inch layer all over the planting area. Identifying how much you need will help you plan out how much compost or mulch to get.
5. Add the mulch onto your soil.
Put an even layer of compost or mulch onto the soil starting from the area closest to the base of your pepper plant, working your way outwards.
Avoid putting your compost or mulch too close to your stem as this could promote pests and diseases or inhibit ventilation. Instead, start your compost or mulch about 5 inches away.
6. Reapply compost or mulch as needed.
Over time you’ll notice your layer of compost or mulch decreasing as it decomposes and integrates itself with the soil, gets washed away, or simply compresses. 
Thus, you’ll need to add a fresh batch of compost or mulch onto your later, maintaining a height of about 2 to 4 inches.

Add elemental sulfur.

DifficultyEasy ●●○○○
SpeedSlow-acting
Things You Need• Elemental sulfur
• Personal protective equipment
• Rake or shovel
• Soil test kit 

Elemental sulfur is a soil amendment that oxidizes into sulfuric acid, which releases hydrogen after dissociating in the soil. 

Once mixed into the soil, a chemical reaction occurs that produces sulfuric acid. This releases hydrogen ions into the soil which helps make the soil more acidic.

However, this is a slow-acting solution that can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to even months before results are seen.

What To Do:
1. Test the pH level of your soil.
Before anything else, it’s important to conduct a soil test to identify what its pH level is. You can easily purchase a soil testing kit at your nearby gardening center, online, or send a soil sample to your city council.
2. Select the right type of elemental sulfur that’s most convenient for you.
Elemental sulfur can come in granules, pellet, and powder form, so choose which kind best suits your preferred application method.
3. Apply the elemental sulfur.
Apply the elemental sulfur according to the packaging’s directions. Be sure to read the instructions first as some types require dilution. 
4. Use a rake or shovel to work the elemental sulfur into the first 5 to 10 inches of your soil.
Mix the elemental sulfur into the soil, ensuring that it’s well incorporated for the best results.
5. Water your soil to help activate the elemental sulfur.
Lightly water the soil. Be sure to avoid pooling water and runoff. 
6. Monitor the pH level every few weeks.
Administer another soil test to determine whether your soil has reached the desired pH level.

Put limestone in your soil

DifficultyEasy ●●○○○
SpeedSlow-acting
Things You Need• Limestone
• Personal protective equipment
• Rake or shovel
• Soil test kit

If your soil test reads anything lower than 6.5 on the scale then that means that you have acidic soil. 

Acidic soil typically has too much hydrogen ions in the soil, making vital nutrients like phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium difficult for plants to absorb.

Here’s how you can add limestone to your soil:

How To Do
1. Test the pH level of your soil.
Before anything else, it’s important to conduct a soil test to identify what its pH level is. You can easily purchase a soil testing kit at your nearby gardening center, online, or send a soil sample to your city council.
2. Select the right type of limestone that’s most convenient for you.
Limestone can come in granules, pellet, and powder form, so choose which kind best suits your preferred application method.
3. Apply the limestone.
Apply the limestone according to the packaging’s directions. Be sure to read the instructions first as some types require dilution. 
4. Use a rake or shovel to work the limestone into the first 5 to 10 inches of your soil.
Mix the limestone into the soil, ensuring that it’s well incorporated for the best results.
5. Water your soil to help activate the limestone.
Lightly water the soil. Be sure to avoid pooling water and runoff. 
6. Monitor the pH level every few weeks.
Administer another soil test to determine whether your soil has reached the desired pH level.

3. Nutrient Imbalances

Nutrient Imbalances
Image: Pepper Geek

How To Fix: 
Option #1: Add nutrient-specific soil amendments.
Option #2: Regularly mix in fertilizer.

Nutrient imbalances can be caused by a variety of factors, from poor soil quality to getting washed away over time. Thus, adding nutrient-rich material should be one of the regular tasks on your to-do list to avoid nutrient imbalances.

Thankfully, it’s pretty simple to fix as you can either add soil amendments or fertilizer, both of which are slow-acting but do wonders for the nutrient content of your soil.

Add nutrient-specific soil amendments

DifficultyEasy ●●○○○
SpeedSlow-acting
Things You Need• Soil test kit
• Soil amendments like compost, manure, or bone meal

Soil amendments such as organic matter, bone meal, peat moss, and manure slowly release nutrients into the soil as they decompose. 

They’ll do all of the work for you at a fraction of the cost a bag of fertilizer would. Apart from that, they improve the soil’s permeability, structure, water retention, and ventilation, among others. 

However, if your soil has severely low nutrient levels, this probably won’t be enough to help out because it’ll take a while for it to decompose and integrate into the soil.

What To Do:
1. Do a soil test to see which nutrients your plant needs.
Aside from the pH level, your soil test should be able to give you an idea of what nutrients are deficient or excessive. This will allow you to choose which soil amendments best fit the needs of your soil.
2. Prepare the planting area
Before you add your choice of soil amendment, you’ll need to clean up your planting area first by getting rid of any weeds, debris, and unnecessary things. You’ll want a clean surface to allow it to easily decompose.
3. Water your pepper plant.
Watering your pepper plant before applying, boosts the moisture content in the soil, helping it to blend in the soil better.
4. Add a small amount into your soil.
Start with adding a small amount of soil amendment and gradually increase over time. 
5. Closely observe how well your plant is reacting to the additional nutrients. 

Regularly mix in fertilizer

DifficultyEasy ●●○○○
SpeedFast-acting
Things You Need• Soil test kit
• Fertilizer
• Rake

Slow-release fertilizers are a great way to maintain consistent supplement levels in the soil without startling your plant. They also come in various forms, such as liquids, powders, and granules along with different concentration levels to tailor your needs.

To use, simply follow the application instructions on the packaging. Do this regularly to see results quicker.

What To Do:
1. Do a soil test to see which nutrients your plant needs.
Aside from the pH level, your soil test should be able to give you an idea of what nutrients are deficient or excessive. This will allow you to choose what type of fertilizer best fit the needs of your soil.
2. Apply your chosen fertilizer as prescribed by the manufacturer’s instructions.
Be sure to read and follow the instructions because over-application can harm your plant. 
Also, some fertilizers have preparatory steps such as dilution. Meanwhile, others require application during a specific growth stage. 
3. Spread the fertilizer evenly onto the soil for even plant growth.
Avoid putting your fertilizer too close to your stem as this could cause burns. Instead, start your mulch about 5 inches away.
4. Using a rake, mix in the fertilizer into the first few inches of soil.
5. Water the soil to help the fertilizer dissolve.
6. Closely observe how well your plant is reacting to the additional nutrients.
Based on how your pepper plant responds, you can adjust the frequency or concentration of your fertilizer.

4. Competition From Weeds

Competition From Weeds
Image: Britannica

How To Fix: 
Option #1: Start mulching.
Option #2: Manually pull out each weed.
Option #3: Layer landscape fabric onto the soil.
Option #4: Apply weed killers.

Having weeds in your garden is a big no-no because they’re leeches when it comes to resources. 

In fact, they’ll take over most of the space and absorb most of the nutrients, water, and oxygen in the soil, leaving your plant defenseless and weak.

Depending on how many weeds you have, there are quite a few treatments you can do to get rid of them. 

Here are our suggested fixes!

Start mulching.

DifficultyEasy ●●○○○
SpeedFast-acting
Things You NeedMulch

Because it sits on top of the soil, mulch acts as a physical barrier that blocks sunlight from the soil, making it harder for weeds to establish themselves. 

In fact, any type will do such as straw, grass clippings, and organic matter, to name a few.

What To Do:
1. Prepare the planting area
Before you add the mulch, you’ll need to clean up your planting area first by getting rid of any weeds, debris, and unnecessary things. You’ll want a clean surface to allow the mulch to decompose easily.
2. Water your pepper plant.
Watering your pepper plant before applying mulch boosts the moisture content in the soil, helping the mulch to blend in the soil better.
3. Calculate how much mulch you’ll need for your planting area.
To get the most out of your mulch, it’s recommended that you put a 2 to 4-inch layer all over the planting area. Identifying how much you need will help you plan out how much mulch to get.
4. Add the mulch to your soil.
Put an even layer of mulch onto the soil starting from the area closest to the base of your pepper plant, and working your way outwards.
Avoid putting your mulch too close to your stem as this could promote pests and diseases or inhibit ventilation. Instead, start your mulch about 5 inches away.
5. Reapply mulch as needed.
Over time you’ll notice your layer of mulch decreasing as it decomposes and integrates itself with the soil, gets washed away, or simply compresses. 
Thus, you’ll need to add a fresh batch of mulch onto your later, maintaining a height of about 2 to 4 inches.

Manually pull out each weed.

DifficultyModerate to Hard ●●●○○
SpeedFast-acting
Things You Need• Water
• Hand weeder (for larger weeds)

If you’ve only got a couple of weeds, you can get away with simply hand-pulling each one. This is an effective method because you’re removing the entirety of it, all the way to the roots.

However, it can be time-consuming and laborious, making this not the best option for larger gardens.

What To Do
1. Pinpoint which plants are weeds.
Taking the time to identify which plants are actually weeds before removing them reduces the risk of accidentally removing plants that you want to keep.
Hence, it pays to study and familiarize yourself with your local weed varieties.
2. Lightly dampen the soil.
Getting the soil slightly damp loosens it, making it easier to remove the entire weed root in a single pull without accidentally breaking it.
3. Pull out the weed.
If you have a small weed with a shallow root system, you can remove it by hand starting by grasping it by the base and pulling steadily.
If your weed is quite large with stubborn roots, use a hand weeder instead.
4. Inspect for any leftover roots.
Sometimes there can be leftover roots that break off when pulled. Be sure to remove these to prevent them from growing into new weeds.

Layer landscape fabric onto the soil.

DifficultyModerate ●●●○○
SpeedFast-acting
Things You Need• Landscape fabric
• Scissors
• Stakes or rocks

Putting landscape fabric on the surface of the soil is essentially the same as adding mulch as it prevents light from passing through, making it difficult for weeds to grow.

When used properly, it can last you quite a while, especially if your chosen fabric is quite thick.

But here’s the hitch: it’ll require a bit more work than simply applying mulch since you’ll need to measure it out and cut holes for your plants.

What To Do:
1. Prepare the area
Remove any debris, rocks, and weeds from the area. Rake it to create a smooth and flat surface to work on. 
2. Measure the area and cut the landscape fabric to size.
3. Lay the fabric onto your planting area and plot where your plants will be.
4. Cut holes into the landscape fabric where you’ll be inserting your plants through.
5. Carefully lay your landscape fabric onto the soil.
6. Secure the fabric with stakes or heavy rocks.

Apply weed killers.

DifficultyModerate ●●●○○
SpeedFast-acting
Things You Need• Weed killer or herbicide
• Personal protective equipment

Herbicides are one of the most effective ways at getting rid of weeds because of how concentrated they are. They’re specifically designed to kill weeds thanks to their concentrated formula. 

However, you’ll want to be careful because some are non-selective which means they’ll damage any plant they come into contact with.

What To Do:
1. Pinpoint which plants are weeds.
Taking the time to identify which plants are actually weeds before removing them reduces the risk of accidentally removing plants that you want to keep.
Hence, it pays to study and familiarize yourself with your local weed varieties.
2. Apply your chosen weed killer as prescribed by the manufacturer’s instructions.
Be sure to read and follow the instructions because over-application can harm your plant. 
Also, some herbicides have preparatory steps such as dilution. Meanwhile, others require application during a specific growth stage. 
3. Wear your personal protective equipment.
4. Apply the herbicide according to the instructions.
Be sure to apply the herbicide directly onto the weeds in a generous and even layer.
5. Monitor the treated area to determine whether it was able to control the weed population.

5. Improper Watering

Improper Watering
Image: Garden.eco

How To Fix:
Only water when necessary.

DifficultyVery easy ●○○○○
SpeedFast-acting
Things You NeedWater

Improper watering can stress out a plant which can affect its health and growth. It’s worth clarifying that this goes for both underwatering and overwatering.

Underwatering limits the amount of nutrients that your plant can absorb, causing it to weaken, reduce cell expansion, and stunt.

Meanwhile, overwatering can suffocate your plant because there aren’t enough air pockets in the soil for oxygen and other nutrients. Too much water can also promote bacteria and fungi in the soil, turning it into a breeding ground for diseases.

6. Transplant Shock

Transplant Shock
Image: Southeast AgNET

How To Fix:
Allow your plant to establish a stronger root system and harden it off first before transplanting.

DifficultyEasy ●●○○○
SpeedFast-acting

Just as the name suggests, transplant shock is a form of stress that a plant experiences when moved from one area to another which, more often than not, causes a temporary growth hitch. 

In most cases, transplant shock can be attributed to root damage, water stress, or simply having a harder time trying to acclimate and adjust. 

While this is quite normal more often than not, transplant stress can still significantly impact your plant’s ability to grow quickly until it’s able to bounce back and resume growing healthily.

What To Do
1. Before transplanting, check to see whether your pepper plant has a developed root system already
Using your hands, gently move away the soil to reveal your pepper plant’s roots. Inspect whether it’s white and long enough to reach the bottom of the container.
2. Begin the hardening off process
To help your seedling better adjust to its new environment, you’ll need to harden it off. You can about 2 weeks before the transplant date and when the threat of frost has gone. 
You can set your plant outside for about 10 to 20 minutes in the shade, then after a couple of days, under direct sunlight.
Then, gradually increase the amount of sunlight exposure and time spent outside. 
If your plant begins to show any signs of damage such as drooping or sun scalding, bring it back inside to recuperate for a while before continuing.
3. After about 2 weeks, leave your plant outside overnight.
4. If your plant survived its first sleepover outdoors, it’s ready to be there permanently.
5. Don’t stress out your plant even more by touching it and moving it around. Instead, leave it be to let it recover peacefully.

7. Insufficient Sunlight

Insufficient Sunlight
Image: Plants Heaven

How To Fix: 
Option #1: Relocate your plant to a sunnier location.
Option #2: Transplant your pepper plants into a different location that receives more sunlight.

Pepper plants, in particular, need at least 6 hours of full sunlight daily. If your pepper plant doesn’t receive this, it could cause stress because they’re unable to do photosynthesis efficiently.

Relocate your plant to a sunnier location.

DifficultyVery Easy ●○○○○
SpeedFast-acting

A lack of sun exposure can affect your pepper plant so much that over time this can cause stunted and leggy growth, less fruit and flower production, and less foliage.

Not having enough leaves will hinder your plant’s ability to do photosynthesis optimally. Other than that, it will cause difficulties in nutrient uptake which can be a source of additional stress for your pepper plant.

Here’s how you can fix that!  

What To Do
1. Locate a sunnier location.
Observe which areas in your garden receive the most sunlight daily. Monitor how much sunlight it receives during the day and how hot it gets.
Be wary of moving your pepper plants to a spot that receives too much sunlight because you could risk sun scalding which will also hinder growth.
2. Prepare a spot for your pepper plant.
3. Move your pepper plant.
4. Observe for any changes.
Since your pepper plant will be exposed to more sunlight than it’s used to, it could react badly. If you notice wiling or scorched leaves, relocate your plant to an area that’s sunnier than the previous space but not as hot as this space.

Transplant your pepper plants into a different location that receives more sunlight.

DifficultyModerate ●●●○○
SpeedFast-acting
Things You NeedSeedling
Large planting area

If your pepper plant is still small and can be moved entirely to a better location but is stuck in a container that can’t be relocated, then transplanting is your next option.

Transplanting involves removing the plant, roots and all, from its current container and into a new one. 

It can be quite difficult to do because plants have the tendency to go into shock when not properly transplanted. Nevertheless, they can recover quickly in the right conditions.

What To Do
1. Inspect whether your pepper plant has a well-developed root system ready for transplanting
Before you can actually transplant your pepper seedlings, you’ll need to make sure that they’re big and strong enough for it or else they won’t be able to make it past the shock and eventually die.
After about 4 weeks they should be at least 6 to 8 inches tall and have a couple of true leaf sets. 
If your pepper plant tree seems a bit too short or doesn’t have many true leaf sets yet, you can leave it to grow for another week or two. 
2. Start hardening off your seedlings a few weeks before transplanting by putting your pepper seedling in the shade for about 2 hours. 
Once time has elapsed, bring your seedling back indoors and repeat for the next few days.
3. After a week or two, increase the sun exposure by giving your pepper seedling about 10 to 20 minutes of direct sunlight.
If you notice drooping leaves or sunscald, you may want to reduce the amount of time your pepper plant is spending under the direct sun along with adjusting the sun time.
4. Gradually increase the amount of direct sunlight your pepper seedling is getting. 
You’ll also want to keep an eye on the temperature, steering clear of temperatures more than 95°F/-15°C or less than 55°F/12°C.
5. After 2 weeks, leave your plant outside overnight.
6. You can leave your pepper plant outside for good after 2 to 4 weeks of hardening off. 
By this time, it should have acclimated successfully to the outdoors.
7. Prepare the soil of their new container.
Prepare the soil of the new container where you’ll be transplanting your pepper plant by mixing in high-quality potting soil along with an equal portion of well-rotted compost.
In addition to these, rake through your soil to make it loose enough for soil growth. 
8. Gently relocate your seedling from its old pot.
Softly remove some soil with your fingers and use a chopstick to carefully puncture the soil and break it up.
In your new pot, add your potting mix until the pot’s about 75% full. Then, create a deep hole enough to fit your pepper seedling and its roots. 
Position your seedling deep enough so that its first set of true leaves are underneath the soil. Afterward, fill in the hole with soil and lightly pat down to help it compact a bit.
9. Deeply water the soil.
10. Move your seedling to a spot that gets at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight each day

8. Damage from Pests or Diseases

Damage from Pests or Diseases
Image: Pepper Joe’s

How To Fix:
Isolate and treat the infected plant.

DifficultyModerate ●●●○○
SpeedFast-acting
Things You Need• Treatment for pest or disease
• Cover

If it’s not obvious enough, pests and diseases can cause a ton of physical damage to plants. Injuries to its stem, roots, and leaves can hold back the intake of resources and hinder the plant’s ability to function properly.

Aside from that, some pests weaken a plant’s immune system, making them more susceptible to diseases and damage. 

Hence, it’s no surprise that a pepper plant that’s infested with pests or contracted a disease isn’t growing very quickly.

What To Do:
1. Identify what pest or disease your plant is infested with.
Closely observe your plant’s symptoms such as whether it’s leaves have discolored, foliage is wilted or deformed, and if there is any unusual growth such as mold, spots, or holes.
These will help you narrow down what kind of pest is doing this or what infection your pepper plant has contracted.
2. Isolate the infected plant from the healthy plants.
Before the outbreak worsens, it’s essential to isolate the infected plant before it can transfer whatever pests or diseases it has contracted.
If possible, move the infected plant to an extremely secluded place. Preferable one that doesn’t have any wind that could blow the pests or pathogens away.

If you don’t have an isolated area in your garden, your next best option would be to simply cover the infected plant in a clear plastic bag so that it’s still able to get sunlight. 
3. Figure out what the infection or pest is.
Given the data that you have, do some research to figure out what specific infection or pest is affecting your pepper plant.
You can do research online from credible resources, visit your local library or gardening center, or get advice from reliable horticulturalists.
4. Pune the infected portions of your plant.
If your plant isn’t severely infected and it seems like you can salvage it, start by removing any infected foliage to prevent the infection from worsening. 
Dispose of them properly, keeping them away from your healthy plants to avoid accidentally contaminating the rest of your garden.
It’s vital that you sanitize all of your gardening tools and equipment, too.
5. Treat your plant according to remedies specific to its infection.
Depending on what your plant has contracted, it’ll need a specific set of treatments such as:
Organic remedies which include neme oil, garlic sprays, chili sprays, and baking soda, among others.
Chemical treatments which include herbicide, fungicide, and pesticides meant for more severe infections and infestations.
Biological remedies which include adding insects or bacteria to naturally control the pests or remedy the infection.
6. Monitor your pepper plant for any changes.
After treatment, the first couple of weeks are crucial to determine whether the remedies were effective. Even then, don’t be discouraged if you haven’t noticed a significant improvement just yet.
Some infections, especially more severe ones, take a little longer to cure. 

9. Rootbound 

Rootbound 
Image: PepperScale

How To Fix:
Untangle roots then transfer into a bigger pot.

DifficultyEasy ●●○○○
SpeedFast-acting
Things You Need• Stick
• Pot larger than your current one
• Potting mix
• Water

A plant becomes rootbound when it doesn’t have enough space to grow out its roots, resulting in it coiling up and getting tangled within the edges of the pot. 

When in a rootbound condition, your plant will have difficulty taking in water, nutrients, and oxygen which will not only deprive it of essential nutrients but also increase its stress levels.

The lack of space for new roots will also hinder your plant’s ability to grow, eventually stunting its growth pattern.

What To Do
1. Deeply water the plant to make the soil easier to work with.
2. Gently massage the plant and remove as much of the soil as possible.
You can use a stick to poke holes through the soil and wiggle it around to loosen it up.
3. Remove the plant from the pot.
Turn the pot upside down with your other hand supporting the plant and gently remove it from the pot.
4. Inspect what the roots look like.
Examine how extremely rootbound the roots are. Feel around, too, to determine which parts you can salvage and trim.
5. Remove overgrown roots (optional)
If the roots of your pepper plant are severely rootbound and tightly tangled, it may be better to simply trim some of the most overgrown and damaged roots rather than forcefully trying to untangle them.
Though, be wary not to cut away too much as this could negatively impact your plant’s health.
6. Select a bigger pot.
To prevent your pepper plant from becoming rootbound again in the future, choose a bigger pot that’s at least 1 to 2 sizes bigger than its current pot.
Don’t forget to check for adequate draining.
7. Repot your pepper plant.
Add a couple of inches worth of fresh new potting mix into your pot. Then, make a hole in the center for the roots.
Position your pepper plant on top with its roots extended downwards and fill in the hole with more soil. Afterward, gently tap onto the soil to hold the plant in place.
8. Deeply water your plant.
To help your plant settle in, water deeply so that it can rehydrate. This will also help close any air pockets in the soil.
9. Observe how your pepper plant’s doing for the next week or two.
Your pepper plant should be adjusting well to its new environment if temperatures, water, and sunlight conditions are favorable. 

10. Compacted Soil

Compacted Soil
Image: Advanced Turf Solutions

How To Fix:
Option #1: Regularly till the soil.
Option #2: Add soil amendments or compost.
Option #3:Implement crop rotation.

Compacted soil is tight, dense, and hard, which makes it difficult for new roots to penetrate, grow, and access resources. Without these, it’s only a matter of time before your plant experiences nutrient deficiency and dehydration.

Aside from that, compacted soil leaves no room for air to pass through, creating an oxygen-deprived environment. This will cause your roots to suffocate over time.

Here are our suggested fixes!

Regularly till the soil.

DifficultyEasy ●●○○○
SpeedFast-acting
Things You Need• Shovel, garden fork, space, rototillers, or garden tillers
• Rake 

Tilling regularly is a standard practice among gardeners because it’s an easy and proven way to break apart any compacted layers. This will make it easier for your pepper plant’s roots to penetrate deeper into the soil.

It’s also a great way to aerate the soil, helping water, nutrients, and oxygen move easily through the soil.

Here’s how to till your soil: 

What To Do:
1. Remove any debris, weeds, rocks, and other nuisances from the soil.
2. Mark the area where you intend to till.
3. Start tilling.
For smaller areas, you can use a shovel, garden fork, or spade. Start by drilling your tool into the siol at an angle, gently wiggling it through the soil, then removing it. 
Meanwhile, bigger planting areas may require rototillers or garden tillers. Gently work through the soil, allowing the blade to penetrate deeply. 
4. Level the soil using a rake
Once you’re satisfied with the quality of your soil, ensure that the surface is level by running a rake through it to even it out.

Add soil amendments or compost.

DifficultyEasy ●●○○○
SpeedFast-acting
Things You NeedShovel, garden fork, space, rototillers, or garden tillersRake 

Soil amendments or compost break down over time, mixing into the soil and improving its structure. This helps make it a more nutrient-filled environment, to boot.

What To Do:
1. Prepare the planting area
Before you add the soil amendments, you’ll need to clean up your planting area first by getting rid of any weeds, debris, and unnecessary things. You’ll want a clean surface to allow the soil amendments to decompose easily.
2. Water your pepper plant.
Watering your pepper plant before applying soil amendments boosts the moisture content in the soil, helping the soil amendments to blend in the soil better.
3. Calculate how much soil amendments you’ll need for your planting area.
To get the most out of your soil amendments, it’s recommended that you put a 2 to 4-inch layer all over the planting area. Identifying how much you need will help you plan out how much soil amendments to get.
4. Add the mulch onto your soil.
Put an even layer of soil amendments onto the soil starting from the area closest to the base of your pepper plant, and working your way outwards.
Avoid putting your soil amendments too close to your stem as this could promote pests and diseases or inhibit ventilation. Instead, start your soil amendments about 5 inches away.
5. Reapply soil amendments as needed.
Over time you’ll notice your layer of soil amendments decreasing as it decomposes and integrates itself with the soil, gets washed away, or simply compresses. 
Thus, you’ll need to add a fresh batch of soil amendments onto your later, maintaining a height of about 2 to 4 inches.

Implement crop rotation.

DifficultyEasy ●●○○○
SpeedSlow-acting

Since different plants have different root structures, they can aid in loosening up and improving soil health through their unique root growth. As a result, it helps reduce the likelihood of soil erosion and compaction.

Aside from that, rotating crops help control and manage diseases. This can happen become some crops hinder the growth of specific pests and diseases, lowering the risk of major outbreaks.

What To Do:
1. Familiarize yourself with the different crops along with their ideal growing conditions, nutritional requirements, and preferred complementary crops.
2. Plan your crop rotation plan.
Depending on how many crops you plan to grow and which areas of your garden you want to use, create a rotation plan to have a better idea of which plants you’ll be growing in which spaces throughout the next couple of years.
3. Decide on what complementary plants to grow beside your pepper plants. 
Growing complementary plants are beneficial because they help deter pests, add more nutrients into the soil, and improve growth, among others.
Some of the best complementary plants for peppers are:
Basil, which repels pests such as aphids and spider mites.
Oregano, which improves pepper taste and aromaSpinach, which provides shade and aids in moisture retention in the soil
Borage, which attracts beneficial pollinators like bees and ladybugs
4. Start implementing your crop rotation plan.
5. Monitor the growth of your pepper plant and it’s complementary plant to see whether they’re adjusting well to one another. 
Observe whether adjustments in your plan need to be made such as replacing certain complementary crops for optimal effectiveness

FAQs

How long does it take for a pepper plant to mature?


Depending on the variety you’re growing, pepper plants can take anywhere from 100 to 150 days to mature from a seed.

What’s the easiest way to make a pepper plant grow faster?


With the proper care and environmental conditions, the quickest way to boost your pepper plant’s growth rate is to give it fertilizer and improve soil conditions. You can also prune and pinch away at branches to stimulate growth. 

What’s the best fertilizer to use for peppers?


The best fertilizers for peppers are those that are high in nitrogen (N). This will help in their foliage growth and vegetative production.

How tall do pepper plants grow?


Depending on the variety, pepper plants can grow to be as tall as 10 feet in the right growing conditions. However, most pepper plants only grow to be around 4 feet tall.

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