How to Tell if Your Pepper Plant is Overwatered and What to Do

Peppers need the proper amount of water to thrive. How can you tell if you’ve overwatered your plants?

Peppers grow well in any sunny, well-drained site and thrive in large pots. They are warm-season crops that require minimal care but can be stressed by drought or overwatering. The pepper plant should be given 1 to 2 inches of water per week and allowed to dry out before watering again. 

Keep reading to learn about the signs of overwatering and how to deal with affected pepper plants.

Why Overwatering is Harmful

Excess water can wash away critical nutrients from the soil and prevent the roots from getting the oxygen it needs. Because the plant does not receive enough nutrients to thrive, it is likely to produce a low-quality harvest if it blooms at all. 

Overwatering makes plants more susceptible to pests, bacterial illnesses, and fungal infections like pythium, fusarium, and phytophthora, which cause root, crown, and stem rot. In many cases, plants that suffer from root rot do not survive. 

Signs and Symptoms

Yellowing Leaves

Yellowing and wilting leaves may be mistaken for signs of underwatering since the symptoms are similar. If leaves turn yellow, it could mean that the plant isn’t getting enough nutrients to maintain its natural green color.

wilting leaves of green bell pepper

Soggy Soil

Peppers flourish in locations or containers with adequate drainage holes. Without drainage holes, the soil will get waterlogged and lose oxygen. In this case, the root will suffer and cannot correctly transport water and nutrients to other plant parts.

Stunted Growth

Overwatering is one of the most common reasons for poor or stunted plant development as it can easily result in nutrient loss. As a result, the leaves on your pepper plant may wilt or droop, and the plant will generally look weak. The plant is also less likely to bloom and produce fruits.

Curled Leaves

Overwatering can cause pepper leaves to curl because the roots are deprived of oxygen and nutrients from the soil. The waterlogged soil makes it difficult for roots to acquire what they need, so the leaves are not getting the nutrition they need to grow correctly.

curled leaves of green cayenne pepper

How to Fix It

Stop watering as soon as you notice the signs. Sometimes, pepper plants with yellowing leaves can be remedied by letting the soil dry and trimming the affected leaves away. However, more effort will be required to save plants that have already begun to wilt.

If possible, relocate the plant to a shaded area to avoid stressors like extreme heat. Rapid evaporation stresses the plant just as much as overwatering does. Allow the soil to dry out and only return the plant to its original sunny location once it has started to recover.

If your pepper plants have already withered, you must trim the withering foliage and the rotten, wilting roots. Allow the root system and the soil to dry out for a few hours before repotting or replanting.

For pepper plants in containers, reintroduce the plant to direct sunshine gradually. Start with a few hours of partial early light and then gradually move the plant to a sunny, well-drained location. Remember that most plants suffering from root rot will not recover from it. Prevention is key to keeping your crops healthy and thriving.

red bell pepper ready to harvest
Leila Haynes
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