Thursday 23 April 2015

Chilli progress report

My chillis are not doing very well this year. I have had massive problems with aphids. I have tried everything to defeat them - proprietary bug-sprays, home-made garlic-water, brushing the insects off with a small paintbrush, etc, etc. Nothing seems to work! At best I have reduced the problem. Only one of the plants looks as good as I would like - the "Brazilian Starfish", which is shaping up to be enormous.

The other plants seem to be just surviving, and growing painfully slowly.

Last week I thought that a couple of the plants had died, because they suddenly lost most of their leaves. This is probably the result of a chemical build-up caused by the repeated spraying. This one is "Calico":

It's a really sorry sight, isn't it? I don't think the plant is dead, because there are some little shoots growing out of the leaf-axils, so it may still recover. Fortunately, I have another "Calico" plant, which seems to be OK.

These plants would benefit a lot from some time spent outdoors in full sunshine, and a bit of fresh air. Unfortunately it is has been so windy that I have not dared take them outside. This is a pity, because it has been bright and sunny most days for the last couple of weeks.

Do you remember that last year I had problems with compost contaminated with weedkiller? Well, I think I may have the same issue again - though as yet not a severe case. Look at this. It is a "Cayenne" plant, looking a bit sorry for itself.

Now look closer. See that puckered leaf in the centre of the photo? That could be a sign of weedkiller contamination.

What about this -- "Bolivian Rainbow". Look at the leaves.

Do you see how several of the leaves are rolled inwards?

Now maybe I'm over-reacting. It could just be the results of the aphids' sap-sucking antics, but it could also be a compost-contamination symptom.

Circumstantial evidence suggests that if the damage is aphid-related, then aphids are not so keen on the very hot chillis. This one is "Orange Habanero" (very hot), which looks unaffected.


  1. They don't look too good, do they? I think they'd definitely benefit from time outdoors where natural predators can get to the aphids, you may find that cures them. I hope the plants recover and that it's nothing more serious than aphid attack.

  2. I agree with Jo, I think warm weather, sunshine, and fresh air will do them good. My peppers are looking a bit poorly also, they always seem to get off to a wonky start and I complain that it looks like a bad year for them. I'm hoping that they will take off once I get them into the garden, which is usually the case, but I've got my fingers crossed - for both of us.

  3. Aphids carry viruses (which get into the plants when they suck the sap) including leaf roll virus, the damage the aphids do to the cells of the leaves as they feed can also cause uneven growth of the plant. Hopefully they will out grow most of this when it gets warmer and they grow quicker. My chillies have come to a standstill after a good start, so the later germinating ones look sorry for themselves.

  4. You don't have to spray chemicals to get rid of aphids - wash them off in the sink and get few ladybugs to make nest in your plants.

  5. they dont look very well my friend. lets wait some time but these are not good signs

  6. I hope the wind clears up so you can get your peppers outdoors. Indoor aphid explosions are hard to deal with.

  7. I tried to overwinter a couple of pepper plants last year and they were infested with aphids in short order; I tried a couple of removal methods, but ultimately gave up. Hopefully the winds calm down and you can get them outside soon.


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