If you notice wilting chili plants, you should pay attention as something is wrong!
Sometimes, chili plants wilt because they’re baking in the hot, hot sun. Another cause of wilting chili plants is the amount of water you are providing them, this can range from too little or too much moisture.
Why do Chili Plants Wilt?
When we get thirsty, our bodies are letting us know that we need more water. It is a feeling we have. Part of the reason for this is that we have a skeleton structure that keeps us standing straight. Green leafy plants don’t have a similar structure, they use water pressure to keep them standing upright. You can think of the plant leaf as being similar to a garden hose.
With the water turned off, the hose is limp–its wilted. When we turn the water on, the water pressure inside the hose increases and the hose becomes stiff. The stiff hose no longer looks wilted. Plants work exactly the same way. In order for a plant to maintain its normal shape, it needs a certain amount of water pressure inside the leaves.
Water pressure is maintained in the leaves by the roots which are absorbing water from the soil and pumping it up into the leaves. Leaves naturally loose water, especially during photosynthesis. Water is constantly flowing from the roots to the leaves. If roots can’t get enough water, they can’t maintain the correct water pressure in the plant and the leaves drop or wilt.
If the plant is overwatered, fungal wilt is probably to blame. Spotted wilted pepper plants, leaves that are dotted with brown or black spots, yellow marking on the leaves or stem are sigs of fungal wilt.
Damaged Roots During Transplanting
When you move a plant, it will damage some of its precious roots. It is quite normal for such a plant to show wilting right after being moved. It is quite common for people to water far too much after transplanting chilis in order to try and fix the problem. Too much water does not help the problem. One solution is to move chili plants in spring and fall when the temperatures are lower and plants are not requiring full energy. At these times of the year, water evaporation from leaves is less and you get less wilting.
If you do move a plant in summer, it will wilt much less if it is covered for a week or two so that it receives less sunlight.
How to fix wilting Chili Plants?
Take a careful look at the environment and the soil for clues. If the weather is hot and the soil is dry, considering covering the chili plant or moving it to an alternate location. Water the soil twice daily ensuring that the soil is moistened and water doesn’t pool. If the soil is already moist watering can make things worse. Do not overwater and considering watering the plant less. Ensure the soil is well-draining.
Prevention is the best cure to avoid wilting chilis. Take precautions to ensure that the disease doesn’t spread or reappear if its fungal wilts from overwater these are soil-borne and can live in the soil for many years. it will take time before planting in the old location is safe again. Choose a new garden location and keep it free of fungus by increasing drainage and only watering when the top 2 inches of soil feel dry to the touch.
Chili Plants are like people they will grow weak if not given enough of the basic necessities such as sun, water, air and nutrients. The tell tale signs of a sick looking chili plant is when it starts to wilt. When your chili plant starts to wilt you must act fast to revive the suffering plant.
Chili plants in pots and particularly prone to dehydration and wilting. When you do not water your potted chili plants enough, the soil tends to harden and clings closer to the roots and away from the pot’s sides. This creates gaps in which water can run off and out of the pot through the drainage holes, effectively starving the roots of your potted chili plants.
First aid for sick dehydrated Chili Plants
Fill a bucket, sink, container or basin halfway with water. Make sure the container is large enough to fit the entire pot, all the way to and over the rim.
Plunge the whole pot and plant into the water filled container. The water must cover the whole plant even over the pots rim. It’s all right if water covers some of the foliage. You may need to weigh down the pot with a brick or a stone to keep it from floating in the water.
Keep the plant in the container until bubbles stop rising from the soil. Bubbles indicate air pockets in soil and roots.
Keep the plant in the water for at least a half hour after the bubbles stop, to ensure that the soil is completely saturated.
Remove the pot from the container and allow the plant to drain.
Place the potted plant in a plastic bag and close it tightly. This step will provide much needed humidity to the foliage while the roots go back into action. Keep the bagged plant in a shady area so that the moisture doesn’t dry out.
Remove the plant from the bag and move it back to its original location once it has revived. This could take as little as a few hours, or several days. Do not put the plant back into the sun till its looks healthy and green again as the sun will extract water from the plant.
Give the post some mulch that will hold moisture and humidity. Remember to water your growing chili plants regularly. Once a day is ideal.
Other Tips for Dehydrated Chili Plants
Any brown leaves or stems will been to be cut off, they are dead and we cannot save them.
Plants in the ground or in pots too big to shift can be treated by pushing the hose as far into the soil around the roots as possible so that it can soak the roots and eliminate any air pockets or dry root balls.
Moisten the leaves when watering as it increases humidity around the plants leaves keeping them moist and reducing dehydration.
The reason I wrote this article was because I went on holidays for 8 days and my plants got dehydrated. I was so upset to come home and find 6 wilted chili plants. Luckily doing these steps revived all but two of the dehydrated chili plants.