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Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper
Also known as : Elephant trunk, Italian roaster hybrid, Cow-horn, Cayenne Buist's Yellow, Joe's Long, Cayenne Long Thick Red, Cayenne Passion, Cayenne Violet
Hardiness Zones
Hardiness Zones
9 to 11
care guide

Care Guide for Cayenne Pepper

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Watering Care
Watering Care
Details on Watering Care Watering Care
Fertilizing Care
Fertilizing Care
Details on Fertilizing Care Fertilizing Care
Pruning
Pruning
Trim the diseased, withered leaves once a month.
Details on Pruning Pruning
Soil Care
Soil Care
Sand, Loam, Clay, Alkaline
Details on Soil Care Soil Care
Repotting
Repotting
Plant in pots or ground are both OK.
Details on Repotting Repotting
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Cayenne Pepper
Water
Water
Every week
Hardiness Zones
Hardiness Zones
9 to 11
Planting Time
Planting Time
Spring
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Questions About Cayenne Pepper

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Watering Watering Watering
Pruning Pruning Pruning
Sunlight Sunlight Sunlight
Temperature Temperature Temperature
What is the best way to water my Cayenne Pepper?
Not only does the Cayenne Pepper have certain preferences regarding how much water it receives, but it also cares deeply about how you provide that water. In fact, if you don't use the proper watering technique, you risk harming your tomatoes. The best way to water Cayenne Pepper is to apply the water directly to the soil in a slow and gentle manner. You should not pour all of the water into the soil at once, and you should not do overhead watering for your Cayenne Pepper. Although you should water slowly, you should also water deeply to ensure that all of the soil in which your Cayenne Pepper grows is sufficiently moist.
Read More more
What should I do if I water my Cayenne Pepper too much or too little?
If you find that you have overwatered your Cayenne Pepper and you are concerned about the associated risk of disease, you should intervene immediately. Often the best approach for an overwatered Cayenne Pepper is to uproot it from its current growing location. Once the plant is out of the ground, you can allow its roots to dry a bit before planting it in a new growing location. Ensure that the new growing location has soil with good drainage. If you grow in pots, you may also want to move your plant to a pot with more or larger drainage holes. In the case of underwatering, all you will need to do is increase the frequency with which you supply water to your plant.
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How often should I water my Cayenne Pepper?
Overall, Cayenne Pepper requires a significant amount of water throughout the growing season. To meet that high water need, you'll need to water early and often throughout the spring and summer. During the earlier parts of the growing season, you should water your Cayenne Pepper about once or twice per week. As the season progresses, you should increase your watering frequency. You may need to water it twice per day or more during summer, depending on the weather. After your Cayenne Pepper have gone through their major seasonal growth phases, you can reduce the frequency of your watering to about once per week until the end of the growing season.
Read More more
How much water does my Cayenne Pepper need?
Since Cayenne Pepper are incredibly popular, with many professional and amateur gardeners growing them successfully, we have a pretty clear idea of how to care for these plants. That understanding includes specific knowledge about the precise volume of water an average Cayenne Pepper should receive. Generally, Cayenne Pepper will require about 1 - 1.5 inches of water per week. That volume should be dispersed evenly through your weekly watering. As the weather gets warmer, you may need to supply more water, but in most cases, two inches per week is a good baseline amount.
Read More more
How can I tell if i'm watering my Cayenne Pepper enough?
Underwatering and overwatering can both occur as problems for your Cayenne Pepper, and both these problems can manifest with similar symptoms. For example, foliage discoloration and wilting can both result from either overwatering or underwatering. When your Cayenne Pepper is underwatered, its leaves will be curling and drooping at the beginning. You will see a bunch of leaves turn less vigorous. Underwatering is also likely to cause stunted growth and poor overall development as both the flowers and this plant require a high amount of water. Overwatering is more likely to lead to disease, including rot. Overwatering may also lead to unpleasant smells rising from your plant's soil. The symptoms of underwatering will show up quicker than overwatering. Overwatering can also be evident in soil conditions. Mainly, if you notice a lot of standing water or waterlogged soils, overwatering is likely to occur.
Read More more
How should I water my Cayenne Pepper through the seasons?
As alluded to above, your Cayenne Pepper's water needs will repeatedly change throughout the seasons. During most of spring and summer, you should water your Cayenne Pepper about once every week. As the heat of summer arrives, you should plan to increase your watering frequency to once or twice per day. In the late summer and fall, towards the end of the harvest period, you can reduce your watering frequency to about once per week. After harvest has ended, you can cease watering as your Cayenne Pepper has reached the end of its life cycle and will require no further soil moisture. The maintenance schedule of Cayenne Pepper will require you to alter the amount of water you provide depending on the plant's current growth stage. Early on, especially if you grow your Cayenne Pepper from seeds, you'll need to provide water often enough to maintain consistent soil moisture, which encourages root development. When the plant becomes old enough to produce flowers, it will likely need even more water. During the fruit development growth stage, your Cayenne Pepper will likely need the most water out of any growth period, at times requiring water more than twice per day. Following that phase, the water needs of Cayenne Pepper will decline significantly.
Read More more
What's the difference between watering Cayenne Pepper indoors and outdoors?
Whether you grow Cayenne Pepper indoors or outdoors can also play a role in how you water them. Cayenne Pepper that grows outdoors may receive water from natural rainfall, which will reduce the amount of supplemental water you should supply. However, it is incredibly rare for rainfall to adequately replace your watering entirely. Plants that grow indoors, along with any Cayenne Pepper that grows in a container, will need to be watered more frequently than those that grow in the ground outdoors. If you choose this route, please make sure that the plant gets enough water by checking the soil moisture within your pot often to keep your Cayenne Pepper healthy.
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Key Facts About Cayenne Pepper

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Attributes of Cayenne Pepper

Lifespan
Annual, Perennial
Plant Type
Herb
Planting Time
Spring
Bloom Time
Late spring, Summer
Harvest Time
Mid summer, Late summer, Early fall, Mid fall
Plant Height
4 feet
Spread
30 cm to 46 cm
Leaf Color
Green
Flower Color
White
Purple
Fruit Color
Red
Green
Stem Color
Green
Dormancy
Winter dormancy
Leaf type
Deciduous
Ideal Temperature
20 - 38 ℃

Trivia and Interesting Facts

Scientific Classification of Cayenne Pepper

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Common Pests & Diseases About Cayenne Pepper

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Common issues for Cayenne Pepper based on 10 million real cases
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Leaf beetles
Leaf beetles Leaf beetles
Leaf beetles
Leaf beetles are a class of colored insects 1 to 2 cm in size. They gnaw on leaves and petals resulting in small, round holes scattered over the surface.
Solutions: For less serious cases: Remove beetles, nymphs, and eggs. Remove all life stages of the beetles and kill them by placing them in a bucket of warm, soapy water. This can be done more easily by placing the bucket under affected leaves and shaking the plant. This method is most effective in the afternoon when leaf beetles are more active. Always dispose of insects in a sealed bag or container to avoid escape and spread. To treat more serious infestations: Apply organic insecticides. Use naturally-derived insecticides before moving on to synthetic insecticides. Neem oil and pyrethrum are naturally-derived insecticides that should be applied following label instructions. Apply synthetic insecticides. Examples of insecticides effective for leaf beetles include carbaryl, permethrin, and bifenthrin. Apply insecticides according to label instructions.
Leaf deformity
Leaf deformity Leaf deformity
Leaf deformity
Leaf deformities can have a variety of causes.
Solutions: Follow these steps to revive plants with abnormal leaves. Remove damaged leaves: Plants can recover from damage when given the time to do so. Remove any deformed leaves so they don't continue drawing energy from the plant. This also creates room for healthier ones to grow. Stop using herbicide: Though herbicide damage is challenging to diagnose, gardeners can potentially prevent deformed leaves by not using any and by strictly following manufacturers instructions. Spray insecticide: Prevent pests from inhabiting plant leaves by spraying with insecticide regularly and practicing good natural pest prevention techniques. Apply a balanced fertilizer: Solve nutrient deficiencies and excesses by using a well-balanced fertilizer (organic or conventional both work) before planting, and consider topdressing when signs of stress are apparent. Fix watering schedule: If plant leaves are curled downward due to too much or too little water, adjust the watering schedule so the soil is moist, but not damp. Remove infected plants: If the plant has succumbed to a viral infection, not much can be done to revive it. Remove and destroy all compromised plant material to prevent spread to other plants.
Caterpillars
Caterpillars Caterpillars
Caterpillars
Caterpillars are fleshy moth or butterfly larvae that come in an array of colors, patterns, and even hairstyles. They chew on leaves and flower petals, creating large, irregular holes.
Solutions: Even though caterpillars are diverse, they all chew on plant parts and can cause significant damage if present in large numbers. For severe cases: Apply insecticide. For an organic solution, spray plants with a Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which specifically affects the larval stage of moths and butterflies. Be sure to coat plants, since caterpillars need to ingest Bt for it to be effective. This will not harm other insects. Spray a chili extract. Chili seeds can be cooked in water to make a spicy spray that caterpillars don't like. Spray this mixture on the plants, but be aware it will also be spicy to humans. Introduce beneficial insects. Release beneficial insects to the garden that eat caterpillars, such as parasitic wasps. For less severe cases: Hand pick. Using gloves, pick off caterpillars on plants and dispose of them in a bucket of soapy water. Dust plants with diatomaceous earth. This powder is harmless to humans but irritates caterpillars. Therefore, it will make it difficult for caterpillars to move and eat.
Fruit rot
Fruit rot Fruit rot
Fruit rot
Soft rot in the fruit can have a variety of causes.
Solutions: Prune out and destroy infected spurs and branches. Correct spacing between plants to reduce wind-born infection. Chemical fungicides may become necessary. Bird deterrents and biological or chemical treatments for insects will reduce fruit damage, making it harder for fungal infections to take hold.
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Leaf beetles
plant poor
Leaf beetles
Leaf beetles are a class of colored insects 1 to 2 cm in size. They gnaw on leaves and petals resulting in small, round holes scattered over the surface.
Overview
Overview
Leaf beetles range in size from 1.5 mm to 2 cm. Both adult beetles and their larvae eat the leaves of many different types of plants. There are over 35,000 different species of leaf beetles, in a variety of colors including gold, green, yellow-striped, and red striped. Some of these have been mistaken for ladybirds because of their shape and coloring. They can be oval, round, or elongated in shape. These insect pests are most active in spring and summer.
If not controlled, leaf beetles can do a lot of damage to vegetable crops and ornamental plants. They feed on the leaves, flowers, stems, roots, and fruits of different plants. They can fly, which means it's easy for them to move from one plant to another. Some species of leaf beetles only target one specific crop, while others will target many different types of plants. Although a lot of the damage that they cause is cosmetic, an infestation can weaken a plant and leave it prone to other more problematic diseases.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
The first signs of a leaf beetles infestation are small visible holes in leaves. Leaves then become discolored and dark beetle droppings can be seen. As the leaves turn yellow and brown, they will drop off the plant onto the ground. Some leaves will appear skeletonized with only the veins still remaining.
Infestation begins in spring, when the adult beetles emerge from the soil and lay their eggs on the leaves of plants. When these eggs hatch, the young nymphs start munching on the leaves as they grow up. Once leaf beetles are large and mature, they'll fall to the ground and pupate in the soil over winter before starting the cycle all over again.
Leaf beetles also eat holes in fruits and vegetables. These can be seen as small round holes that sometimes have a larger brown area surrounding them.
Solutions
Solutions
For less serious cases:
  1. Remove beetles, nymphs, and eggs. Remove all life stages of the beetles and kill them by placing them in a bucket of warm, soapy water. This can be done more easily by placing the bucket under affected leaves and shaking the plant. This method is most effective in the afternoon when leaf beetles are more active. Always dispose of insects in a sealed bag or container to avoid escape and spread.
To treat more serious infestations:
  1. Apply organic insecticides. Use naturally-derived insecticides before moving on to synthetic insecticides. Neem oil and pyrethrum are naturally-derived insecticides that should be applied following label instructions.
  2. Apply synthetic insecticides. Examples of insecticides effective for leaf beetles include carbaryl, permethrin, and bifenthrin. Apply insecticides according to label instructions.
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Leaf deformity
plant poor
Leaf deformity
Leaf deformities can have a variety of causes.
Overview
Overview
Leaf deformity manifests in the form of curled, cupped, or distorted leaves, often first seen in the spring. There are a number of different possibilities as to the cause and it will not always be easy to isolate the problem without laboratory analysis. In the majority of cases, however, the gardener should be able to isolate the cause through close examination of the plant and the local conditions.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
The plant has developed abnormal leaves. They may look similar to leaf curl, but show other problems such as:
  • stunting
  • abnormal shapes
  • a bumpy texture
  • gaps between leaf sections
  • raised growths on the top surface
Disease Cause
Disease Cause
The causes are widespread and varied and the gardener will need to examine plants carefully as well as consider environmental factors.
Disease due to insect damage: Mites, aphids, and other insects that feast on plant leaves can leave them vulnerable to viral and bacterial disease. Some, like leaf galls and rust, produce distorted leaves. If the gardener sees insects on the plants, it is likely the insect is the culprit. Some mites are too small to see, and laboratory analysis may be required.
Herbicide exposure: Herbicides can stress plant leaves. This may lead to stunted growth and a curling, cupped appearance. Even if the plant owner didn't apply herbicides, herbicide drift and planting in contaminated soils can expose plants to these chemicals. If all plants in an area have deformed leaves, the cause is likely herbicides. Herbicide exposure is also characterized by narrow new leaves.
Less than ideal growing conditions: If plants are exposed to cold temperatures right as their leaves are coming out of the bud, they might become stunted and malformed. If deformed leaves occur right after a cold spell or frost, this is likely the cause. Too much and too little water can also cause deformed leaves. Leaves curling down but not distorting is more likely to be a watering issue than a leaf deformity.
Nutrient deficiencies: A lack of critical nutrients during the growing phase, including boron, calcium, and molybdenum, may lead plant leaves to grow stunted or disfigured. If a nutrient deficiency is to blame, the leaves will also show discoloring.
Fungal infections: a variety of fungal pathogens can distort leaves, as is the case with Peach leaf curl.
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Caterpillars
plant poor
Caterpillars
Caterpillars are fleshy moth or butterfly larvae that come in an array of colors, patterns, and even hairstyles. They chew on leaves and flower petals, creating large, irregular holes.
Overview
Overview
Caterpillars can cause problems for home gardeners. If not managed, these insects can defoliate a plant in just a matter of days. However, home gardeners face a challenge because these caterpillars eventually turn into beautiful butterflies and moths, which are important for pollination and the general ecosystem.
There are thousands of different species of caterpillars and many will only target certain plants. If caterpillars are posing a problem, they can be removed by hand, or gardeners can use insect-proof netting to protect their valuable plants.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
Caterpillars are the larvae of butterflies and moths. During the warmer months, butterflies and moths that visit gardens will lay their eggs on the underside of leaves.
When the tiny eggs hatch, the young larvae emerge and start feeding on the leaves of the plant. Depending on how many larvae have hatched, they can easily defoliate the plant in a very short period of time. Caterpillars will shed their skin as they grow, around 4 or 5 times during this feeding cycle.
Symptoms of caterpillars eating plants appear as holes in the leaves. The edges of the leaves may be eaten away as well, and flowers can be affected as well.
Some are easy to see, but others need to be searched for. This is because their bodies are often camouflaged to look like part of the plant. Gardeners need to look carefully along the stems of the plant as well as under the leaves. Also, look for tiny white, yellow, or brown eggs that can be found in groups on the underside of leaves.
Once the caterpillar is fully grown, it transforms into a pupa or chrysalis. Then, after a period of time that varies according to the species, a butterfly or moth will emerge from the pupa and the cycle begins again.
Solutions
Solutions
Even though caterpillars are diverse, they all chew on plant parts and can cause significant damage if present in large numbers.
For severe cases:
  1. Apply insecticide. For an organic solution, spray plants with a Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which specifically affects the larval stage of moths and butterflies. Be sure to coat plants, since caterpillars need to ingest Bt for it to be effective. This will not harm other insects.
  2. Spray a chili extract. Chili seeds can be cooked in water to make a spicy spray that caterpillars don't like. Spray this mixture on the plants, but be aware it will also be spicy to humans.
  3. Introduce beneficial insects. Release beneficial insects to the garden that eat caterpillars, such as parasitic wasps.
For less severe cases:
  1. Hand pick. Using gloves, pick off caterpillars on plants and dispose of them in a bucket of soapy water.
  2. Dust plants with diatomaceous earth. This powder is harmless to humans but irritates caterpillars. Therefore, it will make it difficult for caterpillars to move and eat.
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Fruit rot
plant poor
Fruit rot
Soft rot in the fruit can have a variety of causes.
Overview
Overview
Fruit rot is quite common, and there are a large number of factors that can lie at the heart of this problem. Symptoms also vary from fruit to fruit and from cause to cause, but in general, one can recognize fruit that is rotten or starting to rot. Many of the most common causes of rotting are related to fungal diseases, which enter the fruit through wounds such as those caused by birds. The disease then spreads outwards from the wound. From there it can spread to neighboring fruit or be carried by the wind to plants further away.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
Below are some of the broader symptoms to look out for in cases of fruit rot. If this occurs on just one or two fruit it may just be as the result of a small-scale infection, but if it is widespread then a fungal infection problem is likely.
  1. Small brown spots appear on the fruit.
  2. Brown spots expand, normally in concentric circles and the center starts to go soft and mushy.
  3. Mushiness spreads and grey or brown powdery pustules start to coat the fruit.
  4. Some fruit will drop but others may remain and gradually turn mummified.
Disease Cause
Disease Cause
Fruit rot is often caused by fungal infection. These fungi overwinter on fallen fruit, and then the spores are spread by the wind the following spring. Birds and sap-sucking insects can also act as vectors. Entry to new fruit is made considerably easier if there are wounds of any kind through which the spores can penetrate the skin. The healthier the tree or plant, the better able it is to defend itself from infection.
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More Info on Cayenne Pepper Growth and Care

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Basic Care Guide
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Transplant
1-2 feet
The optimum period to transplant cayenne Pepper is during the balmy days of late spring to early summer, ensuring a hearty growth. Choose a sunny location with well-draining soil to establish cayenne Pepper, considering mild weather conditions to lessen transplant shock.
Transplant Techniques
Feng shui direction
South
The cayenne Pepper aligns harmonically with the warmth and vibrancy of the South direction. As Feng Shui purports, South governs fame and reputation, and the cayenne Pepper's fiery aura aligns well with this energy. Remember, Feng Shui principles may act differently depending on personal Chi and situational conditions.
Fengshui Details
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Pests & Diseases
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Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper
Also known as: Elephant trunk, Italian roaster hybrid, Cow-horn, Cayenne Buist's Yellow, Joe's Long, Cayenne Long Thick Red, Cayenne Passion, Cayenne Violet
Hardiness Zones
Hardiness Zones
9 to 11
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Questions About Cayenne Pepper

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Feedback
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Watering Watering Watering
Pruning Pruning Pruning
Sunlight Sunlight Sunlight
Temperature Temperature Temperature
What is the best way to water my Cayenne Pepper?
more
What should I do if I water my Cayenne Pepper too much or too little?
more
How often should I water my Cayenne Pepper?
more
How much water does my Cayenne Pepper need?
more
How can I tell if i'm watering my Cayenne Pepper enough?
more
How should I water my Cayenne Pepper through the seasons?
more
What's the difference between watering Cayenne Pepper indoors and outdoors?
more
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Keep your plants happy and healthy with our guide to watering, lighting, feeding and more.
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plant_info

Key Facts About Cayenne Pepper

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Feedback
feedback

Attributes of Cayenne Pepper

Lifespan
Annual, Perennial
Plant Type
Herb
Planting Time
Spring
Bloom Time
Late spring, Summer
Harvest Time
Mid summer, Late summer, Early fall, Mid fall
Plant Height
4 feet
Spread
30 cm to 46 cm
Leaf Color
Green
Flower Color
White
Purple
Fruit Color
Red
Green
Stem Color
Green
Dormancy
Winter dormancy
Leaf type
Deciduous
Ideal Temperature
20 - 38 ℃
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Trivia and Interesting Facts

Scientific Classification of Cayenne Pepper

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Common Pests & Diseases About Cayenne Pepper

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Common issues for Cayenne Pepper based on 10 million real cases
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Plant disease auto-diagnose & prevention
AI-powered plant doctor helps you diagnose plant problems in seconds.
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Leaf beetles
Leaf beetles Leaf beetles Leaf beetles
Leaf beetles are a class of colored insects 1 to 2 cm in size. They gnaw on leaves and petals resulting in small, round holes scattered over the surface.
Solutions: For less serious cases: Remove beetles, nymphs, and eggs. Remove all life stages of the beetles and kill them by placing them in a bucket of warm, soapy water. This can be done more easily by placing the bucket under affected leaves and shaking the plant. This method is most effective in the afternoon when leaf beetles are more active. Always dispose of insects in a sealed bag or container to avoid escape and spread. To treat more serious infestations: Apply organic insecticides. Use naturally-derived insecticides before moving on to synthetic insecticides. Neem oil and pyrethrum are naturally-derived insecticides that should be applied following label instructions. Apply synthetic insecticides. Examples of insecticides effective for leaf beetles include carbaryl, permethrin, and bifenthrin. Apply insecticides according to label instructions.
Learn More About the Leaf beetles more
Leaf deformity
Leaf deformity Leaf deformity Leaf deformity
Leaf deformities can have a variety of causes.
Solutions: Follow these steps to revive plants with abnormal leaves. Remove damaged leaves: Plants can recover from damage when given the time to do so. Remove any deformed leaves so they don't continue drawing energy from the plant. This also creates room for healthier ones to grow. Stop using herbicide: Though herbicide damage is challenging to diagnose, gardeners can potentially prevent deformed leaves by not using any and by strictly following manufacturers instructions. Spray insecticide: Prevent pests from inhabiting plant leaves by spraying with insecticide regularly and practicing good natural pest prevention techniques. Apply a balanced fertilizer: Solve nutrient deficiencies and excesses by using a well-balanced fertilizer (organic or conventional both work) before planting, and consider topdressing when signs of stress are apparent. Fix watering schedule: If plant leaves are curled downward due to too much or too little water, adjust the watering schedule so the soil is moist, but not damp. Remove infected plants: If the plant has succumbed to a viral infection, not much can be done to revive it. Remove and destroy all compromised plant material to prevent spread to other plants.
Learn More About the Leaf deformity more
Caterpillars
Caterpillars Caterpillars Caterpillars
Caterpillars are fleshy moth or butterfly larvae that come in an array of colors, patterns, and even hairstyles. They chew on leaves and flower petals, creating large, irregular holes.
Solutions: Even though caterpillars are diverse, they all chew on plant parts and can cause significant damage if present in large numbers. For severe cases: Apply insecticide. For an organic solution, spray plants with a Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which specifically affects the larval stage of moths and butterflies. Be sure to coat plants, since caterpillars need to ingest Bt for it to be effective. This will not harm other insects. Spray a chili extract. Chili seeds can be cooked in water to make a spicy spray that caterpillars don't like. Spray this mixture on the plants, but be aware it will also be spicy to humans. Introduce beneficial insects. Release beneficial insects to the garden that eat caterpillars, such as parasitic wasps. For less severe cases: Hand pick. Using gloves, pick off caterpillars on plants and dispose of them in a bucket of soapy water. Dust plants with diatomaceous earth. This powder is harmless to humans but irritates caterpillars. Therefore, it will make it difficult for caterpillars to move and eat.
Learn More About the Caterpillars more
Fruit rot
Fruit rot Fruit rot Fruit rot
Soft rot in the fruit can have a variety of causes.
Solutions: Prune out and destroy infected spurs and branches. Correct spacing between plants to reduce wind-born infection. Chemical fungicides may become necessary. Bird deterrents and biological or chemical treatments for insects will reduce fruit damage, making it harder for fungal infections to take hold.
Learn More About the Fruit rot more
close
Leaf beetles
plant poor
Leaf beetles
Leaf beetles are a class of colored insects 1 to 2 cm in size. They gnaw on leaves and petals resulting in small, round holes scattered over the surface.
Overview
Overview
Leaf beetles range in size from 1.5 mm to 2 cm. Both adult beetles and their larvae eat the leaves of many different types of plants. There are over 35,000 different species of leaf beetles, in a variety of colors including gold, green, yellow-striped, and red striped. Some of these have been mistaken for ladybirds because of their shape and coloring. They can be oval, round, or elongated in shape. These insect pests are most active in spring and summer.
If not controlled, leaf beetles can do a lot of damage to vegetable crops and ornamental plants. They feed on the leaves, flowers, stems, roots, and fruits of different plants. They can fly, which means it's easy for them to move from one plant to another. Some species of leaf beetles only target one specific crop, while others will target many different types of plants. Although a lot of the damage that they cause is cosmetic, an infestation can weaken a plant and leave it prone to other more problematic diseases.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
The first signs of a leaf beetles infestation are small visible holes in leaves. Leaves then become discolored and dark beetle droppings can be seen. As the leaves turn yellow and brown, they will drop off the plant onto the ground. Some leaves will appear skeletonized with only the veins still remaining.
Infestation begins in spring, when the adult beetles emerge from the soil and lay their eggs on the leaves of plants. When these eggs hatch, the young nymphs start munching on the leaves as they grow up. Once leaf beetles are large and mature, they'll fall to the ground and pupate in the soil over winter before starting the cycle all over again.
Leaf beetles also eat holes in fruits and vegetables. These can be seen as small round holes that sometimes have a larger brown area surrounding them.
Solutions
Solutions
For less serious cases:
  1. Remove beetles, nymphs, and eggs. Remove all life stages of the beetles and kill them by placing them in a bucket of warm, soapy water. This can be done more easily by placing the bucket under affected leaves and shaking the plant. This method is most effective in the afternoon when leaf beetles are more active. Always dispose of insects in a sealed bag or container to avoid escape and spread.
To treat more serious infestations:
  1. Apply organic insecticides. Use naturally-derived insecticides before moving on to synthetic insecticides. Neem oil and pyrethrum are naturally-derived insecticides that should be applied following label instructions.
  2. Apply synthetic insecticides. Examples of insecticides effective for leaf beetles include carbaryl, permethrin, and bifenthrin. Apply insecticides according to label instructions.
Prevention
Prevention
To prevent infestations of leaf beetles, follow these practices.
  1. Regularly check for beetles. To prevent large pest infestations, be proactive about frequently checking plants for pests and removing them quickly.
  2. Clear debris. Clear weeds and debris to remove areas where these beetles may overwinter and hide.
  3. Attract natural predators. Birds and other insects, such as wasps and ladybugs, are effective natural predators of leaf beetles. Encourage them to visit by including a diverse array of plants to provide habitat and food. Also, avoid applying broad-spectrum herbicides that can harm and kill beneficial insects.
  4. Plant aromatic herbs like mint, garlic, or rosemary, as these can repel leaf beetles.
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Leaf deformity
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Leaf deformity
Leaf deformities can have a variety of causes.
Overview
Overview
Leaf deformity manifests in the form of curled, cupped, or distorted leaves, often first seen in the spring. There are a number of different possibilities as to the cause and it will not always be easy to isolate the problem without laboratory analysis. In the majority of cases, however, the gardener should be able to isolate the cause through close examination of the plant and the local conditions.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
The plant has developed abnormal leaves. They may look similar to leaf curl, but show other problems such as:
  • stunting
  • abnormal shapes
  • a bumpy texture
  • gaps between leaf sections
  • raised growths on the top surface
Disease Cause
Disease Cause
The causes are widespread and varied and the gardener will need to examine plants carefully as well as consider environmental factors.
Disease due to insect damage: Mites, aphids, and other insects that feast on plant leaves can leave them vulnerable to viral and bacterial disease. Some, like leaf galls and rust, produce distorted leaves. If the gardener sees insects on the plants, it is likely the insect is the culprit. Some mites are too small to see, and laboratory analysis may be required.
Herbicide exposure: Herbicides can stress plant leaves. This may lead to stunted growth and a curling, cupped appearance. Even if the plant owner didn't apply herbicides, herbicide drift and planting in contaminated soils can expose plants to these chemicals. If all plants in an area have deformed leaves, the cause is likely herbicides. Herbicide exposure is also characterized by narrow new leaves.
Less than ideal growing conditions: If plants are exposed to cold temperatures right as their leaves are coming out of the bud, they might become stunted and malformed. If deformed leaves occur right after a cold spell or frost, this is likely the cause. Too much and too little water can also cause deformed leaves. Leaves curling down but not distorting is more likely to be a watering issue than a leaf deformity.
Nutrient deficiencies: A lack of critical nutrients during the growing phase, including boron, calcium, and molybdenum, may lead plant leaves to grow stunted or disfigured. If a nutrient deficiency is to blame, the leaves will also show discoloring.
Fungal infections: a variety of fungal pathogens can distort leaves, as is the case with Peach leaf curl.
Solutions
Solutions
Follow these steps to revive plants with abnormal leaves.
  1. Remove damaged leaves: Plants can recover from damage when given the time to do so. Remove any deformed leaves so they don't continue drawing energy from the plant. This also creates room for healthier ones to grow.
  2. Stop using herbicide: Though herbicide damage is challenging to diagnose, gardeners can potentially prevent deformed leaves by not using any and by strictly following manufacturers instructions.
  3. Spray insecticide: Prevent pests from inhabiting plant leaves by spraying with insecticide regularly and practicing good natural pest prevention techniques.
  4. Apply a balanced fertilizer: Solve nutrient deficiencies and excesses by using a well-balanced fertilizer (organic or conventional both work) before planting, and consider topdressing when signs of stress are apparent.
  5. Fix watering schedule: If plant leaves are curled downward due to too much or too little water, adjust the watering schedule so the soil is moist, but not damp.
  6. Remove infected plants: If the plant has succumbed to a viral infection, not much can be done to revive it. Remove and destroy all compromised plant material to prevent spread to other plants.
Prevention
Prevention
  1. Fertilize properly. Keep your plants full of essential nutrients with a balanced fertilizer.
  2. Regularly monitor for pests. Remove all pests by hand or treat them with an insecticide. Early discovery and treatment will prevent the spread of pests and diseases.
  3. Provide the proper amount of water. Water until the soil is moist, but not damp. Only once the soil dries out, should the plant be watered again.
  4. Protect plants from cold. Bring plants indoors or protect them with frost cloth when bad weather is forecast.
  5. Avoid herbicide exposure. If the gardener or surrounding neighbors are applying herbicides, consider moving vulnerable plants to where they are less exposed to any chemicals that may be carried on the wind.
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Caterpillars
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Caterpillars
Caterpillars are fleshy moth or butterfly larvae that come in an array of colors, patterns, and even hairstyles. They chew on leaves and flower petals, creating large, irregular holes.
Overview
Overview
Caterpillars can cause problems for home gardeners. If not managed, these insects can defoliate a plant in just a matter of days. However, home gardeners face a challenge because these caterpillars eventually turn into beautiful butterflies and moths, which are important for pollination and the general ecosystem.
There are thousands of different species of caterpillars and many will only target certain plants. If caterpillars are posing a problem, they can be removed by hand, or gardeners can use insect-proof netting to protect their valuable plants.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
Caterpillars are the larvae of butterflies and moths. During the warmer months, butterflies and moths that visit gardens will lay their eggs on the underside of leaves.
When the tiny eggs hatch, the young larvae emerge and start feeding on the leaves of the plant. Depending on how many larvae have hatched, they can easily defoliate the plant in a very short period of time. Caterpillars will shed their skin as they grow, around 4 or 5 times during this feeding cycle.
Symptoms of caterpillars eating plants appear as holes in the leaves. The edges of the leaves may be eaten away as well, and flowers can be affected as well.
Some are easy to see, but others need to be searched for. This is because their bodies are often camouflaged to look like part of the plant. Gardeners need to look carefully along the stems of the plant as well as under the leaves. Also, look for tiny white, yellow, or brown eggs that can be found in groups on the underside of leaves.
Once the caterpillar is fully grown, it transforms into a pupa or chrysalis. Then, after a period of time that varies according to the species, a butterfly or moth will emerge from the pupa and the cycle begins again.
Solutions
Solutions
Even though caterpillars are diverse, they all chew on plant parts and can cause significant damage if present in large numbers.
For severe cases:
  1. Apply insecticide. For an organic solution, spray plants with a Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which specifically affects the larval stage of moths and butterflies. Be sure to coat plants, since caterpillars need to ingest Bt for it to be effective. This will not harm other insects.
  2. Spray a chili extract. Chili seeds can be cooked in water to make a spicy spray that caterpillars don't like. Spray this mixture on the plants, but be aware it will also be spicy to humans.
  3. Introduce beneficial insects. Release beneficial insects to the garden that eat caterpillars, such as parasitic wasps.
For less severe cases:
  1. Hand pick. Using gloves, pick off caterpillars on plants and dispose of them in a bucket of soapy water.
  2. Dust plants with diatomaceous earth. This powder is harmless to humans but irritates caterpillars. Therefore, it will make it difficult for caterpillars to move and eat.
Prevention
Prevention
Prevention may require less effort than attempts to eradicate infestations that have already begun. Here are our top steps for prevention:
  1. Monitor plants. Check plants regularly for caterpillar eggs on leaves. If they do not belong to an endangered species, they should be squished.
  2. Use insect netting. Cover plants with insect netting to prevent butterflies and moths from laying eggs on plants.
  3. Apply diatomaceous earth. Apply DE to plants early in the season and reapply after rain.
  4. Encourage plant diversity. This will attract predatory insects including parasitic wasps.
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Fruit rot
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Fruit rot
Soft rot in the fruit can have a variety of causes.
Overview
Overview
Fruit rot is quite common, and there are a large number of factors that can lie at the heart of this problem. Symptoms also vary from fruit to fruit and from cause to cause, but in general, one can recognize fruit that is rotten or starting to rot. Many of the most common causes of rotting are related to fungal diseases, which enter the fruit through wounds such as those caused by birds. The disease then spreads outwards from the wound. From there it can spread to neighboring fruit or be carried by the wind to plants further away.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
Below are some of the broader symptoms to look out for in cases of fruit rot. If this occurs on just one or two fruit it may just be as the result of a small-scale infection, but if it is widespread then a fungal infection problem is likely.
  1. Small brown spots appear on the fruit.
  2. Brown spots expand, normally in concentric circles and the center starts to go soft and mushy.
  3. Mushiness spreads and grey or brown powdery pustules start to coat the fruit.
  4. Some fruit will drop but others may remain and gradually turn mummified.
Disease Cause
Disease Cause
Fruit rot is often caused by fungal infection. These fungi overwinter on fallen fruit, and then the spores are spread by the wind the following spring. Birds and sap-sucking insects can also act as vectors. Entry to new fruit is made considerably easier if there are wounds of any kind through which the spores can penetrate the skin. The healthier the tree or plant, the better able it is to defend itself from infection.
Solutions
Solutions
  1. Prune out and destroy infected spurs and branches.
  2. Correct spacing between plants to reduce wind-born infection.
  3. Chemical fungicides may become necessary.
  4. Bird deterrents and biological or chemical treatments for insects will reduce fruit damage, making it harder for fungal infections to take hold.
Prevention
Prevention
To prevent pests and disease infection:
  1. Pick fruits on time. Remove fruit once ripe to prevent opportunities for pests and fungal infections to take hold.
  2. Rake and clean debris. Remove and bury surrounding plant material that may host diseases.
  3. Prune branches and thin fruit. Remove ripening fruits so they do not touch one another and prune branches to improve air circulation (reducing the wet conditions in which fungi thrive).
  4. Consider preventative use of fungicide prior to fruit forming.
To prevent nutrient deficiency that weakens the plant:
  1. Add mulch. Adding a layer of mulch on top of the soil early in the season will keep moisture even.
  2. Use organic fertilizer. Plants given ammonia-based fertilizer cannot uptake calcium efficiently. Use compost, fish emulsion, liquid kelp or other organic fertilizer.
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