Why Are My Pepper Plant Leaves Wrinkled?

Wrinkled pepper leaves can be a sign that your plant is under stress. The culprit can be overwatering, insufficient light, inadequate watering, nutritional deficiency, or diseases like bacterial leaf spots.

Peppers add a variety of tastes, textures, and zing to meals. Peppers are a staple in the diets of citizens of many countries; they carry many health benefits and flavors. 

Pepper plants are lush green plants that grow colorful fruits commonly known as bell peppers.

The pepper plant is essential in any vegetable garden due to its vibrancy and tasteful fruits.

In this write-up, you’ll learn about the problems associated with the plant like pepper plant leaves curling, and you can revive the plant.

The most important part about growing a pepper plant is the temperature; one must develop pepper plants in warm temperatures ranging between 60-85F.

Either place them in a sunny place or use a warm mat to maintain temperature.

Key Points

  • Overwatering can be the main reason why your pepper leaves are curled or wrinkled.
  • Poor soil drainage, nutrient deficiency, pests, and environmental stress can also cause wrinkled leaves.
  • Check for signs and revive the plant with adequate watering and sunlight.
  • Well-drained soil, adequate watering, proper sunlight, and an ideal temperature (70-80F) are key things to prevent wrinkled pepper leaves.

Why My Pepper Plant Leaves Are Wrinkled?

There can be several causes of wrinkled leaves on pepper plants; overwatering is the most common among pot plants.

Insufficient sunlight, diseases, plant edema, extreme temperature, lack of essential nutrients, root bound, and pests can also result in shrivelled pepper leaves.

Pepper Plant Leaves Wrinkled

Environmental stress includes inadequate watering, insufficient sunlight, and sudden fluctuations in temperature.

Scorching temperatures can also be the cause behind the wrinkling of pepper leaves. During hot days, the leaves curl in themselves to protect themselves from the sweltering heat.

Some pests and viruses can curl the leaves of your pepper plant due to their eating habits. Check for insects and pests on your plant and use pesticides if found. 

Pot size and wrong potting soil that fail to drain excess water can result in overwatering issues.

The overwatered plant shows signs of yellow leaves, stunted plant growth, and wrinkled pepper plant leaves.

As a gardener, monitoring and determining the root cause of wrinkled leaves is crucial.

Below is a detailed write-up on it.

Also Read: 13 Easy Vegetables to Grow All Year Round

What Causes Pepper Plant Leaves Curling Inward or Upward?

Leaves of pepper plant that curls inward or outwards can be a sign of some underlying problem. Let’s look at the possible causes

1. Sunlight

A pepper plant needs 6 hours of sunlight to thrive; inadequate or excess sunlight can stress the plant, resulting in wrinkled or curling pepper leaves.

Excessive sunlight and brightness make the leaves shy away and turn in on themselves.

It is a reflex mechanism and protective action to shield the plant/fruit from high heat.

While planting, choose a spot that gets bright light. Chlorophyll, the pigment responsible for the green color of leaves, is made using sunlight.

  • Due to insufficient light, plants fail to produce the required chlorophyll. Thus turning green leaves yellow to white.
  • Signs like yellow and shriveled leaves, leggy stems, and stunted growth can be observed.
  • Similarly, exposing the plant to too much sunlight can show adverse signs like wrinkled and yellow leaves.


Choose a spot with at least 6-8 hours of full sun throughout the growing season.

If you’re growing pepper plants in pots, then relocate them to a better lighting position.

2. Water Stress

Peppers need consistent water to thrive and prevent any disease. Mulching around the plant can help the plant retain moisture for longer.

Pepper plants don’t like to stand in water, so avoid overwatering them.

Both underwatering and overwatering can prompt the pepper plant leaves to curl.

Both situations could be better for the plant and can cause problems. Check the dampness of the soil before watering each time, and allow the top two inches of the soil to dry before watering again.

Ensure the pot has drainage holes, as drainage is of immense importance. 


Water pepper plant 1-2 inches per week.

You can determine this by inserting your index finger into the growing medium. If the soil is sticky, then you don’t have to water.

Once you check that the potting soil’s top 1-2 inches are dry, water the plant.

This way, you can avoid overwatering or underwatering your pepper plant.

Plants grown in containers are prone to overwatering. To avoid excess water, you should grow a medium that drains well and, at the same time, retains the required moisture.

3. Plant Edema

Plant edema is a phenomenon caused by irregular water retention by the plant. Excessive plant edema can lead to the curling of leaves.

In simple words, plants uptake the water at a rate that surpasses its ability to transpire through leaves, thus resulting in swollen and engorged cells.

Signs of plant edema include bumps on the leaves, white build-up under the leaf, bumps, blisters, etc.

You can treat plant edema by using well-drained soil, avoiding over-fertilization, and ensuring proper light is received by the plant.


To avoid plant edema, you must avoid overwatering, low lighting, high humidity, and poor drainage ability of growing medium.

Also Read: Chilli Flowers Dropping Off | Plant Not Fruiting

4. Nutritional Deficiency

The pepper plant needs calcium for optimal growth, along with essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

The high acidity of the soil stops the plant from absorbing calcium, thus resulting in a deficiency.

Calcium deficiency weakens the cell walls; thus, the leaves get easily curled or bent. 

Other signs of calcium deficiency include brown spots or yellow discoloration of the leaves.

Calcium and magnesium can be provided as secondary minerals to ensure healthy cell growth and strong walls.


Conduct soil tests before planting and add required nutrients if needed.

5. Pot Size

Choosing a small pot to grow pepper plants can often result in root bound, which clogs drainage holes, leading to excess water in the pot.

Yellowing, wilting, and shriveled leaves are common signs of root bound.


Report your pepper plant in two sizes: larger pots with fresh potting soil.

6. Extreme Temperature

When the temperature drops below 50F, this vegetable plant struggles to grow, and its leaves curl.

Similarly, high temperature above 90F isn’t ideal for pepper plants.


Maintain ideal temperature between 70-80F.

Relocate the plant to a cozy and warm location.

7. Pests

Insect damage and their eating habits make the pepper leaves curl. Curled and bubbled leaves are a sign of insects feasting on them. However, insect infestation generally happens on a single leaf, not the whole plant.

Insects like spider mites and thrips can cause problems for the plant. To manage this problem effectively, handpick and burn the infected leaves to prevent insects from flying away. 

Spray neem oil regularly to keep away pests and introduce insect-eating creatures like- ladybugs. Ladybugs feed on insects and not pepper plants, thus ensuring good care.

Also Read: How to Get Rid of Ants in Vegetable Garden?

8. Diseases

A bacterial infection can also be the underlying cause, and brown spots and discoloration can be recognized along with curled leaves.

Also Read: What Not to Plant With Cucumbers?

9. Herbicide exposure

When exposed to herbicides, pepper plants mess up their normal processes.

The herbicide makes it hard for the plant to absorb water and nutrients, causing the leaves to dry and shrivel.


Stop using chemical-incorporated products and thoroughly water the plant to flush the chemicals remaining off the plant soil.

Remove severely damaged pepper plant leaves and encourage optimal plant growth.

Prevent the use of herbicides in your vegetable gardener and opt for alternatives like hand weeding, covering crops with plastic, and mulching.

How to Care for a Pepper Plant?

Pepper plants are an excellent addition to any garden; they are beautiful, colorful, and vibrant with lush fruits. The paper plant is the answer to a splash of color in any monotonous kitchen garden.

Growing a pepper plant is relatively easy. However, proper knowledge is imperative and will go a long way. Let’s see how to grow and care for a pepper plant to avoid problems like the curling of leaves.

1. Temperature

Temperature is the most crucial factor while growing a pepper plant. Start early and plant the seed in warm environments.

As mentioned earlier, pepper plants need temperatures ranging between 70-85F to grow.

If you live in a tropical country, plant the seed during early summer and always within the house.

Let the seeds soak the warm indoors and germinate. Germination should start in a couple of weeks.

If you have doubts about your house being warm enough, place a warm mat under the tray and cover it with plastic wrap after watering to create the right conditions.

Before placing the pepper plant outdoors, ensure that there is no frost. 

2. Mulch

Good mulching will go a long way in planting peppers. Black mulch and ground clippings keep the soil warm and the pests away.

Remember, the warmer the temperature, the better it is for the pepper plant.

3. Watering

Pepper plants do well in warm temperatures but can die in sweltering weather. Also, pepper plants need good drainage, so choose a pot with drainage holes and let the topsoil absorb water before removing the excess.

Gardeners living in hot environments may water the plant twice daily if the temperature is too high and the peppers dry.

Underwatering will spoil the taste of peppers by making them bitter.

Overwatering will clog the roots, leading to water logging, which prevents the roots from absorbing water required for photosynthesis.

Water the plant carefully by gauging the temperatures and water needs of your plant.

Tip: Look for dampness in the soil before watering.

Also Read: Tomato Seeds Sprouting Inside Tomato

4. Sunlight

Pepper plants need sunlight and don’t do well indoors. Keep the pepper plants outside; if the area is too sunny, use a cloth to provide shade. Do not keep the plant indoors unless it is a heat wave.

5. Pests

Keep a close eye on the pepper plant for the possible infestation of pests and viruses.

Pests eat away the leaves, giving them a curled and unhealthy look. Pests can also eat away the pepper fruits and destroy your spoils of gardening.

Regularly spray natural pesticides and insecticides to keep away mites.

6. Fertilize

Use a low-nitrogen fertilizer to fertilize the plant regularly. A balanced and low-nitrogen fertilizer would keep the soil healthy without adversely affecting fruit growth.

Also Read: How to Grow Turnips from Scraps?

Tips to take care of your pepper plant

  • Place it outdoors
  • Shade the plant if the sun is too bright
  • Warm temperature is appreciated
  • Mulch well
  • Water carefully too much nor too little
  • Low-nitrogen fertilizer should be used


Pepper plants are lush, green plants that prefer sunlight and warm temperatures. The curling of pepper plant leaves can be caused by several reasons, such as insects, bacterial infection, too much light, water problems, etc.

In most cases, overwatering is why pepper plant leaves are wrinkled. The most affected plants are those grown in containers and pots.

Urban gardeners often get excited about taking care of their plants. Sometimes, this excitement can lead to problems like watering the pepper plants too much or choosing the wrong soil. In both cases, the pepper plants end up getting too much water.

Find the root cause and effectively treat it in a timed manner.

Leave a Comment