I noticed that one of my pepper plants is putting out very deformed and
stunted leaves. They look like they have been chewed on but in fact they
are growing that way. It was just transplanted about 10 days ago from a
seedling bought at Lowes. Should I give up on it and start over? For 2
bucks I can replace it but if it is diseased then I probably won't bother.
This is a picture I Googled of what the leaves look like.
I haven't seen this on peppers (capsicum) but on fruit trees this kind
of distortion can be caused by a fungus (peach leaf curl) or a tiny
burrowing insect (citrus leaf miner), I also read that viruses can
cause distortion too but I don't think I have seen it.
Once the plant is damaged those parts will never be normal again but
if you can get rid of it the new growth will be OK. The first two can
be prevented by the appropriate spray (fungicide, systemic insecticide
respectively) with a virus there is no cure. All of these problems
reduce the vigour of the plant.
With an annual, (grown as an annual anyway) it might be better to
start again but you need to work out where the problem came from so
you don't get it again, so maybe some spraying as well would be a good
idea if only to help with the diagnosis.
Had a similar experience last year with peppers I started from seed in
my greenhouse - turned out to be aphids. They weren't visible at
first, but after a few days of munching on my happy little peppers,
they'd grown big enough to be unmistakable. Had to toss the whole
group, along with the adjacent eggplants. Summer squashes they left
alone - which my squash hating husband found quite amusing.
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