Pepper plant disease

Asked July 4, 2016, 6:30 PM EDT

I planted my pepper plants in a bed that had sweet potatoes growing in it last year, and now they have some sort of disease where the leaves turn black and fall off. Could the sweet potatoes have done something to the soil to cause this?

Sussex County Delaware

1 Response


Without seeing a sample of the leaves from your pepper plants, I can't really tell for sure why they appear black. It could be a plant disease caused by a fungus or a fungus-like micro organism. However, most plant diseases are very specific and one on sweet potato would not usually go to pepper plants. A few can though. Diagnosis involves microscopic examination of the leaf tissues and sometimes it helps to have an entire plant. There are plant disease that will kill an entire plant in a week or two. Peppers are also very sensitive to the cold, though, and may have been hit by frost in April.

You could send a sample in to the Plant Diagnostic Clinic, and a sample can be submitted through Cooperative Extension offices, which in your case would be at the Carvel Center on Route 9 in Georgetown. Samples that come in are either looked at by Master Gardeners or Extension Agents, or sent to Newark to the Clinic. Please see the web site for sampling instruction and the sample form:

Thank you for contacting Delaware Cooperative Extension,