Q: Hi Dave,
I have a great crop of habaneros and Scotch bonnets coming up, about 50 plants, 1 foot tall, blossoms everywhere. My problem is, in the last week a lot of the leaves are turning a mottled greenish-yellow color and the edges are turning a crispy brown. I am wondering what could be the problem–is it a bug of some kind? They are in full sun all day… Too much sun? Too much fertilizer? I don’t see any bugs. I did not have this problem last year and the plants are in the same place. Is my crop doomed?
A: Hello Jim:
I get a question like this nearly every day. It is nearly impossible to diagnose plant problems long distance. I don’t know where you live, what your soil is like, what fertilizer you are using and how much, etc. etc. Have you seen any leafhoppers? Are all the plants affected? Generally speaking, leaf mottling is usually a sign of a virus, and most viruses are transmitted by aphids or leafhoppers. If it is a virus, your plants will stop growing, and there is nothing that you can do about it. Most gardeners remove and destroy infected plants so that leafhoppers will not transmit the virus to healthy plants. I have lost three tomato plants and two chile plants to curly top virus so far this year.