Posted by & filed under Organic Gardening.

My good friend asked me why his ghost pepper plant stopped growing?  This is a great question, considering all that this particular plant has gone through in its short life to date.    Here are some facts about him and his plant.

  • It was started in northern California
  • The start was then transported to North Hollywood (Hotter/Drier Climate)
  • It was left in its original small container.
  • The water it was given to help it “Start” in its new environment had enough chlorine in it to qualify as “good swimming pool” water.  Ouch! Which then the turned the plant’s leaves yellow.
  • After turning yellow the plant was transplanted into his backyard garden and given some bottled water, some time, and then spicy pepper plant turned green again, Yeah!
  • Also it was transplanted ground close to some tomato plants that were raised right there in North Hollywood.
  • The plant started growing well, but then all of a sudden its’ leaves curled up and it quit growing.
  • It is in direct sunlight, right next to tomato plants that appear to be doing well, but they are much larger.  See the picture.
  • The plant has plenty of water, but is not overwatered.
  • The ghost pepper plant and the neighboring tomato plant is covered in ants, as well as the soil was permeated with ants when they transplanted the spicy plant.  Who knew that ants liked pepper plants?

What is causing the poor growth and the curling of the leaves then?  The curling of the leaves can be too much water, but it can also be too much fertilizer.  But are there also other naturally occurring items that can cause the lack of growth?

As in any problem with gardening, there can be more than one thing that is causing the problems with growth.  Finding the solution to the situation is going to be an experience with your environment where you have planted.

 Yellow Ghost Pepper Plant


Here are a couple of observations:

  1. It was in constant direct sunlight.
  2. It had plenty of water but not too much fertilizer.
  3. It was not over watered
  4. The ants were all over it but there were not aphids visible.
  5. The ghost pepper plant was re-transplanted to a new container.


Now I want to tell you what has happened, and what people I know, including my wife and I use as an organic ant repellent and to kill aphids.

What is an aphid you ask?  It is a leaf vampire.  They suck the sap out of leaves and can destroy your plants.  They are sneaky little critters, and usually like to eat out of site on the bottom of the leaves.  They usually come in herds, I call them the hordes!

Ants bring them to plants, because the aphids produce a sweet by product that the ants love.  Kind of like having a bee hive to grab the honey, but the aphids are destructive to your ghost pepper plant.

How do you get rid of them?  A few ways, you can hire yourself an insect that loves to eat the aphids but will leave your prized ghost pepper plant unscathed.  I want to introduce you to:

The Lady Bug!!  Yahoo, for me, they do the work and they are cute.  I do not have to do any work, the bugs eat well, and the aphids are layed waste by the lady bug!

You do not have lady bugs?  What to do?

  • Purchase some lady bugs
  • Create a solution of a good quality organic dish soap and mix a solution of 1 tablespoon of soap to 1 quart of rain water or filtered water.
  • Spray it on the plants and around the plants to wash away the chemical trails that the ants leave while driving their herds of vampiritic aphids to your plants.  Keeps them guessing.
  • You can also mix some cayenne pepper into the mix, and it will also help keep the ants and aphids at bay.

This give you a basic understanding of why your ghost pepper plant is not growing.  The action steps should be one at a time.  That way, you find the “real reason” that your ghost pepper plant quit growing.

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Chris Downs, the Caretaker

Founder and Ambassador of Natural News and Sustainable Living on How to Live on