PMMV Resistant Varieties?

Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

I've had trouble with my peppers for several years now. I did a lot of research on the Internet, and apparently I have "PMMV" (Pepper Mild Mosaic Virus) in my soil. I tried moving my pepper patch to another location, and that worked fine last year but this year the virus has spread to those plants also.

From my reading, PMMV is a non-fatal virus that gets into the soil from growing an infected plant, and it gets spread from one plant to another by touch. You can't get rid of it once you've got it. It's most apparent when pepper plants are young, as the new-growth leaves have a crinkled appearance. Leaves become limp and often drop off - later, the plants kind of look like they've had hot water poured on them. This virus cuts my pepper production in half, and many remaining peppers are soft or misshapen. Blossoms don't set fruit right, and often drop off. PMMV is closely related to Tobacco Mosaic Virus.

It's no wonder I've got the virus in my soil. Now that I know what the symptoms look like, I noticed it this spring in a lot of pepper plants for sale in nurseries. From what I read, PMMV virus is very widespread.

My bell peppers are most affected by PMMV. My Sweet Banana peppers have the virus but still bear pretty well. Hot peppers such as Jalapenos and Garden Salsa don't seem to be bothered with it much.

Also from my reading, PMMV is a big problem for commercial growers. The Harris Moran seed company has developed a PMMV 1-2-3 resistant bell pepper called Centurion, but I've only been able to find the seed offered on a commercial scale.

Does anyone here know of a source of Centurion or other PMMV-resistant bell pepper plants or seeds for home gardeners? Thanks.

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/opp4528 _ Interesting comment on controlling PMMV with skim milk.

Apparently there are only six PMMV resistant cultivars on the market at present.
Centurion - Harris Moran, you know about.
Conquest - Harris Moran
Commandant - Novartis - available from Totally Tomatoes.
Dempsey -
SXP 4045 - Sunseeds/ Sakata The sixth one may may Orsetti Seeds Loribelle, But they don't list it as such.

Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

Farmerdill - Thanks for the information. That's interesting about dipping hands and tools in skim milk to prevent carrying PMMV from plant to plant.

That won't do me any good, though. I've been composting for years and my soil contains compost from infected pepper plants, from before I knew about this problem. The only "good" thing about PMMV is that the plants seem to mostly overcome it late in the season. I'm getting pretty good yields of bell peppers now.

I'll keep an eye out for those resistant varieties for next year's garden. Thanks again.

- Sam

Marysville, WA

Can you put them in buckets or containers?? I have some green peppers in about a one gal container, and they are doing fine.

Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

"Can you put them in buckets or containers?? "

Yes. I have a Romanian Hot Pepper on the patio and a Maui Purple Pepper on the front deck in containers. They're in potting soil, and I'm very careful not to bring the disease to them from other plants. I've had the Maui Purple Pepper for years, we bring it inside in the wintertime.

But my soil in the ground has the virus from compost made in previous years. This season, I have 4 Red Bell , 4 Keystone Giants, 2 Jalapenos, 1 Garden Salsa, and 6 Sweet Banana pepper plants. That's too many for me to raise in pots.

They're actually doing pretty good now, as pepper plants seem to kind of overcome the virus late in the season. Still, it would be better to plant some resistant varieties next year.

From what I've read about PMMV virus, I think a lot of gardeners have it and think it's a nutritional deficiency or some other problem. It has spread all over the world, and this year I saw infected pepper plants being sold at two different nurseries.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

I'm glad Farmerdill had the scoop on resistant varieties for you!

I had a thought just now about the virus being in your soil... With tomato fungal blights, the spore can also be in the soil... It helps to bottom water plants (eg, soaker hoses) to keep soil from splashing up on the foliage, and it helps to mulch (I use grass clippings) to keep soil from splashing up when it rains. Despite all that, I see plenty of blight (which I can and do spray for) when we have a wet/humid summer, as we did until recently. But I thought you might consider soil splash-up as a vector, unless this virus is transmitted from the soil directly to the roots...

Then again, my brain might be asleep and firing neurons at random, LOL.

Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

critterologist - Thanks. I don't know if the virus can go directly from the soil to the roots or not. As you say, it may be that it has to enter the leaves or stems. In my reading, I saw references to the virus being spread by gardeners touching one plant then another, and by knives or clippers used for trimming.

Like you, I use a soaker-hose system and mulch with grass clippings. I'm not sure that entirely prevents spashing, though. We've been getting those little toad-strangler summer thunderstorms lately. A few days ago, my garden got 2 1/4 inches of rain in a half-hour. After that, some pieces of my dry grass mulch were stuck to fence posts two feet off the ground, some serious splashing.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

LOL at "toad strangler summer thunderstorms" -- very descriptive!

I was doing pretty well preventing splash-up onto my tomato plants, but no matter how carefully I try to weed, there is no way to avoid throwing a little dirt around.

Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

critterologist - I put a soaker hose system in my garden for the first time this year, and that sure helps. Wal Mart had 100 ft. rolls of 1/2" diameter black soaker hose for about $11, and I used two rolls.

I had an old 5/8" diameter garden hose in the barn and I found that the soaker hose fit just right, tightly, inside the garden hose. So I cut up the old garden hose and used sections of it to cross paths, between rows, and everywhere I didn't want to water. I attached the sections with metal hose clamps.

I put a two-way hose valve just inside the garden, and my system has two legs - I can run them both at once or just one or the other. It's fixed so no run of soaker hose is more than 40' long, so pressure is maintained. Just above the two-way hose valve I put my Miracle Gro fertilizer in-line, so I can put a pack of Miracle Gro in it whenever I want, and fertilize as I water. Then I put grass mulch over all the hoses except for right in the rows of garden plants. It has really worked out good, as I can slow-water every single plant in my garden just by turning on one faucet at the well head.

These are the Ozarks, and we have some colorful phrases. Summer thunderstorms come in three intensities (universally understood). There are gully washers, toad stranglers, and "like a cow going on a flat rock". LOL

Gainesville, FL(Zone 8b)

Quote from Ozark :

From my reading, PMMV is a non-fatal virus that gets into the soil from growing an infected plant, and it gets spread from one plant to another by touch. You can't get rid of it once you've got it.

How sure are you of this? I've run into resources that say it only persists in the soil for "several months" (assuming you get rid of the old pepper debris, turn it under to decompose, and preferably rotate crops). Once the pepper debris is gone the virus should be too. See:

Of course, you need to be sure the seeds you're planting aren't already infected...maybe that's where the persistence is coming from?


Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

"How sure are you of this? I've run into resources that say it only persists in the soil for "several months".

Wow, this is an OLD thread you've replied to.

This discussion was five years ago, and I THINK the PMMV virus has at least diminished in my garden soil during that time. I've grown sweet peppers, very successfully, in my garden every season since we were talking about this.

critterologist got me started on non-bell sweet peppers back about that time, and that's what I've been growing ever since. My mainstay varieties are Carmen and Gypsy, and I've had good results with Bounty, Sweet Spot, Planet, and others also. Even back when I was having such a problem with PMMV it seemed to affect bell peppers the worst, so I've avoided those. Last year, though, I grew a couple of Big Red bell pepper plants along with the non-bells and had no problem. I think maybe the PMMV virus has gone away, or at least diminished, in my garden.

Also, for the past five years I've only raised peppers from seeds ordered from mail-order seed suppliers. Every spring I see pepper seedlings for sale in the big-box store nurseries here that appear to me to show PMMV symptoms (crinkled new growth, limp and dropping older leaves). Maybe I'm wrong and that's not what I'm seeing at all - but I no longer buy pepper seedlings for my garden, just in case.

Gainesville, FL(Zone 8b)

Yes, an old thread - but I never read any resolution. PMMV is still a serious problem in commercial plantings, so there's been a bit more research since then; that's why I passed it along. I also BTW ran into a couple of references that claimed that any TMV-resistent plants would also have at least partial resistance to PMMV. I'm gardening in Florida, which is one of the places PMMV is a commercial issue, but I'm far from the big growing region. So far I've just been lucky - I do order seeds from smaller suppliers, mainly because they often carry varieties that simply aren't offered anywhere else, and no PMMV yet.

Store-bought plants MAY be carriers, but they are really mistreated (allowed to dry, never fertilized after they go on display) so it is really hard to say if what you see is a serious disease, a physiological or nutritional stress, or even possibly a facultative pathogen (one that only attacks plants that are already dying).

Anyway, I enjoy the old threads (especially the unresolved ones).


Virginia Beach, VA(Zone 7b)

I think I may have that disease on 50% of my peppers this year.

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