Brown spots on peppers are a common affliction that you might notice developing on your bell or banana peppers. In this article, we aim to go through the various reasons why these spots might occur, along with how to diagnose and treat them properly.

Green Bell Pepper with Brown Spot

Continue reading to find the best solutions to these brown spots on your peppers.

Why Do Your Bell Peppers Have Brown Spots?

There are three very common reasons behind brown spots on pepper plants, including blossom end rot, sunburns, and fungal infections. You can learn all about them in this section.

– Blossom End Rot

One of the most common reasons why bell peppers have brown spots is because of blossom end rot. The spots caused by this condition appear on the bottom of the bell pepper fruit as yellow rings that eventually turn brown after a period of time.

Want to find out what causes blossom end rot and how to prevent it? Continue reading below.

– Overwatering

Overwatering will cause your bell peppers to develop brown spots caused by blossom end rot disease.

The bell pepper plant only needs 2 to 4 inches of water per week. You should water it only every other day or every third day and not more than that. Never water your plant unless at least the top half of the soil is completely dry.

Mulching is another great way to keep the soil moist for long periods of time without having to overwater it. We love adding mulch bark as the top layer of our soil.

– Low Calcium Levels in the Soil

This might be the most common reason behind blossom end rot in green peppers. Your plant needs calcium to form the outer skin of bell peppers. Lack of calcium will often be evident as brown spots on green peppers as their outer layer fails to develop properly.

Perform a soil test using a testing kit for use at home and send this to a lab to check the calcium levels of your soil. If found to be deficient, you can improve the calcium levels of the soil by adding eggshells, gypsum and lime to it.

We also recommend using a water and Epsom salt mixture to increase the calcium content of the soil. Add one tablespoon of Epsom salt to every gallon of water you give your plant.

Reasons for Brown Spots on Peppers

– Over-fertilizing 

Using too much fertilizer is never a good idea as it releases too much nitrogen and potassium into the soil. This, in turn, hinders the absorption of calcium by the plant, leading to the appearance of soft brown spots on peppers.

Fertilizers with high ammonia content should be strictly avoided for the very same reason. You can avoid brown spots due to over-fertilizing by choosing a fertilizer that has low nitrogen, potassium and ammonia content. Once your plant is grown and producing fruit, nitrogen isn’t really that necessary.

Fertilize bell peppers only once a month, and check and buy a fertilizer that has calcium listed on its ingredients list.

– Dry Spell Followed by Excessive Watering

A dry period followed by too much watering will cause your plant to go into stress. This will lead to the dreaded sight of your peppers turning brown from the underside. Water your plants consistently and don’t allow it to become dry for long periods of time. After a dry spell, start watering gradually and with great care.

– Sunburns

Those annoying brown spots on bell peppers might also be due to excessive exposure to the sun. The skin of developing bell peppers as well as their leaves is rather delicate. They cannot tolerate the full sun exposure that the adult plant is usually exposed to.

These sunburn spots first appear as whitish lesions on the surface of young leaves and fruits. These spots then turn brown and rotten after a while.

 Here is how you can deal with sunburns:

  • Move your plant to a location with less intense sunlight.
  • When placed outdoors, you can try to place a screen over your new, freshly-developing fruits.
  • Don’t prune your plant too excessively. Heavy foliage is good for your plant as it protects the fruits from severe sun scorching.
  • You can also place your plant somewhere where it receives only eastern or western light. This is because harsh southern sunlight can be too much for your plant.

– Fungal Infections: Anthracnose

Fungal infections are a serious concern for bell pepper gardeners and carers. These can rapidly destroy fruits and whole plants within weeks. Anthracnose is one of the most common fungal infections that might be affecting your precious peppers.

Plants under attack by anthracnose will have soft brown spots on peppers. These spots can appear on all sides of the fruit. Eventually, these brown spots turn mushy and their color turns black.

– How To Treat Anthracnose Infections

  • Aggressive debridement is the way to go if you want to save your plant from total destruction by this fungal infection.
  • Take sharp gardening shears and cut off all the infected leaves and parts of stems and fruits.
  • Don’t use these cut-off parts as compost or manure as this will only spread the infection further in the soil. Instead, burn these parts properly.
  • Spray your plant generously with a potent antifungal every day.
  • Take care that you properly clean and disinfect the gardening instruments that were used for removing the infected plant parts. Otherwise, you will risk transferring the infection to other plants.

Reasons Why Banana Peppers Have Brown Spots

Banana pepper is another beloved variety of peppers that has a sweet and mild taste. It is often consumed raw, grilled or pickled. If brown spots on banana peppers are something you struggle with, read below to find out the potential reasons behind them.

– Blossom End Rot

Banana peppers might develop dark brown spots at their blossom ends due to low calcium levels in the soil. For these peppers, this disease can be disastrous; leading to the destruction of 50 percent of the crop or greater.

– What You Should Do

Make sure that your soil has adequate calcium levels by keeping its pH level at about 6.5. Adding lime to the soil will improve its calcium levels.

Water your plant consistently. Once per week should be sufficient for the banana pepper plant.

In order to retain the moisture in the soil for long periods without overwatering your plant, cover the soil with a rich layer of mulch.

 

– Fungal Infections: Phytophthora

This is a serious fungal infection that will not only cause brown rot spots on your banana peppers but will also lead to the wilting and death of the entire plant.

You can diagnose this condition by the mushy spots that will appear on the peppers along with brown spots on the stems and leaves. Your plant will then suddenly wilt and start dying.

– What You Should Do

This disease thrives under wet, warm and moist conditions. In order to combat phytophthora, work towards improving the drainage of your soil. Don’t overwater your plant and always allow the soil to dry before watering it again.

Solutions for Brown Spots on Peppers

Spray generously with a potent fungicide. Debride and cut off all the infected parts of the plant.

Don’t forget to sterilize the instruments that you use for cutting the rotten parts of the plant. You don’t want to spread the infection to surrounding plants and shrubs!

FAQ: Some Important Questions

– Is It Safe To Consume Peppers With Blossom End Rot?

It is totally safe to eat peppers with blossom end rot as these spots are not caused by any bacterial or fungal pathogen. You can simply cut away the rotten parts and use the rest of the pepper as intended. At most, you will notice a slight decline in the quality of the fruit.

– What Safety Precautions Should I Take While Adding Lime to the Soil?

Wear protective equipment while adding lime to the soil such as goggles, gloves and boots. After the process, dust can still linger in the air and penetrate the skin and the eyes. You should be careful about visiting your lawn or garden for a few days after adding lime to it.

Diseased Bell Pepper with a Brown Spot

Conclusion

In this article, we have covered all the common reasons why brown spots might be seen on bell and banana peppers and what you should do about them. Let’s review the most important points we learned.

  • Blossom end rot is one of the most common reasons why soft brown spots appear at the bottom of your bell peppers.
  • Blossom end rot is caused by overwatering, low calcium levels in the soil, and over-fertilizing.
  • Bell peppers need only 2- 4 inches of water per week. Water your plant every third day.
  • Fertilize bell peppers once per month. Don’t buy a fertilizer with a very high potassium, nitrogen or ammonia content.
  • Sunburn due to excessive sun exposure will also cause brown spots to develop on your bell peppers. Newly developing fruits are more susceptible to sun damage than already developed ones.
  • Expose your plant to only a moderate amount of sunlight.
  • When placed outdoors, cover these new bell peppers with a cloth or a screen.
  • Your bell peppers might have brown mushy spots on them due to fungal infections like anthracnose. Aggressively debride the rotten infectious parts and then burn them off.
  • If your Banana peppers are turning brown along with a sudden wilting of the entire plant, it might be due to a severe fungal infection called phytophthora.

What are you waiting for? Go right ahead and deal with those pesky brown spots on your peppers right away.

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