Are you planning a pizza night at home with everything homemade? Consider growing your bell peppers and tomatoes to add the flavour of homegrown vegetables to your pizza topping. But a disaster happened, and now you are asking everyone around you: why are my bell peppers turning brown? You cannot figure out the reason behind the ugly brown spots on the beautiful bell peppers. You may think that you will no longer have a pizza party, or you will have to buy some fresh bell peppers from the market. Anyhow, you need to treat the bell peppers and get rid of the brown spots the next time, or else your gardening joys will be frustrating for good.
There can be many reasons behind brown spots on bell peppers; the most common ones are blossom end rot, improper root growth, irregular watering schedule, over-watering, excess fertilizing, getting sunburned, and Anthracnose. Let’s look at the answers to why are my bell peppers turning brown and ways to revive the green jewel of the garden.
The Blossom End Root May Be Causing Brown Spots On Bell Peppers
The blossom end root is characterized by brown spots at the bottom of the fruit, which is farthest from the stem. At first, the spots are light green or yellow, but they turn brown with time.
Causes of blossom end rot
There are several causes of blossom end root; some of the common ones are:
- A common cause of blossom end rot is a lack of calcium in the soil. There is a high requirement of calcium for the bell pepper skin to develop, and when it doesn’t get the required amount of calcium, it degrades, and soft brown spots form on the skin.
- Irregular watering patterns can also cause blossom end rot; water the plants enough but consistently and regularly.
- Overwatering is another reason my bell peppers turn brown due to blossom end rot. The bell pepper plants need 2-4 inches of water every week.
- Using fertilizers excessively can also cause blossom end rot. This is because nitrogen and potassium hinder the absorption of calcium by the roots. Using large amounts of ammonium and sodium-based fertilizers can also have the same consequences.
Ways to fix blossom end rot
You cannot revive the fruits affected by blossom end rot. But you can take care of the plants to prevent blossom end rot in the next season.
- It is good to amend the soil by adding eggshells and bone meal so the ground has excess calcium.
- Epsom salt is also an excellent way to prevent blossom end rot. Add one teaspoon of Epsom salt to a gallon of water and water the bell pepper plants with this solution.
- Watering the plants helps them to absorb calcium properly from the soil. The bell pepper plants need 2-4 inches of water every week; make sure to spread the watering sessions throughout the week.
- Use mulch on the soil to retain moisture, particularly during the summer.
- Rather than using ammoniated nitrogen fertilizer, try using nitrate-nitrogen fertilizer.
Are peppers affected by Blossom end rot eatable?
Just cut away the affected spot of the bell peppers, and you can eat the rest of the fruit. Blossom end rot is a fungus that doesn’t affect humans as it is only a malformation of the skin of peppers when it lacks calcium. Observe the brown spots; if there are white or black patches in the spots, then a bacteria or fungus has taken benefit of the soft skin and affected it. You should remove this part carefully as it can contaminate the whole fruit, but you can eat the rest of the healthy fruit.
Your Bell Peppers Have Restricted Root Growth
Another possible answer to why are my bell peppers turning brown is that the roots are not fully developed and functioning. In this case, calcium is not adequately absorbed by the roots and thus results in poorly formed skin and brown spots.
How can we prevent restricted root growth?
Dig your soil before planting bell pepper plants to ensure the roots can grow through soft ground. Moreover, provide space between the pepper plants, so the roots don’t become overcrowded.
Your Bell Peppers May Be Overwatered
If the plant doesn’t dry off properly and you overwater the peppers, it provides a breeding ground for blossom end rot. Overwatering also dilutes in water, so the plant cannot absorb calcium properly, thus leading to blossom end rot. Overwatering may be a possible answer for why are my bell peppers turning brown.
How to treat pepper plants suffering from over-watering?
Water the bell peppers regularly, but at most 2-4 inches each week, and make sure that the soil has enough time to dry off between consecutive watering. Another way to keep the moisture levels even and regular is to mulch the bell pepper plants.
Fertilizing The Peppers More Than It Needs
Bell peppers need sufficient calcium to form healthy skin. If you apply large amounts of nitrogen and potassium-based fertilizers, these two minerals can hinder calcium absorption, thus creating brown spots on the bell peppers.
How to treat over-fertilized bell pepper plants?
Always follow the instructions given on the fertilizer to use it correctly. Instead of an ammoniate nitrogen fertilizer, try using a nitrate-nitrogen one.
Bell Peppers Receiving Excessive Amounts Of Sunlight
A possible answer to why are my bell peppers turning brown may be that the pepper plants are getting burned by the sunlight. High temperatures and light exposure can contribute to sunscald on bell pepper. First, the fruit develops a creamy brown mark due to sunburn, and then the weakened spot becomes an easy target for fungus and bacteria.
You can easily differentiate sunscald from blossom end rot as the former affects the leaves and fruit of the plant, while the latter affects the fruit.
How to treat sunscald?
You can protect your bell pepper plants from sunscald in these ways:
- Keep them safe from high temperatures and harsh sun by covering the plants with shade cloth.
- When you choose the bell pepper variety to grow, look for the one with large foliage that could provide shade for their fruit.
- You can help the pepper plants and the other plants nearby to grow bushier and provide more shade for the fruits by adding Epsom salts to the water you give them. Epsom salt needs calcium for absorption, so ensure the soil has enough calcium before feeding the plant Epsom salt. Add a teaspoon of Epsom salt to one gallon of water.
Are peppers with sunscald eatable?
The area of the fruit that the sunburned is called sunscald. Eating the rest of the fruit is safe by cutting off the damaged part.
Anthracnose May Be Causing The Brown Spots
Anthracnose is a fungal infection that commonly infects potatoes and tomatoes but may also sometimes attack peppers. The signs of Anthracnose fungus are sunken concentric rings ranging in color from yellow-brown to black. The lesions have a pinkish-orange tone as a prominent sign of Anthracnose.
How does Anthracnose form?
Anthracnose is a fungus that often affects the fruit that stays on the vine for too long, even after it is ripe.
How to treat Anthracnose?
If you are worried as to why my bell peppers are turning brown, and Anthracnose is the culprit, then do follow these tips to have healthy bell peppers:
- To prevent anthracnose fungus from attacking bell peppers, remove them from the vine as soon as they ripen.
- Discard the infected fruit and leaves appropriately, and never throw them in the compost heap if you let the infected parts of the plant stay in the compost heap; the fungus breeds and spreads further when you spread out this compost in your vegetable garden.
- If you see the initial signs of Anthracnose, spray an organic fungicide on the bell pepper plant regularly to prevent the fungus from spreading.
- Rotating the crops yearly is a great way to keep pepper plants safe from anthracnose fungus. Only plant the bell peppers in the same place for three years.
- Due to fungus spores in the soil, the peppers closest to the ground are most likely to get infected. To prevent this, lay black plastic before planting the peppers to prevent the transfer of spores by forming a barrier between the fruit and the soil.
- Always treat the seeds of bell peppers before using them next year if they are affected by anthracnose fungus. You can soak the seeds in hot water for half an hour or in a weak bleach solution. This kills the bacteria on the outer surface but does not affect the fertility of the seed.
Can you eat bell peppers affected by Anthracnose?
If the infected area is small, you can eat the rest of the bell pepper by cutting off the infected area. But if the infection is on almost the entire pepper or most of it, throw away the pepper. Remember that anthracnose fungus is not poisonous but can make a person sick. Ensure that you don’t throw the infected peppers onto the compost heap and dispose of them properly.
How to grow healthy bell peppers?
There are two ways of growing bell peppers: greenhouse and open field. Let me tell you about the simple tips for growing bell peppers in both places, and after following these, you will no longer struggle with why are my bell peppers turning brown.
- Try to keep the soil moist all the time
- Balance the humidity level to lesser than 60%
- Water the bell peppers almost 1-2 times weekly, checking when the soil dries under the bell pepper roots.
- Fertilize regularly but sparingly.
- Keep the soil temperature around 77°F (25 °C)
In an open field
- Pull out weeds regularly to provide good light and ventilation to the pepper plants.
- When the flowering season is around the edge, apply a large amount of fertilizer.
- Install a drip irrigation system to water the plants regularly.
- Prevent pest infestations by using trims.
- Place mulch at the base of the bell pepper plants to keep the roots safe from cold and frost.
Frequently Asked Questions About Why Are My Bell Peppers Turning Brown
What to do immediately when you spot brown blotches on bell peppers?
The first step should be removing the bell peppers with brown spots. This first step keeps other bell peppers safe and prevents the disease from spreading to other bell peppers. Next, you should find out why the brown stains and take effective countermeasures accordingly.
How to identify overwatered bell peppers?
Looking at the plant, you can tell whether a bell pepper plant is overwatered. Overwatered plants have yellow leaves, dropping and stunted growth, and poor general health.
Is it okay to eat brown bell peppers ?
As far as I have experienced, bell peppers having brown spots are just withered and old, safe to eat, but not as tasty as the healthy ones. But if there is mold present in the brown part, then it can be toxic.
How to prevent bell peppers from rotting?
Keep the soil around the peppers moist between consecutive watering and use a mulch to reduce evaporation. You can also apply a fertilizer that is not ammonia-based and has a low composition of potassium and nitrogen.
Which bell peppers are safe to eat?
Sometimes, when bell peppers lose their moisture, their skin becomes wrinkled. The bell peppers are perfectly safe to eat if there is no foul smell or visible mold. The shriveled appearance may not make you want to eat them, but you can still eat them raw.
What are the signs of fertilizer burn on peppers?
If you apply excessive fertilizer on the bell pepper plants, the leaves show signs of fertilizer burn. The leaves develop brown spots, commonly near their edges. This is because you have provided the plant with an excess amount of nutrients, and when it cannot travel any further in the tissue, they start burning the ends of leaves.
What is the reason behind bell pepper leaves turning brown and falling off ?
Nutrient deficiency is the reason behind the pepper leaves turning brown and falling off.
Nitrogen deficiency in bell pepper plants causes the leaves to turn yellow and finally fall off the pepper plant.
I am pretty sure that after getting an answer to why are my bell peppers turning brown, you will make your gardening experience more enjoyable and rewarding. Remember to check the soil nutrients regularly, water consistently, fertilize sparingly, and keep your plants well-protected. You will then be able to add a topping of homegrown and fresh bell peppers to your pizza next time.