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Pepper Problems! Help!

Churchville, PA

I have a pepper garden consiting of cayenne peppers, banana peppers, jalapenos, and various bell pepper plants.

The cayenne peppers are not turning red. They developed brown growth lines and showed no sign of changing to red even though they are past their harvest date.

The banana peppers are also showing no signs of turning red

The bell peppers are rotting (see picture). The colored bell peppers such as yellow bell peppers have turned black and have been for over two weeks and show no sign of changing to yellow.

Overall I am not seeing the necessary color changes in my peppers. And I have the issue seen in the picture with almost all of my green bell peppers.

I water the plants every day....can anyone help?!?

Thumbnail by smiller1988
Pittsburgh, PA(Zone 6a)

I may be wrong but I believe pepper plants like to have dry periods in between waterings. Maybe this is only for spicy varieties though... Anyone else?

Kankakee, IL(Zone 5b)

I would like to know too! This has happened to me in the past. I know overwatering and over fertilizing can cause problems in peppers.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Peppers can get some of the same types of fungus as tomatoes get. Google and read up on "Blossom End Rot" (BER).

Not suggesting that's what you have, but good information to have in your toolbelt(s). I had that same yucky stuff on peppers I grew last season. I added some dolomitic lime to the soil and watered it in well. It seemed to stop the fruit deterioration.

Not saying that's what you have, but...just fyi...


Oceanside, CA(Zone 10a)

At first glance I thought sunburn, but the pic was sideways :) It's BER. Pick the pepper now, cut off the bad part and enjoy eating it.

Peppers take time(sometimes a lot of time) to change color. DTM is's just a general guesstimate.

Kankakee, IL(Zone 5b)

This isn't the end.... is it still BER?

Thumbnail by sweetie77 Thumbnail by sweetie77 Thumbnail by sweetie77
Kankakee, IL(Zone 5b)

Yep! That's it. Now what to do about it....

Thanks so much!

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

very smart answer. I never thought about sunscald on peppers.

here in Dallas I found out that my pepper do so much better if they are growing under afternoon shade.
I have planted this year on the bottom of my veggie patch and they are getting some afternoon shade by a large oak tree.
I think they are doing so much better than in full sun all day long. Actually for the first time I am harvesting really thick skin peppers.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Yep, that's what I had on mine, too!

Thanks, Ray!

Pilot Point, TX(Zone 7b)

Yup... that's what my peppers did too. I'll know to plant where they can get some afternoon shade next time. Thanks for posting that link.

Oceanside, CA(Zone 10a)

Wow, never knew so many had problems with sunscald. I see it only once or twice a year on taller growing pepper plants, but sounds like you all are seeing it more often. Definitely sounds like a shade cloth, or moving them out of the sun (at it's peak of the day) for a hour or 2 would help in your areas.

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

smiller - Looks like there is a mineral deficiency or hogh ph on the plant at the back left side of the photo. Usually that's what it is if you have leaves where the veins are a darker green than the rest of the leave.

Pittsburgh, PA(Zone 6a)

Just checked the garden and I also have some of this on some peppers.

Fort Worth, TX

wow, my banana peppers had sun-scald also and I could not figure out what was wrong with them ... thanks for the info ray!

Oceanside, CA(Zone 10a)

Pepper plants like to be planted close to the point of their leaves start overlapping other pepper leaves, and vice versa. For me, they grow best as a small pepper jungle. They all hold each other up, while sharing their shade.

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

you are right.
When I am transplanting pepper plants outside I think :

Sioux Falls, SD

Do you think they have some type of fungus on them?

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Ray_Der_Phan - that's interesting. Sounds as though peppers would be better sown in blocks rather than in rows. I'll give that a try. Now that we've had some rain, the sweet peppers have picked up.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

My peppers are getting tall and lush. They were planted in a "block," and are holding hands. Only one bell to date, but several others are making little china balls, and even more have blooms.

Problem is, I forgot NOT to fertilize! After all this record rain we've had, I figured I'd better put some nutrients back into the soil...duh...

The GOOD news is, they haven't really cranked up yet, there's lots more heat ahead, and at least some of the kelp and fish emulsion I poured on got washed out with yet another rain. So, recovery may be in sight...I truly want/need a bumper crop of bell peppers!


Oceanside, CA(Zone 10a)

Yeah, blocks are better than rows for me. I also think peppers do better in containers than in the ground. One of the reasons I like Self-Watering Containers(Earthbox and the like) for peppers(only 3-4 plants per if you want large peppers). They form a mini jungle and hold each other up. I also like to mix together peppers that have different growing styles. However, If you want to save seeds....this wouldn't be a good way to grow them.

Here's a few pics(some I posted before). But gives you an idea of the entangled support they do for each other. Not only do they "hold hands" they sometimes put an arm or two around each other. Pepper orgy?

Thumbnail by Ray_Der_Phan Thumbnail by Ray_Der_Phan Thumbnail by Ray_Der_Phan Thumbnail by Ray_Der_Phan Thumbnail by Ray_Der_Phan
Tampa, FL

My Banana Peppers are coming out stunted and brown/green. The newest leaves are curling lenghthwise. What's going on here?

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Ray_Der_Phan - what is the smallest sized pot (in gallons) you would recommend for growing peppers? I've tried growing them in pots without success, but I suspect the pots were too small.

I can see the advantage of growing them in pots and then placing them close together. Roots don't compete for space, and tops protect each other from the sun.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

You didn't ask me, but, I've grown them in 5-gallon buckets...I wouldn't go smaller than that...Just sayin...


Oceanside, CA(Zone 10a)

Quote from HoneybeeNC :
Ray_Der_Phan - what is the smallest sized pot (in gallons) you would recommend for growing peppers? I've tried growing them in pots without success, but I suspect the pots were too small.

I can see the advantage of growing them in pots and then placing them close together. Roots don't compete for space, and tops protect each other from the sun.

Bee, that's exactly right about peppers grown in containers. Roots have their own space, but the tops are free to mingle with other plants. Also, easier to feed those that need feeding.

I use 4 gallon regular nursery pots(some are 3.75 gallon but most are 4.1 gallon). That's plenty for a pepper plant to mature and get multiple harvests from.

This message was edited Jul 19, 2012 8:47 AM

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Thanks Gymgirl and Ray,

I have seven gallon pots, so I'll try sweet peppers in some of those next summer.

North Las Vegas, NV(Zone 9a)

Hi Ray_Der_Phan and everybody on this thread,

Your posts are 2 years old, so I probably won't get a reply, but your messages seem to be the answer to my problems--I Hope!!
I live in the desert and it's been VERY HOT & WINDY!! It's 106 degrees now and HOTTER temperatures are coming!
My Bell Peppers look exactly like Smiller1988 do, with the black end rot, so I'm not sure if you're advice about sunscald applies to me. I hope so--I can fix
My Colored Bells are in 3 gallon pots that I move, (a long with my 5 gallon Tomato plants), in and out from under the patio cover away from the blasting sun.
So, if it not Sun scald, do you all think it's Blossom End Rot? If so, what do I do about it? I water twice a day, fertilize occasionally.
They don't have a lot leaves and the black spot can happen in one day. The new leaves are small and twisted. They seem to be out growing that.

At first, I thought my Tomato plants had "Curly Top", but after checking around it seems that's just a Las Vegas desert reaction to the first real HOT & Windy Spring here.

Any advice would be appreciated,
Thanks, Diane---(bluemerle).

Thumbnail by bluemerle Thumbnail by bluemerle Thumbnail by bluemerle
Foristell, MO

I have never had any luck with peppers in the past. The pepper plant would be nice but produce no peppers or a single small bitter pepper. Part of the pepper's skin would also turn an oily black.

I tried peppers again this year (two types - sweet yummy orange and sweet cherry). I have lots of peppers on the plants this year (maybe due to me starting a bee hive next to my garden), but the peppers are not turning orange or red. They are staying green. One of the yummy peppers had the same change in skin color I saw in the past from green to an oily black. Some of the cherry peppers are starting to turn a rusty brown. The plants have had the peppers on them for a few weeks now.

My questions:
1) Are the increase in quantity of peppers on the plants due to the bees and bee pollination?
2) Why are my peppers not changing color, are they not ripe?
3) How long does it take for the pepper to ripen (change color)?
4) Is the rusty brown color the peppers ripening? If so, why are they not turning red?
5) What is the cause of the pepper's skin turning from green to an oily black? Is it dangerous to eat a pepper with some oily black skin?

Thank you,

Jim - St Louis, MO

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

bluemerle - It looks like blossom end rot on the first one. The chile pepper institute has a good diagnostic page with write-up that have pictures, descriptions, and solutions. See the url below. Check out the blossom end rot, sunburn, and wind injury writeups.

When I grow in peppers in containers and see end rot, the issue is usually uneven moisture. I water twice a day in KS so people in Nevada may have to water more frequently. A mulch cover on the soil will help. If part of it is sunburn or windburn then the gardening supplies stores sell shade cloth that should help with that issue. I used it a could of years ago when we had extended temps in the high 90s.

JimB11 - I don't know what that is. Try looking at the same url. There are some descriptions that fit what you are talking about. I grow peppers in containers and raised beds in KC but have never had that issue. We've had a wet and cooler spring/summer in kc so that maybe part of the issue. Peppers like hot weather and warm soil in the midwest.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Can you grow LARGE bell peppers, like on the store shelves?

That seems to be some mysterious thing only the commercial growers can do...

If you can, I'd sure like to learn how -- and so would a couple thousand other growers, LOL!

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

Yes. We grow large bell peppers although I like the smaller sweet peppers better. My father grew large bells also. I don't know why you would have problems with growing them large. How are you going them?

Peppers that we've grown in container produce earlier in the summer than the raised beds but don't have as thick of walls as peppers in the raised beds. I usually plant peppers in both. I have not been concerned enough about the difference to research what nutrition issue causes the size difference.

Plantersville, TX(Zone 9a)

SusanKC: So are you saying that the fertilizer would have a lot to do with the plants and the size of the peppers? More so, then the soil.

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

Beyond the type of bell pepper, what I've seen suggests that it could be either fertilizer (containers), soil composition (raised beds) and/or soil moisture content. For me peppers fail to produce because of the weather which in KC means I have either heat/drought or cold/wet conditions. I split the peppers between the raised beds and containers to ensure that I have the harvest I want. Containers warm up faster in the spring so I get a harvest sooner. However the containers also dry out faster later in the summer which is not a good thing during extreme heat conditions. Fertilizer for both areas can either be compost or water soluble in a given year. Usually I use water soluble on the containers. Two years ago I hooked up a fertilizer section to the container watering system and it seemed to help with the overall plant health. I don't remember if there was an impact to the overall pepper size. We had a lot of family health issues last year and so my memory of gardening results are a little blurry.

I've noted that there is a difference but have not looked into why there is a difference in the thickness and size. If later on it becomes an issue then I'll figure out why it is.

Anna, IL(Zone 6b)

Sunscald on this pepper. Some of the plants blew over in recent rain storms and as a result the pepper was exposed to more sun. As for the changing of color in the peppers - I think it takes time. They can stay on the plant for a long long time without being picked unless of course the pepper has a problem.

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North Las Vegas, NV(Zone 9a)

To SusanKC, Thanks so much for replying. I really wasn't expecting to see any activity on this old thread, but was hoping...

That link you shared to the Chile Pepper Institute was awesome!! So glad to have so many questions explained in such a comprehensive manner. Solved some mystery ailment on the back of my pepper leaves as wind damage, not a virus as others had thought----I think, what do you think? I'm sorry, but the photos are very poor quality, taken with my cell phone. I hope you can make them out a little, because I think they look a lot like the photos on web site describing
wind damage.

I do keep a mulch of shredded Western Cedar on my plants. Supposed to help keep the pests away.
Afraid of over watering, I thought that was one of the reasons for BER.
It's hard to keep the watering even, here in the windy desert.

That's for your help.....

Thumbnail by bluemerle Thumbnail by bluemerle Thumbnail by bluemerle Thumbnail by bluemerle
Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

I've not seen BER from over watering just inconsistent (wide swings between wet and dry) moisture content of the soil. But then Kansas tends to run on the dry side during the summer, I use terracotta containers, the rest of the garden is in raised beds, and our containers/beds are on a south facing hill with little or no shade. Someone else might have a different opinion/experience on if over-watering can also cause BER.

On the wind burn I can't tell from the photos what you have. If you think it is windburn then try putting up some kind of temporary wind barrier (shade cloth, row cover, etc on stakes) on a couple of the plants and see if the plants look like are doing better than the ones that don't have the wind cover.

I've also had good luck with identifying a problem by taking samples into lawn and garden centers. They tend to see other people bringing in samples of whatever is going on in my garden before i ever get there.

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