Black On Pepper Plants — Why Are My Peppers Turning Black?

Last Updated on October 15, 2021 by Grow with Bovees

They are hot, some are not and they can be a little chili!

They are colorful and sweet, some challenge our taste buds while others can be a mild form of torture.  

Since these brightly colored varieties of peppers have burst onto the scene, they quickly became one of our favorite perennial crops during the growing season that thrives best in zones determined by the Agriculture plant hardiness zones map. Find your zone here.

The fruits appear green at first and ripen to a variety of colors, like red, orange, yellow, brown, and more recently also pink and white.  

So, the important question here today is…

Does My Pepper Plant Turning Black Mean It Has a Disease?

You’ll be delighted to know that when green mature peppers turn black it forms part of the natural ripening process.

Depending on which pepper varieties you have planted, the bell pepper fully ripens from green, dark purple, or black to finally red.

Red peppers are most susceptible to dark brown or black but as long as that area isn’t soft, and the color changes look blended in this confirms the process of fruit ripening.

Let’s find out why the fruit turns black.

Do All Green Peppers Turn Color?

If you planted regular pepper seeds, those varieties of peppers begin as green and while green peppers are edible, the pepper fruits have not reached full maturity.

The color of the fruit depends on the pepper varieties you’ve planted in your pepper garden and during the ripening process when their color changes, it is also an indication of the change in the flavor of the pepper fruit.

Sweet peppers become sweeter as they mature and have higher vitamin contents.

Hot peppers develop more capsaicin and become spicy, while yellow bell peppers are sweeter and higher in vitamins than green peppers.

Why Are My Green Peppers Turning Black on the Plant?

If you are not convinced that you have healthy pepper fruits (Capsicum annuum), we will start by discussing some possible plant diseases and methods for resolving the problem.

The important first step is to identify the causes of your pepper plants turning black which will build the foundation of taking the right action in preventing the green pepper problems from re-occurring in pepper fruits, and you’ll avoid losing your entire crop. 

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When Peppers Turning Black Is a Problem

Bacterial spot infections would be black, tan, paper, or translucent, whereas green peppers that turn black and soft on the bottom of the fruit display the first sign of blossom end rot.

Dealing with these black cankers on pepper plants is a daunting experience for most but don’t let that discourage you.

Other common diseases include sun scald, root rot, or one of several fungal disorders which we will discuss in more detail below.

What Is Blossom End Rot?

Black spots can be due to blossom end rot, and it is a common nutritional disorder when soil lacks calcium, unfavorable soil conditions, low soil pH, inconsistent and shallow watering, or drought conditions.

When plants are growing rapidly, symptoms first appear as a light green or yellow-colored sunken spot and, in time, turns to dark lesions on pepper fruit that finally become dark, shrunken, and leathery.

How Do You Treat Blossom-End Rot on Peppers?

Where blossom end rot symptoms appear, it’s best to remove fruits immediately, although they are safe to eat by cutting out the rot blossom end of the pepper fruits.

Sufficient watering will alleviate the problem of the fruits ripening if calcium levels in the soil are suitable.

In addition, you can spray the affected plants with a calcium chloride solution, which may offer some temporary relief.

Studies have shown that though the condition is caused by a calcium deficiency in the affected fruit tissue, adding calcium to the soil seldom alters the condition because the problem is because of calcium mobility in the plant and not the lack of calcium in the soil.

How Do You Prevent Blossom-End Rot in Peppers?

Plants prefer loose, well-drained soil with a pH between 6.5 and 6.8, which can easily be determined by using a soil test kit and by applying even watering. (wet-dry cycles in soil.)

Additionally, it is suggested to cover the soil surface under each plant with a layer of organic mulch, such as straw, to not only conserve soil moisture but also to limit fruit contact with the soil and discourage fungal infection. 

Why Are There Black Joints on Pepper Plants?

If you see stem joints turn black or deep purple, you have nothing to worry about as this forms part of the natural ripening process that occurs in trouble-free plants.

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These black spots appear around the time when the plants reach maturity and many believe it’s the plant’s response to stress factors, such as a sudden change to cooler temperatures but the fruit remains safe to eat.

However, if your pepper plants have black stems, you should get ready for battle!

Do Pepper Plants Have Black Stems?

When you find that your inner stems of the plant start to turn black, the cause will most likely be due to Phytophthora blight, also known as stem rot and symptoms include sudden wilting and brown spots near the soil line.

Phytophthora blight, which appears as black spots on peppers, can attack the entire plant depending on which stage the plants are infected.

The fungus will appear as spots on the pepper plant, sometimes first on the lower leaves, but it can also appear on the pepper plant stems.

You might also observe root rot, which is a soil borne fungus that attacks peppers, especially after rainfall or over-watering where water stands around the plant. 

What Are the Tiny Black Bugs on My Pepper Plants?

Peppers that are not disease resistant could be rotting from insect bites caused by sucking pests such as spider mites, aphids, whiteflies, thrips, or leaf miners.

Several pests may damage both the pepper leaves or the healthy pepper fruit of the plant and the visible tiny black dots.

Thrips carry the highly infectious tomato spotted wilt virus and this may damage or destroy the fruit.

This viral infection may cause light-colored rings to appear on the fruits that will gradually turn black.

How Do You Get Rid of Little Black Bugs on Pepper Plants?

A mild solution of water and a few drops of regular dish soap is often all you need to effectively treat the first signs of infestation.

As always, when using pesticides it’s important to ensure that it is not harmful to humans or beneficial insects, and it is advisable to read the instructions carefully before applying. 

When excessive accumulation occurs, it can effectively be controlled by insecticidal soaps and horticultural oils like neem oil, an organic naturally occurring pesticide found in seeds from the neem tree.

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Most importantly, spraying should be done under the leaves as well as on top of the leaves.

What Causes Peppers To Turn Dark Purple or Black?

Black rings or dark spots on the fruits could be due to blossom end rot, wet rot, or sunscald.

These peppers grow green and fully ripen to fully red, but if they develop black spots you likely have a fungal, viral or bacterial infection.

We’ll explain what is black rot and how to treat fungal infections.

What Is Black Rot?

If you leave your jalapeño peppers on the plant to ripen until they turn red, black rot will most likely affect your jalapeno peppers on otherwise healthy pepper fruit.

You can determine if its blossom end rot by the location of the black mold and the age of the peppers.

It usually happens if there is too much moisture as a result of rain or excessive watering around your ripening plants.

How To Treat Fungal Disease and Root Rot in Bell Peppers

Studies have shown that raised beds and crop rotation are crucial in reducing the risk of getting infected. However, your peppers turning black can be a symptom of several plant diseases peppers are vulnerable to.

How Can You Prevent Pepper Plants From Getting Disease?

Plant peppers in moist, well-drained loamy or sandy soil, plants require full-sun exposure and a well-balanced fertilizer. It’s important to prune diseased plant parts and dispose of these away from your trouble-free plants.

Just like us humans, they are susceptible to sunburn, and by removing the damaged fruit you may stimulate more foliage growth and, subsequently, this will promote more fruit protection because good leaf coverage should be able to protect the fruits from sun scald.

The Conclusion

Those red, dark purple and black peppers are not necessarily a problem when your peppers turn, just a neat trick of nature where the color change is an indication of the maturity level.

Bell peppers are a relatively carefree crop, and you’re on your way to a harvest of brightly colored fruit. This natural process spices up our lives from sweet to sizzling, and the only question now remains:

How hot can you go?