Pepper problems

Asked July 11, 2020, 11:30 AM EDT

Hi, I would really like some help and input on what is plaguing my peppers. I have grown them from seed since February here in Michigan and have researched many things, but I am not sure what to do. I have several varieties of heirloom peppers; ajvarski, lipstick, red bell, kona bell, california bell, mega marconi, jalapeno and paprika. I was successful in sprouting every seed that I started which I found unusual since some they say do not sprout and ended up with 42 pepper plants. I have made some mistakes along the way, but my main problem right now is the brown spots appearing on some peppers. Please see images. I really do not want to lose too many peppers as I plan on preserving them by canning and freezing. These particular peppers are in raised beds that had bagged raised bed soil and/or "dairy doo" I added a small amount of all purpose shake n feed added to them when I planted them applied as indicated. In this heat and drought I have been watering from a drip hose at the soil level and watering whenever possible from soil level. If I am successful in figuring out what the problem is now I will have a great harvest as the peppers are loaded! I hope someone can give me some advice! Thank you so much! -Sheila Salmon

Isabella County Michigan

3 Responses

Hi Sheila,

This is very frustrating! I'm sorry you are dealing with this. I would look at the areas of the plant the afflicted peppers are coming from. Are the canopies dense? Could the peppers have been exposed to the harsh, hot sun we had last week? The last two pictures you've attached look like sunscald to me. This occurs when plant canopies aren't fully shading fruit, and sun damages the developing pepper. Once the damage is done, all kinds of fungus and mold colonizes the dead tissue (which is why you're getting those black spots on the tan areas).

The first picture you sent look a little different. Sunscald typically presents tan. Does the foliage on that plant look healthy?

For more information about mushy spots in peppers, see: https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/mushy_spots_on_peppers_disease_or_disorder

Hi, thank you for your response. All foliage looks really great and I have been using a shade cloth during the hot sunny weather. I will look up the information you sent me! I was afraid it was a disease and/or fungus. I believe the peppers had two different problems from the ones in the pictures I posted. I wondered if it had anything to do with watering and/or lack of calcium? I did not think it was blossom end rot as the rot was not on the ends. I am hoping to find a solution so I do not lose the entire crop that I have invested so much time in. It is possible that the early morning or late afternoon sun got to a spot here and there. I do have at the moment a lot of very healthy looking peppers. I really hope they stay that way!! Thank you for your help! -Sheila

I would say there is potential that this could be blossom end rot. Blossom end rot is related to calcium and is hard to manage when things are hot and dry like they've been this year. I would keep an eye on new fruit as it develops, this may go away as environmental conditions change. Blossom end rot is more common in the first flush of fruit, so time and consistent watering will help future fruit.

Here is a good write-up on blossom end rot from Purdue:
https://vegcropshotline.org/article/blossom-end-rot-of-tomato-and-pepper/#:~:text=Initial%20symptom%20of%20blossom%20end%20rot%20on%20a%20pepper.,the%20size%20of%20golf%20balls.