Why Are My Bell Peppers Turning Brown

The bell pepper “Capsicum annuum” is a vegetable that is available in a variety of bold colors. As a member of the “Solanaceae” family and “Solanales” order, the bell pepper is a flowering plant, and drug- and food-producing plant species.

Some people may be under the impression, that the variety of bell pepper colors has no significant value.

This theory could not be further from the truth, as each color presents a different flavor. With this said, it will be impossible to put this theory to the test if your bell peppers continue turning brown on the vine.

The main reason bell peppers turn brown is because of a disease called blossom end rot. Blossom end rot is detrimental to backyard gardeners and commercial farmers. The disease has scientifically been linked to a calcium deficiency. 

[Related Article: What Temperature Is Too Hot For Pepper Plants]

Blossom End Rot

The fruit measures approximately 3 inches in diameter and 7 inches in length. The meet or exceed maximum growth, bell peppers need sufficient nutrients – calcium, magnesium, copper, boron, phosphorous, sulfur, zinc, potassium, chlorine, and more.

Blossom end rot generally begins at the inferior (bottom) end of the bell pepper. The rot starts out as a small yellow spot, growing larger until the entire fruit is rotten.

Is there prevention for blossom end rot? Absolutely, but first, you determine the culprit. A potential factor, which is generally more common, is insufficient calcium in the soil.

You can test the soil, but the process is rigorous. The best and safest alternative is to add natural calcium to the soil. Crushed eggshells should increase the calcium to a safe level.

It is also important to ensure you are not over- or under-watering. Watering too often will eventually decrease the nutrients to a dangerously low level.


When bell pepper plants do not receive a sufficient volume of water, the fruit, leaves, and stem will eventually turn yellow and then brown. There are two watering methods safe for bell peppers.

The first method is ideal for backyard gardens for efficiency. Utilizing a soaker hose, evenly water all the bell pepper plants for no longer than 30 minutes.

The second watering method calls for an 18-inch depth of moist soil. This method is a bit complicated for backyard gardens, but ideal for potted bell pepper plants.

Add enough water to ensure 18 inches below the soil surface is wet.

Water frequency will depend on the watering method. If you truly want to keep the entire watering process simple, you can repeat when the soil is dry one or two inches below the surface.

The volume of water should increase as the young bell pepper transplant matures or when flowers begin to appear.

Wet Soil

Bell pepper plants thrive in nutrient-enriched, well-draining soil. Monitor the soil carefully to ensure it does not stay soaking wet for more than three hours after each watering session.

Lack Of Sunlight

When growing bell peppers, you have to go above and beyond to ensure that the plants receive enough sunlight throughout the day. You’re likely going to experience days when the overcast prevents this from happening.

Nevertheless, they must be placed in a location that will receive ample sunlight every day. Bell peppers need plenty of sunlight each day. Typically, you should give the plants at least six hours of sunlight.

However, you can give them a bit more too.

If your plants begin receiving fewer than six hours, there is a risk that you’re going to experience problems. Your bell peppers may not reach the maximum size. Alternatively, they may begin browning.

Make sure your plants receive at least six hours of sunlight every day for the best results.

Excess Heat

In some situations, the plant is receiving too much heat and sunlight. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to control the temperatures when planning bell peppers outside.

If your city experiences a heatwave, it could have an impact on your bell peppers. If possible, it might be a good idea to go ahead and harvest the peppers.

If you can’t, the excessive heat could cause the peppers to turn brown. The combination of high heat and sunlight causes this problem.

The heat will cause the tissue to break down. Once this happens, the sunlight will trigger a chemical reaction. After that, the peppers will begin turning brown.

In general, this problem occurs in bell peppers more frequently.

Frost Damage

While excess heat is bad, you also have to worry about frost. Again, it is impossible to control the weather when you decide to grow these plants outside.

Therefore, you have to plan carefully to ensure that your plant is going to be exposed to the perfect temperatures. If the weather gets too hot, you’ll experience problems.

When it gets too cold outside, you’ll also encounter issues. In general, you have to worry about frost. Once it gets too cold outside, the ground is likely going to frost.

As this happens, the peppers and leaves may begin turning brown.

The entire plant could begin discoloring and wilting. The inside of the fruit could turn brown too. Suffice to say, it is pertinent to learn how to protect your plant from frost damage.

If the temperatures are going to grow below 32 degrees, you should take steps to protect your plant. The best way to do that is by covering the plant with towels, cardboard, a tarp, or a blanket. Cover the plants before it gets dark outside.

Using Epsom Salt

When your bell peppers begin changing colors, you may panic. As a result, you may do something that could hurt your bell peppers more. There is a myth that Epsom salt is effective for stopping end rot or browning.

Some people have fallen prey to this myth. Unfortunately, it is not going to improve the situation in the least. Instead, using Epsom salt may cause the problem to worsen. Typically, end rot is caused by a calcium deficiency.

While Epsom salt has magnesium sulfate, it does not contain calcium.

If you had Epsom salt in the soil, the calcium ions and magnesium ions will begin competing for the plant’s uptake. Sadly, this could make the problem worse.


Ultimately, bell peppers can turn brown due to a handful of problems. If you want to successfully grow healthy, large bell peppers, you have to identify and avoid these issues.

For instance, you need to make sure that your plant receives plenty of water and nutrients. Furthermore, it must have enough sunlight.

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