One of the main reasons my family and I adore growing pepper is the great diversity of options we can pick from. From the superhot and gnarly seven-pot bubblegums to the huge, sweet bell peppers, any gardener can choose the perfect variety they think will meet their needs and personal preferences.
What’s more, some common pepper varieties are known to start out black but ripen to different colors later on, whereas others turn black along their journey. This guide will discuss possible answers to your question, “why are my peppers turning black?”
Why Are My Peppers Turning Black?
1. Diseases and Pests Might Be to Blame
The first reason you might be seeing your pepper fruits turning their shade to black is from diseases or pests. There is a wide array of pests that tend to impact peppers, and one of the main symptoms to watch out for is if black spots start appearing on your fruits.
Usually, these spots have been caused by insects or larvae laying their eggs inside the fruits. Once these larvae hatch, they consume the peppers and leave black spots behind. One of such pests quite common in the United States is the pepper weevil.
Bacterial spot diseases with the ability to impact both the pepper fruits and leaves also exist. In case you suspect an infection may be the culprit, start by looking for any uniform spread of blackness across your whole pepper plant.
If you notice any plant is affected, the best course of action is to take it from your garden, lest you want it to spread the diseases to other pepper plants it comes into contact with.
Also, wash your hands thoroughly after dealing with a diseased pepper plant and spend the next several months researching the most disease-resistant pepper varieties you can grow in your region.
For instance, if you’re from an area susceptible to TMV (tobacco mosaic virus), then go for pepper hybrids that have been specifically bred to resist these viruses.
2. Blossom End Rot
If you’re growing large varieties of peppers like bell peppers, chances are you’re dealing with blossom end rot. Unlike what the condition’s name implies, it’s not really a rot but a simple calcium intake issue usually linked to watering patterns.
An affected plant will usually boast huge black or brown spots on the fruits’ bottom (blossom end). What’s more? This issue is expected early on in the season on the first peppers that develop.
Regarding the best way to deal with blossom-end rots, the best way is to water your plants consistently. Avoid subjecting your pepper to long periods of drought, followed by heavy watering. This will usually happen if you plant your peppers in an area with heavy but sporadic rainfall.
Thankfully, one can still consume the unaffected parts of their peppers that have blossom end rot. Cut around these dark spots and inspect the pepper’s insides for any mold.
3. Black Pepper Varieties
As noted earlier in the introduction section, some varieties of peppers are black from the word go.
If you’re dealing with one of these pepper varieties, inspect it closely, and you’ll notice that while they appear black, they actually have an intense purple shade. The shade is usually caused by the high anthocyanin levels present in the pepper’s skin.
A great example of these peppers is the purple jalapeno pepper. The purple jalapeno is one of the most preferred black peppers out there, and it grows just like normal jalapenos.
What’s more? While their pods have a dark shade as they grow, they eventually transform into a deep red shade when they’re fully ripe.
Here is a fun fact. Most varieties of black peppers will get even darker if you expose them to more sunlight. That’s because the anthocyanin compounds on the surface get fully activated by the light. This brings me to the next reason.
The fourth possible reason your peppers are turning black could be too much exposure to direct sunlight. Lots of large pepper varieties will hang below the plant’s leaves while growing and let the foliage offer shade. If the skin is exposed, however, it might develop sunscald.
Sunscald will usually appear brown or black and will only turn white in severe cases. That said, unless the peppers in question are exposed all day long, these burns will usually look like minor discoloration on the peppers’ skins.
If not covered, pepper exposed to direct sunlight can get seriously burned, softening their skin, and inviting mold to grow. As such, try keeping all of them shaded by the pepper plant’s leaves as much as possible.
Another straightforward way to minimize sunscald on your peppers is to employ plant spacing, as it allows nearby plants to help shade each other as their plants grow and ripen.
The fifth and most likely reason your peppers are turning black is they’re ripening. After hitting fully mature states, all peppers change their color, including poblanos, banana peppers, bell peppers, and some jalapeno varieties.
Jalapenos, in particular, have been known to change their shade from green to a black shade before eventually turning bright red.
So, these transformations are entirely normal and are nothing you should worry about. Blackening also takes place in banana peppers and lots of other types of peppers as they ripen.
6. Mosaic Virus
The Mosaic virus prevents pepper plants from producing properly formed and ripened jalapeno peppers. You’ll usually find that peppers that have been affected have darkened parts and look smaller than the unaffected ones.
You may also notice curled foliage with dark and light green areas, as well as the entire plant’s stunted growth.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a treatment for this virus, and you’ll usually have to dispose of the entire affected plant right away.
So, has this guide helped you understand why your peppers might be turning black? I hope the issue has been caused by natural factors, and no serious underlying cause is to blame. Regardless of the reason, please take the necessary action, and I wish you a happy harvest.