Pepper Disease: What Is Blossom-End Rot

Sunken, dark watery area on the blossom end of your peppers? Could be blossom-end rot and unsightly disease, but your fruits are still edible. Learn more.

What is it?

Pepper blossom-end rot can occur because of several factors, and blossom-end rot is also common in members of the vegetable garden including cucumbers, summer and winter swaush, pumpkins, eggplant, watermelon, and canteloupe as well as tomatoes. Pepper blossom-end rot is an unsightly, sunken, discolored region opposite the vegetable stem which can allow fungi and bacteria to invade and further damage the fruit. However unsightly this process makes the peppers and other vegetables look, they are still edible except in the region of the fruit affected by blossom-end rot.

What does it look like?

Blossom-end rot develops on the blossom ends of plants, the area opposite the stem ends. A dark spot occurs that begins as a sunken, water-soaked area that turns yellowish, turns to brown and then black. The spot increases in size as the blossom-end rot continues on the pepper and progresses along it's disease pattern. Mold may also be apparent on the spot where blossom-end rot has occurred and it will often look as if something stringy or fuzzy is coating the area of affected pepper. The area of the pepper plant that is affected gradually grows and can encompass the entire developing fruit of the plant.

How does it manifest?

Blossom-end rot can be caused by several different factors in pepper plants. It can occur when the soil has excess salts in its composition which can be avoided through correct fertilization. Blossom-end rot can also occur in pepper plants when there are massive and consistent fluctuations in the amount of water in the soil surrounding the pepper plants. Additionally, this plant disorder can occur when extreme amounts of rain occur and smother the root hairs of the plants. Blossom-end rot can also occur when there is rapid growth early-on in the growing season which is suddenly abrupted by an lengthy period of dry weather conditions. The rot always begins at the blossom-end and the mold which often accompanies this disorder is caused by any variety of fungus or bacteria which uses the beginning blossom-end rot process as a condition for entry and breeding within the fruit. Although the mold and blossom-end rot make peppers unsightly and you may not want to eat them having seen them in such a state, blossom-end rot only affects the visible portion of plant and a small area around it. If you cut off the affected area of the plant, the rest of the pepper is still considered edible.

What can you do about it?

Blossom end rot can be prevented or controlled in pepper plants, but once it has begun you will need to take additional measures or you will lose fruit and have a poor harvest. The main means of control is mulching with metered watering to keep the soil at a consistent water level so that excessive watery conditions do not occur. Additionally, you can plant in soil that is well drained and leach excess salts by watering frequently, being careful not to over water pepper plants. You should also avoid using fertilizers which have a high-notrogen content such as fresh manure.

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