White Spots on Peppers: Sunscald

Are you finding peppers with white spots on the pods, where it looks like the skin is sunken in, bleached and papery? Some would say they look rotten. But, fear not! This is most likely just sunscald and the rest of the pepper is still edible.

White Spots on Peppers: Sunscalded peppers

Yes, you can still eat peppers with sunscald!

We typically just cut off the bad spots and eat the rest of the pepper! Sunscald is just cosmetic, and does not make the pepper un-edible. 

White Spots on Peppers: Sunscald

How to prevent sunscald
and white spots on Peppers:

The reason peppers get sunscald is that the skin crisps under the baking glare of the sun, especially in high altitudes like in Colorado and New Mexico. To prevent these soft spots caused by sunscald, select cultivars with good leaf coverage and keep plants healthy so they are bushy with lots of leaves - plants with sparse leaves are more likely to have sunburned peppers. Protect plants from wind if possible. Row covers and shade cloth can also help if the weather is hot, dry and windy.

You can also grow cowpeas (black eyed peas) in amongst your pepper plants to provide more leaf cover, and they also help boost soil nutrition by fixing nitrogen. Cowpeas are best planted in spring, along with your transplanted peppers and tomatoes.  



Blossom End Rot:

Another reason for patches that can be confused with sunscald is Blossom End Rot, as it can appear on the blossom-end and side of pepper fruit. This disorder manifests itself as dark, circular lesions, and is generally attributed to calcium deficiency, but is more often caused by irregular watering. Regular irrigation can help prevent blossom end rot, typically the soil has enough calcium, but you can always do a soil test to make sure that there is. We like to add compost to the soil in our pepper garden that includes crushed eggshells to help add calcium to the soil and compost also helps keep the moisture levels more consistent. 

Blossom end rot symptoms are similar to those of sunscald, but the biggest way to tell is that sunscald will only occur on the side of the fruit that is exposed to the sun, while blossom end rot can occur on unexposed pepper surfaces. And, like sunscald, while fruits with blossom end rot may appear to be ruined, it is totally safe to cut away affected areas and eat the rest of the pepper! After cutting off the bad spots, we compost them! :) 

Sunscald or Blossom End Rot on Peppers


Find more about our top tips for growing peppers from seed: 

How to Grow Peppers from Seed