My Peppers Have Sunken Areas at the Blossom End. What Do I Do?

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Capsicum, or peppers (including everything from sweet bell to hot cayenne), and tomatoes both suffer from blossom-end rot which is a calcium imbalance in the plant which is due to inadequate and uneven moisture. This condition is usually found in plants in a drought condition or with inconsistent watering.

When there are large fluctuations in soil moisture, the roots can’t take up enough calcium causing dark, sunken pits at the blossom end of the fruit. Since calcium moves into the plant from the soil with water, the blossom end of the fruit, being the farthest point from the roots, is most susceptible.

Initially, symptoms of blossom end rot appear as light-tan, water-soaked lesions on the distal end of the fruit. In the case of peppers, the lesions can also occur on the side of the fruit. Over time, the lesions then enlarge and become black, and may even become leathery. In tomatoes, the fruit may develop internal black lesions as the blossom end rot advances.

Prevention and management of Blossom End Rot

The solution is to keep the plants uniformly watered throughout the season. Water deeply, to about 6 inches (15 cm) down, and then mulch to conserve the water during the hot weather. Try not to let the soil get too wet or too dry, but evenly moist, without being soggy.

Even out your watering habits, use mulch to keep the soil moist, conserve water, and keep the roots cooler, keep your plants covered as you have in super hot temperatures to avoid sunscald, and your blossom-end rot will go away.

Conducting a soil analysis is also important to determine the soil properties, including calcium levels. If the calcium concentration is low in the soil, additional soluble calcium can be applied through irrigation to help reduce blossom end rot. Low pH soils may require liming to achieve the optimum pH for nutrient availability.

Also, try spraying plants with seaweed. Often plants grown in containers will suffer from this condition. Use a mulch, or try planting the chile plant into a larger container.

If blossom end rot does occur, promptly remove the affected fruits to prevent the spread of the condition. This allows the plant to redirect its energy towards developing healthy, rot-free fruits.

Remember, prevention is key when it comes to blossom end rot. By implementing these preventive measures and closely monitoring your pepper plants, you can minimize the risk of this frustrating condition and enjoy a successful pepper harvest.

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