Brown Spotting on the Back of Pepper Leaves


Brown spotting on the back of your pepper leaves is a symptom of bacterial spot that affects all parts of your pepper plants as it progresses. With the potential for severe damage and significant loss of crops, your best option is close observation. Get to know what to look for and how to respond if a problem should arise, to ensure the health of your home garden and enjoyment of your edible crops.


Healthy, vigorous pepper plants maintained with appropriate care have a greater likelihood of avoiding or recovering from bacterial infection, particularly in comparison to stressed or injured pepper plants. Grow your peppers in areas that offer full sunlight, according to the University of Illinois Extension HortAnswers. Pepper plants thrive in moist, well-drained soil with good fertility.


Bacterial spot of peppers is caused by the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria, according to North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension Service. The bacteria overwinter in soil, plant debris, seeds and other host plants. The long lifespan of this bacteria makes control more difficult as pathogens live as long as 10 years on dried seeds before infecting a host plant. Bacteria infect peppers through natural pore openings as well as through wounds.


This disease leads to the spots you notice on the back and front of pepper leaves as well as on fruits and stems. On leaves, spots are small with a yellow-green hue and yellow borders. Spots may look as though they are saturated with water and as the disease progresses, the center of the lesions become a dark brown color. The plant tissues within the spots die and often fall from the plant, leaving holes in their wake. The spots join together, forming larger, abnormal absences of leaf tissue. Stems and fruits, as well, experience lesions that die, disfiguring fruit and killing young leaves, according to the Ohio State University Extension.

Natural Control

For natural control of bacterial brown spotting on peppers, purchase disease-free seeds or plants. Avoid overhead irrigation and the splashing of water that spreads bacteria from plant to plant. Rotate pepper crops with plants that are immune to bacterial spot, like soybeans, every three years, according to the Ohio State University Extension. Always maintain sanitary practices, keeping your hands and tools clean while working on one plant and when moving from one to the next, to inhibit the transfer of infectious bacteria.

Chemical Control

For chemical control of brown bacterial spot of peppers, you can slow the progression of disease as well as future spreading. As soon as symptoms are apparent, apply a mixture of chemicals with the active ingredients fixed copper as well as maneb, advises NCSU Extension. Thoroughly spray all pepper plants. Depending on when you notice symptoms as well as what type of fixed copper you purchase, your spraying times and chemical solution may differ. Contact a licensed professional or your local county extension agent for a spraying program tailored to your infection and particular region.

Keywords: brown spot pepper, bacterial spot pepper, leaf spot pepper

About this Author

Tarah Damask's writing career, beginning in 2003, includes experience as a fashion writer/editor for Neiman Marcus, short fiction publications in "North Texas Review," a self-published novel, band biographies, charter school curriculum, and articles for eHow. She has a love for words and is an avid observer. Damask holds a Master of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of North Texas.