Pepper leaves turning black

  • Not enough light: If lower leaves start turning brown or yellow, the plant might not be receiving enough light. If the discoloration is isolated to the side of the plant away from your light source, it’s probably too little light.
  • Too much heat: This often occurs in conjunction with too little water, but too much heat will cause leaves to curl, become crinkly and then fall off. If the plant is also wilting, try increasing water. If the rest of the leaves are healthy, introduce some airflow to cool the plant off.
  • Too little water: Underwatered plants will first wilt, and then the leaves will brown and fall off. This most often happens from the bottom up, but it might also start on outer leaves on more bushy plants.
  • Too little humidity: If the browning is confined to the leaf tip, and the leaf margin is still green, it’s possible the plant isn’t receiving enough humidity. If it’s a tropical plant with a high humidity requirement, try increasing misting. Too little humidity may also cause black spots to form on leaves.

Semi-Breaking News: Chili Pepper Leaves Are Edible!

Filed in Blog by admin on May 14, 2017

Betcha didn’t know you could eat the entire chili pepper!

Your love for chili peppers doesn’t need to stop at the juicy pepper. There are many pepper varieties where you can safely eat the leaves and add them to your favorite dishes.

Eating the leaves of chili peppers is a common culinary practice in Korea and the Philippines. They are boiled and cooked and used in various recipes including Chicken Tinola, which is a type of soup popular in Asian culture that uses hot pepper leaves to add flavor. In Korea, chili leaves are used to make Kimchi. In other cultures like Russia, they boil the leaves and with salt for the winter months using them in dishes to make sour cream and kefir.

When boiled, the leaves add a subtle flavor to the dish – a mild leafy flavor mixed with a bit of sweet. Most people compare the taste of a cooked pepper leave to that of spinach. However some pepper leaves are not safe to eat, some can even be poisonous. The toxins in the leaves are mostly found in the bigger leaves on the pepper plant, picking the baby leaves is much safer. Cooking the leaves is also a must, you should never eat the leaves raw.

Pepper Leaves Safe To Eat

All Leaves of the Capsicum pepper family (below) are safe to eat if boiled or cooked.

  • Capsicum Frutescens

this includes the African Bird’s Eye pepper, Kambuzi pepper, Tabasco pepper, Malagueta pepper. The plants may also contain flowers which are not edible.

  • Capsicum Annum

this includes the banana pepper, cayenne pepper, and serrano chili peppers

Pepper Leaves Not Safe to Eat

Most leaves that come from the Solanaceous crops like bell peppers and also eggplant, tomatoes and potatoes.

Pepper Leaves are also very nutritious and contain high levels of Vitamin A and C. The leaves are also rich in antioxidants that can prevent damage to cells.

At the end of gardening season, I am sad when I pull my plants since it signifies the end of garden season. Generally most of the plants’ leaves are shriveled at this point–except my pepper plants. My bestie, Karen of Dr.Karen Lee, encouraged me to use my green pepper leaves in her family recipe! Her family has been eating them for years. All I have to say is now I am growing peppers just for their leaves.

The trick is to pick them before the plant leaves start to darken. I picked mine after a light frost since I knew that the peppers on the plant were never going to mature. My favorite bang for the buck pepper plant is a paprika plant since they grow to about 3 feet tall and wider as compared to an ordinary pepper plant.

You might be asking–a paprika pepper plant? Yes, it is the same plant where paprika powder comes from. The plant produces red long chili looking peppers. We used them this year in lieu of regular red peppers. I made paprika powder last year so I didn’t need to dehydrate them for this year.

I adapted my recipe from Karen’s family recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Green Pepper Leaf Cooking Notes:

  • You need a huge amount of pepper leaves to make a dish for a family of six. This recipe can serve about 3 to 4 people. (Or one person since it so yummy.)
  • Pepper leaves are delicate. Cook them like you would cook spinach.

Green Pepper Leaves–the Recipe


8 cups of loose pepper leaves (No stems.)

1 large red onion or 2 medium size onions. (You can use yellow onions as well but I like red onions.)

2 garlic cloves chopped

2 Tablespoon of Coconut Oil or organic Grapeseed oil. (You can buy Grapeseed oil HERE and Coconut Oil HERE.)

2 Tablespoons of black sesame seeds. (You can buy them HERE.)

3 Tablespoons of Dry Roasted Silvered Almond. (Buy Silvered Almonds HERE.)


1, Dry roast almond silvers in a pan. Stir the almond so they don’t burn. (Boy can they burn easily.) Once they turn a darker color, take them out of the pan and set them aside.

2. In another really large skillet or stock pot. Heat coconut oil until it melts. Initially the pepper leaves are voluminous and need room.–hence the suggestion to use a stock pot. The leaves will wilt down to nothing. (A little depressing…)

2. Add the chopped onions and cook for five minute. Serve often so they don’t burn.

3. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.

4. Then add the pepper leaves. Stir the entire time until they wilt. You can cook them in batches if you don’t have a large enough pan. If you need to cook in batches, use another pan to wilt the leaves. You will have to add some oil to your other pan so the leaves don’t burn.

5. Add the sesame seeds and dry roasted almonds and stir for another minute.

6. Enjoy.

Pin for Later:

Join the Conversation:

Do you eat your pepper leaves? If so, share your recipe.

PS Bean leaves are yummy too. See HERE for my pesto recipe.

Disclosure: I make a small tiny profit from purchases made through affiliate links in this post. It allows me to keep this awesome site up and running! Note, your cost remains the same.

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See also: Sweet Pepper Colors; Sweet Pepper Trivia;
Article on Sweet Peppers

Can one eat green bell or sweet yellow pepper leaves? I can’t seem to find anything on the web other that a reference to chili pepper leaves.

Hello Larry,
They will not kill you but they may or may not make you sick.
Bell peppers, tomatoes, and potatoes are members of the Solanaceae or Nightshade family, which also includes such poisonous plants as deadly nightshade and jimsonweed. The leaves of potato plants contain poisonous alkaloids, and tomato leaves contain poisonous alkaloids, but to a much lesser degree. Bell Peppers contain similar alkaloids, also to a lesser degree. The amount of poisonous alkaloids in all of these plants can vary widely depending on the specific variety.

On several websites you will find statements about bell pepper leaves being eaten in other cultures (Southeast Asia, etc). I do not know whether this is true or not, what I do know is that they may not be growing the same varieties of bell pepper plant as are grown in the U.S. If some varieties of bell pepper leaves are eaten, they are cooked, not eaten raw.

Chef James,

1 medium bell pepper = 1 cup chopped
Peppers last longer in paper bags in the crisper compartment of the refrigerator.
Green, sweet bell pepper have 2 times as much vitamin C as oranges; red and yellow bell peppers have 4 times as much.
Carve out peppers and stuff them with rice or use them as colorful containers for dips or other edible items.
Include sliced peppers on your next veggie tray.
They can be used as a colorful garnish.
Use them to create colorful and exciting meals by adding a mixture of different colored sliced or chopped peppers to your favorite salads, pastas, and Chinese or Mexican dishes.

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