I had the most gorgeous bell peppers in the garden this year, most likely due to the unseasonably warm summer in our region. Alas, this is not always the case. Generally, my plants set a couple of fruit at best, or no fruit on the pepper plants at all. That led me to do a little research on why a pepper plant won’t produce.
One reason for a pepper plant with no flowers or fruit may be the weather. Peppers are warm season plants suited to USDA zones 9b-11b that thrive in temperatures of 70-85 F. (21-29 C.) during the day and 60-70 F. (15-21 C.) at night. Cool temps retard the plant’s growth, resulting in pepper plants that aren’t flowering, and thus, pepper plants not fruiting either.
They need a long growing season with at least six hours of full sun. Be sure to wait for the soil to warm in the spring after all chance of frost has passed in your region prior to setting your transplants, and to get a jump start on harvest, set out six- to eight-week-old transplants.
Conversely, extended temps over 90 F. (32 C.) will engender peppers that may flower but incur blossom drop, hence, a pepper plant that is not producing. So a picky pepper plant with no flowers or fruit may be the result of an incorrect temperature zone, either too hot or too cold.
Another common reason for a pepper plant not producing may be blossom end rot, which is caused by a calcium deficiency and occurs when night temps are over 75 F. (23 C.). It appears, as the name indicates, as a brown to black rot on the blossom end of the fruit with a result in loss of the pepper.
Speaking of a calcium deficiency, another problem with peppers not flowering or setting fruit is inadequate nutrition. Plants with too much nitrogen become lush, green and large at the expense of fruit. Peppers need more phosphorus and potassium to set fruit. They don’t need a lot of food, 1 teaspoon of 5-10-10 at planting time and an additional teaspoon just at bloom time. Peppers need more phosphorus and potassium to set fruit. They don’t need a lot of food, 1 teaspoon (5 mL.)of 5-10-10 at planting time and an additional teaspoon just at bloom time.
It might be wise to invest in a soil testing kit to verify if or what your soil may be lacking. If you’ve already planted your peppers and over-fertilized, don’t despair! There’s a quick fix for over fertilization. Spray the plant with 1 teaspoon of Epsom salts dissolved in a spray bottle of warm water (4 cups of water (940 mL.)). This gives the peppers a boost of magnesium, which facilitates blooming, hence fruit! Spray the plants again 10 days later.
It’s also possible that your pepper won’t set fruit because it’s receiving inadequate pollination. You may want to help it out by hand pollinating your peppers with a tiny brush, cotton swab or even your finger. In lieu of that, a gentle shake may aid in distributing the pollen.
Control weeds and insects and give the peppers adequate irrigation to reduce the chance of stressing it. Lastly, frequent harvesting of peppers promotes a good fruit set, allowing the pepper to channel its energy into growing additional fruit once the others have been picked.
Feed your peppers properly, make sure the plants have at least six hours of sun, keep the area around the peppers free of weeds, plant at the correct time, hand pollinate (if necessary) and irrigate with about an inch (2.5 cm.) of water per week, and fingers crossed, you should have a bumper crop of peppers coming your way.
If you’re growing peppers, you want to get the most out of each plant. Pruning is one of our highly recommended methods for achieving higher yields, but should you pinch off early pepper flowers?
Since we start our peppers indoors in the winter, it may seem too early to see flowers in mid-March or early April. So that begs the question, should I cut the flowers off my pepper plant? We’ve got the answers for you here at Pepper Geek.
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In This Article:
Should You Pick Pepper Flowers? (Video):
When we plant seeds or seedlings in our garden or as a crop, our hope is that, come harvest time, we will be able to reap a bountiful harvest with healthy, brightly colored fruits and vegetables. However, this can’t happen if your plants start to weaken or droop. If left drooping, plants can even fall over entirely.
It is important to pay attention to the qualities of your pepper plants. Since there are many varieties of peppers, you should familiarize yourself with the ones in your garden. Being a mindful grower will help you better tend to the needs of your plants.
When your pepper plants start to droop, it is a sign of issues that need to be resolved. In this context, “drooping” refers to the weakening of the pepper plant’s leaves, stem, and any peppers on it. The plants may look wrinkly, dehydrated, or even tired. Without assistance, drooping plants will likely wither up and die.
Drooping is normally caused by one of two issues. The first of these two potential issues is excess heat. When pepper plants are exposed to high heat and aren’t given the right amount of shade and watering, then they are susceptible to withering and dehydration.
When dealing with droopy plants that are overheating, you have a couple of options. The first option is for those gardeners who are using moveable pots for their plants, or who are using a movable garden bed (like this Emsco Raised Bed Grow Box). If you are able to move your plants to a different part of your home or properly, bring them into a shadier area and make sure to water them more completely.
If you are working with immovable garden beds or large crops, what you can do to prevent further drooping is to modify your watering schedule. To accommodate the needs of drooping plants, you will have to increase the number of times you water your plants. Instead of simply adding more water to the plants, you should also increase the intervals at which you water them.
BY Kevin Lee Jacobs | June 23, 2011 30 Comments
ARE YOUR PEPPER PLANTS BEHAVING BADLY? I mean, are they pushing out lots of lush foliage, but few (if any) flowers? Mine, too, thought they were ferns one June. Then I convinced them to give up this life of indolence, and to bud, bloom, and set a lavish amount of fruit. How? By giving them chocolate cake for breakfast:
Okay, I did not give them cake. But I did give them an un balanced diet. You see, if bell peppers (and other pepper plants for that matter) are to flower, they need more phosphorous and potassium, and less nitrogen. Nitrogen encourages only abundant leaf-growth.
Consequently, if you’ve been plying your peppers with a balanced food, such as 5-5-5 (these numbers always refer to the percentage of nitrogen-phosphorous-potassium or N-P-K in the mixture), you need to stop this program immediately. You also need to avoid Miracle Gro’s popular “All Purpose” plant food, which, at 24-8-16, is extra high in nitrogen. Feed them instead with a high-phosphorous blend, or “blossom booster.”
There are several blossom-boosting mixtures on the market. Currently I’m using Jack’s Classic 10-30-20 at the rate of one tablespoon dissolved in a gallon of water. My peppers have already started to flower. Apply the blossom booster weekly for two or three weeks, but not more. Phosphorous tends to linger in the soil.
Of course other cultural conditions must be met, too. Peppers want long hours of full sun, one inch of water per week, and a humussy soil which drains well. My plants, located in a raised bed in the Herb Garden, receive 6 hours of full sun. To keep roots moist and cool, the plants are mulched with a two-inch layer of shredded maple leaves.
Don’t let your pepper plants make a fool out of you this summer. Give them the right food, plus all of the other cultural conditions I’ve just mentioned, and I promise — they will reward you with a handsome harvest by summer’s end.
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It's a common story, pepper plants sprouted well and began life strong and vigorous. But, sometime around when they started to flower everything slowed down. The peppers seemed to lower their heads, maybe they lost flowers, maybe the leaves turned a tinge brown or yellow but nothing else happened. No peppers, no more growth.
When plants stop growing it’s called stunting. They have stunted from stress whether it be:
So, the goal is to find out what caused the stunt so you can correct it. Once corrected many plants will simply begin to grow again, occasionally if the stunt was too long they may not recover.
Start with what is obvious and easy to eliminate. Has the plant been exposed to extreme temperatures? Peppers like a heat range between 70-80°F (21-26°C) and regular dips either below or above that range can cause stunt. To correct that issue, cover the plants with plastic or a hoop house to further regulate the temperature.
Has the pepper plant received regular watering? Peppers that are overwatered or allowed to dry out may enter a stunt. Give pepper plants 2 inches of water per week and adjust for precipitation in the area. If you’re not sure how much it has been getting, stick your finger into the soil. Ideally, it should be moist and damp, but not soppy wet or dry.
One other environment-related cause of stunting is transplanting. If you started peppers in a greenhouse they will need to be transplanted. Letting them grow too big for their pot will cause stunting. Rootbound plants are difficult to bring out of a stunt.
Transplanting plants without hardening them off will also stunt them. Peppers moving from greenhouse to garden need time to adjust and get used to direct light.
Pests are often still on the leaves and can be easily found and identified. Plant disease is a bit harder to spot. Yellowing leaves, brittle leaves, flower drop, or fruit rotting on the plant are all signs of possible disease.
Each specific pest or disease will have specific courses of action. To avoid these problems in the garden overall it’s important to encourage biodiversity on all levels. Diverse living soil with lots of organic matter will guard plants against disease, deficiency and pest damage.
A healthy diversity of plants in the garden will discourage pests. Deter undesirable insects through planting aromatic companions like mints and herbs. These plants will also help to bring in beneficial predatory insects that will reduce populations of problem bugs.
Answer #1 · Gardenality.com's Answer · It could be several things that are causing your bell pepper plants to bloom but not set fruit. Some hot pepper varieties will tolerate the heat and set fruit much better than sweet or bell peppers. Not sure why.
My first guess is that it's the high temperatures we've been having. The blooms get sticky and pollination can't occur. Usually, when temperatures cool down for a while, some fruit will set.
The other thing has to do with having planted peppers too early in the season, when nighttime temps are too cool and soil temperatures have not warmed up enough (to 70 degrees F or above). Planting too early can stunt growth long term and lead to poor production throughout the season. I don't think this is the problem with your peppers because it sounds like your plants are healthy and are not stunted?
Anyway, I'd give them some time because once the day air temps cool off a bit they should set fruit.)
If your pepper plants grow well but won't produce fruits, then lack of pollination probably is the issue. Peppers are pollinated primarily by wind, but they shed pollen best in dry weather. The pollen tends to clump and won't shed properly in rainy or humid conditions. Shake the plants gently during dry weather to aid pollination, or hand-pollinate the flowers by moving pollen from flower to flower with a paintbrush. The pollen also may become sterile if temperatures are below 55 F or above 75 F. Normal pollination and growth should resume when temperatures rise or fall, depending on which issue is the problem.
Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.