Why Are My Pepper Plant Flowers Falling Off?

In a single year, one pepper plant may produce hundreds of individual flower buds. Some of them will be fertilized and become pepper pods, while others will drop from the plant. In this article, we’ll discuss pepper plant flowers falling off and why it happens.

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Pepper Flowers Falling Off.

Why Are Pepper Flowers Falling Off?

There are several causes for excessive flower drop on pepper plants. We’ll go through some common reasons for pepper plant flowers falling off here.

Note: Some flower drop is natural. Pepper plants produce more flowers than needed to be more attractive to pollinators. This ensures that at least some flowers are fertilized.

  • High Temperature. One of the most common causes of pepper flowers dropping is high temperature. Although peppers can tolerate very high temperatures (100°F+), they thrive in moderately warm climates.

    As a result, heat waves cause the plants to become stressed, often dropping flowers, drooping leaves, and drinking more water.
  • Over-watering. Another mistake pepper growers often make is over-watering. Too much water is one of the worst threats to a healthy pepper plant. It can cause a variety of issues, one being flowers falling off.

    Peppers require even watering throughout their entire life cycle. Water retention is better with healthy soil. Keep your soil happy and alive with organic material (compost, fish fertilizer, manure, alfalfa pellets, etc.).

    Read more about watering pepper plants here.
  • Poor Pollination. In order for a pepper flower to become a pepper fruit, the flower needs to be fertilized. This means that a grain of pollen must be accepted into the flower’s pistil.

    Typically, bees and other insect pollinators will take care of this naturally. However, if you are growing indoors or in an isolated location outdoors, pollination rates can be low.

    Try shaking the plants during flowering to encourage the release of pollen. Indoors, running a small fan can help, along with brushing the flowers by hand each day.
  • Excess Nitrogen. Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for all plant growth. However, too much of it can cause plants to abort fruiting to produce more leaves. Instead, peppers need more phosphorus to produce healthy buds and fruits.

    For this reason, we recommend reducing fertilizer or switching to a low-nitrogen blend during the blooming stage of growth.

    Try Seabird Guano or Fox Farm’s Tiger Bloom for better fruit setting at this stage.
  • Phosphorus Deficiency. On the flip side, without enough phosphorus, peppers may struggle to produce pods. The recommended fertilizers above should help correct this potential deficiency.
  • Inconsistent Humidity. Humidity levels can decrease the viability of pollen grains. The ideal humidity will vary by pepper type. For example, New Mexican varieties prefer more arid climates, while superhot chinense varieties like higher humidity.

    Do some research on your particular pepper variety to learn more about its origins and what climate suits it best.

If none of the above issues are causing your pepper flowers to fall off, consider what else may be stressing your plants. Is it extremely windy? Is it raining too much? Too little? Were the plants properly hardened off when they moved outside? Any of these stresses could be your culprit.


Pepper Plant Growth Stages

It may be helpful to have an overview of the pepper plant stages of growth. First, the seeds will sprout into seedlings. During this stage, they require strong light for 16-18 hours per day. Seedlings are eventually transplanted into larger pots before moving outdoors in full sun.

Once pepper plants reach a mature size, they should begin to produce flowers. The flowering/fruiting stage is the ‘final’ stage of growth for peppers.


When To Pick Pepper Flowers

If your pepper plants are producing flowers when they are too young, we recommend plucking them. The best way to avoid premature flowering is to upsize the plant’s container at the right time.

Learn more about transplanting peppers here.

Pepper plant flowering

Evenly water and keep the soil fertile until the plants are outdoors in their final location. Stop plucking flowers after the peppers have been in their final spot outside for 2-4 weeks.


Keeping Peppers Happy

In general, keeping your pepper plants healthy should reduce all major issues. This includes flowers dropping, but also yellowing leaves, curling leaves, diseases and pests, and so much more.

Learn more about growing peppers here to avoid many of these common issues.

Here are some of our major recommendations for keeping peppers happy.

  • Enrich the soil. If you have ground soil, add compost, manure or other organic material every year. This keeps the good bacteria within the soil healthy, leading to better water retention, nutrient uptake and general plant health for your peppers. For potted plants, organic fertilizer will work.
  • Water evenly. Never water too much, and allow for water to drain away from the pepper’s root system. Soaking wet pepper plants will effectively drown, causing many problems.
  • Pick ripe fruits. Whenever your pepper plants produce a ripe pod, pick it. This will encourage the plants to continue producing until the season ends.
  • Watch for pests. Pests, like aphids, can wreak havoc on pepper plants. Keep a sharp eye out for pests and try to prevent them altogether by growing plants that attract beneficial insects to your garden.
  • Bottom prune to avoid disease. Keep the lower branches pruned back to stop soil from splashing onto your plants during watering or rainfall. Soil can be home to infectious diseases that can harm your plants. Staking and bottom pruning are great methods to prevent this.

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I hope this article helps you determine why your pepper plant flowers are falling off. Some pepper buds dropping is completely normal, but proper care will help get better harvests. Good luck!

Calvin Thumbnail

Calvin

One of the original Pepper Geeks! When Calvin isn’t gardening or learning more about peppers and botany, he might be traveling new places or playing some music.

10 thoughts on “Why Are My Pepper Plant Flowers Falling Off?”

  1. We’re in the middle of some nasty storms and I noticed that the weather may have knocked some of the blossoms off my plants but there’s still a bud present. Where the flowers came off I can see a little tiny pepperling starting to come in on some of them. Will they still grow OK?

    Reply
  2. Here in Phoenix the temperature is over 100 degrees. I had to put shade screen over my plants. will this hurt peppers from growing ? I also spread straw on the ground around my plants to hold the moisture when i water. Is this ok ??

    Reply
  3. I have a few Shishito pepper plants out side in the ground. About half of the peppers are red even before they are ready to pick. what am I doing wrong? They are still good but some dry out quickly.
    Thanks, Leo

    Reply
  4. Started my red chilis from a store bought pepper. Germinated a handful of seeds in Miracle-Gro potting mix/coconut coir media fortified with 3-4-8 tomato fertilizer in a lidded coffee canister. 10 days and all seeds sprouted. Moved them to 2 gallon buckets in a partially shaded area of my balcony. No hardening off as I live in S. Florida. Watered every day, just enough to keep media moist. Plants flourished and soon had them in full sun 6-8 hours a day. once they reached a height of @ 8″ the iguanas discovered them and devoured them leaving mostly stalks, stems, and half eaten leaves. Purchased 2 items that day: 1) Chicken wire and 2) a scoped air rifle. Plants are thriving, lush, and loaded with flowers now and iguanas have disappeared (I’m a good shot…lol). I switched to Miracle-Gro Performance Organics fertilizer (11-5-8) at half strength. My problem is flower drop. I’m thinking it’s the heat (83 +) and humidity (60% avg) that’s causing it. Would bringing them inside after sunning to a 74 degree/ 30% humidity location help the flowers set more easily?

    Reply

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