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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.

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 temperatures. 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 (around 70-80°F).

    As a result, heat waves can cause plants to become stressed. The result is often flower drop, drooping leaves, and more water usage.
  • Over-watering. Another mistake pepper growers often make is over-watering. Too much water in the soil is one of the biggest 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 use more potassium and calcium 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 Fox Farm’s Tiger Bloom for better fruit setting at this stage.
  • Phosphorus or potassium deficiency. On the flip side, without enough phosphorus or potassium, peppers may struggle to produce pods. The recommended fertilizers above should help correct any 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 C. 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.

Each variety can produce a limited number of fruits at any given time. For example, bell pepper plants may only have 4-6 pods on the plant at a time. Aji charapita peppers may have hundreds of fruits on a plant.

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 plants 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.

Read Next:

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


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.


Sunday 6th of August 2023

What about when the fruit sites do get pollinated, turn yellow & and grow a pepper and then the plant drops them, or odder yet when The whole pepper turns yellow, any idea what could cause that? I had perfect looking pepper plants then like 50-60% of my fruit sites all turned yellow and most fell off, and it was pretty much over night. It had been hot-ish but really just like 83 was the hottest. It's definitely not pollination, we have thousands of bees butterflies hummingbirds and more right here where my garden is. Pretty frustrating after all the work and $ on fertilizers and time. Lots of time. It's happened to a lesser degree to some of the eggplant plants as well.

Joe Delgado

Sunday 6th of August 2023

Excellent article on paper flowers for the dropping of excess flowers learned a lot


Sunday 6th of August 2023

When my pepper plants started frutting, the new leaves stopped growing large. What am I doing wrong?


Monday 7th of August 2023

It's normal in full sun for the leaves to be smaller. The early leaves are always much larger. Less light usually means larger leaves (the leaves get bigger to capture more light energy).


Tuesday 16th of August 2022

Here's a question i haven't been able to find an answer to. I have two scorpion pepper plants that are doing a great job surviving the Texas heat, but i haven't had a single pepper. They drop (assuming because of extreme temps. Will a pepper plant regrow a flower at one of the flower crotches (nodes?) if one has been there and already dropped? Or will it only grow flowers at new nodes? I know if i cut back a pepper plant and over winter it, new growth will generate new flowers. These plants are getting pretty large so i guess im asking do i cut them back now and try to spur some new growth before our long season is over, or let them go and assume only new growth will produce new flowers?


Sunday 6th of August 2023

@peppergeek, I live in MN and damn even the ones I started indoors... My scorpion plants are small AF, really healthy, maybe some of the healthiest. But not even a foot tall, one is a foot wide, but they are definitely not going to make peppers. I plan to dig up the best 2 maybe 3 and bring them inside to spend couple of months indoors hoping to actually get my first scorpion peppers


Saturday 20th of August 2022

You know, I have never actually tested this, but in my experience, most peppers seem to be able to re-sprout flowers from nodes. Some even produce multiple flowers from one node simultaneously, so I'd expect to see another flush of flowers once it cools off


Tuesday 5th of July 2022

I didn't get any seeds. I purchased them from Lowe's like I do every year. in 2020 and 2021 they were in a raised bed and did great. I've purchased 5 separate plants this year. All of them are doing the same thing. flowering like crazy but not one pepper. I can see where the flowers are pollinated...and a day or two after the flowers petals fall off..the entire bud drops off.