Growing your own food is fun and exciting. But, it also comes with some cons.
Vegetable gardeners face different issues while growing chilli plants.
To grow a successful chilli plant in your backyard or container, you must provide favorable conditions for the plant.
Else, your plant may face issues like dropping of flowers, chilli plant flowering but not fruiting, yellowing of leaves and stunted growth.
In this write-up I’ll share details on why chilli plant (pepper plant) not producing fruit?
When your chilli plant undergoes stress, it starts showing adverse signs that includes yellowing leaves, dropping of flowers and not producing fruit.
Lack of pollination, extreme temperature, poor potting soil, insufficient sunlight, not watering your chilli plant regularly can be reason behind your pepper plant not fruiting.
First thing, you must diagnose your chilli or pepper plant to determine the underlining cause of not producing fruit.
Growing chillies is very easy especially in tropical and subtropical countries. These plants are hardy in nature and do not require any special care.
However, gardening at home is not always easy. Very often your plants would catch some diseases, be infested with pests or would just not bear fruits!
So, to overcome chilli flower dropping off and not fruiting problem, you must first know about this pepper plant.
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Growing Conditions for Chilli Plant (Pepper)
Scientifically called Capsicum annum, these small, annual shrubs with straight, branched shoots belong to the family of Solanaceae.
Native to the tropical and subtropical regions, chilli plants bear small white flowers that hang downwards from the stem, just like the fruits.
India is the world’s leading producer of chillies, followed by China and Peru.
- Chilli grows best in a warm and humid climate with the temperature remaining between 70 to 85F.
- It requires soil with high moisture content and can be cultivated both as a summer and winter crop.
- Chilli or pepper plant needs at-least 6 hours of sunlight. Without sufficient sun exposure, plants won’t be able to produce fruits.
- Edible plants need high amount of sugar to bloom and produce fruit. So, as a gardener you must provide consistent watering and fertilize your chilli plant with organic matter.
Early seed sowing is the key to have bountiful of green chillies. Start as early as January, seeds will germinate indoors.
The most common practice in the cultivation of chillies is the transplantation method where the seeds are first sown indoors and then transplanted into the field.
What is Chilli Flower Drop?
Have you been witnessing your chillies flowering but no fruit?
Well, though the situation is indeed serious, there is no reason to panic. Your plants are not the only ones bearing you no fruits. This is a fairly common problem that affects most fruits and vegetables.
Read on to find out why your chilli flowers drop off.
Now that you know all that you need to about your plants, let us get into the problem most chilli gardeners and cultivators have had to face.
When plants have grown enough and are ready for propagation they begin to bear flowers that are then pollinated. After this fruits are borne. Fruits contain seeds of the plant and are essential for its propagation.
It is the same for chillies. Chillies are the fruits of the plants containing the seeds and are produced after the flowers have been pollinated.
However, in many cases the flowers produced by the chilli plants drop off before the production of fruits, leaving the gardeners with no fruits to harvest.
This is a common problem that affects many plants other than chillies.
This problem is commonly termed as ‘flower drop’ or ‘blossom drop’ and can lead to large scale damage to the harvest.
Even a perfectly healthy chilli plant does shed some of its flowers in order to maintain balance.
However, when you notice that all or most of the flowers are falling off without any fruit formation at all, know that there is a serious problem which has to be solved immediately.
There can be several reasons for this to happen which are mostly associated with the development of the plant and the weather conditions it develops in. The problem has to be identified in time for the situation to be remedied.
Taking care of your plants and providing them with their required growth conditions is the first step to take.
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Why Chilli Plant Flowering But Not Fruiting?
If chilli plant is flowering but failing to produce fruit, then probably due to lack of pollination.
Male and female gametes are needed for pollination process. When it doesn’t occur, fertilization will not take place.
When flowers are left without pollination, they tend to drop off.
If you see some of your chilli flowers are dropping off, then don’t worry. It is normal.
But, when most flowers are dropping without pollination, then you must check below mentioned causes to diagnose.
Pepper plants are self-pollinating and they will be pollinated naturally.
But, due to some factors, you might have to hand pollinated.
When the day temperature reaches above 85F and night temperature drops below 60F, then pollination may not occur.
So, you must maintain ideal temperature for chilli plant growth.
Let us now look at some of the probable causes of chilli flowers dropping off from the plants.
1. Fluctuation in the temperature
Severe fluctuation in the temperatures is the most common cause for the dropping off of chilli flowers. Like most plants that grow in the garden, chill plants have an ideal range of temperature in which their growth and survival happens best.
Whenever the temperatures of their surroundings exceed this range by a large margin, the plants are forced to abort the process of fruiting in order to utilize their energy for survival.
The ideal temperature for most varieties of chilli plants ranges between 70F to 85F, with temperatures exceeding 95F or below 50F being completely unfavourable for their survival.
Under such circumstances, the plants are forced to drop their flowers off in favour of barely surviving.
Although the plants need to live in such temperatures for about 4 to 5 days for them to drop their flowers, under extreme situations, just a span of 4 to 5 hours can cause this to happen.
2. Improper moisture
Improper moisture levels in the soil or atmosphere put your chilli plants under a situation called moisture stress. This can be caused by both overwatering and dryness of the soil.
When the plants are threatened with such a situation, they stop the process of fruit production at once to focus the energy stored in them for the survival of the plant body.
3. Problems with pollination
As you already know, a flower cannot set fruit unless it is fertilized by pollination. There can be several issues with pollination that cause the process of fruit formation to slow down or stop completely.
Pollination cannot take place without pollinating agents such as insects and wind.
In case insects like bees and butterflies do not pay regular visits to your garden, it is only natural for the flowers of your chilli plants to dry off and drop on the ground. Air is also a prominent pollinating agent.
Pollination can also be hampered if your garden does not have sufficient air circulation, which becomes even more important when you have planted your chillies densely.
4. Nitrogen levels in the soil
Nitrogen is a very essential nutrient that keeps the soil fertile and is essential for the growth and development of most plants, just like in case of chillies. However, too much or too little of anything is harmful.
If you have been adding excessive nitrogen-based fertilizers to the soil, your plants will grow larger producing greener and taller foliage. In this case, they will not be able to produce a sufficient number of blooms for fruition.
Too little nitrogen, on the other hand, causes your chilli plants to remain short and stunted which cannot provide enough support to hold the blossoms to the stems.
It is, therefore, necessary to keep an eye on how much fertilizer you are using and how high the nitrogen content in it is.
Check this out: Is Cow Manure Good for Chilli Plants?
5. Too much or too little watering
Another reason that is responsible for the dropping of chilli flowers is oftentimes, a common mistake made by most gardeners- over or under-watering.
When chilli plants are overwatered, they go into a state of shock and suffer from water stress.
Underwatering also causes the plants to feel threatened as lack of moisture reduces energy generation by photosynthesis. In both these cases, flower drop is a natural consequence.
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How to Stop Your Chilli Flowers from Dropping Off?
Chilli flower drop can be a serious threat to your chilli plants and eventually, all the efforts that you put into cultivating them might come to nothing.
Chilli plant flowering but not fruiting can be a really frustrating experience for a gardener who has been putting in tireless efforts throughout the season with the hope of harvesting a healthy batch of perfectly delicious homegrown chilli peppers.
To make sure you do have enough of these spice-filled peppery fruits to harvest at the end of the season, be attentive to your plants and provide them with just what they need- no more, no less.
These easy to follow remedies are enough to make sure your efforts do not go to waste. Take a look:
#1 Control the temperature your plants are living in
As you have already learned, temperature plays a major role in the occurrence of chilli flower drop. The most effective way of preventing it is therefore protecting your plants from the extremities of temperature.
For this purpose, it is advisable to grow chillies in containers so that you can move them indoors when the temperatures soar too high or fall too low.
In case you are cultivating them in the garden and cannot move them, using a shade to protect them from the afternoon sun should help.
However be sure not to shade them from the mild, early morning sun which is essential for the development of the fruits.
#2 Take care of the humidity around the plants
Another serious reason for chilli flowers to drop off is an imbalance in the humidity around them. Make sure you are not overwatering your plants under any circumstance.
Chilli plants do not require a lot of water. Watering them twice a week should suffice, and infrequent, deep watering is always preferable to frequent, shallow watering.
Water your chilli plants only when you witness the top two to three inches of the soil have gone dry. That being said, you should also take care, not to underwater the plants. Combat low humidity in the soil by spraying water on the leaves lightly a couple of times a day.
#3 Manually pollinate the flowers
If your problem is a lack of or improper pollination, there are several ways to solve that too.
If your garden has only a few chilli plants, you can use the method of manual pollination. For this, gently rub the bottom of your plants or flick them.
Since chillies are self-pollinating, just flicking them would be enough for transporting the pollen from the female parts to the male parts.
In case there are many chilli plants in your garden, try drawing natural pollinators to your garden and causing artificial wind circulation with the help of fans.
#4 Regulating Nitrogen supply
Another important step to take would be regulating the amount of nitrogen your plants are getting.
For this purpose, use a fertile soil with sufficient compost from your household and add potting mix
If required keep supplying nitrogen-based fertilizers until the plants have borne the flowers.
After flowering, replace these fertilizers with potassium and phosphorus-based ones. Also, check the nitrogen content in the fertilizers you use.
#5 You can also spray an epsom salt solution on the foliage of the plants to help in the setting of the fruits.
To make this solution mix 1 tablespoon Epsom salt with one-fourth of a gallon of water and gently spray on the plants.
While taking these precautions, you should also keep in mind that chilli plants have a blooming period of about two to three weeks, any stress during which will cause the flowers to drop off.
Most of the stressors for the plants are environmental and are out of reach of the gardener.
In such cases, hold on to your patience and wait for the stressors to pass on their own, as soon after the cause of stress is removed, your plants are sure to bear fruits again.
Maintaining ideal temperature throughout the growing season of chilli plant is important.
Else, your chilli plant may experience flower dropping or no pollination issue despite flowering.
Lack of required amount of fertilization and no pollination can be the reason behind why your chilli or pepper plant not producing fruit even after flowering.
Not just this, as listed above, temperature, watering issues, lack of sunlight exposure and inadequate nutrients in the soil can stop chilli plants from fruiting.