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Beginner Vegetables: Pepper Plants not growing peppers

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JoeyPepper
East Northport, NY
(Zone 7a)

July 19, 2010
7:15 AM

Post #7980242

Hi All
I have been saddened by the lack of peppers growing on my bell pepper plants. When I transplanted back in May, 2 of my 5 plants started growing a pepper, but soon after the peppers stopped growing, and since then not a single pepper has started. All of the plants are continually flowering, but the flowers just turn brown and fall off. Other than some bird issues, i haven't seen a barely an insect hole in any of the leaves. The plants themselves look very healthy, and are about 2 feet tall now, with lots of leaves. The only odd thing I noticed (and maybe its normal, this is my first year growing peppers) is they wilt everyday in the middle of the day, but come back in the evening.
For background, I have them planted in e-buckets (or SIP buckets, or self watering buckets). I used Miracle-gro potting mix and mixed 1 cup of organic vegetable food and 1/2 cup of garden lime into the top half of the potting mix in each bucket. Also, my Cayenne and Jalapeno peppers are planted in the same soil mix but in standard containers, and only just started growing fruits the last week or two, and they are staying very small as well, and before that had many flowers grow and die off. My tomato plants, which are planted identical to the peppers, are growing dramatically and look ready to explode with fruits.
Thanks to anyone who can off some advice or explanation, I just don't know why the peppers are failing so badly.
Dorkasaurus
Albuquerque, NM
(Zone 7a)

July 20, 2010
12:02 AM

Post #7982480

I don't know how big an e-bucket is but miracle gro potting mix and 1 cup of vegetable food sounds like a lot of fertilizer to me. In the past when growing them in containers I fertilized lightly as they were starting to produce and that's it. Too much nitrogen can make them grow fantastic leaves but very little fruit by causing them to drop flowers. The plants not in e-buckets may be benefiting from the drainage situation allowing a potential fertilizer overdose to get flushed out. Lack of pollination can also cause this but I doubt it's the case. You can try rubbing a few open flowers by hand and see what happens.

There is a pepper blight and verticillium wilt that will cause plants to wilt but if yours are happy looking in the mornings and evenings then they're most likely fine and simply trying to conserve energy in the heat of the day.

A Jalapeno plant typically takes 8 to 10 weeks before any peppers are ready (green/unripe) so I wouldn't be too alarmed it they're just now beginning to produce because you still have many weeks of warm weather left. I've watched flowering transplants revert to the vegetative stage once placed in the garden but eventually they resume production and keep producing until cold weather kills them. I'm not sure what you mean by "staying very small"... some jalapeno types only get 18-24" tall in ideal conditions.

This message was edited Jul 20, 2010 12:12 AM
smartseeds
Claremont, CA
(Zone 9b)

July 20, 2010
8:21 AM

Post #7983172

Hi Joey-

Your pepper plants are normal. They won't fruit when it's hot, and it's been REALLY hot where you live.

They'll start to make peppers again when it cools down toward the end of summer. You'll have more peppers than you know what to do with.

I know it sounds backwards - that peppers should love heat, since most of them produce it, but they don't. Enjoy your tomatoes now and you'll have plenty of peppers later.

Hope this helps.

Mia
JoeyPepper
East Northport, NY
(Zone 7a)

July 21, 2010
10:42 AM

Post #7985887

Thanks dorkasaurus (love the name, btw) and smartseeds. I have been banging my head wondering what i did wrong. Maybe I did put a little too much food, but in a post i made here a few months ago, the person who responded told me that peppers are heavy feeders, so I wanted to make sure there was plenty of food for them. And yes, it has been very hot here, with lots of days in the 90's and high humidity. i never thought i would look forward to the end of summer, but i guess part of me is now.
Dorkasaurus
Albuquerque, NM
(Zone 7a)

July 21, 2010
5:15 PM

Post #7986853

For what it's worth pretty much every year many of my pepper plants started indoors start blooming and some will even start setting fruit (if I hand pollinate them) but after moving them into the garden they start dropping flowers until temperatures drop. I usually don't have any peppers to pick before mid August but they keep going until early October when it starts getting too cool at night. It's been hovering around 95 to 100 here so both my peppers and tomatoes are dropping flowers. I finally have my first tomato setting and suspect the peppers will arrive shortly.

I seem to always get a late start so my tomatoes do the same thing as summer heat kicks in. I harvest in fall but I guess spring is more common, at least for tomatoes but I don't mind waiting as I tend to have some pretty large plants by the time they're ready to set fruit. Last year my tomatoes hit 6 to 7' and produced well in Sept/Oct. Squirrels carried them all off but that's a different problem.

Kind of off topic but I have a two year old tepin plant (wild pepper) that took three years of trying just to get this one plant to survive (they are difficult to germinate). I overwintered it and now it's healthy and happy looking but I'm sad to say blossom drop would be an encouraging sign for me at this point since it didn't produce a single flower last year and no signs of blossoms yet this year either whereas my other peppers are blooming regularly. If it doesn't do anything this year I guess I'll put tepin on my long list of failures lol. (Okay it's not a long list... this tepin plant and bhut jolokia are the only two types I've had a lot of trouble with, and I've grown about 30 different types of hot peppers successfully)

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

July 22, 2010
7:23 AM

Post #7987926

I've found that my eBucket pepper plants are doing the same as JoeyPepper's. But, I agree with you guys that they are languishing in all this hit, and should start cranking out when the temps drop.

Also, I have found that peppers ARE heavy feeders and heavy drinkers. But, too much Nitrogen will cause them to be super lush with greenery, and very minimal with fruit production. Better to feed them more P & K than Nitrogen.

Joey,
Flush your eBuckets (make sure they're draining properly), then try a light sprinkling of some low N, high PK fert. Here's an article I found that may help.

Stay hopeful. We have a lot of season left ahead of us. Just keep them alive, and keep us posted on your progress.

Linda

http://www.gardenersnet.com/vegetable/pepper.htm

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easydoesit2
Vienna, OH

July 26, 2010
8:01 AM

Post #7997788

So I have been told: when you plant put a couple of wooden match heads in the hole and when the plants are established spray a mixture of 1 tsp of Epsom salt with a pint of water on the plants once a week.

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Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

July 26, 2010
9:33 AM

Post #7997973

EZ,
The EP will cause the peppers to "green up," but what does the sulphur from the match heads do?
JoeyPepper
East Northport, NY
(Zone 7a)

August 17, 2010
6:18 AM

Post #8044804

Well, here we are a few weeks later and it seems my worry was for nothing. All 5 of my bell pepper plants have exploded with new fruit growth. Needless to say I am quite excited. I have only 1 issue, it seems a couple of my peppers are turning a weird color, more like a tan color, and they feel slightly soft to the touch in that area. I am attaching a picture.

is this some kind of rot or disease? Should I pull them off or let them run their course?

Thanks for any advice!

Thumbnail by JoeyPepper
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