Bell pepper plants not looking "happy"

Edinboro, PA(Zone 5a)

my bell peppers are green, small leaves, but not nearly as healthy and bushy as last year....also no blossoms and no peppers appearing?.........could I have fertilized too much? any remedies?

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

kantzklan - when did you last fertilize them? Have you had a lot of rain recently? Did you use organic or chemical fertilizer?

If you used chemical fertilizer more than four weeks ago, and you have had lots of rain, then your peppers need fertilizer.

Edinboro, PA(Zone 5a)

We water and have fertilized them with 15/15/15. I thought maybe too much fertilizer......we are currently in a drought here.....I did notice very small blossoms on some.....maybe they'll perk up....I'll hope for the best. Thanks for getting back with me.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

kantzklan - to much chemical fertilizer can burn the root hairs, and although they might get adequate water, the plants are not able to take up enough nourishment. Once the fertilizer has been washed out of the soil, they might pick up.

Try using organic fertilizers. They do not tend to burn roots (unless you use too much at once) and do not wash out in the rain so easily. Also, chemical fertilizers inhibit the activity of earthworms and micro-organisms.

Edinboro, PA(Zone 5a)

Wow, thanks for the info......I don't like using chemical fertilizer, but what is the organic? Manure? Now, you can answer another bell pepper plants need to be touching each other to pollinate? I just heard this from a neighbor.......mine do not touch each other and my neighbor's don't touch each other and neither of us have peppers.......thanks again

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

kantzklan - peppers are self pollinating.

I was reading recently that another DG member likes to have his peppers touching so that the leaves can better shade the fruit.

You can purchase bagged organic fertilizer. I purchase mine online, but Lowe's carries Espoma.

There are many, many other companies that sell organic fertilizers.

Personally, I like "Marine Cuisine" and Territorials own brand

Hope this helps. How are your peppers doing?

Edinboro, PA(Zone 5a)

So you don't think they need to be touching to pollinate? They are still the same even after a nice watering the other evening.......leaves are green etc, but kinda limp......I'll try the organic fertilizer and let you know.....also we may get thurnderstorms today, boy would that help......pray for rain.....thanks

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Every day I look at the sky and wonder whether or not to water the garden. On the days I decide NOT to water, it doesn't rain. On the days I DO water, it rains! The weather people are no help - all they keep saying is that "showers are possible."

milan, Italy


you can use these fertilizers: and download the pdf crop guide....

Cascade, VA(Zone 7a)

one of the BEST things you can do is start your own compost bin. I use a simple plastic storage tub myself (just make sure its bpa free and such), holes punched into the top, and bottom. throw in your plant matter kitchen scraps: fruit cores, veggie peelings, etc. Just no meats, as that would attract unwanted critters. And also toss outdoor plant matter in there, dried up leaves, grass clippings, dead annual plants from last years garden. Eventually it will all break down over 6-8 months time and will actually resemble that black potting soil you get from bags.

Cascade, VA(Zone 7a)

i would leave the plastic bin completely open top, but we have deer that regularly travel through here that would make a total banquet out of the scraps, lol!

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