A white pepper flower on a pepper plant
(Image credit: weisschr)

No flowers on pepper plants? This is a common complaint when growing peppers. There are several reasons why pepper blossoms fail to flourish. Read on to learn about why a pepper drops the flower bud or why you have no flowers on pepper plants.

What to Do When Your Pepper Drops the Flower Bud

In order to fix this common problem, it helps to understand the various causes. Once you figure out why there are no flowers on pepper plants or why the buds drop off, it's much easier to remedy the issue and encourage pepper flower production, which is required for healthy pepper yields.

Bell Pepper Plants: Buds Drying Up, No Pepper Blossoms

Of the different reasons for the lack of flowering or bud drop on pepper plants, the most common include the following:

Temperature. Pepper plants are extremely sensitive to temperature. This is probably one of the most common causes for lack of flowering or bud drop and one of the most likely to suspect first. Optimum daytime temperatures for bell pepper varieties are between 70 and 80 degrees F. (21-27 C), with up to 85 degrees F (29 C). for hot varieties, like chili peppers.

Nighttime temperatures falling below 60 (16 C) or rising above 75 degrees F. (24 C) are also indicative of bud drop. In addition, overly cool conditions, especially early in the season, can prevent buds from forming.

Poor Pollination. A lack of pepper flower production or bud drop can also be contributed to poor pollination. This can be due to a lack of pollinating insects, such as bees and butterflies, in the area. To help alleviate this problem, you may need to entice pollinators to the garden by adding some bright colored flowers nearby. While there are also blossom set products available, they are not full proof and may be time consuming to apply.

Poor circulation, which contributes to pollination, may also be to blame. While moving in-ground plants may not be feasible at this point, container grown peppers can be relocated. In addition, pepper blossoms are even more sensitive to the temperatures during pollination.

Fertilizer/Water Practices. Oftentimes, too much nitrogen fertilizer will affect pepper blossoms. Instead of producing a pepper flower, the plant puts all of its energy into foliage growth. However, low fertility and low moisture levels can also result in poor flowering, bud drop and stunted growth.

You can try adding a teaspoon of Epsom salt to a quart of water and apply to plants to help improve fruit set. High phosphorus fertilizer, or bone meal, can help offset high nitrogen levels too. Uneven watering or drought will cause pepper flower and bud drop. Try to avoid overhead watering and use soaker hoses or drip irrigation instead. Water regularly and deeply.

Nikki Tilley
Senior Editor

Nikki Tilley has been gardening for nearly three decades. The former Senior Editor and Archivist of Gardening Know How, Nikki has also authored six gardening books.