Green Pepper Plant
pepper ground
(Image credit: olenka222)

Pepper plants can be finicky. They need just the right temperatures, not too hot, not too cold, just the right amount of water, just the right amount of fertilizer, and just the right amount of sun and shade. One year it's a bumper crop and the next-- Bupkis! One of the main complaints about growing peppers are those baby peppers falling off plants when everything else looks fine.

Causes of Peppers Falling Off the Plant

There are a couple of answers to why do peppers fall off the plant. When immature peppers fall off, the first things to check are the stems they fell from. If it's jagged or gnawed, the culprit is an insect, and an all-purpose garden insecticide is in order. Check the label to be sure it is effective for pepper critters. Baby peppers falling off plants with no sign of insect damage could be a case of improper pollination. Those baby peppers aren't holding any seeds and since that's the botanical purpose of those delicious little fruits, the parent plant aborts and tries again. Try planting marigolds with your peppers to encourage pollinators to visit. Sometimes peppers fall off the plant because of the heat. We think of peppers as hot weather plants, but when the temperatures get above 95 degrees F. (35 C.) or below 55 degrees F. (13 C.), both blossoms and immature peppers fall off. Peppers fall off the plant when nighttime temperatures reach 75 degrees F. (24 C.) and sometimes baby peppers fall off the plants as the result of drastic changes in rainfall or sunshine. Some gardeners claim that removing the first crop of blossoms will help keep peppers from falling off later and others swear by aerosol products that help blossoms set. So, what's the bottom line? Why do peppers fall off perfectly healthy plants? My answer is simple. Finickiness. If you've taken care of everything else and peppers falling off are still a problem, all you can do is keep your fingers crossed and start planning next year's garden.

Jackie Rhoades

Jackie Rhoades began writing for Gardening Know How in 2010.