How To Stop Peppers From Falling Off The Plant | GreenUpSide (2022)

There is nothing more frustrating than seeing peppersfalling off your plants, especially after all the work you put in to care forthem. There are many possible causes forpeppers falling off the plant, and some of them can be prevented to save yourcrop.

So, why are your peppers falling off the plant? Peppersmay fall off the plant due to extreme temperatures (daytime temperatures above95 degrees Fahrenheit or below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, or nighttime temperaturesabove 75 degrees Fahrenheit). Improperpollination can also cause peppers or flowers to fall off the plant.

Many other factors can stress your pepper plants and causethem to drop their fruit, including:

  • Incorrect levels of nutrients or pH in your soil
  • Too much or too little water
  • Lack of sunlight
  • Pests
  • Diseases

Luckily, there are ways to combat some of these problems sothat you have a fighting chance to save your pepper harvest. Let’s start off with extreme temperatures andwhat you can do about them.

Extreme Temperatures

There is an ideal temperature range for development ofpepper plants. Outside of this range,their growth will slow down, due to an inability to properly absorb nutrientsor regulate water levels. Pepper plantsmay even drop their fruit if the stress becomes too great.

Cold Temperatures

Temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit can cause pepperplants to drop their fruit. If the soilis too cold, pepper plants may also have difficulty absorbing nutrients fromthe soil, which can lead to slow growth.

To keep your pepper plants warm, you can use row covers. A row cover is a piece of plastic or fabric that is used to cover an entire row of plants. A row cover will protect plants from cold, wind, and pests. For more information, check out my article on how to protect plants from cold and frost.

The fabric or plastic you use should allow sunlight to getthrough to the plants. The row covershould also be breathable – this means you will need small holes in a plasticrow cover.

If you use cages or stakes to support your pepper plants, you can use them as a support for your row covers. You can purchase Agribon row covers online at places like Johnny’s Selected Seeds.

Hot Temperatures

If temperatures are above 95 degrees Fahrenheit during theday or 75 degrees Fahrenheit at night, your pepper plants may start to droptheir fruit.

Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to keep your plantscool during a heat wave. You can tryspraying them with cold water during the day, but it is really a waiting gameif there is a severe heat wave.

Improper Pollination of Pepper Plants

Improper pollination can also cause peppers or flowers to falloff the plant. There are a few ways thiscan occur, and there is also a method you can use to take control of thesituation.

How Improper Pollination Can Occur

Pepper plants are self-pollinating. This means that a pepper flower contains bothmale and female parts. The male partreleases pollen onto the female part, and fruit will form.

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However, self-pollination does not mean automatic pollination. Pepper plants still need bees or otherpollinators to trigger the release of pollen by the male part of the flower.

Bee populations have been declining in many areasrecently. This is mainly due toincreased use of chemical pesticides in farming and gardening.

Without enough bees, your pepper plants will not receiveproper pollination. To attract morebees, stop using chemical pesticides, and ask your neighbors to do thesame. Also, plant plenty of flowers toattract bees to your yard.

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Even with plenty of bees in your yard, pollination can fail incases of extreme humidity. If thehumidity is too high (sticky air), then the pollen will be stuck to the malepart of the flower. If the humidity istoo low (dry air), then the pollen will not stick to the female part of theflower.

There is not much you can do about humidity levelsoutdoors. However, you can certainlyhand pollinate your plants if there are not enough bees.

How to Hand Pollinate Pepper Plants

The easiest way to hand pollinate pepper plants is by usingan electric toothbrush. Simply turn iton, and touch the vibrating bristles to each flower on the plant.

The electric toothbrush will simulate the vibration of a bee’swings, and cause the male part of the flower to release pollen.

The more often you use this method, the more likely you will pollinate your plants successfully. If you are worried about humidity levels, check the weather forecast.

Then, go out and hand pollinate at a time of day when the humidity level is moderate (for example, right before a rainstorm is probably too humid).

You can learn more about pepper plant pollination in my article here.

Soil Problems

If temperature, humidity, and pollination are not the causesof your problems, then it is time to consider your soil. If the pH or nutrient levels are too high ortoo low, then it can stress your plants, depriving them of necessary nutrientsfor growth.

Incorrect pH

The ideal soil pH for pepper plants is 6.0 to 7.0 (slightlyacidic). If your soil pH is too faroutside of this range, then your plant may have trouble absorbing nutrientsfrom the soil. This is true even if thesoil contains plenty of nutrients!

For more information, check out this chart from Research Gate on nutrient availability depending on soil pH.

To tell for sure, you should do a soil test to determine thepH in your garden. One way to do this isto buy a test kit or soil analyzer online or at a garden center. Another way is to send a soil sample to yourlocal agricultural extension.

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A benefit of sending away a sample is that your soil is analyzedin a lab. You will get more accurateresults, along with information about nutrient levels in your soil. If you send a description of what you aregrowing, you will also receive detailed recommendations about how to treat yoursoil for optimal growth.

For more information, check out my article on soil testing.

If your soil is too alkaline (high pH), you can make it more acidic (lower pH) by adding elemental sulfur to the soil. For more information, check out my article on lowering soil pH.

If your soil is too acidic (low pH), you can make it more alkaline (raise pH) by adding lime to the soil. For more information, check out my article on raising soil pH.

Nutrient Imbalances

Even if pH levels in your soil are with acceptable limits,you can still face the problem of nutrient imbalances.

A lack of nutrients in your soil can cause slow growth, yellowleaves, dropping fruit, and other problems.For pepper plants in particular, a lack of calcium can cause blossom endrot.

Excessive amounts of a nutrient in your soil can also causeproblems. For instance, nitrogen isnecessary for a plant to grow, and is known as the greening nutrient. However, too much nitrogen will cause a plantto develop leaves and shoots at the expense of flowers and fruit.

Using a balanced fertilizer, which contains phosphorus and potassium in addition to nitrogen, is one way to avoid this problem. Another way is to fertilize with compost and manure that are sufficiently decomposed. For more information, check out my article on over fertilizing and my article on low-nitrogen fertilizers.

As another example, too much magnesium in the soil canprevent a plant from absorbing calcium.The reason is that these two elements “compete” with one another foruptake by a plant’s roots. Excessivemagnesium in your soil can be cause by adding too much Epsom salt.

Again, a soil test is the best way to determine if nutrientlevels in your soil are too high or too low.

Water Levels

After pH and nutrient levels, the amount of water is thenext thing to check for your pepper plants.Both too much and too little water can stress your plant, causing it todrop its fruit prematurely.

If you add too much water, the ground will stay wetconstantly. This will lead to root rot,and eventual death of the roots. In thiscase, the plant will be unable to absorb enough water, and it will exhibit signsof a lack of water.

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To prevent over watering, always be sure to feel the soil down to a depth of a few inches. If it feels dry, go ahead and water. Otherwise, wait until the soil is dried out. For more information, check out my article on over watering your plants.

It is best to give a long watering in the morning, when thesun is low and temperatures are cooler.This gives the water a chance to soak into the soil before itevaporates.

If you have a problem with dry soil, you may need to addorganic material (compost or manure) to improve water retention. You can also try mulching over the soil toretain water.

For more information, check out my article on treating dry soil.

Lack of Sunlight

Pepper plants need full sunlight, meaning 6 to 8 hours ofexposure to the sun each day. If yourplants are shaded by a tree or by taller neighboring crops, then they might notbe getting enough light.

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For this year, you can try to trim away tree branches to letmore light through to your peppers. Fornext year, choose a different location that gets more sun during the day.


You may face any number of pests in your garden. Most of them will be easy to see if you watchyour plants for long enough. If pests doenough damage, they can stress plants and cause peppers to drop off.

One common pest is the aphid, a small insect that comes inmany colors, including green, black, and white.They live on the underside of leaves, and suck the juice out of leavesand stems.

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There are many ways to treat an aphid infestation, including spraying them with mixtures such as water, soap, and alcohol. For more information, check out my article on how to get rid of aphids.


There are many bacterial, viral, and fungal diseases towatch out for in your garden. Some ofthem might cause your pepper plants to drop their fruit due to stress.

Your best bet is to prevent disease by choosing resistant peppervarieties. If your pepper plants alreadyhave a disease, remove the infected plants and dispose of them.

Do not put diseased plants in your compost pile. Otherwise, the same problem may return tohaunt you next year, on a much larger scale.


Hopefully, this article gave you some idea of what might be causing your pepper plant to drop its fruit. Go down the list and try to eliminate each cause in turn.

If your pepper plants are not producing fruit, read my article to find out why.

I hope you found this article helpful – if so, please share it with someone who can use the information.

If you want to read some of my most popular posts, check out the “Best of GreenUpSide” page here. Enjoy!

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