The Q&A Archives: Chile Pod Drop

Question: I'm growing a variety of potted chile plants. My plants seem to be thriving, but the blossoms from my jalapenos, scotch bonnets, habaneros, cubanelles, and serranos are breaking off. Could it be the temperatures in the 90's or too much nitrogen in the soil?

Answer: I don't think your temperatures are high enough yet to be the cause of bloom drop. High nitrogen could be. Try backing off and not fertilizing for a while, just water as needed. Poor pollination can also be a cause of failure to fruit. This is not common in peppers, as many insects will participate in pollination, but it is possible.

Another possibility is damage to the bloom from thrips or another insect. Hold a white paper under a bloom and thump the bloom sharply with your finger. Look for tiny brownish insects shaped like a cigar, but only about 1/16" long running around. These are thrips. If it looks like you have a LOT of them, you may wish to try a spray control. Products containing neem are an organic, low toxicity option.

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