patio container tomatoes and peppers - Knowledgebase Question

Owensboro, Ke
Question by d5a5p
June 30, 2010
We used miracle grow garden soil and purchased tomato and pepper plants. All but one blossom fell off each plant, along with most of the leaves. I water daily. What's wrong?


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Answer from NGA
June 30, 2010

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Tomato pollen isn't viable much over 90 degrees, so fruits won't set. What have your temperatures been? Another possibility is that the flowers aren't being pollinated at all because tomatoes are often ?self-pollinating.? Try gently tapping and shaking your plants in the early morning to see if you can get some fruit to set.

How long has it been since your transplanted? The leaf drop could be to transplant shock. Also, when you water, be sure water soaks through the entire rootball, moistening the soil, rather than running down the sides of the pot and out the drainage holes. A layer of mulch, such as dried leaves, compost or even wood chips on top of the soil can help maintain moisture and reduce soil temperatures. Soil temperatures in containers on hot surfaces, such as patios, can heat up higher than surrounding temperatures, basically "cooking" roots, so depending on location, you might want to try morning and early afternoon sun, with protection from hot afternoon sun. Finally, be sure not to overfertilize, which can burn plants and cause browning and leaf drop. I hope this info helps.

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