One of my pepper plants has started to flower, and the petals are falling off to reveal a pepper growing from that stem - well, at least the first two have, and the other flowers seem to be bulging somewhat in the middle and I assume will therefore produce fruit.

A second of my pepper plants are also flowering, but when its flowers drop off they drop off entirely, stem and all. So far three of its flowers have done this, and there are a few more flowers that don't appear to bulge like my more successful plant.

Should I be concerned about the second plant? And if so is there something I should be doing about it?

  • What variety is it? I'm thinking its the temperature difference between the plants since the window is open for some of them. Also, are all the plants the same variety? Some peppers do well indoors and some have a harder time. Some varieties do better in some temperatures. Do they all have the same amount and same kind of soil? Amount and kind of soil makes a difference. Is there mold on the soil of the one that isn't producing? Mar 1, 2016 at 2:41

7 Answers 7


Peppers are self-pollinating, so in general if you see flowers, they should produce peppers. That said, if there is insufficient air flow around the plant or if it is in an enclosure, etc., it might not be releasing enough pollen into the surrounding air to fall on the stigma.

You can try gently tapping the stalk of the flower or the branch that has the flower, so as to release a pollen cloud around the plant. That should be sufficient to pollinate the flowers.

  • 2
    Well the successful plant sits next to a window that we open, while the second one is stood next to a window that we do not open, so lack a of air flow sounds like it could viably be the problem. I'll give it some movement - tapping, blowing and/or wind - and report back.
    – DMA57361
    Jul 19, 2011 at 17:04
  • @DMA57361 could you report back now?
    – Seun Osewa
    Sep 21, 2017 at 14:17
  • @SeunOsewa I reported back in an answer - gardening.stackexchange.com/a/1622/190 - but this was 6 years ago so frankly I don't really remember. The plants didn't make it past the end of the season (they were indoor and I didn't have space)
    – DMA57361
    Sep 21, 2017 at 14:37

After the suggestions here regarding pollination hadn't helped I continued to research, and apparently it seems that over fertilisation can cause an excess of foliage growth and delay fruit production.

I originally ignored this as a possibility - I wasn't feeding the plants - but then the plant in question (and the one next to it) continued to grow much, much, taller than the flowering plant. After a little investigation it turns out we'd had a minor miscommunication at home and the plants had been given more feed when it wasn't necessary, so this looks to be a potential cause.

  • While this is a self-answer, I'm still not entirely confident that this will be correct since I've had to cut the plants back - they were taller than my windows - that's going to have set them back even further, so success is probably a way off yet.
    – DMA57361
    Aug 8, 2011 at 14:57
  • I've been playing it safe and making sure they got a "breeze" from the windows too, so it could have been a lack of pollination... but this feels like the main cause. After hacking them back quite aggressively a month ago they've all now regrown a bit and this time the flowers have started to produce fruits on all the plants.
    – DMA57361
    Sep 9, 2011 at 14:45

I would also add heat as a possible reason - I see this behavior in the height of summer. Perhaps there is less disturbance (cf. Yoda's answer) but this year I am still seeing new peppers forming on Gypsy in late July. Perhaps they pollinate more easily.


I use my finger to pollinate the flowers, just gently rub each flower once they are open and pretty soon I have peppers.


Flowers not fruiting could also be due to zinc deficiency. Add a handful of ash (preferably wood, else coal) on day 1 and day 3. This will most definitely work.


I use a electric tooth brush to pollinate my indoor peppers and it works great. You just touch the stem of the flower and the vibration typically releases a cloud of pollen.


I also use a finger to pollinate indoor peppers. I manage to pollinate about 90% of the flowers and I don't give it too much thought.

  • 1
    Some additional details on how you do it and pictures would be helpful to novice gardeners. Thanks for the response
    – JStorage
    Feb 29, 2016 at 17:03
  • Just stick your finger into the flower and jiggle it a little while touching the stamina and pistil. Jun 17, 2016 at 9:24

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