Pepper Pollination Question

Discussion in 'Peppers' started by kase, Jun 30, 2009.

  1. I've got a small approx 2x3 foot area on my patio that I planted a few pepper plants on (bell, jalapeno and banana)...there have been plenty of flower buds, only three banana peppers have started growing.

    From what I've read, the pepper plants should be able to self pollinate, but is there anything I can do to help along the process? I've seen some suggestions of a gentle tap of the flowers to help release the pollen, which I'll give a try after the plants dry a bit from last nights rain.

    any suggestions appreciated!
  2. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You shouldn't need to help your peppers pollinate.
    I do with my tomatoes, with the lack of bees I tap-a-tap-a-tap-a them several times a day.
    It is possible your plants are deficient in some nutrients or are simply just stressed and that would cause them to flower but the flowers to drop off.

    How long ago did you put them outside, what sort of container and dirt are you growing them in?
    How has the weather been for them?
    You could try giving them a little magnesium, that will help them to set healthy fruit.
    Peppers also LOVE calcium. The hotter the pepper the more calcium the require.
    One simple way to check for calcium deficiency is to look at the leaves. They should be smooth and even/flat/ When deficient of calcium the leaves will seem to "puff" up between the veins.
  3. dutch

    dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You can be your own bee and can hand-pollinate by using a small artist's paintbrush and touching it to the pollen-bearing stamens then to the receptive tip of the pistil.

    It can be done, but it's a bit time consuming.
  4. Thanks for the responses.

    I only planted them about three weeks ago, I got them from a local nursery when they were already maybe 6-8" tall. I wasn't expecting anything so quick, but the banana peppers started flowering pretty quickly, and the three peppers that are growing are maybe 2-2.5 inches in length.

    The soil is mainly what was there. It is a pretty loose soil that I mixed some plant food in, with some miracle gro soil added on top to level things out after things were planted.

    The weather has been mainly in the 80s the last few weeks, getting into the 90s on a few days. They get direct sun from shortly after sunup until about 2-3pm, when the sun starts to disappear over the side of the building.

    I'm at work now, but I'll have to take a closer look at the plants when I get home. I'll have to check what the fertilizer contains, and give the plants a little more TLC. I'll admit they aren't spaced out quite as far as they should be, so that could be causing a problem. I may need to shift things around in the little space I have, and maybe move a plant or two into a larger pot or build another smaller space off to the side.
  5. alx

    alx Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I agree with what has been said.
    Peppers do not need alot of nitrogen after initial growth period, which you are in. I give mine 5-1-1 fish emulsion if they look weak.
    My peppers use about half the water of my tomatoes.Don,t overwater and no standing water around roots.

    These are my peppers this year;

    I pinch all buds off, these are japs, until they are a little bigger then this(two weeks ago-stopped pinching

    The plants are now 2-3 feet tall and have many 2-3 inch peppers on a plant big enough to grow and support the pepper load.

    Interested in your fertilizer etc.

    I grow everything from seed,but if they were root bound in nursery pots-it can take awhile for roots to catch up with plant-I pinch early buds to direct growth to roots and foilage-giving me a plant that can support more peppers.

    Humidity and lots of rain effect pollination-
  6. trashcan

    trashcan Smoke Blower

    From my experience peppers like to be neglected. If you give them too much of anything, you'll get a huge pretty bush and barely any fruit. They like mediocre dirt, not alot of water, and some times I talk down to mine, like I would an arrogant child...[​IMG]
  7. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Most likely that would be from too much nitrogen.
    Had to cut off some flowers and yesterday cut a few little cayennes off because the plants need to grow a little more before they start trying to put out fruit.
    Boy I can't wait.
  8. Regarding fertilizer, the fertilizer I used was a 12%-3%-13% nitrogen/phosphate/potash, also with 1% sulfur, .75% iron, and .35% manganese. I used their guideline of 1 tablespoon per square foot, and it is labelled as a 'slow-release' food. I'm a noob when it comes to this stuff though, so those percentages mean little to me.

    So looking at the plants, the two banana pepper plants are roughly 20" tall, the one has a pepper about 5 inches long on it, and the other has two peppers about 2-3" long each. I'm thinking I may cut off those peppers here soon and keep the flowers away for another few weeks and let the plants get a little bigger. The leaves seem to be OK, they are pretty flat and normal shaped.

    The two bell pepper plants are maybe 15-18" tall, and haven't flowered at all. The leaves look like they may be puffed up a little bit, but since the other pepper plants don't appear to have this problem, not sure about the calcium. I checked some fertilizers and plant foods when i was out today, but didn't see anything with calcium in it.

    The three jalapeno plants are about 18-20" tall, but are still very thin. These were spaced pretty close together, so I spaced them out a bit, and pinched off the flowers so hopefully they can grow out more.

    Lastly, there is a thai chili plant, but I just got this as a seedling from a coworker last week, so it's still teeny tiny. Hoping it takes off, because those babies will be hot.

    All in all, I think it's probably for the best that hardly any fruit is growing, as the plants could stand to grow a little bit more first. I spaced them out more, and removed some herbs that were growing in the same area. The 8 pepper plants are now spread out in a 2x5 foot bed, in 2 rows of 4 plants. There is about 16-18" in between plants from side to side, and about 12" in between plants from front to back, and about 6" from the edge of the bed. Hopefully this is enough space for them to take off. I'll have to scale back the watering of the plants, which should be easier now that there is nothing else in the bed except the pepper plants.

    I'll have to take some pictures tomorrow when there's some daylight to work with again and throw them up here. Thanks all for the responses, I'm sure I'll have peppers soon enough, and if not, no big loss. At least it looks better out there than having a bunch of weeds growing in the bed.
  9. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I would agree that you should pinch off flowers and and little peppers that are growing. At least one final time before you let them begin to thrive.
    Spacing is a bit tight considering some of your plants will want to grow up to 3 feet tall and as much as 4 feet wide. No biggie though, they will just crowd each other a bit.
    It may be hard to find some things when checking your local places if you are looking for one specific type of item.
    Bone meal is very cheap and is a great source of calcium, but unless you can get ahold of a water soluble version it will need to be worked into the soil around the plant.
    Otherwise it will partially repel water and take longer to absorb into the soil. Oh, and ants LOVE to eat that stuff, I found that one out recently.
    If you are lucky enough to be within driving distance of a hydroponics supply store that is your best source for good nutrients. They carry a wide selection of, well just about anything you could possibly need to grow plants in soil or hydroponics.
    A great one to use is called Cal-Mag. It has calcium, magnesium for setting flowers and good fruit and just a touch of nitrogen to ensure healthy leaf growth.
    1 tsp of this stuff mixes with a gallon of water and I apply it every couple of weeks on my tomatoes and peppers and they are doing great, so far.
  10. Try placing some bananna peals in your container for postiasum.
  11. alx

    alx Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Sounds like a plan kase.

    Please post your pics.

    Here in maryland my pepper harvest is july-oct.I have 6-8 inch Carmen roaster and 4 inch mariachi friut presently.

    I put a 5 inch jap in my burgers last night and they were good-just need a little more hot weather.

    Every pepper in my garden gets 4-5 shovels of leaf compost i make year the before and once finished(compost) i add calcitic limestone to absorb over winter till may

    At planting time they get 1/2 cup ESPOMA bonemeal and 1/2 cup Plant tone.Slow release like compost.

    Every three weeks a root feed of 5-1-1 Fish emulsion and i foliar spray Seaweed extract on leaves every three weeks-more often if humid.

    Everyone is a little different, but the organics and slow release seem to help me in severe drought etc.
  12. You can see more pics over in the "Small Spaces" forum, where I posted pics from both June 12 when things were planted, as well as the pics from tonight. Here's some pics of just the pepper plants:

    The two banana peppers, side by side.

    The two bell pepper plants.

    The three jalapeno plants.

    A photoshop'd together picture of the pepper plants from above...tried to edit two pictures together for this one.
    Back, L-R banana, bell, jalapeno, jalapeno
    Front, L-R banana, bell, japaneno, and the thai chili seedling

    Oh, and here are the three banana peppers I removed from the plants this morning...the middle pepper is about 5 inches long, not including the piece of stem. Hopefully with no fruit to feed, the plants will become more sturdy.
  13. alx

    alx Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    IMHO it was good idea for you to let plants get bigger.

    A quick release nitrogen(types you mix in watering can) would give plants some growth-but too much and no fruit.

    Nice job.

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