jeff84
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blossom drop

so I have 18 pepper plants, some hot, some sweet and some super hot. of all of them one consistently will not fruit, I have even gone so far as to hand pollinate. so what would cause one plant to refuse to set fruit while others right next to it are loaded with peppers?

I thought it was the cool nights at first but even now that things have warmed up for about 7 straight days all the blooms end up just falling off without producing. it is the only one I have of this particular variety. could it be that it needs even warmer weather? it has been in the eighties every day with lows ranging from 63-68 degrees. its still early and the heat of summer isn't quite here yet. am I just being impatient or are there just some plants that will never produce fruit? it seems healthy and is actually one of if not the heaviest bloomer of all in the bed.

the plant in question is a ghost pepper, there are Carolina reapers, butch T's, and Trinidad scorpions adjacent to it that have immature peppers already. all started from seed early winter indoors.
Last edited by jeff84 on Fri Jun 02, 2017 4:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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applestar
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Re: blossom drop

How are you "hand pollinating"? If using electric toothbrush, do you see a good pollen burst from each of the blossoms? What time of the day do you encourage pollination? It should be when temps are in mid-60's to upper 70's, mid-80's at most, after dew has dried with low humidity. It's best to do this minimum two or three times per blossom.

What variety is it? If Bell pepper, it should set fruits better around mid-70's. oops didn't see you had mentioned it's a ghost. I haven't grown a true ghost pepper yet -- naga seasoning and one that looks like it had accidentally crossed with a hab. But should be able to handle higher temps and humidity better. More frequent buzzing, though.

My hab cross was prolific, but the Naga was reluctant to set fruits until it was in super growth mode -- growing vigorous branches that were spreading out everywhere. Has yours reached that point yet?

Are you bagging the blossoms?
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jeff84
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Re: blossom drop

its only about a foot tall and has 12 branches each about al long as it is tall, loaded with blooms.

I used a small artist paintbrush to pollinate, didn't notice any dust, so perhaps it isn't dropping pollen? I do this midday when bees are active, seems natural. should I be doing it in the morning or evening?

my naga inferno has several peppers some are two inches long and already HOT. they started purple and turned a lime green. I don't know anything about naga's. what color are they when ripe?

I have grown ghosts peppers before, but then I was just now planting outdoors as seedlings with no jump on the season, they didn't do that great but all or at least most of the blooms produced pods. and I have been seeing lots of honey bees this year (must be a hive nearby) I never see them on my peppers though.

I still have a solid 3 1/2 to 4 months of growing season left though, so I am hoping it isn't a bust. like I said its the only one I have, and I was hoping to overwinter it. if it doesn't produce though I cant see going through the trouble.

and no I'm not bagging the blossoms, could you elaborate on that? it seems like it would be counter productive bt keeping bees ect; from gaining access

jeff84
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Re: blossom drop

I reread your post, and it may have been too warm when I was doing my human pollination. I will give it another go before the heat of the day sets in. it goes from nighttime lows to mid 80's within two to three hours of sunrise. but peppers are naturally from much hotter climates than this.

the weather this year has been odd, as have the plants. for instance my broccoli is just now starting to put on a head, and usually I have already began to harvest it.

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applestar
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Re: blossom drop

OK. I think you shouldn't be using the paint brush. Paint brush is a good method for transferring pollen from one blossom to another and useful for open blossoms that need this like melons and squash, apples, strawberries, citruses, etc.

All solanacea -- peppers, tomatoes, eggplants -- have complete blossoms that will pollinate itself. The fused conical structure is called "another cone" and surrounds the stigma which may or may not protrude. When the blossom is jostled (wind, passing animal/bird -- flicking the blossoms with fingers, holding the stem and giving a light shake) and particularly when a bee lands on the blossom and buzzes it, the anther cone will release pollen on the stigma, pollinating it.

Tiny metallic green sweat bees are the "normal" pollinators, but big bumblebees also favor solanacea. Bumblebees will tear the anthercone to reach the base of the blossom -- usually they know what they are doing and will do no harm. I have also seen hummingbirds sipping from extra-tall tomato blossoms at the top of the support and others.

Electric toothbrush -- I prefer the vibrating kind that makes bee-like buzz not the rotating mechanical-sounding ones. $5-$10... look for sale at drugstores like CVS, Walgreens, etc.. Touch the curving flower stem from above/behind the blossom. When backlit with sunlight or supplemental light, you can see the pollen burst in a puff or tumble out of the anther cone in a stream -- that's how much they release pollen when conditions are right. Humidity can result in clumped pollen and poor release.


Bagging blossoms -- peppers are notoriously promiscuous and when the sweatbees are active, they will transfer pollen from one plant to another, cross pollinating and creating hybrids, which ruins the seeds if saved for the SAME variety. "Bagging" means you put sheer bags -- organza wedding favor bags with string closure is often used -- over unopened flower buds to exclude the bees and hand pollinate, bagging again until fruit set, plucking other flowerbuds in the cluster before they open, tagging the "bagged/ensured pure" fruit stem and removing the bag. (You can leave the bag on if big enough --or replace with bigger bag-- to contain the fruit. This protects them from other, fruit damaging pests)

I asked about bagging -- in case you didn't know to do this for saving seeds and because small bags can create hot and humid conditions inside them and can result in straight blossom drop or prevent proper pollination in summer heat.


Also, The artists paintbrush may actually be damaging the protruding stigma -- pepper stigmas are described as "more delicate than tomato's" by breeders and they say damage easily when they are intensionally crossing peppers.
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jeff84
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Re: blossom drop

I don't plan to save seeds, so not worried about cross pollination.

also did not realize peppers were self fertile.

jeff84
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Re: blossom drop

I did do a little reading around the web, and these peppers don't normally set fruit if the night time temps drop below 70, so I am thinking that is my problem. I'm sure things will be heating up soon, so time will tell. the reason I only have one is because I had low germination rates until I cranked the heat mat up to 90 degrees to get them to germinate. by that time all but one seed had rotted.

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Re: blossom drop

Ghost peppers need heat. They like it 80 degrees or hotter.
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jeff84
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Re: blossom drop

I am hoping that's all it is, will find out soon enough. summer heat is just around the corner

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KitchenGardener
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Re: blossom drop

I'm sure its night temps. I had the same problem - every other type of pepper had long since set fruit and my ghosts were not. Then I read that they are considered really difficult to grow here because of needing high heat. Eventually, in very late summer after a heat wave, I became the proud owner of ghost pepper fruit!

jeff84
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Location: southwest indiana

Re: blossom drop

well, I tried the hand pollination again used cotton swabs this time. and well even with night time lows dipping into the upper 50's I now have several tiny peppers. not sure if it was my doing or not, If it was there was likely some cross pollination going on as I did several plants with the same swab. I did this intentionally just incase my ghost pepper plant was not producing its own pollen. if it is cross pollinated it is with a variety called naga inferno, so even if I save seeds which I don't plan on. I should still get some hot peppers. might even be an interesting cross, as the naga inferno is an upright pod variety.

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