Pepper plants are great additions to your indoor garden as they can brighten up a room with their colorful fruits and inspire many delicious recipes. If you are growing your pepper plants from seeds, you should be able to enjoy your plant’s fruit within three to four months. However, it is not unusual for come pepper plants to flower but not fruit.
If your indoor pepper plant is flowering but not fruiting, it might be because of nutrition, watering, and temperature issues. To fruit, they need temperatures of 60-85°F (15-29°C), over 6 hours of sunlight, nutrient-rich soil, and adequate water. You might also need to hand-pollinate your plant.
Pepper plants are easy to grow and care for, making them ideal even for a first-time gardener. However, you might sometimes have to deal with common issues such as a flowering but not fruiting plant. We’ll discuss causes and solutions below.
Check Temperature and Light Exposure
Generally, pepper plants thrive in warm, sunny climates. As native species of tropical areas of America, Mexico, and Peru, pepper plants require prolonged exposure to sunlight, and they love high temperatures.
When growing pepper plants in the U.S., we recommend following the USDA’s guidelines, which tell us that the ideal hardiness zones to grow these plants are between 9b and 11b. You can also grow pepper plants indoors anywhere in the country, as long as you can supply them with high enough temperatures and enough light.
Low temperatures can affect your pepper plant’s ability to create fruits. You can avoid this issue by waiting after the last frost to plant your peppers and ensure that the soil’s temperature remains stable, around 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius).
Additionally, it is crucial to monitor the temperature level during the day and night. While pepper plants enjoy warm climates, they can burn if exposed too much heat and sun. At the same time, cold temperatures might be responsible for your plant’s stunted growth, which can prevent it from producing fruits.
Solution: Set Up the Right Light and Temperature for Your Pepper Plants
As we have seen, pepper plants are easy plants to care for and, when growing them indoors, you won’t have to worry about sudden drops in temperatures.
However, there are some simple guidelines to follow, including:
- Provide daily temperatures between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (21-29 degrees Celsius)
- Provide nighttime temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit (15-21 degrees Celsius)
- Ensure pepper plants receive at least six to eight hours of sunlight each day
If you are growing your indoor pepper plant in a colder climate or somewhere where it does not receive the necessary sunlight, consider using artificial light and/or heating pads.
Too Little or Too Much Water Can Stop Your Pepper Plant from Fruiting
How you are watering your plant is just as important as the exposure to light it receives. Pepper plants need their soil to be moist but well-drained. Overwatering can soak the soil and encourage the production of bacteria and fungi, which can be extremely harmful to your plant and its ability to produce fruits. Conditions such as blossom-end rot and reduced ability to produce fruit can be linked to stress from over or under-watering your pepper plant.
If your plant receives too much or too little water, it can struggle to obtain the nutrients needed for your pepper plant’s proper growth and development.
Solution: How to Properly Water Your Pepper Plant
Generally, you will need to water your pepper plant around once a week. However, quantities and frequency of water can vary depending on your location and climate. You might even need to adapt how you water your plant depending on the season and temperatures.
A great way to assess whether you need to water your plant is to use the finger test by inserting a finger into the soil. If you feel the soil is moist, around 1.5 inches (4 cms) below the surface, you should not add any water until the soil has completely drained. If the soil feels dry, you should add water.
It is essential to be extra careful when the season is changing. As the temperatures rise and the sun becomes stronger, it is typical for your pepper plant’s soil to dry faster. In this case, you might have to increase the frequency and quantity of the waterings.
Lastly, make sure the soil provides the necessary nutrients by adding mulch around the plant and ensuring that the soil’s pH is around 6.2 and 7.0.
Check for a Nitrogen Imbalance
Alongside water and temperature, it is essential to understand whether your plant’s soil is providing the nutrients that it needs to grow. Inadequate nutrition can cause deficiencies such as your pepper plant not fruiting.
From these deficiencies, several problems can arise, including blossom-end rot and the inability to fruit. When it comes down to understanding what type of nutrients your plant needs, you should keep in mind that nitrogen is the compound responsible for developing stalks, leaves, and vegetation.
Therefore, if your plant looks green and lush but does not produce fruits, that could be a telltale sign that indicates an excess of nitrogen. So, when providing your plant with the nutrients it needs to set fruit, you should make sure it receives enough phosphorus and potassium, in addition to nitrogen.
Solution: Select Suitable Fertilizer or Compost for Your Pepper Plant
Picking the right fertilizer for your indoor pepper plant is crucial to ensuring that it receives the necessary nutrients. Ideally, you should perform a soil test to understand what is already available and what is needed for your pepper plant to thrive. You can do so by purchasing a kit to test the soil. Some guidelines include:
- Opt for 5-10-10 fertilizer, which means it contains half as much as nitrogen as it does phosphate and potassium
- Add one teaspoon when planting and one when your plant is blossoming
- If you have over-fertilized your plant, spray it with a solution of water and Epsom salt (1 teaspoon in one liter of water) to increase the level of magnesium which helps encourage growth.
Indoor pepper plants won’t require large quantities of fertilizer, and you might opt to provide them with compost rather than fertilizer. Compost will still provide the nutrients needed but in a milder and better-balanced way.
Understand Indoor Plants’ Pollination Issues
Another reason why your indoor pepper plant may be flowering but not fruiting might be related to pollination issues. Pepper plants are self-pollinating species in which the pollen naturally goes from the stamen to the ovule, thus causing the plant to produce fruits.
However, for this self-pollination process to be successful, pepper plants rely on the wind to move the pollen from the stamen to the destination. Since indoor pepper plants don’t often benefit from wind, the pollen might struggle to get to the ovule, preventing the plant from fruiting.
Solution: Hand Pollinate Your Pepper Plant
If your indoor pepper plant is not fruiting because of pollination issues, you should consider hand-pollinating it. You can do this in several ways:
- Gently shake the flowering plants to encourage the movement of pollen. Do so regularly.
- Use a cotton swab to dab the stamens and manually move the pollen onto other flowers.
- Use a small paintbrush or toothbrush to transfer the pollen, similar to the cotton swab.
This process can increase the chances of pollination. However, some tips can help you improve these chances further:
- Wait until the pollen production is at its peak, which happens between 12 and 3 pm.
- Dab the cotton swab in water to make it stickier.
- Use the swab to swirl around the flower to collect as much pollen as possible.
- Repeat the movement gently and methodically to prevent blossom damage.
- Prevent cross-pollination by swapping the swab for a new one for every species of indoor plants and peppers you have.
You can find specific guidelines to hand pollinate your indoor pepper plants in the video below:
Indoor pepper plants are beginner-friendly species that are rewarding and fun to grow. However, one of the most common problems that might arise involves having a flowering plant that does not fruit. If this happens to you, you should evaluate how much water it receives, the surrounding temperature, and its exposure to sunlight.
If the plant’s nitrogen levels are too high, this can also prevent it from fruiting. If you are growing your indoor pepper in a location where there is no wind, you might also need to consider hand-pollinating it.
Here are Some of my Favorite Gardening Products and Tools
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful for growing some new plants in your home or garden. Here are some products I like that I hope you’ll also find helpful. These are affiliate links, and I am compensated for referring traffic. But in all honesty, these are the exact product that I use or recommend to everyone.
Soil: For high-quality soil, I really like Fox Farm Ocean Forest. I do all my growing in containers and this soil has worked great for me. I like how they use nutrient-rich contents like earthworm castings, bat guano, and composted crab and fish.
Fertilizer: Currently I am using a seaweed-based organic fertilizer call Neptunes Harvest. This is a great milder fertilizer option if you want to use something organic. If you want a more powerful fertilizer, I recommend Fox Farm Liquid Nutrient Trio, lots of people have had great growing success with this product.
Pruning Shears: Pruning shears are one of the most useful gardening tools to have because it’s important to prune your plants to keep them healthy. The pruning shears I recommend are the Gonicc 8’’ pruning shears. I like them because they are built sturdy and work both on bigger and smaller plants, so you don’t need to have multiple pruning shears.
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