So, your vegetable plants
are producing flowers, and you can almost taste the fresh veggies. Disappointment strikes when instead of turning into fruit, the healthy-looking flowers fall off the plant
, leaving you with a whole lot of nothing. What's going on?
This frustrating phenomenon is known as blossom drop. While the plant looks otherwise healthy, flowers dry up and drop off the plant. There are several causes of blossom drop, and planning can help you prevent it.
- Temperature: When temperatures are too high (above 90 F) or too low (below 50 F at night), tomato and pepper plants have a hard time pollinating. Early summer or late chills can cause blossom drop even when plants are planted during the correct season.
- Lack of pollination: Temperature aside, if a flower doesn't become fertilized, it won't turn into a fruit. To ensure your flowers produce, manually pollinate them if you have concerns.
- Nitrogen: Over-fertilizing can cause blossom drop. Fertilize only every two weeks. Too much nitrogen encourages plants to grow more foliage instead of fruit.
- Water: Water deeply to ensure strong roots that can support a plant with fruit. If a plant feels stressed by weight, it will stop adding to the burden by stalling fruit production.
- Too many blossoms: If a plant produces more blossoms than it can feed to turn into fruit, it goes into a survival mode of sorts---only setting and growing fruit that it can adequately provide for. This blossom drop problem generally goes away after the first harvest.
In addition to environmental and stress factors, disease or pest damage can also cause blossom drop
. Find clues on how to identify plant problems>>>>>