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What do flowering peppers mean? Is your pepper plant in trouble? Should you panic, your plant is producing flowers instead of peppers?
These are al common questions when young pepper plants begin to flower.
I remember clearly as a ten year old when my pepper plant began to flower and feeling miffed. I expected peppers not flowers.
My parents quickly assured me not to worry. Flowers on a plant instead of peppers can mean several things but basically, the plant is still immature or it is a response to something.
If your plant is in a small container, it could be responding to it’s small growing space. Limited space and availability to larger soil areas can be a response which triggers flowering peppers.
But basically, the plant is not mature enough or at a stage to be producing peppers which we’ll explain in more detail.
Should You Pick Plants With Flowering Peppers?
The simple answer is yes. The plant is still young and immature and you likely have it in a small container.
I’m talking to gardeners with pepper plants in small containers. By small, containers or small pots that measure 3-6 inches in width.
When young pepper plants flower, it’s basically telling you it’ just not ready to start producing fruit.
Why would you have a pepper plant in a small container. I’m assuming you have grown it from a seed or small seedling and nurturing it to a suitable size to transfer to a larger garden set up.
This could be in a bed outside. Or, you are going to transfer it into a larger container. I’d suggest at least five gallons.
So what should you do? I would pinch the flowers off the plant and leave it in it’s small pot.
By leaving it in the small container, you are telling it that it should be focussing more of its energy into growing leaves and branches.
An immature pepper plant shouldn’t be producing fruit at a stage of its development when it should be more focussed on creating a strong structural foundation.
It’s going to need it when transferred to a larger growing area.
Pepper plants can have a longish life so there is no hurry in having it producing fruit when it’s “barely out of it’s nappies”.
It’s a little like not rushing young college players into the NFL too early. They are not ready for the different tempo and physicality.
So when you see your young pepper plant producing flowers, just pinch them off. This should be done especially with the first blossoms. Then it’s up to you to decide if they are ready to be transplanted.
How To Remove Flowering Peppers From Your Plant
This is a pretty simple process. Don’t overthink this too much.
The tools required can vary from your fingers, shears, scissors sets. You get the drift.
Pinching or picking flowers off your plant is something you can’t really screw up. I use my fingers. I’m talking thumb and index finger.
One thing before you use your fingers, I’d suggest you wash them thoroughly before you start pinching off the flowers. Why? Because you don’t want to transfer anything nasty such as unwanted bacteria to your plant.
Yes, even with plants you have to be careful what you can pass on. Young pepper plants can be vulnerable and it depends on you to make sure it doesn’t pick up anything which could be prevented.
Keep it clean and provide good maintenance regularly, and your pepper plant will reward you with lot and lots of fruit.
When Should You Stop Picking The Flowers Off Your Pepper Plants?
This is a great question. We mentioned to always pinch off the first blossoms produced by the plant. Okay, but what should you do when it keeps producing flowers? Keep pinching them off.
The growth of a pepper plant is an evolution in growth and relocation. I like to make at least three relocations with my plants.
I’ll start them off in a punnet size container. I move them to a larger container when they need it. Don’t worry, you’ll know when to make the first transplant.
And finally, I move them to the main garden. If you are in an apartment, You’ll move your plant to a large container, at least five gallons.
During this time, they will continue to produce flowers. Keep removing them. Once you transplant your pepper for the last time, with a month before letting it rip and produce peppers.
In other words, once you have placed it in its final resting place, continue pinching off the flowers. Allow it to get used to its new environment, especially the elements around it. This is an important time of acclimation for your pepper plant.
When Not To Pick The Pepper Flowers?
Okay, this may sound a little like when to stop picking the flowers but it is different.
I grew up in a warm climate and had no issues pinching flowers off my pepper plants. But if you live in a cool climate when frost, snow and ice are major components of your weather patterns, leave the flowers on and let the plant do it’s best to produce whatever fruit it can.
That may sound a little contradictory but trust me, pepper plants don’t do really well in cold weather and pinching off the flowers may hamper their development.
Cold areas have shorter seasons for growth. Pepper plants are naturally long time maturing plants so this will be a case of get what you can while the plant is in the mood to produce fruit.
Hot pepper varieties, (I’m talking super hot) should also be left alone. They take longer to reach full maturity and produced pods that are ripe.
Just check to see what their duration for ripening is. Hot varieties do take longer so this is a case of leaving the plant alone and letting the flowers turn into pepper pods at the plant’s leisure. That’s if you want peppers by the end of the season.