Pepper Transplants

Hi pepper growers,
I’m struggling with the timing of my bell pepper transplants. I want to wait until I am confident it is safe to plant them outdoors, however many are just starting to bud (some even flower) in their cells. Will flowering in the cell stress them out and impact their growth and yield this summer? Should flowers and/or buds be removed? I was planning on getting them in the ground next Tuesday, but could do some weekend planting if this wait will be detrimental. Any advice would be great!

Hi Naomi!

In my experience, hot peppers tend to flower before bell peppers. Regardless of who comes first, if your pepper plants with buds/flowers get exposed to too hot (say 32C) or too cold (say 13C) temperatures, you increase the likelihood of failed fertilization (the flower will not produce fruit). I’d have to double check the minimum-maximum temperatures but in the solanaceae family, it’s all about the same, where 13-15 degrees C is a minimum temperature if you don’t want to affect fruit set. Having said that, it’ll only affect your early harvest and subsequent buds/flowers/fruits will be fine. Everyone else, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong!

My peppers sometimes flower before I put them out and I just pinch them off and wait until the plant has put on a bit more vegetative growth so it can support a healthy fruit set. I’ve experimented leaving the flowers on and it seems to be too hard for the small plants to effectively ripen fruit before they are big enough.

Thanks for the advice! Mike. I have often done the same (experimenting with pinching off the flowers) but then don’t do a good job following up which were pinched and which I left, so sharing your results is helpful.

Good advice Mike, will try it out right now as we are planting our pepper plants tomorrow!