Apr 29 • 11M

Why Do Pepper Flowers Fall Off?

Because you are in too much of a hurry for really fresh salsa.

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A deeper dive into what was discussed in the Garden Basics with Farmer Fred Podcast
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In this past week’s two episodes of the “Garden Basics with Farmer Fred” podcast, we covered several timely topics in Episodes 188 and 189 including:

Episode 188:

• Tips for Controlling Bermudagrass (Note: the word is “control”, not “eradicate”). Bermudagrass is forever.

• How plants communicate to get nutrition and ward off pests. (Steve Zien of Living Resources Co. spends a lot of time with his ear to the ground. Maybe he’s fallen and can’t get back up? Anyway, he says plant roots sweat a lot.)

• The (Alleged) Benefits of Compost Tea. Not that I doubt the enthusiasm of Steve Zien - also known as Sacramento’s Organic Advocate - for advocating the use of compost tea for improving soil biology, but next week in this space we will talk with a researcher from the University of Virginia Cooperative Extension who has studied the pros and cons of compost tea. It may come down to the quality of the water that you use to brew the compost tea.

• Thin your vegetable seedlings! Thin your flower seedlings! THIN THE FRUIT ON YOUR DECIDUOUS FRUIT TREES! (lessons learned the hard way)

No! Is That the Sound of a Breaking Branch I Hear?

Episode 189:

• Stop Tomato Blossom End Rot Before It Starts (Tips to reduce the incidence of this disorder in your tomato and pepper plants. Yes, peppers get blossom end rot, too.)

Grow Your Soil via the “Clip and Flip” and “Chop and Drop” mulching methods. The author of the book, Grow Your Soil, Diane Miessler, also refers in our chat to bermudagrass, calling it “the spawn of Satan”, so she’s OK in my book.

So why, then, is the above podcast about pepper flowers? Because in many parts of the country this time of year, nurseries and garden centers have tomato and pepper plants, side by side. They wouldn’t be stocking peppers on their shelves unless it was the right time to plant them, right? right? Let’s put it this way: those pepper flowers are more susceptible to dropping off during typical late April-early May nighttime low temperatures. Don’t worry, you’ll get peppers. Eventually.

Arrivederci, April Corno Di Toro pepper flower.

We had to cut short last week’s display of Master Rosarian Charlotte Owendyk’s list of the Ten Most Fragrant Roses to grow (the Internet was running low on zeroes and ones). Here, then, is the balance of those shows for the nose, excerpted from the June 2021 Rose Reflections Newsletter of the Sacramento Rose Society and Sierra Foothills Rose Society.

By the way, those two societies are having their spring rose show and sale, Saturday, April 30, 1-4:30 pm, at the Shepherd Garden and Art Center, 3330 McKinley Blvd. in Sacramento’s McKinley Park. Free admission, free parking. If you’re in the area, drop in and smell the roses. Sacramento Rose Society President Debbie Arrington wants to remind you, “after seeing the show, check out the McKinley Park Memorial Rose Garden, too.”


Two roses stand out as the most loved fragrant rose. Query rose growers and you will find Mister Lincoln and Double Delight mentioned most often. Also, these roses are frequent winners of the “most fragrant rose” award at rose shows. However, both roses are problematic in relation to disease resistance.

Hybridized in 1965, Mister Lincoln, a dark red hybrid tea, has an old fashioned, damask scent. Mr. Lincoln's blossoms are held on stiff, upright stems and will turn bluish as they age. The bushes can be expected to grow 4-5 feet tall and about 2 feet across. The lower couple of feet of the canes are usually leafless. It is susceptible to blackspot.


Double Delight, hybridized in 1977, has flowers that are a rich, creamy white to pale pink center with deep, ruby edging. They have a bushy habit, growing to about 4-5 feet with a 2-3 foot spread. It has a sweet, spicy scent. It is also susceptible to mildew.

Beverly – Perfectly formed high centered blooms with an intense fruity fragrance that has notes of citrus, peach, pear, and plum that mingle with base notes of patchouli and fresh myrtle that makes want to keep you nose in those beautiful blooms. Foliage is dark green with excellent disease resistance. The blooms open flat. This rose was the winner of the “Best Hybrid Tea” and “Most Fragrant Rose” awards at the 2013 Biltmore International Rose Trials.

Falling in Love – lovely warm pink with white accents and reverse exhibition blooms with strong rose and fruit fragrance. This rose is a good bloomer and fairly quick repeat. The rose produces big, beautiful and nicely fragrant blooms that are long lasting cut flowers. Falling in Love is upright, has big stiff canes and is fairly angular with great looking foliage. However, watch out for those thorns -- Falling in Love is one of the thorniest roses currently on the market. It's a beautiful rose and great looking bush with outstanding foliage.

Golden Celebration One of the largest-flowered English Roses, bears rich yellow blooms in the form of giant cups. They have a strong Tea fragrance, developing wonderfully combined notes of Sauternes wine and strawberry. It forms a large rounded shrub, with ample foliage – the flowers held beautifully poised on long, arching branches. A few blooms will fill a room with fragrance. Very few thorns. One of my top favs.

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Fred Hoffman is also a University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardener in Sacramento County.