GardenerGirl
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Still no female flowers on squash

My squash started flowering in early June, over three weeks ago now, with 2-3 big beautiful yellow flowers constantly on every plant. Unfortunately, three weeks later, I still have not seen a single female flower: I go out to check every morning so that I can hand-pollinate if there is any sign of possible zucchinis showing up.

I know that the female flowers often lag behind the male, but three weeks seems kind of extreme for that. I've been assuming it's the weather doing it: it hasn't stopped raining pretty much all month, and there have only been 3-4 days of sun in the entire month of June.

I've been telling myself nature finds a way, and to be patient, but I'm starting to really worry about them now. Is there anything I can or should be doing to help them along? Is 3 weeks a reasonable time frame to wait for female flowers? Any help is appreciated.

Jerseygardengirl
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I have the same issue. I hope someone can shed some light!

GardenerGirl
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So, ironically, after posting this yesterday, I went out today and one of my zucchini and my crookneck squash both have female flower buds! I'm watching for them to open tomorrow or the day after, and will pollinate by hand so I don't miss the opportunity. I am vastly reassured.

Jerseygardengirl, it's been really wet there this year, too, right? If so, I may just mark this down in my garden journal as a consequence of absurdly wet weather and remember it for the future.

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jal_ut
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I can only suggest patience.
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BrianSkilton
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I have some squash and lemon cucumbers that still do not have female flowers either, and this has been a pretty wet month, almost 7.5" of rain. We have had maybe 5 sunny days in June, and have been hit with every thunderstorm imaginable (with hail potential), now today the wind is 25 MPH, give me a break with this weather. Anyway, you are not alone, I shall keep looking, for female flowers.
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worldharmony
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Interesting you all say you don't have female flowers. Our flowers blossomed this week. I looked them up and sure enough they are all male, apparently. This is what they look like. It's been very rainy here as well, if that has anything to do with it.

[img]https://farm3.static.flickr.com/2650/3678830449_04b33b4cb0.jpg[/img]

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Gary350
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I have never examined my squash flowers. I did not know squash plants have male and female flowers. How can you tell the difference between the male and female flowers?

I always plant the seeds then let mother nature take over. The plants get larger and larger then pretty soon the plants makes squash.

GardenerGirl
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Male squash flowers grow on long stems, whereas the female flower have a little squash bud beneath it, which looks like a miniature squash. I took some (admittedly crappy) pictures yesterday, through the unrelenting rain, mainly to document my squash for my own sake, but here are two pictures of female squash flowers in my absurdly dense bushes.

[img]https://img.photobucket.com/albums/v716/glishara/zucchinibud.jpg[/img]
[img]https://img.photobucket.com/albums/v716/glishara/squashbud.jpg[/img]
That's a zucchini on top, and crookneck squash under.

The flowers themselves are different, too. The female flower has a more complex center (the stigma, sort of donut-shaped, like this:
[img]https://img.photobucket.com/albums/v716/glishara/femaleflower.jpg[/img]

The male flower just has a single stamen:
[img]https://img.photobucket.com/albums/v716/glishara/maleflower.jpg[/img]

Usually, the first 10-15 flowers per plant are male, and it's typically been 7-10 days before they start to make female flowers. I always track my zucchini flowers because as long as I have only male flowers, there's no reason at all that I can't pick them and fry them up. They aren't doing anything for the plant at that point!

This year, I've been pickier than usual because we've had something like 30 days of rain in the last 35 days, and with everything so waterlogged, I know pollinators don't always do their job as well, so I wanted to be prepared to hand-pollinate.

jesabisky1
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zucchini

How do you pollinate by hand. I don't know and want to learn more about gardening.

worldharmony
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I HAVE FEMALES- Woo hoo!! I took pictures of the flowers that opened a few days ago (see my previous message in this thread) but today a couple of other flowers opened on my second plant and they are females! I did a little happy dance and took a photo.

[img]https://farm4.static.flickr.com/3593/3682478058_2d16a6e46d.jpg[/img]
Last edited by worldharmony on Thu Jul 02, 2009 2:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Jerseygardengirl
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Yes, it certainly has been absurdly wet here. Perhaps we are all having the same issues. If it would EVER dry out and be sunny for awhile things would speed along nicely I'm sure.

jesabisky: there are several ways to hand pollinate. Some people remove the male flower and "mate" it with the female flower, and some people use a brush of some type, brushing inside the male flower and transferring it to the female flower. If the fruits are not pollinated you will still see them but they will fail to grow and eventually die out. I didn't know that last year and as a result all my zucchini died. :cry:

worldharmony
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So hand pollination might be recommended if there are not enough bees in the area, right? When should it be done? And how many weeks after flowering would we expect to see squash?

Jerseygardengirl
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IMO anytime after you see a fruit starting to form you are able to hand pollinate. I would err on the side of caution and do it either way, that's what I'm doing this year just to be safe. Especially with how wet it has been.

I'm not too sure how many weeks it's going to take to actually see female flowers. I've had all males for over a week with no sign of females yet. They are distinct you'll be able to notice the females right away. Hopefully the females will come soon. I'm ready for some fried zucchini. :D
Michele - Zone 6b

GardenerGirl
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If you don't want the male flowers for anything (ie, salads or frying), the easiest way to hand pollinate is to pick the male flower and pull off all the petals. This leaves just the stem and the stamen. You can then just touch the stamen to the stigma of the female flower.

If you want to save the male flowers for eating, you can use a q-tip or paintbrush to move the pollen from the stamen to the stigma, rather than transferring it directly.

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Gary350
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Many years ago I read that you can use a Q-Tip to hand pollenate plants. I cross pollenated some hot peppers with bell peppers and banana peppers once. You stick a Q-Tip in the flower of the Hot Pepper then you stick it in the flower of the Banana pepper. This will make the banana peppers hot. If you put Banana pepper pollen in a Cayenne pepper it is still hot but it grows larger but not as large as a banana pepper. Never reuse the Q-Tip because now it has pollen from 2 different plants on it and you don't want to stick it in a 3rd plant because you will be putting hot pepper and banana pepper pollen on the 3rd plant. Use a new Q-Tip each time. I experemented and used 3 different types of hot peppers to cross pollenate some banana peppers and bell peppers and it worked fine. i also cross pollenated some bell and banana pepper to the hot peppers. It is logical you can do the same thing for squash. You might even be able to cross pollenate some zucchini squash with yellow squash or the other way around.

worldharmony
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Funny you should mention that, Gary. I was planning to fertilize using a brush, then suddenly realized that despite the fact that the flowers look exactly the same (except for the gender) to me, the male flower is on my straightneck squash and the female is on my zucchini. I would be creating a straightneck zucchini or something.

worldharmony
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Funny you should mention that, Gary. I was planning to fertilize using a brush, then suddenly realized that despite the fact that the flowers look exactly the same (except for the gender) to me, the male flower is on my straightneck squash and the female is on my zucchini. I would be creating a straightneck zucchini or something.

(Sorry for posting this twice. I can't figure out how to delete posts, despite the fact that the button says "edit/delete"!)

doubleduty
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Late August and I still have no female flowers.

I live in Magnolia Tx. which is in southeast Texas and close to Houston. I planted my Yellow squash back in April. Through the months I have received many male flowers but not a single female flower.

I have a similar problem with my Watermelons. I have loads of male flowers and only 3 or 4 female flowers so far. Right next to my Watermelons I have a row of Cantaloupe that is producing very well. I have lots of Cantaloupe growing and its just perplexing why my Watermelons and not doing the same. By the way I planted my Watermelon and Cantaloupe much later in the season in mid June. It is rare that we will get a freeze before December so I figured that I should be ok.

Adam26
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Re: Still no female flowers on squash

I'm having problem not sure where you are all from I'm from UK my one squash plant is 5 ft tall got no female plants and other 3 huge leaves and growth just not f flowers

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jal_ut
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Re: Still no female flowers on squash

Gary, you say: "You stick a Q-Tip in the flower of the Hot Pepper then you stick it in the flower of the Banana pepper. This will make the banana peppers hot."

By this do you mean that the pollen falling on the anther will determine if the fruit is hot this year? Of do you mean that if you save the seed it will come hot next year?

I am having a hard time believing that this years pollen will have any effect at all on this years fruit.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

Taiji
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Re: Still no female flowers on squash

Don't know what it is about me, maybe where I grew up, who my parents were, what I do for a living...but my zucchini plants have always put out the female flowers first. Guess I'm just a maverick in that regard. :)

After the first couple of years I finally realized that they were just going to shrivel and die because of not getting pollinated, so nowadays I pick them when they're about as big as my finger and put them in the salads. ( as long as I don't see any male flowers) I usually plant Black Beauty, and they are very prolific.

This year I wanted to try a grey zucchini that is advertised to be ready in 45 days, but I just don't have the room. Maybe next year!

Never really noticed if the butternuts do the same with the female flowers. I suspect they put out the males first. All I know is, my butternut vines are loaded with big beautiful green striped squash! Can't wait.

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Re: Still no female flowers on squashI

i read somewhere that the weather may be to blame for the lack of fruit. Too hot, cold, or too much rain along with poor pollination can result in fruitless plants.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Adam26
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Re: Still no female flowers on squfinally female flowers ash

So I've been checking daily and have finally found some female flowers just to at the moment
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Adam26
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Re: Still no female flowers on squash

Female flowers at last
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image.jpg

Peter1142
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Re: Still no female flowers on squash

Cross pollination has no effect on the fruit, only the seeds. I speak from experience as well as understanding of biology - I have acorn squash, delicata squash, zucchini, and pumpkins growing in the same patch, and they are surely heavily cross pollinated by bees, and I have never seen a mongrel (I have also never seen cross pollinated effect on any other fruits, including peppers.)
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