BalconyGardener80
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Straight 8 cucumbers only producing male flowers

Hello,

This is my first post!

I have seen many things on the web about cukes producing a bunch of male flowers first and then the females come a few days later. Welllllll.... my 3 straight 8's that I have growing on my balcony have been producing nothing but male flowers for almost a month now. After dealing with powdery mildew and an aphid infestation, the vine continues to grow and look great (it's almost to the top of it trellis!), but nothing but soldiers! Is there something I'm doing wrong? This is my first time gardening from my balcony so I don't know if there's anything different from doing it inground, which I've done before at my parents' house with decent success. Cukes had always been one of the easier things to harvest (melons being the hardest).

Thanks for any help!

pepperhead212
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Re: Straight 8 cucumbers only producing male flowers

Cucurbits have a tendency to put out a lot of male blossoms, before the females. How long ago did you plant these? I've seen them start the male blossoms 30 days after planting, or even before, but not producing females for another 2 weeks, which is about the time it's supposed to take to start producing. I had something this year that started out the opposite - a bunch of females, with no males to fertilize them, and I had to hand fertilize as soon as I could find a male to open, but still had a bunch of fruits I had to snip off, as they didn't get fertilized. I guess this is why most have evolved to have all those male blossoms start first.
Dave

BalconyGardener80
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Re: Straight 8 cucumbers only producing male flowers

pepperhead212 wrote:Cucurbits have a tendency to put out a lot of male blossoms, before the females. How long ago did you plant these? I've seen them start the male blossoms 30 days after planting, or even before, but not producing females for another 2 weeks, which is about the time it's supposed to take to start producing. I had something this year that started out the opposite - a bunch of females, with no males to fertilize them, and I had to hand fertilize as soon as I could find a male to open, but still had a bunch of fruits I had to snip off, as they didn't get fertilized. I guess this is why most have evolved to have all those male blossoms start first.
I planted them the day after Mother's Day. They were about 4 inches tall then.. now they're about 4 feet tall. I started getting male flowers a little after Memorial Day and that's all I've been getting since, even as the vines continue to grow. I've read in many places it takes about 10 days after the males come for the females to show up, but no dice for me. :(

Thanks for your reply!

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applestar
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Re: Straight 8 cucumbers only producing male flowers

Straight 8 has been around for a long time. Since it is supposed to grow true from seeds, the seed are saved and shared/sold, but I think sometimes accidental cross-pollination could creep in. For a while, all female hybrid with a few all male hybrid seeds per packet was quite popular (and still might be). Where did you get your seeds from? Was it a reputable source?

As much as I tend to prefer heirloom and OP varieties for almost everything, I like experimenting with the hybrid parthenocarpic varieties which doesn’t need pollination. and also different cucumber heirloom and OP varieties like Japanese/Asian, pickling vs. slicing, Beit alpha, thin-skinned European?, Armenian, and ...Persian. Russian varieties are also on my list to try. Do you prefer the American varieties?

You have plenty of time to start and try other varieties, so you might give it some consideration.
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imafan26
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Re: Straight 8 cucumbers only producing male flowers

If the weather is too hot or too cold, there are too many plants in a pot and the pot is drying out. inadequate pollination,.. any kind of stress can affect fruit production

Cucurbits don't fruit in cold weather, plants that are crowded will have fewer female flowers. Physical damage to plants from wind or insects, water stress, and low light levels will produce mostly male flowers and fewer females. Temperatures above 86 degrees will produce more males. Temperature below 60 degrees will produce more females and fewer males.

Parthenocarpic cucumbers like Diva cost more for seed, but are nearly all female and do not require pollination and might be an option. In fact, you don't want them to be pollinated because it deforms the fruit and the seeds get bigger.

Other than that you need to make sure you plant the cucumbers at the right time for your zone when temperature are between 70-80 degrees. Make sure plants get enough spacing, light, and water.

There are usually 10-15% seeds of a male variety in packets with gynoecious cucumbers to make sure there a enough males for pollination.

http://www.seminis-us.com/resources/agr ... cucumbers/
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

BalconyGardener80
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Re: Straight 8 cucumbers only producing male flowers

imafan26 wrote:If the weather is too hot or too cold, there are too many plants in a pot and the pot is drying out. inadequate pollination,.. any kind of stress can affect fruit production

Cucurbits don't fruit in cold weather, plants that are crowded will have fewer female flowers. Physical damage to plants from wind or insects, water stress, and low light levels will produce mostly male flowers and fewer females. Temperatures above 86 degrees will produce more males. Temperature below 60 degrees will produce more females and fewer males.

Parthenocarpic cucumbers like Diva cost more for seed, but are nearly all female and do not require pollination and might be an option. In fact, you don't want them to be pollinated because it deforms the fruit and the seeds get bigger.

Other than that you need to make sure you plant the cucumbers at the right time for your zone when temperature are between 70-80 degrees. Make sure plants get enough spacing, light, and water.

There are usually 10-15% seeds of a male variety in packets with gynoecious cucumbers to make sure there a enough males for pollination.

http://www.seminis-us.com/resources/agr ... cucumbers/
Thanks for this post! AFter reading it, it's possibly a few factors that may be affecting it.

-I have 3 plants in a 15 gallon pot that is watered by a watering spike. There were originally 6 plants in there but I thinned them to the 3 strongest. I"m not sure if that's still too crowded or not...
-Physical damage: I stated before that there was a case of powdery mildew and aphids that I had to deal with. I cut off the affected leaves and stems... and I will say after I did that, they did slow down with producing male flowers... but it picked right back up again in the past few days. Is that considered physical damage?
-Low light levels: This is what I was concerned about from the beginning of the season... My balcony faces WNW :shock: I assumed the lighting was good enough though because of how fast the plant is growing.
Temperature: Here in the DC area the temps have been consistently in the mid 80s-90s since mid-June.

If I could just get ONE female flower I will be happy! lol :> :roll:

BalconyGardener80
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Re: Straight 8 cucumbers only producing male flowers

applestar wrote:Straight 8 has been around for a long time. Since it is supposed to grow true from seeds, the seed are saved and shared/sold, but I think sometimes accidental cross-pollination could creep in. For a while, all female hybrid with a few all male hybrid seeds per packet was quite popular (and still might be). Where did you get your seeds from? Was it a reputable source?

As much as I tend to prefer heirloom and OP varieties for almost everything, I like experimenting with the hybrid parthenocarpic varieties which doesn’t need pollination. and also different cucumber heirloom and OP varieties like Japanese/Asian, pickling vs. slicing, Beit alpha, thin-skinned European?, Armenian, and ...Persian. Russian varieties are also on my list to try. Do you prefer the American varieties?

You have plenty of time to start and try other varieties, so you might give it some consideration.
I got them from the same nursery my mom has been going to for years. This year she got Bush Champion from the same place (at the same time I bought my straight 8s) and has already gotten 6 cukes from it.

This weekend I bought some Marketmore 76 seeds as well as Bush Champion that I will probably sow this evening on my windowsill. I've never considered any of the other varieties you've mentioned as I just started getting familiar with the different kinds this year (with cukes anyway... I'm very familiar with different varieties of tomatoes, melons, etc).

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kayjay
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Re: Straight 8 cucumbers only producing male flowers

-Low light levels: This is what I was concerned about from the beginning of the season... My balcony faces WNW :shock: I assumed the lighting was good enough though because of how fast the plant is growing.
Hi. I have a feeling this might be the problem. If it's growing quickly, it might just be trying to get more light. I have a tomato plant that's doing this. It's 5 feet tall with no flowers. I took a chance on sticking it where it is... it's not getting enough light. It's "sister" (same variety) in a better location with lots of light is shorter and has several flower clusters and 4 or 5 little tomatoes already.

I'm growing Straight 8 cukes for the first time this year. I put them out June 1, and they don't have a female flower yet - but my Taladega cucumbers have had several. It might just be a later variety, I guess. It could also be that.
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jal_ut
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Re: Straight 8 cucumbers only producing male flowers

BalconyGardener80, welcome to the forum.

About those cukes, all I can suggest is give them some time.
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BalconyGardener80
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Re: Straight 8 cucumbers only producing male flowers

kayjay wrote:
-Low light levels: This is what I was concerned about from the beginning of the season... My balcony faces WNW :shock: I assumed the lighting was good enough though because of how fast the plant is growing.
Hi. I have a feeling this might be the problem. If it's growing quickly, it might just be trying to get more light. I have a tomato plant that's doing this. It's 5 feet tall with no flowers. I took a chance on sticking it where it is... it's not getting enough light. It's "sister" (same variety) in a better location with lots of light is shorter and has several flower clusters and 4 or 5 little tomatoes already.

I'm growing Straight 8 cukes for the first time this year. I put them out June 1, and they don't have a female flower yet - but my Taladega cucumbers have had several. It might just be a later variety, I guess. It could also be that.
I'm starting to feel like that might be the problem also. I"m also experimenting with a Sugar Baby watermelon plant on my balcony and it wouldn't do anything until I put a grow light above it.... now it's sprawling about in its pot (no flowers yet though).

imafan26
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Re: Straight 8 cucumbers only producing male flowers

Higher temps are usually the deal breaker for me. The zucchini did well enough until the temperatures got over 88 degrees. Then, the plant produced only male flowers and no females. When it was cooler it produced both, but I only had one plant and the flowers did not sync and the male and female flowers did not open at the same time. Parthenocarpic plants tolerated more heat and because they are mostly female, they set more fruit even in the heat.

Plants that don't get enough light or get too much nitrogen grow vegetatively and do not produce a lot of flowers until they get more light and less nitrogen.
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BalconyGardener80
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Re: Straight 8 cucumbers only producing male flowers

Hello all,

I wanted to give an update on this.... my straight eights continued to produce nothing but male flowers up until last week when it started dying. I think thry got struck by some sort of bacterial disease because when I returned home from New Orleans I saw that all the leaves were turning brown and wilting. So I’m going to try again with bush champion cukes under a grow light, since I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that it wouldn’t produce female flowers because of the inefficient amount of light, and potentially the high temperatures that we,ve had lately in the DC area. A grow light that I currently have seems to work very well as I am using it to grow sugarbaby watermelons on the same balcony… And I have two little baby watermelons on the vine! :mrgreen:

Thanks all for your advice!

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jal_ut
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Re: Straight 8 cucumbers only producing male flowers

Thanks for the update. Good luck on your next planting.
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kayjay
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Re: Straight 8 cucumbers only producing male flowers

Update of my own: I think I’m about 2-3 weeks behind you, and I only see one female flower on the Straight 8. I’ve already eaten 2 Taladega cukes and there are several newer ones on the way. Hmpf. :?
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jal_ut
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Re: Straight 8 cucumbers only producing male flowers

Likely too late for cukes this season. Next year plant seed directly in the garden where it will grow. Full sunshine. Plant third weed of May to June 1. Put one seed each foot in the row and rows spaced 30 inches. Plant 3 rows 20 feet long. Also you may want to try several varieties. A few of each. :-()
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BalconyGardener80
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Re: Straight 8 cucumbers only producing male flowers

Hello again,

So as I stated before, I started some late season Bush Champion cukes back in July. This has been one hot summer and figured that I probably wouldn't get anything. However, a couple days ago, just when I thought the season was just about over (and had basically given up), I got a surprise:
IMG_4790.jpg
Yes, one lonely female flower, late in the season, when the temperature went down into the high 70s/low 80s. I hand pollinated it this morning when the flower opened up and came home to find it shriveled up as seen, so hopefully that is a good sign. :-() If I get just one cuke, I at least know that I am capable of growing such things on a balcony facing NW.

This comes after I had already started my fall garden..... :shock:

imafan26
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Re: Straight 8 cucumbers only producing male flowers

Try a parthenocarpic variety. It does not require any pollination, in fact, you don't want pollination. It still needs adequate light.
If you have no female flowers, 3 weeks after the male flowers come out, you can try stimulating the male flowers to make them think that the bees are coming around. The males come out first to entice pollinators to come in, they might start producing more females if the male flowers are visited. You should also plant some nectar plants to bring more bees in.
Most plants will not produce flowers or will go to seed in extreme conditions. You may need to adjust your planting time so the plants flower at the right temps around 75-90 degrees. Your cuke does look like it needs more light. the leaves are dark green and small so maybe some artificial lighting or reflectors can help get more light on the plant.
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BalconyGardener80
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Re: Straight 8 cucumbers only producing male flowers

I did have an LED grow light on it until I started my fall seedlings indoors (I needed it for that). The plant has grown pretty well without it. The baby cuke is pretty new at the end of the newest growth which is why the leaves are small. If you saw the rest of the plant you would see the larger leaves. But yes I defintely agree... the position of my balcony isn't great when it comes to getting direct light.

My other plants.. bush beans, habanero peppers.. are doing quite well with the same amount of light though.

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jal_ut
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Re: Straight 8 cucumbers only producing male flowers

"Plant third weed of May to June 1."

Write, read, fix, read again, then if correct, POST. (can't go back and fix my stupid mistake, so am just making fun of myself)
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