Where are my female zucchini flowers?
June 9, 2014 10:34 AM   Subscribe

I planted a zucchini plant in a container in March (I'm in the US, zone 9) and it has only given male flowers. It's probably gone through 6 generations of flowers by this point. Am I ever going to get squash? What's going on here? Details provided inside.

-Powdery mildew has been an issue. I pinch off affected leaves and have been spraying regularly with neem oil. Also I've picked a couple of little green caterpillars off in the past few weeks, before they managed to do much damage.
-I cut off the earliest flowers to eat but have left the others on until they wilt, just in case the females were coming. (Should I be doing something different?)
-The plant is alone in its 5-gallon container. I have lots of other plants (tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, herbs, etc.) in other containers and they are all healthy.
-It has been fertilized a couple times with the appropriate amount of extended-release granules.
-Not sure if we have many bees, but I'm prepared to facilitate the flower sexytimes myself, once I get female flowers.
posted by karbonokapi to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
number of male flowers sounds about right. I've always had a huge excess of male flowers. You should be able to see the developing female buds along the stem, though.

Have you successfully grown squash/zucc in containers ? (I have grown bush type winter squash, but the size and yield of the fruit was too small for the effort. So I'm not sure they are well adapted for containers.)
posted by k5.user at 11:26 AM on June 9, 2014

I learned this yesterday from my dad!

All cucurbits produce a number of male flowers before they produce any female flowers attached to baby squashes/cucumbers/melons. They do this, wisely, so that sufficient pollen is available when the female flowers open. It makes perfect sense, when you think about it.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:15 PM on June 9, 2014

Thank you. Maybe I'm just impatient. I knew male flowers come before the female ones, but everything I read online had indicated that the delay is maybe a week or so, not several months.
posted by karbonokapi at 2:56 PM on June 9, 2014

What is the nitrogen content of your fertilizer? Curcurbits do not like high nitrogen, and too much can cause female flowers to fall off. I would stop fertilization of any type and be certain not to over water as well. The top several inches of soil should dry out; it's even okay for a slight wilt in the hottest part of the afternoon. I've successfully grown squashes, melons, and cucumbers in containers in zone 9. I do think five gallons is a bit small, but too late to change at this point.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:52 PM on June 9, 2014

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