Female zuke flowers won't open!

bustergordonJuly 30, 2008

I finally have female zucchini flowers, but now they won't open! The little zucchini turns yellow and shrivels up before the flower ever opens, so I can't get them pollinated. This has now happened with 3 of my female flowers.

Any ideas? Thanks!

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sunriseonthehill

Did you check the stem of plant?
I lost two zukes by Squash Vine Borer.
I did have same problem as you are having.
If it is SVB you see frass and a whole in the stem near the base. Check it out!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 12:54PM
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smiles317(7)

I read somewhere that they only open in the AM. Maybe you're missing it?

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 12:57PM
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wvtomatoman(z6 WV)

When are you looking? Summer squash flowers open in the morning. If you're looking in the afternoon you won't see them open. Do you have bees present? I see bees in the afternoon even when the squash blossoms aren't open.

Randy

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 3:43PM
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bustergordon

Thanks everyone. I'm looking first thing in the morning. The male flowers are open, the females are shut tight (and still have that "greenish" tint about them that makes them look like they're not ready to open yet). I've checked for squash borers or anything else -- the plants seem fine.

I have tons of bees in the vicinity, so even if I'm missing them, the bees probably aren't -- the females just aren't opening to get pollinated!

I've been wondering if it is either too hot (every day temps are in the 90s) or they are not getting the right amount of water (although I'm not sure if this is symptomatic of too much or too little).

Please help -- I'd really like to get some zucchini this year!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 4:29PM
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greenmulberry(5-Iowa City)

I peel them open and hand pollinate them anyway if they look mature, and that seems to work. Pluck one of the male flowers, take the polliny stamen, and peel open the female flowers and rub his parts around in there.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 5:24PM
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pam225

Hi,

I also open up the flowers myself...do exactly what greenmulberry says and you too will be overrun by zukes....

And for those who saw my post earlier with the same question about pollination---yes, my children are now sick of zucchini! :o)

Pam

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 10:34PM
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smiles317(7)

I had to participate in squash hanky panky recently with a spaghetti squash vine recently. I opened the female flower, stuck the male parts inside (thought of a couple dirty jokes about squash) and then let nature take over form there.
I now have one little spaghetti squash growing in the vine :)

Try that with your females not opening!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 11:49AM
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susancol(7 Atlanta)

"I'm looking first thing in the morning. The male flowers are open, the females are shut tight (and still have that "greenish" tint about them that makes them look like they're not ready to open yet). I've checked for squash borers or anything else -- the plants seem fine.
I have tons of bees in the vicinity, so even if I'm missing them, the bees probably aren't -- the females just aren't opening to get pollinated! "

Me too, me too. Exactly this. Females are locked up tight. I check every morning, thinking 'tomorrow will be the day, it's just not ready quite yet.' Then tomorrow comes and the zuc is shrivelled. It's like too early, too early,...TOO LATE! :P

I guess I'll try to rip open the flower early and hand pollinate. Also, I'm going to try more water. But if someone finds the definite answer to this problem, please post it. :)

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 3:02PM
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kd-boo-do

I am having the same problem, and I have checked while it is still dark out (5 am), first light, mid morning, afternoon, and dusk. Too early, cause flowers are not open, then later shriveled zucchini. I have NEVER had this problem before and it is really irritating me. I will try forcing the flower open and hand pollinating as suggested, but I know this does not always solve the problem. I will report back if it does or does not work.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2010 at 11:30PM
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shyflowers

My female zucchini flowers won't open either. I have checked at all times of day. The zucchini behind the flowers get around 4 inches long but the flowers never open and the zucchini eventually just shrivel up. I hand pollinated a couple of the flowers but the zucchini still shriveled up.

It has been really hot here. Any ideas?

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 6:18PM
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noinwi

I have the opposite going on. My first two female flowers have opened, while the males are still tiny. On the upside, I think someone nearby in the neighborhood has some zuke plants because those two females seem to have been pollinated.
But what usually happens(for me anyway)is the plant puts out a flush of one sex of flower or the other early on, then the other has to catch up, then finally, there will be both male and female flowers at the same time so pollination can take place(either by hand, or by insect). I usually plant only one, so I have to be patient and wait for both flowers to be present.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 10:59PM
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snowmanaxp(7b NC)

I am glad I found this thread. I'm not really sure how I missed it.
I am having the same issue with my squash and zucchini plants. I have gotten one squash so far. There have been several other female flowers that have done as others said and never opened and just shriveled up and died.
I will have to try and pollinate the females by opening up the flowers myself.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 8:20AM
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susancol(7 Atlanta)

I had this problem in my first garden year, see my earlier post. I finally read that this is a common symptom for a plant that is stressed. That first year, my zuch was crowded, shaded, water stressed by drought, and I had tried to train it into a tomato cage to keep it from taking over the space in the square foot garden. I wonder why it was stressed? LOL Now I plant my zuch's in a more sunny location with at least 4 square feet allocated to it and steady drip system irrigation. Haven't had the problem since. So figure out what is stessing your zuchini plant, and you might solve the vestal virgin zuchini problem in your garden.

Now that I think on it, that cage kind of worked like a chastity belt, no wonder there was no zuch sex going on!

Best of luck!
Susan

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 9:16AM
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shyflowers

Hmmm, evidently all I needed to do was post a message about my female zucchini flowers. When I checked them this morning 2 were open. I hand pollinated them just to make sure but I did see a bee out there later on today.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 6:50PM
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shyflowers

ZUCCHINI MANIA!!!!!!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2010 at 9:44PM
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