Male Flowers--cukes and zukes

steiconi(12a-Big Island, HI)July 19, 2014

I've got both cucumbers and zucchini in my greenhouse I hand pollinate daily. They have opposite problems.

The zukes are producing very few female flowers--four plants give me a total of 2 or 3 flowers a week.
There are 4-5 male flowers every day. These were planted about 3 months ago, should be over the whole "male flowers first" thing.
I looked carefully, and there are no hidden zukes that might be inhibiting flowering.

The cukes are producing tons of female flowers, but just recently have bloomed few males.
I usually find upwards of a dozen female flowers each morning, but only one or two males. The boys just aren't up to the task of fertilizing that many females.

any suggestions? It's tempting to try using zuke pollen on cuke flowers, but I don't think it would do any good.

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"Male flower first" is not necessarily the rule. In my garden, female flowers of Pepo, Maxima and Moschata all precede male flowers, and by alot.
Any pumpkins, Acorn or Delicata squashes around? Their pollen will work on zukes as they are all Pepo.
Forget the zuke/cuke hybrid attempt.
Perhaps some neighbors or friends have gardens with male flowers to spare? I have actually stooped as low as to swipe a flower from my neighbor. I can only admit that since those neighbors have since passed on.
Other than that, you can but wait... and wait... and watit.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 4:54PM
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Yes -- last year I had all female flowers and no males on my zucchini for a couple of weeks, so I ran around collecting male flowers from neighbors each morning. Made for very nice visiting time.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 6:04PM
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theforgottenone1013(MI zone 5b/6a)

I've had plenty of female flowers on my zucchini but the males are few and far between. And every time a female flower opens the male flower is shriveled. I wish they'd synchronize better. So from two plants I've harvested a total of 2 zucchini (one from each plant) thus far. Cucurbits are mysterious in their ways sometimes.

"any suggestions? It's tempting to try using zuke pollen on cuke flowers, but I don't think it would do any good."

It wouldn't do anything. Cukes and zukes can't cross pollinate.


This post was edited by theforgottenone1013 on Sat, Jul 19, 14 at 19:01

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 7:00PM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

Hmmm. My experience is just the opposite. With cukes, moschata, and melons. Males, males, males forever. And then, if you're lucky, a female flower. For the melons, it's exciting enough when I have a female that I immediately manually pollinate. I'm not taking a chance.

In fact, I've seen it reported that the norm is 10:1 M:F, with all males first. The lore is that plants fire off males first, because they are easier to produce (there is less to them), and they attract the pollinators. Once the pollinators have been suitably attracted at low cost, then the plants shoot off female flowers.

But if sometimes there are lots more females, and sometimes there are lots more males, in the same species, there must be something else going on.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 7:34PM
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My cucumbers are mostly male this year, I think I have one or 2 females. But, its a non issue because the bunny and woodchuck in my garden have eaten most of the plants up anyway.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 10:06AM
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steiconi(12a-Big Island, HI)

sadly, I have no neighbors with cucumbers; what a pity some of you don't live nearby.

Thanks for the help!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 4:26PM
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I've got parthenocarpic cukes, and glad of it,they're fruiting nicely. Wish I had parthenocarpic melons. Males and females both abundant and plentiful, but the bees are over in the echinacea and won't visit. Little fuzzies all turn yellow and die off from lack of sex.

As for zukes, I've got the all-female problem. Although mine tend to turn yellow and die before flowering.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 5:01PM
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