Massive zucchini plants with no flowers

keitelJuly 10, 2008

Hi everyone. I have huge zucchini plants (3 feet wide by 2 feet tall with 1" diameter stalks) but I have no yellow flowers whatsoever. Does anyone have any idea what's going on with them? Should I just pull them and plant something else? It would be really sad to do that given they're so big and green and healthy looking but they just doesn't seem right.

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Sounds like too much nitrogen fertilizer perhaps? :) Huge green plants with no blooms is usually the result of too much N. If that is the case, the plant will adapt in time as the excess N leaches out of the soil and it will begin to bloom. I'd just give it some time - and no more fertilizer.


    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 9:27PM
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Keitel - mine are giants as well - they are standing at 4 foot - golden zuke, green and a white scallop. I have flowers on very long stems but the problem is they aren't getting pollinated - do you think we can trim back the foliage without damage? Piegirl

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 10:11PM
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Hmmm ... Interesting theory although I haven't fertilized them at all. I mixed in some sheep manure before planting and literally nothing since but water. I guess I need to be patient?

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 10:25PM
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Your manure is your nitrogen source, try givng them about a tablespoon of phosphate - sold as rock phosphate or super phosphate in the stores. If you haven't tested your soil for phosphorus and provided only manure, they may be getting a double whammy - too much N and not enough P.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 8:36AM
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Sounds good grandpop1. I'll give it a shot. I haven't tested the soil but I also haven't run into a soil-testing kit in my travels either. Exactly how should I apply the phosphate anyway? Sorry, I'm a new gardener.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 10:08AM
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piegirl, those flowers on the long stems are the male flowers. The female flowers are the big ones on the end of the early forming fruits. Don't trim back any foliage.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 10:26AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Agree, your soil needs to be tested - professionally - not with the home test kits and preferably BEFORE planting. Contact your local county extension office for a soil test.

How you should apply the phosphate depends on the type you buy - just follow the label directions. ;) Your local county extension office can also advise you on that as well as a good local nursery.

Also, I hope the sheep manure was well composted before adding it to the garden? Fresh manure should never be used in the food garden.

You may also want to review the FAQ here on how to hand-pollinate blooms if you are seeing both male and female blooms.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 10:33AM
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The sheep manure was fully composted. Thanks for the suggestion re: county extension but I'm up in Canada where no such thing exists. I bought Superphosphate this morning and it says to place it in trenches before planting. Also says that contact with roots could be dangerous to plants. I guess I'll just sort of side dress the plants?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 12:13PM
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You can just sprinkle a little of the superphoshate around the plants. It is slow acting so you probably will not notice the effect this year. That is why it is usually incorporated into the soil prior to planting. You did not mention the cultivar. Some of the older OP zucchini grow humongous plants be fore fruiting. A little patience and it should began flowering shortly. I have never had to resort to hand pollination but some folks do when they are only growing a few plants. There is wide variance in size of plant among the various cultivars, so I would advise first patience and second for next year choose a cultivar more in keeping with your size requirements.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 12:52PM
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Hey everyone. Who knew that patience was such an integral part of gardening? Not 2 days after posting my panic, I woke up this morning to flowers the size of my head. They're huge and only female so far and I was clearly on the way when I posted, although I didn't know to recognize it at the time. Obviously I've got a bit too much nitrogen in the soil as the plants got so big before flowering but that's a job for the fall. Thanks for the reassurance and tips about the soil. Oh, and I found a local place that does home gardening soil tests for about $15.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2008 at 2:16PM
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Gardening IS patience......

    Bookmark   July 13, 2008 at 2:20PM
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Ah, sigh. So, my giant female flowers have wilted because there were no male flowers produced to pollinate them. I couldn't have hand-pollinated if I'd wanted to. What happens now to those perfect little zucchini at the base of the female flower? Are there going to be more female flowers that will hopefully coincide with those lazy male flowers, whenever they should choose to open? I'm growing a hybrid variety called "Courgette: Zucchini Dark Green".

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 7:42AM
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