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How to Pollinate Pumpkins

I love providing advice on growing pumpkins and one of the most important issues is how to pollinate pumpkins. This is extremely important as without pollination you do not get any fruit!

bee pollinating pumpkin flower

Late Spring is a fabulous time of the year as you watch your pumpkin vine growing and get ready for the appearance of pumpkin flowers. First you will see the male pumpkin flower and secondly the female pumpkin flower provided pollination has taken place. 

I will consider what pollination is and the different ways pumpkin plants are pollinated including the natural method (via bees) and hand pollination where you have to intervene in some cases! 

Do not fret if you have no female pumpkin flowers as you can always hand pollinate your pumpkin plant. 

What is Pollination?

Some people are unaware of the importance of bees in our garden and our pumpkin patch! But let me tell you they are absolutely essential!

Pumpkins do not SELF POLLINATE – people assume they can do because they have both male and female parts but they need some help with pollination. They need bees or human interaction. 

Basically pollination is like human reproduction where part of the male, pollen in the case of pumpkin plants is transferred to the female! 

Bees provide Natural Pollination of Pumpkins

Bees will visit your pumpkin plants or a lovely sunny afternoon and transfer pollen from the male flower to the nectar containing female flower, and Bingo you will reap pumpkin fruits. 

This all sounds so easy and in theory it is unless you have no bees, and it can happen in some cases! 

How do you Hand Pollinate a Pumpkin Plant?

You may ask why bother hand pollinating pumpkin flowers?! Well if you use broad spectrum fertilizer in your garden chances are you have a low population of bees buzzing around. Unusual cooler temperatures or windy conditions also deter bees.

Hand pollination may sound difficult but it does not have to be. You must use a small brush (toothbrush or cotton bud) to transfer pollen from the male flower to the female, so you are actually responsible for the pollination! I know pumpkin plants are not human but I see it as normal, after all we use IVF in humans. 

Many fruits require hand pollination including squash. The most important part of manual pollination is identifying the male pumpkin flower by it’s stalk and the female by it’s budding fruit! If you cannot find the male then you have no chance of moving the pollen! 

I have provided a short video clip to show you how to do this:-

Are you knowledgeable on how to pollinate pumpkins?

How to Pollinate Pumpkins

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Sk Sahil

Tuesday 7th of September 2021

Why pumpkin is Cross pollinated?

Janine Baikie

Thursday 8th of October 2020

My female pumpkin flowers are not opening. Can i still self pollinate?

Laura

Thursday 8th of October 2020

Yes try some hand pollination of your female pumpkin flowers, you have nothing to lose. I am assuming you are aiming for November harvest as opposed to October?

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