No Female Pumpkin Flowers Yet?
Everyone loves growing their own pumpkin but unfortunately we have worries and concerns when doing so. If you are worried you have no female pumpkin flowers I can offer you some advice.
There might be a problem with your pumpkins, or you might be mistaking male flowers for female flowers, or alternatively you might be too quick off the mark expecting them to appear too soon.
I plan to discuss several things in this article to help you understand why your pumpkin has no female flowers. There really could be a simple reason as to why. I will help you fix pumpkin flowers which stay closed.
I am thinking you pumpkin growers would likely prefer a short video highlighting the main points mentioned here and I plan to get around to putting a few slideshows together in a video!
How do Pumpkins Encourage Female Flowers and When Should You Expect Them To Appear
Firstly I think it is important to mention why we need pumpkin female flowers and why we need to encourage their growth! Pumpkin female flowers are what bare the actual pumpkins! This is why it is so essential that they appear!
Oh how I love to see their yellow glow.
Growing pumpkins and seeing their beautiful flowers does not need to be difficult. If you have prepared your soil with fertilizer and given your pumpkin seeds adequate time and space there should be no reason for no female pumpkin flowers.
Please check out how to grow pumpkins for good preparation tips and advice.
Female pumpkin flowers appear after male pumpkin flowers! Many people worry when they do not see any female flowers straight after the first appearance of some males ones. Truth be told it can be as much as 2 weeks afterwards.
You should expect to see female pumpkin flowers during July!
In some cases people do not know the difference between male and female pumpkin flowers. I think the video below on how to tell a male pumpkin vine from female flowers describes what they look like perfectly. Homeguides also explains the difference very well.
I always think seeing is believing so I hope this informs you of the difference!
Unfortunately sometimes there are no female pumpkin flowers at all. If you have waited 2 or 3 weeks after the appearance of male flowers, chances are no female ones will be appearing and as a result you will have no pumpkins, BOO!
Why might this happen? Well how you plant your pumpkin seeds and nuture them has lots to do with it. If you plant them too close together, while not a massive problem initially there will be when they start to grow.
As the seeds sprout into stems there will be more shade and competition for nutrients.
As we all know shade is not good for growing pumpkins; they need lots of sunlight. If the flowers are too close then bees might find access difficult as well as cooler temperatures off putting; if a bee cannot get to your flower then it does not get pollinated.
I see people putting up lots of netting to keep away pests but sometimes they are deterring bees also, and we need them!!
Weather and Predators can put a dampener on your Pumpkin Growing (pardon the pun)
Bad weather may delay things also. Too much heat and lack of water is bad news for female pumpkin flowers as is too much water. Watery soil will damage roots and pumpkin flowers and as a result no pumpkins. If you are having a period of heavy rainfall you will need to put some covering over your pumpkin patch.
A massive problem I am having this year is too much wind!! My growing pumpkin vines hate it and do not do well in these conditions! In fact it is so strong some of the smaller parts of my pumpkin plants are breaking off!! I might have to invest in a greenhouse next year for more success.
I have to mention that you need to be wary of predators that might be potentially eating away at your vines and destroying your chances of female pumpkin flowers. Unfortunately there are lots of animals that eat pumpkins and pumpkin parts!
If you do get female pumpkin flowers and they stay closed this is problematic but can be solved if identified quickly.
What to do when Female Pumpkin Flowers are not Opening
So what to do when female pumpkin flowers are not opening?! One of the most IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO WHEN YOUR PUMPKIN FLOWERS DO NOT OPEN IS HAND POLLINATION.
As I mentioned above bees might not be able to transfer pollen from male to female successfully so we need to intervene and do the pollination ourselves.
You might be lucky enough and see bees in the process of pollination like the female pumpkin flowers picture below!! This will save you the hassle of hand pollination.
For future reference the next time you start your pumpkin growth journey, you need to make sure you plant seeds further apart and ensure they are watered daily at the start. They will also need watered whenever male flowers appear if there is hot weather.
Unfortunately by the time you realise your flowers have not opened it will be too late to plant more (this is why I recommend starting some seeds indoors to plant at a later stage).
I have included the short video below which tells you how to pollinate your flowers so that you can get delicious pumpkins at the end and prevent the closure of female pumpkin flowers. DIY is known as hand pollination and something required here in the windy seaside towns in UK.
Can you Store Male Pumpkin Pollen?
Interestingly I have had one of my readers ask if she can store some pollen from the male pumpkin flower and use it to pollinate his females when they are open.
You might find this useful if you have some nasty animals eating your male pumpkin flowers before the bees get to do their business. We all know predators are always lurking!!
If you do want to go down the route of storing pumpkin pollen the bad news is that it is hardly worth putting in the fridge as it will only last one day and the chances of having an open female flower the next day are slim.
However you can freeze the pollen provided it is not damp (in other words do not collect it after a heavy rain shower). It is not viable for extremely long periods of time but this is a more stable way to store it compared to the fridge.
If you do want to collect pollen, do it first thing after sunrise. It will last longer this way.
How Long Do Female Pumpkin Flowers Last
How long can you expect to see these? Not long at all and this is another reason you need to intervene and hand pollinate if you are short of bees. It is thought they last around one day, and with only a short period of sunlight this does not give bees a long time to do their work.
You can see bees pollinating female pumpkin flowers in the picture below. Afterwards the pumpkin fruit will start growing!!
If you did not see any pumpkin female flowers, perhaps you went on the lookout too soon or you missed them altogether. I know some people have taken a short vacation whilst growing their pride and joy and have came home to a disaster, BUT still have some pumpkins!
This is a case for celebration [you got away on vacation for a few days and your pumpkins are growing well 🙂 ]. I would not recommend abandoning your vegetable at this time as you may need to resort to hand pollination! I always say better to be safe than sorry!!
Another great reason for having female pumpkin flowers is that are edible!! There are several pumpkin flower recipes out there which are both nutritious and healthy. You get to enjoy every last part of this desirable fruit!
Have I solved your dilemma and concerns about your issue of no female pumpkin flowers?