pumpkin flowers

No Female Pumpkin Flowers – Reasons Why

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 pumpkin  flowers for female flowers, or alternatively you might be too quick off the mark expecting them to appear too soon. 

female pumpkin flower

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!

When you see pictures you understand things much better!
 

How do Pumpkins Encourage Female Flowers and When Should You Expect Them To Appear

 

How to increase female blooms on pumpkin vine is the question on everyone’s lips.

Firstly I think it is important to mention why we need female pumpkin flowers and why we need to encourage their growth! The 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.  If you look closely you can see the bulge of fruit. 

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.

pumpkin flowers

Female pumpkin flowers appear after male pumpkin flowers! Many people worry when they do not see any females straight after the first appearance of some males ones. Truth be told it can be as much as 2 weeks afterwards. 

Another concern is that there are lots of male pumpkin flowers and not many females, BUT you should expect less female pumpkin flowers than males. There are several males to each female, this is normal! If you have 30 males you would expect to see 3 or 4 female; this is the normal ratio., so do not fret yet. 

The male flower waits for the female to develop and when it is open it is time for pollination!

You should expect to see female pumpkin flowers during July if you planted your seeds late Spring!

In some cases people do not know the difference between male and females, which makes it even harder for them to tell if pollination has occurred!

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 none 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. 

Find out more about how to pollinate pumpkins

how to know when female pumpkin flower pollination has occurred

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!!

bees pollinating pumpkin flowers

If you did not see any pumpkin female flowers, perhaps you went on the lookout too soon or you missed them altogether, BUT if the small bulge on the vine is developing this is your pumpkin and you got lucky!

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 especially if you are in an area lacking bees and where pesticides are used!  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!

You might have arrived on this page because you asked one of the below questions:-

  • Why do I have all male pumpkin flowers and nothing else
  • Why are all of my pumpkin plant flowers male?
  • Male vs female pumpkin flowers
  • Pumpkin flowers bloom then shrivel no pumpkins
  • When will my pumpkin flower -everyone needs to have some patience
  • Pumpkin plants have no female flowers
  • How long after bloom do pumpkins grow

Please let me know if I answered your question and if not I will in the comments section. I would also like you to tell me why you came to this article

More Articles on Pumpkin Growing and Advice:

 

How to grow giant pumpkins from seeds – if monster pumpkins are your aim, you need to check this out

Find out what animals eat pumpkins – you might need to know this if you have disappearing pumpkins

How to keep nasty rodents away from pumpkins – if you have squirrels nearby you must do this!

Have I solved your dilemma and concerns about your issue of no female pumpkin flowers? 

 

no female pumpkin flowers

17 thoughts on “No Female Pumpkin Flowers – Reasons Why”

      1. Christina campbell

        I always plant the weekend after Mothers Day. I have like 6 females right now, 2 of mine I thought were going to open so I could pollinate and then they shrivelled and died. I have a big female right now that is yellow so I’m hoping she will open in the morning so I can pollinate and not shrivell like the last

  1. Hi, so I have lots of male flowers and my female flowers have opened and hopefully pollinated, but 2 female that I thought were pollinated had the fruit but it got to a golf ball size and dropped off why would this be ?

    1. I am sorry your pumpkin fruits dropped off the vine. They may have only been partially pollinated and this is why they grew a little before falling off. I hope you still have some female pumpkin flowers that were fully pollinated left.

  2. Something is eating all the flowers off my pumpkin vines—biting them right off!
    I only have male flowers growing (I tried to take the pollen off the one that bloomed before it was eaten and put it in the fridge—does that work?)
    I’m really hoping I get a couple female flowers before it’s too late and the harvested pollen works! My kids are going to be so disappointed if we don’t have any pumpkins!

    My question is (besides can you harvest pollen) is what the heck is eating the flowers at night and how do I stop it?! I have a little fence around the plant and I covered it with a sheet the other night so the one flower left could bloom. Any other tips?

    1. I will have to do some research into the storage of pollen. I probably wouldn’t store it in the fridge as it is used to outdoor temperatures which are higher than this.

      As for what is eating your pumpkins it could be any number of things. I do cover how to keep squirrels away from pumpkins but it could be also deer. Do you have any nearby?

  3. Thanks for getting back to me! I don’t think it’s deer as we have a small fenced in yard. I did see a possum back there one evening and have seen skunks around too. And mice/rats!
    And let me know if you find anything about storing pollen!

    1. Probably the possum having a little evening snack at your expense! I have done some research regarding pumpkin pollen storage and this can be down. As I said the fridge is not really a viable option as pollen be off after one day.

      You can freeze pollen provided it is not wet. It needs to be dry for this to work. It really depends on pumpkin variety and type as to how long the pollen is stable for in the freezer, but if you want to try and pollinate your female pumpkin flowers it is worth a go.

  4. I’ve had loads of male flowers abd there’s more coming but I’ve had maybe 3 female in total of which only one is growing into a pumpkin. The last female flower was really small and if it opened I missed it. Is it too late to encourage more? I’ve tried putting extra compost around the base area. Our weather has been unusually mixed this year, so maybe that’s the reason why. I had 3 last year. One good size and 2 smaller. My zucchini plant has been averaging one a day!

    1. Good news you have one female pumpkin flower sprouting a pumpkin. I think it is a tad too late to encourage more females now. Is there still a small female flower there? If so you might be able to hand pollinate.

  5. Hello,

    I’ve spotted 3 little females. I’m protecting them at all costs. How long does it take on average for them to get big enough to have the flower bloom and open? I’m checking every morning but they are the size of green beans right now.

    1. Keep watching your female pumpkin flowers closely. They do not stay open for long, when they do get around to opening so make sure you check every single day. If they are still all green they are not ready to open just yet. They will change color slightly before opening. You might see a yellow tinge alongside the green.

  6. Year after year I try to grow pumpkins, courgettes etc and get less and less female flowers. For the last few years I have no female flowers on my pumpkins and only one or two on my courgettes (zukini). I have found no explanation for this apart from the suggestion of too much nitrogen – which I doubt. I compost well and add horse manure sometimes, plenty watering but not too much. I live in Portugal so they get plenty of sun and there are abundant bees. Also there are fields around me full of pumpkins! If I get a rare female flower I fertilise with the males, just to be sure, but some years when a female finally comes all the males are gone. I despair. If anyone can help I’ll be eternally grateful!

    1. I think extreme temperatures stress the plants, and reduce the production of female flowers. I found this when the weather heated up too quickly, before the plants had developed enough. My zucchini produced slightly better than the pumpkin, which couldn’t sustain female flowers…they would partially form then die. This year I am trying shade cloth to reduce the direct heat, as it is a very intense summer in our part of Australia.

      1. I agree with you! I think you also need to ensure your pumpkin plants get adequate water so that they can flourish and produce female pumpkin flowers.

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