Zucchini blooms not opening

woobydooJune 28, 2008

I have always had gardens and never had problems until two seasons ago. My zucchini just won't produce. I have between 10-20 plants each season in raised beds, and I'm lucky if I get 20 fruit. The foliage grows normally, but it appears the blossoms (both male and female) aren't opening, so the plant doesn't get polinated and aborts the fruit. Last year I tried to hand pollinate, but it didn't seem to do any good. I've tried manually opening the blossoms, but still nothing. I don't think bees are to blame, because I get bumper crops of tomatoes, tomatillos, boysenberries, beans, etc. I've rotated the crop locations each year, supplementing the soil with new potting soil, and wonder if the soil is too rich in something. Any ideas?

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I've never heard of such a thing! Let's see what Farmerdilla, Weirdtrev or another experienced person says about this.

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 7:29AM
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I've never heard of such a thing either. Can you think of anything you changed two seasons ago? I know some areas of CA have soil that is almost solid clay, which made me think maybe you have waterlogged soil. However it isn't only the flowers that are affected with waterlogged soil, so that probably isn't it. I also know too much nitrogen can cause healthy lush plants with no blooms, but squash are heavy feeders and I haven't been able to over fertilize them. How much fertilizer are you applying?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 9:09AM
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Sorry for the delayed response. The site wouldn't let me log on yesterday.

We put the garden in 4 years ago (this being the 4th summer season). We brought in very good soil for the beds- lots of manure, worm castings, bat guano, etc, so I used minimal fertilizer. The crop was great. The next two seasons, I added very rich planting mix to all the holes as I planted, and used some additional fertilizer throughout the season. All I could figure was that the soil was too rich, so although I added the planting mix this year, I've not fertilized them yet this year. I've got 13 plants and have yeilded a mere 4 zucchini. We live on a mountaintop, and the garden receives full sun all day long. They get drip irrigation twice a day, but not enough to waterlog the soil. The foliage and the blossoms are large, colorful and healthy, but the blooms remain sealed. Should I fertilize more? I use either a 10-10-10 or a 5-10-10. Do they require more of one mineral than another? Zucchini is my husband's favorite vegetable, and I feel like a complete idiot not being able to grow the easiest and most prolific plant on the planet!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 11:38AM
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How long ago did you plant the seeds? It is still early you might need to just wait until the harvest really starts. I would not add more fertilizer if I were you, until you get a soil test. Soil tests are often free from your local cooperative extension agency. Do you think you could add a picture? They often help diagnose issues.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 10:39PM
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It could be getting to much nitrogen

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 8:58PM
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I have the same problem more or less; I have the male flowers opening and the female flowers stay closed. The zucchini start to develop with the flowers still quite alive on the end, and then when they get anywhere from 2-6 inches long they start to shrivel and fall off. I initially I found I was LOW on nitrogen, so I would disagree with the above post. I have tried adding some blood meal, and a small amount of bone meal since all nutrients were a little low, but so far no improvement, even though other plants are getting the blood/bone meal boost. If anyone does get a reason this happens I would love to know about it!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2010 at 11:25PM
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Me too!!! I get lots of blossoms, but they don't open, just stay furled shut, then they die and fall off. I am growing in containers...the foliage is gorgeous, and the flowers are prolific, but if they don't open, how can they pollinate?

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 1:12PM
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susancol(7 Atlanta)

Anne Marie,

What size container do you have them in? If the squash blossom isn't opening, it is typically a sign of stress on the plant. The plant doesn't "think" it can support any fruit. Something about your environment is less than ideal. Sunlight, container size, water, or fertilizer. Something is off. Try to figure out what and change it. If not for this season, then for the next. When this happened to me, I planted in a different spot with different plants surrounding (no longer shading) and it resolved the issue.

Best of Luck!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 1:25PM
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