Pumpkins rotting off vine before the flower even blooms

rdrunnerzJuly 9, 2008

Hello Expert Gardeners,

I have a home garden, planted a lot of happy healthy pumpkin vines. Pumpkin vines growing everywhere but the female flowers grow, have a baby pumpkin at the vine, but never grow large enough to bloom and never give it a chance to be pollinated. The pumpkin shrinks, turns yellow and falls off. This has happened to every pumpkin that has started this year. 7+ and counting. I know it's a lack of polination b/c the flower never grew large enough to even open. How can I promote the female flower to grow enough to open. Can anyone give me tips to why this is happening and what I can do to promote pumpkin growth. This is the 3rd year in a row this has happened. Could it be the ph balance of the soil, poor fertilizer, or watering issues? One master gardner told me it could be male flowers on the female fruit??? I'm open to any ideas.


Rob in VA

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ktdid28(6a StL, MO)

Hi Rob,
I'm no expert, but are the flowers even CLOSE to being ready to open? If so, you could cut them open & hand pollinate. I've done that 2x so far this year because my male flowers die before the females open, and it worked! It's a thought.... who knows! I have no idea what could cause this for multiple seasons. Standing water is always an issue, but since pumpkin roots are shallow, most soils will drain well enough. If not, mix in some sand.
Good luck! -Katie

    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 4:32PM
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I agree. It sounds like a lack of pollination. We had the same exact problem last year. I saw no bees in the garden and most of our little pumpkins shriveled and died.

The bees came back this year and it's a different story.

If you don't have a lot of bees around, you might as well try hand-pollinating your pumpkins.

Here is a great description of how to pollinate by hand : http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/gourds/msg0611545713356.html

Here is a link that might be useful: Smith Family Garden Blog

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 4:04PM
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Hello all,

Our pumpkins are doing the same thing. Some of the fallen ones were smaller than a marble, and none of the flowers opened. Only one was close to opening, and was probably 3-4 days away when it fell. The baby pumpkins turn yellow, the unopened blooms turn brown and they eventually fall off. We have no lack of male flowers or new baby pumpkins, but no female blooms :(

We've fertilized, water adequately...it's been really hot the past week, could that be the problem? There is no evidence of pests or rot or anything else. The plants themselves are really healthy.

Any help appreciated...

- Star

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 12:35AM
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