pumpkin female flowers just shrivel up and die , they don't even

chancygardener(6-NW AR)September 10, 2005

open to give me a chance to hand pollinate. Anyone know WHY this is happening? I Might get a small pumpkin before frost if one of them would ever open.

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jerseyboy428(z7 NJ)

I have observed this on one of my jack be little pumpkin vines. You can see where the fruit is and then when the flower dies, it looks like it is going to make it but after a few days it just shrivels up and then falls off. I am assuming that it didn't have enough male pollen to guide it into its direction of growing lol. Sorry for the lack of terms.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2005 at 2:44PM
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I am having this same problem. The pumpkin will get to be the size of a pea with the flower still attached. Even before the flower opens it turns yellow, and shrivels up. It has been hot here. In the 90's during the day and then in the 60's at night. I mulched around the plants with grass clippings. All the male flowers are doing great though, blooming really big.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2006 at 7:23PM
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gosh! this is so anoying! why cant anyone help? im having the smae problem! ive had probably 500 male blossoms open and close. BUT ive had about 100 female blossoms and EVERY SINGLE ONE turns yellow and shrivels before it blooms! does anyone know how to save them?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2007 at 12:12PM
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It is normal for some of the female flowers to yellow and fall off before they open. I suspect you are all in one of two cases. Case one is before any pumpkin is formed the female flowers fail to open or case two you have a pumpkin and the rest of the female flowers fail to open.

Case 1: Pumpkin plants need to be about 2 months old before they can start setting fruit. It has been my experience that they are ~10 feet long when they get their first pumpkins. The tiny jack-be-little vines can be much smaller when they start forming pumpkins, their behavior is more like an ornamental gourd than a traditional pumpkin.

Case 2: After a flower opens and is succussfully pollinated the rest of the female flowers will fail to open because you already have a pumpkin, the vine can't support more than the one at this time. With my pumpkin vines I had a pumpkin get pollinated on 7/1/07 and that particular vine did not have a second female flower open until yesterday (7/28/07), almost a full month.

For me there are many more female flowers that never open than the ones that do open. This is just because the pumpkin plant can't support a pumpkin for whatever reason, it is not any disease or serious problem. That being said if your female flowers are opening and you don't get any pumpkins that can be an actual problem other than poor pollination.

If this doesn't answer all of your questions please let me know.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2007 at 3:49PM
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cutiger(z7 SC)

Thanks so much for the information weirdtrev. Exactly what i needed to hear with my first year growing a pumpkin.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 9:45AM
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Weirdtrev, thanks for the information. I am trying to get some mini pumpkins and ornamental gourds this year, but I'm not certain I will get a fruit the rate I'm going now. I am having a similar issue with my blossoms at the base of the plant and with my leaves (mostly) at the base of the plant turning brown and shriveling up. The top of the vine looks pretty healthy.

Also, not exactly sure if I have a female blossoms (thought I had lots of female since there's a tiny bump at base, but inside looks male to me) Time will tell.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 6:34PM
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If the tips look healthy I wouldn't be too concerned about the base of the plant. It has been awhile since you posted were those flowers male or female?

Below is a picture of two female flowers and one male on one of my ornamental gourd vines. The tape is because I hand pollinated that gourd, I like that variety and I want to save seeds.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 11:08PM
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I now have pumpkins beginning to grow one week ago my neighbour pointed out a huge wasps nest in my hedge they were taking all the pollen for their hive and since I got rid of them/it and started pollenating I now have pumkins... I hope

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 5:14AM
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Hi all!!

I'm new to growing gourds, and while I know this is a pumpkin thread, I have been looking for an answer to why my luffa vine's female flower's start out appearing healthy and happy, but soon turn yellow and never full mature. I'm wondering if the same explanation might apply to this branch of the gourd family as well. I've had some healthy female flowers, 7 to be exact, on a vine that is easily 30 feet long (with all of its branch offs). I'm very mindful of the females because I'm told that one healthy vine can support up to 30 good sized loofah (luffa) gourds.

I currently have 5 growing, and I believe a 6th was successfully pollinated by hand as were the previous 5. I contacted the site owner of luffa.info and he suggested I might have a fungus issue, or the water here in West Palm isn't all that great, but I can't find a definitive answer, and this is the only vine I have and I was hoping for a healthy crop of loofahs for gifts, but unless I figure out the reason for poorly maturing females...there's no way I'm gonna see even half that amount.

Do you think it could simply be a matter of the vine needing to grow more in order to support more fruits? I only ask because while it's still branching, the rapid growth I saw over the last few months has slowed dramatically, and the vine may be close to, or has already reached it's maximum size. As best I can tell the vine is very healthy, and has been lightly fertilized, and I was hoping someone that's an experienced gourd grower, if not loofah, might be willing to help a newbie gardener.

Any thoughts or possibly pointing me in the right direction if this is the wrong area in the forum to be inquiring about loofahs, would be greatly appreciated!!



    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 4:40PM
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It is interesting to see something I posted 5 years ago! Glad to discover people still stumble across my advice.

I've grown luffas and that same advice applies. The plant will not support every female flower it produces. There are many varieties of luffa that are all different sizes, a small fruited one (like Luffa cylindrica) very well may support 30. But if yours are the size of baseball bats you might only get 6 - 12. Nothing you've said gives me any indication that something is wrong with your plant other than it can't live up to your expectations, yet.

It is only May and here in zone 7 we are still planting our pumpkins, squash and gourds. Give it time, many more will form between now and harvest. Just keep doing what you are doing and have a little patience. Sounds like you are doing everything right if you have 5 already.

Since you seem very interested in how your plant grows I'd suggest counting the number of leaves as an experiment and comparing it to the number of fruit. With that pumpkin I referenced years ago, the one that took a month between setting fruit, it also put on a dozen or so leaves and actually had a 3rd fruit a dozen or so leaves past that. I'm sure there is a certain number of leaves your plant requires before another fruit can set. You should try to figure out what that number is and I bet you'll be able to almost predict when another fruit will set.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 5:26PM
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