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Female Pumpkin Flowers Not Opening

Posted by brymalis 5 (My Page) on
Tue, Sep 4, 07 at 22:38

I planted Memorial Day and had females in early July. the first one opened and pollinated and died in a few days, and at the same time, several others died before opening. I looked here and saw that it may be due to high heat. The weather became milder, and plants kept growing wildly, looking very healthy, with males opening daily, and females continuing to die, some very small and some at size when I would expect them to open. It is still happening -- the flowers look very healthy but just do not turn yellow like I expect the day before opening. Can I manually open and pollenate when they are at full size? Is it just too late to get pumpkins?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Female Pumpkin Flowers Not Opening

  • Posted by tanoota 4 bordering on 3 (My Page) on
    Wed, Sep 5, 07 at 14:53

(Looks around sheepishly)

This is my first year with gourds and pumpkins...
Please, how do you know which is female and male and why does it matter?


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RE: Female Pumpkin Flowers Not Opening

  • Posted by tanoota 4 bordering on 3 (My Page) on
    Thu, Sep 13, 07 at 10:33

Hello,

Can anybody help us?


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RE: Female Pumpkin Flowers Not Opening

It might be too late for you up in zone 5. You shouldn't be able to manually open them since they aren't fully formed at that time. But I encourage you to try anyway maybe you'll get lucky. If you have lots of green leaves but no frut it could be an excess of nitrogen. Also it could be too little fertilizer, although I typically don't get around to fertilizing other than mixing some compost into the hole and I still get pumpkins. If the vines wilt a lot during the day you might need to water more so that the plant isn't overly stressed.

Female flowers have a small lump (a baby pumpkin or gourd) under the flower and male flowers flowers do not have this. You can find pictures online just search for male and female pumpkin flowers. It matters if you want to hand pollinate. I typically do since I find there aren't enough bees since it is rather common to be scared of them and have them all killed.


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RE: Female Pumpkin Flowers Not Opening

I had one female open Sept. 10 and I manually pollenated, and I now have a pumpkin the size of a baseball! I had two more open three days later but we had night temps dip into the 40's and although I manually pollenated, I don't think I had fruit set. I pollenated another one yesterday, and now temps have returned to normal, so I may have one or two small pumpkins, maybe more if I am lucky.


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RE: Female Pumpkin Flowers Not Opening

That is excellent news I guess they just took awhile to start flowering. I don't know when your frost date is but I think a good rule of thumb is if the pumpkin is pollinated a month before your frost date it can make it to maturity.


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RE: Female Pumpkin Flowers Not Opening

I am in zone 5 (Chicago area). My pumpkin that started Sept. 10 is now about 20" circumference. There are two smaller ones that started a week later -- one is 16" and one is 12". Another started two days ago. I do not know the variety. I just want one orange one before Halloween!


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RE: Female Pumpkin Flowers Not Opening

Would you be able to post some pictures? In my experience the more sun the pumpkin gets the quicker it turns orange. Most pumpkins turn from light green to dark green when they reach their full size so be looking for this change. Also shortly after they turn dark green is when they start turning orange.


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RE: Female Pumpkin Flowers Not Opening

the biggest one just turned dark green today. it's already dark so no pics today. I have a new problem -- i discovered a small gauge -- likely a bite -- in my biggest pumpkin. will it rot now? is there any way to patch it with tape or something (i know that sounds stupid) to save it until it turns orange?


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RE: Female Pumpkin Flowers Not Opening

No it shouldn't rot. I have seen pumpkins at pumpkin patches that have healed overafter being partially eaten. In addition you can actually scratch the skin of the pumpkin (or gourds) and it will heal over and leave the design that you scratched.


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RE: Female Pumpkin Flowers Not Opening

thanks for all the help. how long will it be orange after turning dark green? also, I remember reading about scratching a design when it is smaller and having the design in the larger pumpkin. at what stage of growth should this be done? i can try this with one of the small ones.


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RE: Female Pumpkin Flowers Not Opening

In my experience several days after it turns dark green you will start seeing it changing colors again to a yellow/orange and several weeks after that it should be completely orange. You can scratch the design into the pumpkin whenever it is big enough to write on. I did this on a gourd this year and it came out really nice I will try to post a picture soon. When you scratch the design you barely need to push into the pumpkin. The skin is still soft so a sharp knife should just glide along the surface barely going into the pumpkin (less than a millimeter). You should barely to be able to see what you did when you are done. You may see small droplets of liquid from the cut and this is normal. As the pumpkin grows the wound will become a brown raised ridge.


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RE: Female Pumpkin Flowers Not Opening

I had the same problem with my first time at pumpkins. The female flowers died before ever opening. I changed my watering to leaving a very slow trickle at the base of each plant for 30-45 mins at least once a week (as needed when the first inch of soil is dry). I also had an excess of pill pugs and ants (but no aphids). The pill bugs were eating the leaves of the plants, so I set out cat food cans dug into the earth like mini swimming pools filled with cheap beer that attracts and drowns the pill bugs (which I hate, but the pumpkins would have died.) To combat the ants I sprinkled cinnamon around the female baby bumps but honestly I don't think that helped at all. The pill bugs were more of a problem anyway.

Once the bugs and the water issues were fixed, the plants seemed less stressed and starting making a lot more new leaves and lots of female flowers that opened and successfully became pollinated.

I would also recommend to spray diluted milk on the leaves every other week or so to avoid powdery mildew, and fertilize now and then with diluted milk. The calcium helps them absorb other nutrients, and pumpkins are hungry feeders.


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