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Zucchini Rotting on the Vine

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Zucchini Growing

Poor pollination can keep your squash from producing. This guide is about zucchini rotting on vine.

Questions

Here are questions related to Zucchini Rotting on the Vine.

Question: Zucchini Rotting on the Plant

Why are my fruit rotting when they get about 2 inches long and yes they are rotting from the flower. I can't understand it. In the past they have been fine. Any suggestions?

By Jack K


Most Recent Answer

By David M.08/08/2013

Sounds like Blossom End rot. Your soil is lacking calcium. The easiest way is to add crushed egg shells to your soil around your plants. I actually grind my eggs shells in a coffee grinder before adding to my plants. It takes a while to work, but it works wonders.

Question: Zucchini Rotting on the Vine

My zucchini has produced only one 6 in. zucchini in the last month. The plant seems to produce flowers and I have tried to pollinate them myself for lack of bees in our area. However, the fruit that comes onto the plant starts getting soft at the tip once they are about 2 in. long. I used to have good success with this plant. Please help.

Hardiness Zone: 9a

By Eddie from Redding, CA

Solutions: Zucchini Rotting on the Vine

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Archives

Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.

Archive: Problems Growing Zucchini

Q: Am I the only gardener in the US who doesn't have enough zucchini squash? I planted four zucchini plants in my raised-bed garden, thinking that they would produce plenty for my small family. The plants have grown well and are quite large, but have so far only produced about 10 squashes this whole summer (this is a total count, not 10 from each plant).

Most of the flowers seem to fall off before they get pollinated. Any suggestions? I live in Albuquerque, NM, so plants get plenty of sun, and I water them regularly.

Lynn

A: Lynn,

If flowers appear but you don't get much fruit, it's probably due to a lack of pollination. This sometimes happens if bee activity is low in your area or you've had a stretch of cooler weather. My suggestion would be to consider pollinating them by hand. The first flowers to bloom are usually the males and they do not form any fruit. The female flowers are identifiable by a swelling at the base of the flower. To pollinate by hand, you can cut off the male flowers, remove the petals, and rub the stamen of the male flowers against the stigmas (the sticky part at the ends of each pistil) on the female flowers. If you prefer, simply transfer the pollen from male flower to female flower with a small artists paint brush or Q-Tip. Keep track of which stems you have pollinated by tying a twist tie of piece of string around the stem. Also, make sure to harvest the squash when they are small (about 3-4 inches across and 4-6 inches long) to increase the plant's productivity.

Ellen Brown

More Answers:

RE: Problems Growing Zucchini

Zucchini often produces far more male flowers than female ones. The males are those on the long stems and the females are on short stems with a small bulb (the ovary) right under the flower. If you don't see many female blossoms, cut off the tip end of the vine. This reminds the plant of its main job - to make seeds to reproduce itself. (08/08/2005)

By Beth

RE: Problems Growing Zucchini

We live in Southern NV. We've not had a garden in several years, due to health problems, but when we did, we never had any problems growing zucchini. Actually we had so much and couldn't give it away. We'd water it in the early morn and at sundown. This was only with 6 plants! Hope this helps. Maybe someone is taking your blossoms to fry & eat? I hear fried squash blossums are quite tasty. (08/10/2005)

By badwater

RE: Problems Growing Zucchini

I have a different problem in Sterling Heights, MI (just North of Detroit). The Zucchini grow to about 3-4 inches long and about an inch thick. At that point the tips start turning yellow and then the fruit rapidly rots back all the way to the stem. It's been hot this summer so I've been watering every other day. The soil is a bed and is well drained. I only harvested about 12 fruit from 4 plants this year. (09/12/2005)

By David Osinski

Archive: Answers: Zucchini Rotting on the Vine

Question:

My problem is with my zucchini, I grow it in containers on my sun deck where I have had great success with tomatoes in the past so I thought I would try some zucchini this year along with the tomatoes. To this date, they are doing great except that some of the fruit seems to be rotting on the vine. We have been having a lot of rain the past few days (approx. 4 inches). I thought about spraying with a mixture of antibacterial soap and peroxide. Any suggestions? Thanks for your sudden response.

Hardiness Zone: 6a

Ray from Pittsburgh, PA

Answer:

Ray,

Spraying an antibacterial soap isn't necessary until your seeing signs of disease. From what you wrote, it sounds like the leaves and vines on your zucchini are fine (no signs of disease or insect problems), and it's just the fruit rotting on the vine that is the problem. Since your getting fruits, you must be getting flowers. This tells me you're probably just having pollination problems. Is the zucchini rotting from the blossom ends? When young fruit on healthy plants begin to rot from the blossom end, they are usually not getting pollinated properly. This can be due to a lack of bees in the area, or in your case, as a result of adverse weather conditions that may be keeping the bees away.

To get a successful zucchini crop, you're going to have to pollinate the fruit yourself. Pull off the male flower and pull the petals back to expose the pollen-laden stamen. Then carefully rub the male flower on the center stigma of the female flower making sure that the pollen makes good contact. The female flowers have a distinct enlargement directly behind their petals (this is actually the immature zucchini), while the male flowers are often smaller and attached to the vine by just a long, slender stem.

Another method is to use a cotton swab to transfer the pollen between flowers. This way is more efficient because you can pollinate up to three female flowers with the pollen from one male. If the rot is starting on the underside of the fruit where it's coming into contact with wet soil, raise the zucchini off the ground with a sling made from pantyhose or prop them up using a tin can or small plastic container to keep them off the soil.

Good Luck!
Ellen


RE: Zucchini Rotting on the Vine

This is a common problem in climates where there are not enough bees to pollinate the plants. You may have the zucchini in an area where the bees don't bother with it. When the flowers are not cross-pollinated, the zucchini grows but rots at about 4-5 inches long. If you can, take a Q-tip and rub some pollen from one flower to the next when they first open up. Do this several times and the zucchini should then grow properly! (06/30/2006)

By jcs523

RE: Zucchini Rotting on the Vine

Maybe your plants don't have room to grow out like they would in a regular garden, or maybe you've got your soil too wet. We tried the gardening in a bucket a few years back, it was bad. We gave up on the whole idea. The desert winds burnt up our regular garden, this year. (07/02/2006)

By badwater

RE: Zucchini Rotting on the Vine

I am having the same problem and I live in Chester, WV which is not far from Pittsburgh. I want to agree with the weather issue because I have a good size garden and I am only having a problem with the zucchini. I had the same problem last year. I will try the pollination suggestion. If all else fails I pick the blossoms and dip them egg and seasoned flour and fry them or grill them. They are delicious! (07/08/2007)

By sandy

RE: Zucchini Rotting on the Vine

The flowers on the zucchini plant only open in the morning. So if you want to pollinate them yourself you have to do it first thing in the morning. (07/28/2008)

By Julie

Archive: Problems Growing Zucchini

I have had poor success with growing Zucchini plants that produce zucchini. There are ants in blossoms and many stems that do not produce Zucchini.

Read More...

Archive: Zucchini Rotting on the Vine

I would like to know why my zucchini plants look great with lots of flowers and fruit but when the zucchini get about 3-4 inches they start to rot or go soft?

Read More...