Cucumbers flower, but no fruit comes. Please help.
Hardiness Zone: 8a
By Pat B from Marysville, WA
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Hardiness Zone: 6b
Ray S from Jeannette, PA
If this is the first flush of flowers on your cucumbers, try not to worry. This is common among the Cucurbitaceae family of vine crops (cucumbers, melon, pumpkins and gourds). These plants produce male and female flowers on the same plant, which must be pollinated in order to produce fruit. The first flush of flowers to develop is usually made up almost entirely of male flowers. These will naturally fall off as soon as they shed their pollen. The second flush will contain both male and female flowers. To help you identify the difference, the female flowers will have a slight bulge just below where the petals are attached (this is your future cucumber). Male flowers, on the other hand, simply sit on a stalk attached to the vine.
If, on the other hand, all of your flowers are falling off, you could have a pollination problem. If pollination is poor or non-existent, the flowers simply abort (fall off) without producing any fruits. Pollination is usually carried out by neighborhood bees. Their activity can be reduced due to hot/cold weather extremes, pesticide use or natural fluctuations in their population, all of which can make successful pollination a hit or miss proposition. You might try pollinating your cucumbers by hand. To do this, simply pluck a male flower, and pull back the petals to expose the anthers loaded with pollen (it's very light colored so you may not be able to see it). Place the male blossom in the center of the female blossom so it comes into contact with the stigma (the pollen receptors) and gently twirl it around. You can also transfer pollen between the two using a cotton swab. Don't worry about getting it perfect, the transfer happens more easily than you would expect.
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I also have planted cucumbers from seeds. The same thing is happening to mine. So I guess we will wait until we get an answer from a professional plant person, lol! (07/12/2006)
By Susan mabry
The blooms falling off of your cukes are the baby cukes, keep watching and you should see some tiny cucumbers starting to take shape where the bloom was. (07/15/2006)