To encourage female pumpkin flowers it is best to start with a liquid fertilizer, with higher nitrogen content. Generously spray the plant leaves with the liquid high-nitrogen fertilizer. If male flowers are present, transition to high-phosphorus fertilizer.
There is a fertilizer called, Pumpkin juice, that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium can provide important nutrients to help pumpkins grow.
Applying pumpkin juice delivers an immediately available nutrient source to satisfy nutritional requirements at critical growth stages.
The juice can be applied as a foliar spray or through drip irrigation. With the right balance of nutrients pumpkin juice helps maximize pumpkin fertility and yield.
You can get it on Amazon here, Pumpkin Juice 11-8-5.
Difference Between Male And Female Pumpkin Flowers
It may not seem important but pumpkin plants are “monoecious plants,” meaning they generate both female and male flowers.
Cucumbers, castor beans, maize, and hazelnuts are other examples of monoecious plants.
Knowing how to differentiate between the male and female flower is important. The male and female flowers are similar.
The primary differences being the male grows taller and the female has a yellow center “stigma.”
Spacing is key to growing healthy pumpkins. The improper spacing can alter the flower growth by smothering out the pumpkin plant.
As a newbie pumpkin grower, you may not understand the importance of spacing.
It does not help that online data is conflicting. Utilize reliable sources when conducting research for growing pumpkins.
Improper spacing could prevent your pumpkins from generating female flowers.
The first set of flowers is male, the next set will be female. As the pumpkin plant grows, it will begin to consume space. The ratio for pumpkin flowers is 10:1 or 10 males to 1 female.
It is possible to free up space by adding a trellis for each pumpkin vine. Healthy pumpkin vines can grow up to 20 feet in length.
So, it is easy to see how the plants can smother each other out when the spacing is limited.
Install a trellis to encourage the vine to climb upwards. If the spacing is corrected, the male flowers will drop off.
The trellis will help ensure the vine receives sufficient air circulation and sunlight.
What Do Female Pumpkin Flowers Look Like
Female pumpkin flowers look like small, greenish-white buds that are found in the axils of the leaves.
The flowers grow on pedicels that are 2-3 cm long.
Each flower has five sepals and five petals that are arranged in a star shape.
The petals are typically greenish-white or yellowish-white in color and have dark spots near the base.
The center of each flower contains pistils that are surrounded by stamens.
No Female Pumpkin Flowers
As most pumpkin growers know, female pumpkin flowers are the ones that produce fruits. The males only exist to pollinate the females.
For this reason, it’s essential to have both male and female flowers in order to get a good pumpkin crop.
However, sometimes all the flowers on a pumpkin plant may be male. This can happen for a number of reasons, including stress, lack of nutrients, or even too much heat or cold.
While it’s not ideal, there are still some things you can do to try to get some female flowers.
One option is to hand-pollinate the male flowers.
This involves using a small paintbrush or similar tool to transfer pollen from the male flower to the center of the female flower.
You’ll need to do this multiple times throughout the season to increase your chances of getting fruit.
Another option is to try using supplemental lighting or nutrients.
This can help stressed plants produce more female flowers.
Finally, you may want to consider changing your planting location if you’re having trouble with too much heat or cold affecting your pumpkin crop.
Having all male flowers on your pumpkin plant isn’t ideal, but there are still some things you can do to try to remedy the situation.
Hand-pollination is one option, or you can try using supplemental lighting or nutrients.
You may also want to consider changing your planting location if you’re having trouble with extreme temperatures affecting your crop.
How To Tell If Female Pumpkin Flower Is Pollinated
Are you worried that your female pumpkin flowers have not been pollinated?
You need to check these plants early in the morning because the blossoms tend to open then.
Grab a cup of coffee before heading outside to check on your plants. When doing so, you should stand back and watch for pollinators.
Do you see any bumblebees, squash bees, or honeybees approaching the blossoms?
These bees are common pollinators. If they’ve been visiting your plants, there is a good chance that they’ve been pollinated.
When you don’t see pollinators nearby, you’ll have to look closely. Bend down and look at the female blossoms.
Can you see pollen sticking to the plant’s stigmas? You can also look closely at the buds. When the blossoms start shriveling, you should notice that the buds are growing. If this happens, your female pumpkin flower has likely been pollinated.
Remember that this is vitally important because pollination can help ensure that your yields are higher.
If you don’t have pollinators around your property, you’ll need to introduce other sources of pollen earlier in the growing season.
Pollinating Female Pumpkin Flowers
It is always wise to make sure that your female pumpkin plants are going to be pollinated.
If this doesn’t happen, your yield will not be satisfactory.
Therefore, you should find out how to make sure that your plants are pollinated.
For instance, you can begin adding pollen sources earlier. Before the blossoms arrive, begin adding pollinators.
You’ll also want to avoid using pesticides that are going to kill bees on your property.
These products may kill all the nearby pollinators and create issues in the future.
If it is still cold outside, the pollinators may still be hibernating in the soil.
Bumblebees and squash bees tend to hibernate under the soil when it is cold.
Be careful when tilling to ensure that you don’t destroy their nests.
Alternatively, you can try pollinating the plants on your own. You’ll need a male blossom to do this.
Go outside early and remove a male blossom. Once you’ve done this, you’ll need to remove the petals until you can see the anther. Dab or swipe the anther carefully onto the female blossoms to transfer the pollen.
You can repeat this with a new flower under you’re finished.
You may not want to break your male plant. Instead, you can use a cotton swab or paintbrush to collect and transfer the pollen.
It is wise to do this for several days for the best results. Continue until the blossoms begin shriveling.
Completing this task greatly increases the likelihood that your plants are going to produce great fruit.
Before You Go
I hope this article has provided useful tips for growing hearty, healthy pumpkins.
Though our journey together is coming to an end, the learning never stops when it comes to pumpkin cultivation.
For those hungry for more pumpkin growing knowledge, be sure to check out my other pumpkin articles covering topics like dealing with dying leaves, identifying pollinated flowers, ripening pumpkins post-vine, recovering from accidental vine damage, White Spots On Pumpkin Leaves and recognizing seedling sprouts.