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Pumpkin Plant Has No Female Flowers

Just wanted to ask a quick question. All my pumpkin plants are doing great and I have a large number of pumpkins. But the cotton candy pumpkin, has a large number of male flowers but no female flowers yet?? Is there a problem? I do notice some white powder on some of the leaves on this plant which I am planning on treating this evening. Does it normally produce female flowers late? Thanks, John

6 Responses to “Pumpkin Plant Has No Female Flowers”

  1. Karen says:

    It is hard to say exactly what might be causing the lack of female flowers. A couple of things to consider are: feed the plants with a high-phosphorus fertilizer to increase bloom production; and the other possibility, according to some seed developers, is the spacing between plants is particularly important for female bloom production. For the cotton candy pumpkin the recommended distance between plants is 4 feet with a row width of 6 to 7 1/2 feet. If plants are too close, the competition between plants can reduce the number of female flowers. If you have a white powdery substance on the leaves it is possibly powdery mildew which is often also a symptom of over- crowding or poor air circulation. If this is the case you might try reducing the number of plants.

    I do not find any statistics on exact flowering dates but it is listed as a 110-day maturity variety, which seems to be on the longer side of average.

    Good luck with your pumpkin gardening endeavors! Karen

  2. Beth says:

    How do I care for a potted pumpkin plant? Do I transport it into the ground or keep it in the pot? If so, how do I prepare the soil for the transplant?

    Thank you in advance for your help!
    Beth

  3. Karen says:

    Pumpkins are significant sprawlers, and keeping them sufficiently watered in a container could be a problem. I would definitely put the plant in the ground. There are a couple of different approaches to planting them: some gardeners like to dig a four- to five-foot pit that is two- to three-feet deep and fill with compost and manure (making sure it is well aged to prevent burning) and other amendments such as straw or leaf mulch, and then planting the seed or seedling into that. The other approach is to mound the soil several inches above ground. This method is often used for other vining crops such as squash. This helps with drainage in the early season and helps to stave off a bacteria disease called damping off.

    It is also important to enrich the soil around the pumpkin plant.
    The runners it sends out develop secondary roots, and augmenting the soil area there helps to develop larger pumpkins. If you are in a limited space try planting the vines at the edge of your garden and let them vine into your lawn. As they spread out you can add some compost or manure along its path. Just be careful not to mow them down. Once the plants are spent you can just over-seed and next spring your grass will be good as new.

    Karen

  4. Cathy says:

    We planted our fall pumpkin plants at the beginning of September. They have been flowering for a couple of weeks with about 8 flowers per plant. The problem is that the flowers are falling off. Could you tell me what is happening to our pumpkin plants?

    Thanks, Cathy

  5. Karen says:

    Chances are you are just seeing male blooms. Those are the first to bloom. You will be able to tell the difference: the females are the ones with a little rounded segment at the base of the bloom, what will become a pumpkin once pollinated. If you are not getting these you will not have any fruit. You might try adding a little extra phosphorous to help promote blooming, and make sure you don’t add too much nitrogen.

    If you’re getting female blooms, then it might be that you don’t have enough pollinators (bees) around and you might have to do it yourself. Also make sure your plants aren’t under any kind of stress, such as too much or too little water, or a soil pH imbalance.

    Karen

  6. John Oh says:

    I have an old reference book that says female flowers are more likely to develop on shoots that branch off from the main vine. It recommends cutting the ends off of the vines when they are 10 feet long which encourages side growth to develop. I’ve done it for several years on my gourds and pumpkins and have seen a big increase in early fruit set.

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