Question: I’ve started growing a zucchini plant in a container. The blossoms are all falling off. What’s wrong with it?
Answer: Actually, there may be nothing wrong with it. It’s normal for plants in the squash family to lose blossoms early in the growing season. Zucchini, like other plants in the cucurbit family, are monoecious. That means they have both male and female flowers on the same plant. The female flowers, when pollinated, result in the zucchini that we love to eat. The male flowers provide pollen but will not bear fruit. When plants in this family first start blooming they tend to produce more male flowers than female flowers. As the plant grows, female flowers become more abundant. So, wait a little longer, and I bet you’ll see a zucchini forming.
You can look at the blossoms and determine whether they are male or female. At the base of the male blossom, the stem will be straight and thin. On the female blossom there will be a bump just below the blossom that will become a zucchini once it’s pollinated.
Included are recent photos of male and female blossoms from a cucumber plant.
For more information on growing Squash, see Purdue Publication HO-8-W “Growing Cucumbers, Melons, Squash, Pumpkins and Gourds”
This question was answered by Lila Massa, Greene County Master Gardener. Send your garden-related questions directly to the Master Gardeners. Email your question to GardenQuestions45@gmail.com or send by mail to Ask a Greene Gardener c/o Greene County Extension, 4513 SR 54, Bloomfield, IN 47424