Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - October 06, 2007

From: RoundRock, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Vines
Title: Care and fruiting time of pumpkins
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

This is my first year growing pumpkin. I have a good vine with flowers now & then, but I still don't see a little pumpkin forming. What am I doing wrong?

ANSWER:

All things considered, it looks like you're going to have to buy your Halloween pumpkin this year. The Cucurbita pepo is generally considered to be the traditional pumpkin that you carve, and is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, which includes gourds, pumpkins, cucumbers and squash. We discovered that the pumpkin is botanically classified as a fruit (the ripened ovary of a flowering plant) but is widely regarded as a vegetable. Generally, this sort of plant is not in the area of expertise of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, as our focus is on the use and care of native plants. The pumpkin has been so hybridized, both naturally and artificially, that it's believed the original plant, which may have originated in Mexico and Central America, no longer exists.

Having said all that, we did try to find out why you were getting no pumpkins, which you should have long before now. We learned that pumpkins have male and female flowers, both on the same plant, and that bees are the carriers of pollen between them. There has been an ongoing problem in recent years with the disappearance of the honeybee population. So, it's a possibility there were no bees available to play the role of Cupid. Also, it didn't sound as though you had a lot of blossoms, which probably cut down the chances of producing viable pumpkins. One source said that pumpkins do appreciate some enrichment in their soil. They also need sun and lots of room and lots of sun.

Pumpkins are annuals, of course, so that vine isn't going to be around much longer in any case. If you want to have another go next year, read some of the material from the link above and see if you need to change the way you start out, plant earlier, fertilize, get it in the sun, etc.

 

More Vines Questions

Control of out-of-bounds Virginia creeper
September 16, 2007 - Our Virginia creeper (Woodbine) has outgrown its planned location this past summer. What is the best way to prune ivy stems for next years controlled growth?
view the full question and answer

Vines to Complement a Fence
April 10, 2012 - I have a 3' weathered picket fence that I want to plant a flowering vine on part of it. The vine must be perennial, tolerate full sun and low watering. Is there anything besides trumpet, cross vine, ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of a wild vine in East Texas
December 17, 2010 - Trying to identify a wild vine that grow 15-20 feet up our trees. The leaves are dark, glossy green about 2-3" long. The edges are smooth and elongated. Each leaf is placed to the right and then the ...
view the full question and answer

Non-flowering deciduous vine for Phoenix AZ
March 27, 2011 - Are there any non-flowering deciduous vines native to the Southwest? I'd like to plant them to shade our windows in the hot Phoenix summers. If only perennials are available, can I cut it back each w...
view the full question and answer

Will an ivy vine growing up my maple kill it?
March 23, 2009 - I have a ground cover ivy vine that has grown up my big maple tree. I would like to know if this will kill the tree if left, or will I kill the tree if I take it off? What should I do with it?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.