En EspaŅol

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?


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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
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


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?


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 Diseases and Disorders Questions

Foam on Salvia greggii in Austin
October 20, 2010 - I have 7 Salvia greggii plants. I am seeing a white foam like substance on tip of all of them (where flowers use to be). Any suggestions on what is happening to the plants?
view the full question and answer

Willow Tree Early Leaf Fall
May 14, 2015 - I have a weeping willow tree and it put out great leaves this Spring and looked great, but now here in the middle of May all the leaves are turning yellow and falling off like it does in the fall. So ...
view the full question and answer

Use of surfactants with herbicide for water
January 05, 2008 - I read the article on frogs and the use of Rodeo. Your answer was correct, but to the best of my knowledge, Rodeo is approved for use near water only because it lacks a surfactant. When surfactant...
view the full question and answer

Shade Loving Plants for Under a Black Walnut Tree in Rochester, NY.
May 09, 2015 - Please advise on plants that will grow in the shade under a black walnut tree in Rochester, NY.
view the full question and answer

Tan, rough, fan-shaped growth on mountain laurels
July 01, 2014 - A tan rough fan-shaped "something" is growing at the end of the mountain laurel branch where the flowers would be .. what is it and can it harm the plant?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center