En Español

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
9 ratings

Tuesday - August 26, 2008

From: Blackstone, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Pollinators
Title: Zucchini blooms but no fruit
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

My zuchinni has lots of flowers, but they seem to fall and I am getting no fruit.. WHY

ANSWER:

First of all, squash plants are monoecious (male and female reproductive parts on the same plant but in separate flowers).  The male flowers tend to occur near the center of the plant and the female flowers usually occur nearer the outside.  You can see in the photograph that the female flower has a swelling at the bottom, the ovary, that will become the squash fruit if it is pollinated.  The male flowers tend to appear and open earlier than (sometimes several days before) the female flowers.  They open early in the morning and then die and fall off.  More male blossoms will replace them and female flowers will also eventually bloom.  In order for there to be a fruit, the female flower has to be pollinated by the pollen from a male flower.  This is normally accomplished by an insect first visiting a male flower for its nectar, collecting pollen on its body, and then visiting the female flower for its nectar and shedding the pollen on the pistil of the female flower.  So, your lack of fruit may be that: 1) all the flowers so far have been male flowers and you should soon get female flowers as well; or 2) the pollinator population in your area is reduced (see the information on honeybee decline).  If you see that your plant has both male and female flowers but you're still not getting fruit, you can assume that for some reason your female flowers are not getting pollinated.  You can do the pollinating yourself by taking a small artist's brush and collecting pollen from the stamens of male blossoms and then brushing it onto the pistils of female flowers.  Brushing the pistils with pollen from several male flowers should do the trick.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Non-native invasive carrot wood tree losing leaves in Alpine CA
April 22, 2014 - My carrot wood tree is losing all of its leaves. The tree is about 15foot high & 13 years old. Could it be gophers? The tree was trimmed 1 year ago.
view the full question and answer

Problem with non-native Shasta daisies
July 10, 2014 - Our Shasta Daisy has bloomed quite prolifically this year. I don't know what to do with the spent blooms/stalks. Do I trim them down, save the seeds, plant the seeds? Any help is appreciated. Thank y...
view the full question and answer

Red Shrimp Plant Poisonous for Dogs?
March 07, 2015 - Is the Red Shrimp Plant poison to dogs?
view the full question and answer

Fertilizer for non-native Althea in West Monroe LA
July 12, 2010 - What type of fertilizer is best for Althea Bushes
view the full question and answer

Transplanting a non-native rose from Akron OH
August 30, 2012 - Can I transplant a rose plant that I have in sunny area to an area that will be partially shady?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center