Contact Us Host an Event 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

Possible allelopathic properties of Prosopis glandulosa (Honey mesquite)
October 02, 2015 - I want to plant a coral honeysuckle at the base of a mesquite tree. Anything in the mesquite that would inhibit the honeysuckle from growing?
view the full question and answer

Native vine for fence on youth baseball field
March 15, 2016 - Our community in Comanche, Texas would like to plant a native vine on the back fence of a youth baseball field. We have plans to plant an area of native grasses behind the fence, between the fence an...
view the full question and answer

Rash resulting from cutting trees in NC.
May 08, 2012 - My boyfriend was cutting some trees yesterday. He had thorns in his hands after he was done, and today he has a rash on his legs, a fever and he feels like throwing up. Can you tell me if its symptoms...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating non-native Asian Jasmine in Austin
December 02, 2010 - I have a large bed in front of the house full of jasmine that was planted by the builder 25 years ago. What suggestions do you have to eliminate it and prepare the bed to plant native flowers and pl...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of vine in Ohio
September 21, 2010 - I have a vine in my forest that grows up trees, that could eventually pull them over. It has roundleaves and prickers on the stem. What is this vine so I can research it?
view the full question and answer

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