Why Do My Cucumber Plants Have Flowers But No Fruit?

Filed Under: Vegetables, Food Gardens, Insects, Growing Basics, Techniques & Methods · Keywords: Will, Marigolds, Repel, Deter, Keep Away, Bees, From, Vegetable, Garden, Cucumber, Flowers · 2459 Views
I have a small 8 x 8 kitchen garden. I've planted tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, zucchini and some melons with a border of Marigolds. Is it possible for the marigolds to keep away the bees, which in turn would prevent pollination of the cucumbers? I ask this question because my cucumber plants have flowers but I'm not seeing any fruit forming on the plant. Please advise


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Answer #1 · Gardenality.com's Answer · Hi Kitty - This is a very good question. I don't think you have to worry about marigolds, or any other type of flower repelling the bees. The bees just won't go to flowers in the garden that they don't like...but they'll still go to the one's they do like.

It's kind of true that flowers repel pests, just a bit indirectly. The idea of flowers actually repelling pests is mostly a myth (although there is one specific type of marigold that has been shown to repel nematodes). That being said, planting flowers really can help attract the beneficial insects that will prey on or ward off the bad bugs, pollinate your plants, and make your garden a more interesting and diverse place.

So go ahead and plant some marigolds and mix in other flowers as well. Cosmos, single-flowered dahlias, anything with wide, flat umbels of tiny flowers such as yarrow, and many herb flowers. Basil in flower makes the bees go crazy and is especially good around tomatoes to attract the insects that attack them and to actually enhance the flavor of the tomatoes!

Keep in mind that the single-flowered varieties do a better job of attracting the pollinators than do the semi- to fully-double flowers.

Let us know if you need any more details or have any other questions.

Brent)



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Answer #2 · Kitty Hawkins's Answer · Thank you, Brent.

My problem is I don't seem to have any cucumbers being produced.

I've read on line there are male and female flowers on cucumbers. I seem to only have the male flowers at this point. They have been in bloom for over 10 days, but still no female flowers. I was wondering if the lack of bees might keep the female blooms from appearing?
Any ideas would be appreciated.)


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Gardenality.com

Gardenality.com · Gardenality Genius · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Cucumber plants produce both male and female blooms so this wouldn't be the problem. It is either one of two things:

1 - To attract bees, the male blooms appear about two weeks or so before the female blooms. The male blooms appears on a slender stem, while the female bloom has a swollen ovary that looks like a miniature cucumber at the base. The purpose of the male blossom is to produce pollen to pollinate the female bloom - but it does not produce a cucumber on its own.

Bees visit the male cucumber blossom where the pollen sticks to their hairy legs and bodies. When the bee visits a female bloom, a sticky substance on the anthem in the center of the female blossom attracts the pollen from the bee.

When female blooms are pollinated, the tiny cucumber at the base begins to grow and the blossom shrivels, turns brown and falls from the end of the cucumber. If the bloom is not pollinated, the tiny cucumber at the base of the female blossom rots and falls off the plant.

So, usually you can give your cucumbers a week or two to produce female blooms.

2 - On the other hand, sometimes a lack of bees, or a prolonged period of rainy weather interferes with pollination. When this happens, you can hand pollinate your cucumbers to insure a good supply.

To do so, use a clean artist's paintbrush or a Q-tip to collect pollen from the male blooms and transfer the pollen to the female blooms by hand. Gather more pollen as you go. Even though a brush full of pollen can be used for several female blooms, keeping the brush filled with pollen insures good pollination.

So, it's a good idea to check the blossoms to insure that both male and female blooms have opened. If you still don't see any cucumbers setting on - or you observe the miniature cucumbers shriveling or rotting on the plant - go ahead and pollinate them by hand.

6 years ago ·
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Maple Tree

Maple Tree · Gardenality Genius · Zone 10A · 30° to 35° F
Great answer Brent. Like always they are very informative for all of us. Didn't mean to post an answer late, but may help adding what I had found for Kitty. This will teach me to refresh a page to see if the question and answers have been worked on by others.

6 years ago ·
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Gardenality.com

Gardenality.com · Gardenality Genius · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
The more answers the better! :-)

6 years ago ·
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Answer #4 · Kitty Hawkins's Answer · Thank you again, Brent.
I will give it a bit more time for the female flowers to appear and then pollinate as needed.
I truly appreciate your input.)


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Gardenality.com

Gardenality.com · Gardenality Genius · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
You're very welcome Kitty!

6 years ago ·
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Answer #3 · Maple Tree's Answer · Hi Kitty-This is really a good question. I had always known marigolds were good for keeping mosquitoes and other harmful insects away, but never heard they would deter bees. They actually seem to do well at attracting the bees in my yard. I did some reseach and found that marigolds do two things in gardens. Marigolds bloom a great deal, which attracts bees, and other pollinators. They also produce a chemical that keeps harmful insects away. The other great thing about Marigolds is that they are smaller plants. Marigolds allow gardeners to attract pollinators, deter pests and require very little space. When planted near vegetables they will help to keep greenfly and black fly along with other harmful pests away. I found that marigolds are much liked by bumble bees, Melissodes bees, and honey bees, and other species also.

Brent mentioned double flowers may not be as inviting to the bees as single flowers. During my research I found a good site (polinatorparadise.com) that mentioned that the marigolds with double flowers were not the best flower for available pollen for the bee. The double flowers develop extra petals instead of anthers which would have little to no pollen available to the bees. The bees need the pollen for their offspring, and will not visit double flowers on plants unless they produce lots of nector. The double flower maigolds will still draw bees, but not as much as the single flowering marigold species.

Another good reason to use the marigolds in the garden is that they are naturally repugnant to rabbits and deer.

Your marigolds should not only look beautiful as a border around your garden, but work well to repel harmful insects and draw beneficial pollinators such as bees and butterflies to your plants.

Hopefully this was helpful.

John)


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Kitty Hawkins

Kitty Hawkins · Gardenality Seed · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Thank you so much, very helpful. I appreciate your insights.

6 years ago ·
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Maple Tree

Maple Tree · Gardenality Genius · Zone 10A · 30° to 35° F
You're welcome. Hopefully you will be able to upload pictures of a nice crop this year.

6 years ago ·
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