I've been loosing more zucchini than have been ripening, and I'm trying to figure out why. This is what I've been noticing:

  • Many fruits wither and die when they are just buds - before they fully blossom
  • Many more fruits turn yellow and begin to rot at ~2 in. in length
    • (they usually start to rot on the blossom end, away from the plant)
  • The ones that don't die off grow to a nice full length and look great
  • There are many striped cucumber beetles in the blossoms and around the plant
  • The plant itself seems very healthy (so far anyway)

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Any idea what the problem is, or how to address it? The beetles seem less common this week, but the zucchini aren't doing any better yet.


I think you have a pollination problem.

Roughly half the flowers just wither away to nothing because they are male flowers, and unless you pick them and stuff them, that's all they ever do. I can't say that stuffed squash flowers are a particular favorite of mine, but that is a way to eat them that's somewhat common.

The flowers with the 2" fruit that wither are female flowers that were not pollinated.

You can hand pollinate by learning to identify male and female flowers, paying attention to when they are about to open, and picking a freshly opened male flower, then using it to pollinate freshly opened female flowers.

Taking steps to encourage pollinators in and around your garden may also help, but the "by hand" method is a lot faster to get results from, if you have both male and female flowers (sometimes you get the bad luck of having lots of one, without the other.)

  • You might try planting other plants to attract pollinators for next year, too (like Russian Sage). You also might try parthenocarpic zucchini, if you can get it. Planting in full sun should help, too. Aug 2 '16 at 22:17

All squash plants have two types of flowers; one is female the other male. The male flowers (very yummy to eat btw) die quickly having produced pollen for the female flowers. If you haven't been fertilizing with high nitrogen you might get plenty of squash. Always have something floriferous growing to attract pollinators. Don't always need pollinators, the wind works with an awful lot of plants. If you don't have reproductive growth to be pollenized then no flowers/fruit/vegetables will be had. What are you using for fertilizer? How do you know when to apply more?

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