I got some cucumber plants from the nursery. Now I have got a few cucumbers and it turns out that they are actually English cucumber. Further, I am seeing only female cucumber flowers. There has not been even a single male flower over the past one week.

I do not have any idea how I got the few cucumbers without male flowers. There are no other cucumber plants in the vicinity. Are there any varieties of cucumbers that have only female flowers and can still provide fruits?

I searched extensively on the Internet but could not find anything.This link says that there are cucumber plants that have only female flowers but they still need to be fertilised with a plant that is bearing male flowers.

I can go back to the nursery and get more cucumber plants but how do I figure out if the cucumber plant will yield only male flowers or at least some male flowers? Can that be detected from the seedling?

Thank you for any answers

1 Answer 1


Yes, there are cucumbers that only produce female flowers: These are gynoecious cucumbers. Yes, there are cucumbers that produce (seedless) fruit without being fertilized: These are parthenocarpic cucumbers. Yes, there are cucumbers that are both.

If your cucumbers are not parthenocarpic you'll want a pollinator. Most cucumbers produce plenty of early male flowers (so, you may have time to plant some). They should also produce female ones, but there should be plenty of male flowers.

Parthenocarpy is more common in cucumbers than most other vegetables, but there are also parthenocarpic tomatoes, F1 hybrid summer squash, and peppers (I only know of the Planet F1 pepper). I believe there are gynoecious summer squash, too.

People don't always call cucumbers such as yours parthenocarpic and gynoecious. Some people might say they're greenhouse cucumbers. I believe English cucumbers and greenhouse cucumbers are the same thing.

Gynoecious cucumbers are likely to be F1 hybrids. So, just look for open-pollinated types if you want male flowers. However, I know Monika is semi-gynoecious, and it's not an F1 hybrid; so, be careful of that one. You probably only need a pollinator if you want to save seeds, however, unless your plants aren't fully parthenocarpic.

You need to know the names of the breeds of cucumbers you're dealing with. Then you can look them up and discover what flowering/fruiting habits they have. The appearance of the seedlings probably won't tell you that sort of thing. The breed name is usually on the tag or the seed packet. People more commonly call that the variety name (but that doesn't jive so well with some taxonomists who interpret that to mean something else). Also, people use the word 'variety' to refer to types of plants (like any plant with certain traits) instead of breeds, sometimes (so, it's a mess; it's as confusing as calling any black dog with floppy ears a Black Lab regardless of its ancestry and other traits while other people use it to refer to Black Labs specifically). 'Cultivar' is also a term used for many breeds, but it doesn't apply to all (so, it's not synonymous with 'breed'). 'Breed' is more commonly used with animals, but it may be used with plants, too.

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