I have only one plant of each, Zucchini and Butternut squash. Sometimes female flowers bloom when no male flower is open. Can I somehow preserve the male flowers to pollinate by hand later ?

  • 1
    Yes, but you shouldn't have to worry about that. Not with a squash in a pot on your balcony...I never hand pollinate and I always get too many of everything. Where are these plants? Are they out of doors?
    – stormy
    Jul 20, 2018 at 8:03
  • You should not have to worry about hand pollination. I went back and yes, they are out of doors. Sorry. This might just mean a bit of patience is necessary. Pollen most certainly can be saved but that is not at all a thing you need to be doing. Maybe watching the pot causes the water to never boil? Is that right? Grins. Please give us a bit more information such as fertilizer or any additives. What soil have you used in those pots?
    – stormy
    Jul 20, 2018 at 8:14
  • I know that it is usually not necessary but I really think it is in my case. I saw how the fruits turned black and fell off after the flower bloomed without any male one around. And since I supported the pollination by hand (if two were open at the same time) that didn't happen anymore. Maybe it has to do something with the plants being on a rooftop in a city and there are not so many other squash plants close to it.
    – Meera
    Jul 20, 2018 at 16:21
  • that is the point to having male and female flowers on the same plant. That is not a worry. Kind of smart, huh? If you are pollinating them, why are they turning black and falling off? That is what we need to address. Please send pictures!
    – stormy
    Jul 20, 2018 at 22:27
  • They turned black and fall off after the blooming if they didn't get pollinated because bees didn't do the work and either I didn't support pollination (in the beginning I thought I don't have to) or I couldn't because no male flower was open. Hence this question. My other open question is about them falling off before blooming, it's a different story.
    – Meera
    Jul 21, 2018 at 3:47

3 Answers 3


Yes, you can gather the polen in a ziplock bag with a q-tip or toothpick. I am unsure how long polen can stay fertile but after searching for a bit I found a similar question: https://gardening.stackexchange.com/a/23095/20219


After a few months, the pollen may lose over 50% of its vitality, but applied heavily enough, it will be sufficient.


I have saved pollens in a jar and used them to hand pollinate. I faced the same thing: flowers were not pollinating on their own. A lot of the times, male and female didn't open at the same time. I saved pollen from male and hand pollinated female ones to get good zucchinis.


I have had issues with my zucchini growing to about 2-3" and then falling off the vine, because of lack of pollination. I have found that if I go out early enough in the morning with my handy-dandy q-tip, I can find a male flower and take the pollen out and brush it gently on the inside of the female flower, and I now have 3 zucchini over 4 inches in length. I've had better success hand pollinating than waiting for the bees, which I do not see anywhere around. I'm now storing 3 male flowers in a baggie in the fridge for a few days, in hopes of having more female flowers to pollinate. Best of luck to you, as I can totally relate to your issue!

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