I have planted several 'pickling' variety of cucumber and they only have female flowers. In fact there are so many flowers with baby cucumbers at first I was thinking, wow I'm going to harvest so many cucumbers. But so far I only got 6 and the majority just turn yellow while still very small, then shrivel up and fall off.

The plant is very healthy, no damage from bugs, watered daily etc. So the only explanation I can think of is low pollination rate. However my main question is, does this type of cucumber (Gynoecious) even require pollination?

If it does, how can I resolve this issue with no male flowers?

Could there be any other cause, like fertilization or watering issue?

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  • It seems that cucumber growths, so I would assume the problem is different: too much or too little water? (or just cold or lack of sun). It depends on varieties (and I do not know about cucumber), but usually if they sell such plants they do not need males, they just grow a sterile cucumber (so without seeds). They may be smaller, but not necessary (afaik only some vegetables and fruits are able to do so) Commented Jul 10 at 15:53

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According to Johnies "Some gynoecious varieties require pollination in order to set fruit, and some do not. With those that do, a monoecious pollenizer variety must be planted nearby and bloom concurrently. To facilitate this, the seed of pollination-dependent gynoecious cucumber varieties is customarily blended with 10–15% of a monoecious variety’s seed. The pollenizer variety will produce predominantly male flowers that bear pollen for insect transfer to the gynoecious plants’ flowers."

I suspect this is the issue. If you have no other cucumber plants (or your neighbors within a few blocks either) then these are being produced by parthenogenesis (no pollination needed). However if there are a few male flowers around then it's just a low pollination rate. You can hand pollinate. Early in the AM, pick a male flower, remove the petals, and rub into female flowers. One male flower will work for several female flowers. It can be any other cucumber variety - only the seeds will be crossed, the fruits are all from the parent plant - the one attached to the fruit.

  • To me, it seems all fruits on the photo passed the stage of "pollination", and we have also a larger fruit (and the top one is definitely growing). To me the problem is not pollination but a different physiological problem. Commented Jul 11 at 7:34
  • @GiacomoCatenazzi You are right, the flower and fruit appear at the same time. But when the flower is blooming the cucumber looks slightly bigger as though it is about to grow but fails. I might try using bone meal and see if it helps. I've been using a liquid organic fertilizer once a week 3-6-8 but maybe it is not enough.
    – erotavlas
    Commented Jul 11 at 15:15
  • The fruits actually start before pollination. But is does look like most of these are past the pollination stage as the flowers are withering. That is classic lack of sufficient pollination, they grow a bit but then turn yellow and dry up, the plants actually reabsorb some of the tissue, This can happen with no pollination or even lack of enough pollen - as it takes many pollen grains per flower. Try the hand pollination (you can even get a male flower from a neighbor or friends garden for this), and try with a few female flowers (mark them - or photograph them), and see. what happens. Commented Jul 11 at 18:22

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