Q+A: Aborting Zucchini
AT MY JUNE TALK FOR THE BEACHES GARDEN SOCIETY, ONE LISTENER ASKED:
“I see young zucchini starting to grow, but then they drop off. What causes this?”
There are a couple of possible reasons.
- It could be that the plant is under some sort of stress such as inadequate water or excessive heat.
- But it could also be poor pollination.
Let’s step back a moment so I can explain why:
Zucchini plants have both male and female flowers. The male flowers are smaller, while the female ones are larger, with a small zucchini at the base. Without pollination, this small zucchini will wither.
In early summer there are usually loads of male flowers, and fewer female ones. But as the summer progresses, there are more female ones…and sometimes fewer male ones.
I have heard of people pollinating zucchini flowers by hand with a paintbrush…but this seems like a bother to me.
Gardener, Garden Writer, Garden Coach, Horticulturist
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