My cucumber vines are huge with minimal flowers and no vegetables. Can/should...

Asked July 31, 2013, 12:36 PM EDT

My cucumber vines are huge with minimal flowers and no vegetables. Can/should I cut them back? Rest of vegetablse in same bed aare normal size and yield

Sussex County Delaware

1 Response

Most Cucumbers have two types of flowers, male and female, on the same plant. The plant first produces male flowers. As the plant gets older it then produces the female flowers. You can tell the difference between a male and female flower in that the female flower has an immature fruit behind the flower. If a plant is not yet mature it will lack female flowers and will not produce fruit.

Extremely hot weather can also be a factor in limiting fruit growth. In hot weather cucumber plants may only produce male flowers.

The last major factor is a lack of bee activity. In order for the immature cucumber to grow, it needs to be pollinated. Lack of sufficient pollen will not allow the cucumber to develop. To ensure pollination, put pollen on a cotton swab and then place it on pistil of the female flower.

There are some newer cucumber varieties that are gynoecious, which means they have mostly or only female flowers. In some varieties the female flowers need to be pollinated by male flowers; requiring a pollinator variety to the planted. Check details on the specific variety planted in your garden.

Always prune out dead or diseased plant material. After the plant starts producing, p
runing the lateral runners near the base of the plant may result in higher yields. The first 4 to 6 lateral runners that appear may be removed. Leave the others.