In July, my zucchini and yellow summer squash started blossoming. It is now...

Asked August 1, 2014, 2:51 PM EDT

In July, my zucchini and yellow summer squash started blossoming. It is now August 1 and there are no zucchini or summer squash on the vines but many of the blossoms have fallen off. What's wrong and how can I fix it?

Ramsey County Minnesota

3 Responses

Male and female blossoms. Mom never covered that in "The Talk"! Below are some photos of blossoms from my zucchini and summer squash. Are they male or female?

Yeah, it is amazing how much of the good stuff gets left out of "the talk".

Female flowers are produced on short, thick stems and if you look inside the flower you see they have a pistil - a receptacle for the pollen that looks like it is ready to form a squash. Male flowers are on long, slender stems and look quite different inside. From looking at the stems the first two flowers were male. The third is probably also male since the area where the stem attached is narrow.

The good thing is that sometimes the first flowers of a plant are only male or female, but eventually they will even out. If you find you get lots of female flowers that are not pollinating and suspect there are no pollinators around, you can use a small paintbrush or even Q-tip to move the pollen from the male flowers to the female, but hopefully that won't be necessary and things will balance soon.

Good luck!