Zuchinni dying off

Asked August 5, 2017, 11:21 AM EDT

I have an otherwise healthy zuchinni plant but the fruit start to shrivel and rot from the blossom-end when they are about 4-5 inches long. It gets lots of sun, is watered at the root zone, and continues to produce new fruit but none get past that point before they start to shrivel up. Who can't grow zuchinni???

Multnomah County Oregon

1 Response

Your zucchini squashes have a common, non-infectious ailment, either lack of pollination or blossom end rot. In both instances, the fruit appears to be fine until 3 or 4 inches long but then rots. In my experience with home garden, lack of pollination is the most common.

Squash must be pollinated by insects. If they don’t do it, you can be the bee. Early each day, transfer pollen from the male flower to the female. See “Hand Pollination of Squash: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs398.

Blossom end rot most commonly affects tomatoes and squash but can also occur on peppers and watermelons. This is not a disease and does not spread from one plant to another. Instead, it is classified as a physiological disorder and is caused by a lack of calcium in the developing fruit.

Blossom end rot is likely to occur when the plant runs short of water. That occurs quite often in container-grown plants but may also occur in the open garden and especially during heat waves as we are currently experiencing. The goal is evenly moist soil throughout the fruit production phase. During heat waves, you may need to water container-grown plants several times a day, garden plants daily. Stick your finger into the potting mix (or soil) to determine if the growing media has sufficient moisture.