The Q&A Archives: healthy vines, but no flowers

Question: I planted 2 or 3 of each of loofah gourds, scarlet runner bean, acorn and straight-neck yellow squash around a 6 foot teepee in the spring. I have gorgeous, healthy-looking vines, but no flowers, except 3-4 on the runner bean. I planted in a first-year bed that had been lawn. I pruned the primary stems about a month ago back to about 7-8 feet long; they sprouted and are continuing to grow like mad. They are mulched with 2-3" of bark, so I have had no weeds and have kept them well watered. They are in full sun. The nearest other plants are some petunias that are about 2 ft away from one side of the teepee. The petunias are blooming very well. Any ideas on what is causing the lack of flowering and is there anything I can do at this point (mid-August) to force the squash/gourds/ beans to flower?

Answer: In some instances vines grow very lushly but fail to flower because they have been supplied with too much nitrogen. Generally too they are trained onto a trellis or into an area where they may sprawl unhampered rather than pruned since pruning can weaken the plants -- it is amazing how large a single vine can grow! Although the trellis is in full sun I suppose it is possible that they are shading each other somewhat especially if they are crowded together so this may also account for poor flowering. At this point I doubt there is much you can do to encourage blooming except wait. In preparation for next year, however, you might run some basic soil tests so you will know how much (if any) fertilizer your plants will need.

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