The Q&A Archives: Pumpkins not Fruiting

Question: I'm wondering...where do the pumpkins grow on 'Small Sugar' pumpkin plants? If it's the orange flowers that grow all the time then my pumpkins aren't producing. The flowers grow then the die. Thanks for answering my question!

Answer: You're right! Pumpkin fruit grow from flowers. There are both male and female flowers on squash and pumpkin vines. Insects (and sometimes gardeners) transfer pollen from male flowers to female flowers. When this transfer takes place, fruits form where female flowers once bloomed. You can tell the difference between the flowers by looking at the stems just behind the petals on a flower. Male blossoms have a straight stem and female blossoms have a slight swelling behind the petals. If the weather is cold, there is no insect activity, or the plants are not receiving enough sunshine, fruit will not form. It's a little late in the season to coax your plants into producing fruit this year, but next year, find the sunniest location possible to plant your pumpkin seeds. When both male and female blossoms appear, try transferring the pollen from a male flower to a female flower by dabbing the insides of both flowers with a cotton swab or small paintbrush. In a few days the petals will drop off and where the female flower was, a little pumpkin will grow. Keep them well watered, and those fruit should grow plump!

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