Have you ever wondered why your summer squash plants produce so many flowers, but never go to fruit? This is a very common problem that can be fixed with the help of your own two hands. There may not be a lot of pollinators in your garden, which is the main reason why squash are not properly pollinated. Hand pollinating is an easy task, you just need to determine which flower is male and which is female, which we will tell you how to do below.
Male Vs. Female Squash Blossoms
It is quite easy to determine the difference between a male and female squash blossom once you get the hang of it! Firstly, female squash blossoms usually grow closer to the center of the plant. Female plants also have a small, swollen “embryonic fruit” at their base, which will eventually grow into the actual squash if they are pollinated. Male squash blossoms tend to hang out on long, skinny stalks all along the plant. There are usually a lot more male squash blossoms than females.
How to Hand Pollinate Squash
To pollinate, begin by identifying the male and female flowers. Only the female flowers eventually bear fruit, while the males are needed for pollination. Remove a male flower from the plant, and notice the pollen on the anther, which is the middle part of the flower that sticks up. You can then take this male flower and brush it to the female stigma, which is the middle part of the flower, a few times, and the female flower should then be pollinated. You can also do this by using a q-tip and taking the pollen from the male anther to the female stigma. It’s as easy as that! Enjoy!