Trimming back pumpkin flowers

Pumpkin    PA

I am growing pumpkin for the first time and I read a post on another gardening site about trimming the male flowers back when they appear in order to get the plant to produce male and females? Did I get this right? Is that something I should do? There seems to be so much advice out there and its very confusing. How will I know which are the male flowers and which are the females?

Posted by: Karen Miller (2 points) Karen Miller
Posted: April 15, 2013


Hi Karen,
It is typical for pumpkin and its relatives to produce male flowers for a short time before the plant starts producing female flowers. It is thought that this helps get a 'head start' on attracting pollinators. I have not heard of cutting off the early male flowers so I'm not sure of the rationale behind that recommendation.
The female flowers have a swollen part (the ovary) below the petals as shown in this photo from the Missouri Botanical Garden website ( http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/)

If you search on Google Images for male and female squash or pumpkin flowers you'll see good images.

Posted by: Joan Allen (2 points) Joan Allen
Posted: April 16, 2013

Karen Miller commented,
Hi Joan, thanks for the very helpful information about the flowers. I probably got confused (happens a lot) with the details of the pruning and now I can't find the page I was reading. I did find this link about squash though http://www.ehow.com/how_5652306_prune... which says that removing the male flowers will "encourage the plant to produce more female blossoms and more fruit" I wonder if it was something like this I read and got confused by. Is this something you would recommend doing?

almost 7 years ago.

Joan Allen commented,
Hi Karen, Pruning off the ends of summer squash vines will result in the development of side shoots, and this is where additional flowers (and fruit ) will be produced. I have read that removing some of the male flowers will result in more female flowers but I don't have a reference that verifies this. I generally rely on info from universities whenever it's available.
almost 7 years ago.

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