Poor fruit production in these crops is commonly a result of inadequate pollination. Cucurbit flowers only remain open for one day. If pollination does not occur, the flowers simply drop off the plant & no fruit is produced. Female flowers have a swelling at the base which may look like a small fruit. this will wither if not pollinated. If only partial pollination occurs, the resulting fruits are small and not on the vine. Some cucurbits requires as many as twenty bee visits per flower for pollination. Many cucurbits, especially newer varieties, produce far more male flowers than female flowers. Male flowers appear first on the vine and will never produce fruit but are needed to pollinate the 2nd flower, usually female. If this doesnt occur, or if temperatures are too high, only male flowers will appear as the vine grows. Some cucurbits produce male flowers and combination flowers, in which case only the combination flowers will produce fruit. Insect vectors, however, are still required for pollen transfer even though combination flowers have both male and female reproductive parts. Regular feeding and watering are needed for the young plants or the flowering pattern is disrupted for the life of the vine.
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