Vegetables flower but no fruit | Living the Country Life

Vegetables flower but no fruit

The usual culprits are weather, fertilization, and a lack of pollinators

A vegetable garden that’s healthy and growing well is often a cause for concern when you see flowers on the plants, but they don’t produce any fruit.

Ward Upham is an Extension horticulturist at Kansas State University. He says one problem that can affect a lot of plants is overfertilization. Tomatoes especially are very sensitive to that.

"If you overfertilize tomatoes what you’ll get is a very large, nice bushy plant, but you’re not going to get any fruit," he says. "It causes that plant to go vegetative rather than reproductive and so therefore you don’t get any fruit until it has burned through all that extra nitrogen and can settle down, and start to produce fruit."

Tomatoes are sensitive to temperature and normally won’t set flowers if the night air falls below 50 degrees. They also won’t set when temperatures are too warm - above 75 at night and 95 during the day.

Vining vegetables such as squash, cucumbers, watermelon and muskmelon produce all-male flowers first. The female flowers appear about two-weeks later, and you’ll see a tiny fruit behind the blossom. Upham says if you don’t, it could be a problem with not having enough bees around to pollinate the plants.

"What you may want to do in that case, is pick off a male flower, strip off the petals, and then hand-pollinate several female flowers and see if they produce fruit. And you can just tie a string around that part of the plant so you know which one you’ve hand-pollinated," says Upham. "If they produce fruit and nothing else does, then you have a problem with pollinators."

Also, make sure your plants are getting enough sun. If they have less than 6 hours of sunlight per day, they may not bloom.

Find more reasons why plants fail to fruit

Listen here to the radio mp3

Latest Blogs

Betsy's Backyard |
5/25/18 | 11:05 AM
My daughter, Caroline, said she missed my blog, so I'm going to download a few more
Betsy's Backyard |
3/12/18 | 1:18 PM
The Living the Country Life Spring/Summer 2018 issue comes out this month. I loved more

Add Your Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login