What determines ratio of female to male flowers on fruiting plants?

Discussion in 'General Gardening Discussion' started by TheWingco, Jul 23, 2020.

  1. TheWingco

    TheWingco Apprentice Gardener

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2020
    Messages:
    8
    Gender:
    Male
    Ratings:
    +2
    I'm talking greenhouse plants such as peppers, cucumbers, courgettes, melons. All of mine have a preponderance of male flowers, probably in the order of 10:1. There possibly is no answer, but just curious as to what factors if any play a part.
     
  2. NigelJ

    NigelJ Total Gardener

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2012
    Messages:
    2,667
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Mad Scientist
    Location:
    Paignton Devon
    Ratings:
    +8,697
    Peppers are related to tomatoes and don't have separate male and female flowers. With the cucurbits it seems to be temperature plays a big role. In cooler weather they produce male flowers and warmer leads to more female flowers. Just last week my cucumbers had virtually no female flowers in sight and I was pinching off male flowers every evening. This week I have more female than male flowers and it's the same with melons as the season warms up more female flowers. There is also a factor from the number of fruit developing; my cucumbers when they have three or four cucumbers developing on a plant start to produce male flowers if I pick cucumbers females start to appear. Doesn't apply to modern all female cucumbers and no they don't count as such, it's probably due to the stress imposed by the developing fruit. This is also the case with squashes outside.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • pete

      pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

      Joined:
      Jan 9, 2005
      Messages:
      30,138
      Gender:
      Male
      Occupation:
      joinery
      Location:
      Mid Kent
      Ratings:
      +34,441
      I'm not sure there is any thing you can put your finger on that creates Male or female flowers.
      As @NigelJ has said most plants don't produce Male and female flowers, but regarding vegetables the curcurbits are probably the most important.
      Male flowers are almost always produced first, but I find with melons you have to pinch out the growing points and female flowers come on the sub laterals
       
      • Like Like x 1
      • TheWingco

        TheWingco Apprentice Gardener

        Joined:
        Mar 16, 2020
        Messages:
        8
        Gender:
        Male
        Ratings:
        +2
        Nigel's point about temperature affecting the production of fruiting flowers seems logical given this summer's on-off weather, also it is reasonable to assume that the energy going into the production of actual fruit may inhibit the appearance of further females until harvested. I take Pete's point about nipping out the growing tips of melons, which have been my most successful crop this year. (As an aside, I've taken to hand-pollinating all of my stuff bar tomatoes and courgettes following an abysmal season last year.) Thanks for your inputs.
         
        • Like Like x 1
        • NigelJ

          NigelJ Total Gardener

          Joined:
          Jan 31, 2012
          Messages:
          2,667
          Gender:
          Male
          Occupation:
          Mad Scientist
          Location:
          Paignton Devon
          Ratings:
          +8,697
          I find peppers and tomatoes pollinate without my deliberate help, courgettes, squashes and melons I have pollinated at various times if they haven't got the idea. Cucumbers, in the greenhouse don't want pollinating so the males get the snip.
           
          • Agree Agree x 1
          • pete

            pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

            Joined:
            Jan 9, 2005
            Messages:
            30,138
            Gender:
            Male
            Occupation:
            joinery
            Location:
            Mid Kent
            Ratings:
            +34,441
            I think with peppers and tomatoes often the flower, having male and female parts, self pollinates so they come pretty true to type from seed.
             
            • Agree Agree x 1
            • NigelJ

              NigelJ Total Gardener

              Joined:
              Jan 31, 2012
              Messages:
              2,667
              Gender:
              Male
              Occupation:
              Mad Scientist
              Location:
              Paignton Devon
              Ratings:
              +8,697
              @TheWingco My cucumbers now have a number of fruits on them and have reverted to producing male flowers as the fruit develop. Once I harvest a few if the weather is still good I will get more female flowers appearing.
               
            • Scrungee

              Scrungee Well known for it

              Joined:
              Dec 5, 2010
              Messages:
              15,132
              Location:
              Central England on heavy clay soil
              Ratings:
              +25,478
              Complete mismatch of male/female courgette flowers this year, I've been sharing male flowers with a neighbour, without which loads of female courgettes wouldn't have been pollinated.
               
              • Informative Informative x 1
              Loading...

              Share This Page

              1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
                By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
                Dismiss Notice