Hi I'm hoping someone on here is a bit of a wizard when it comes to growing pumpkins.

I tried growing to varieties last year and although they grew an amazing set of leaves, every time I thought a female flower had set it expanded for a week then stopped and rotted off. I even tried artificial pollination too but again the same results, much to the disappointment of the children image

An ideas how to successfully solve this problem. Incidently I grew some marrows too I managed to harvest one decent marrow but the rest failed like the pumpkins. 


  • ClaringtonClarington Posts: 4,892

    Bumping this thread back up to the top because I'd like to know as well. Last year my pumpkin plants vrew strongly but each time a pumpkin would appear a few days later it fell off.

    Was last year just a bad year? :/

  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,647

    Sounds like a pollination problem in both cases. The fruit will shrivel and die off if the female flower hasn't been either properly or sufficiently pollinated.

    It can happen, too, after hand pollination. Apart from making sure the pollen transfers to the stigma of the female flower, you have to be careful not to damage the stigma in the process.

  • Can anyone advise how to plant out?  I sowed seeds last week and now have some impressive, but weak and tall shoots.  I live in a warm dry climate and I need to choose the best spot in my garden.  I have a large space available that is in shade all day or spots that's are more or less full sun all day (I was planning on putting the sunflowers, tomatoes, peppers etc in here).  If necessary I could find an alternate area.  Any advice for planting out? And whether my fast growing shoots are going to give me a weak plant?

  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,647

    They need full sun to prosper, Emma. In the meantime, give your seedlings as much sun and warmth as they can get and they should come right.

  • We had the reverse issue in the last two seasons, i.e., too many pumpkins.  One reason could be, I was told, that we have the right kind of insects such as bees in our garden.  They pollinate the pumpkins like crazy.  Another thing is, I made sure I don't overwater the patch where the pumpkins grow.  Good luck!

  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,647

    Too much fertiliser, particularly if it's high in nitrogen, can also impact on production.

  • IvyhouseIvyhouse Posts: 86

    My advice would be not to plant them out too early. I put 5 really healthy plants out last year on May 1st after a week of hardening off and they just stopped in their tracks. One got completely demolished by slugs so I sowed up some more which caught up within a month. I'l leave it until June 1st this time.

  • plotskierplotskier Posts: 65

    Growing eight pumpkin plants for the first time this year on my allotment. - Invincible, Knucklehead, . I have grown them on from mid may in the greenhouse in grow pots and have now transferred them to ring pots ( usually used for tomatoes) . I gave the whole area a good manuring beforehand. They are all enclosed within pallets to avoid wind and build up warmth, spaced at 3' square intervals. Yes, I had trouble with snails in the greenhouse eating the true leaves of the pumpkins but also the celery seedlings aswell - the latter have been rubbish at germination this year - hardly worth planting out!  Next year, I too, will leave all sowing until mid - may , early June, March/April has been too cold this year even in the greenhouse.

  • Villaverde123Villaverde123 Posts: 181

    I have planted a couple of home grown pumpkin plants on my compost heaps to see how they do.  Anyone done this before?  planted more in the usual way just as backup.  


  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,647

    They will thrive. I'm always pulling out volunteers from seeds in the compost heap.

  • Villaverde123Villaverde123 Posts: 181

    Good to know! thanks 

  • plotskierplotskier Posts: 65

    I am growing pumpkins for the first time and am wondering about this pollination thing. Are their self pollinating varieties? I have Knucklehead, Invincible, and one I can't remember at the moment. I'll have to check on marshalls web site again. Is manual pollination difficult? Guess you need a cotton bud or similar.Any advice would be welcomed.


  • plotskierplotskier Posts: 65

    Would growing a wild flower bee friendly mix next door to the pumpkins help in pollination?

  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,647

    Anything that encourages insects will help, plotskier. I have lavender planted nearby the pumpkin patch.

    Hand pollination is easy. Keep an eye out for female flowers, they're the ones attached to the ends of the miniature fruit. It usually takes 3 or so days from when they very first appear until the flower is ready to open.

    Hand pollination is best done early in the morning as soon as the female flower has opened. You can use something like a cotton bud to transfer pollen from the stamen to the stigma. It's best also to use pollen from a freshly-opened male flower. Very gently brush the pollen onto the stigma and, even more gently, inside the stigma. Care is the key. If you damage the stigma it's curtains for the flower.

    I prefer to nip out a male stamen and brush it directly onto and inside the stigma. Less chance of damaging the stigma and the transfer is direct.

    Typically, you'll get a lot more male flowers than females, particularly early on, and the wait for females can be very frustrating.

  • Katherine WKatherine W Posts: 410

    Grow borage by your pumpkin plants... attracts lots of bees.

    I usually make a big hole where I want to plant each pumpking, around march, and chuck in it all the lush weeds I pull from around the garden. I add several handfuls of wood ashes and then cover the hoole again. I don't add much manure in the pumkins place, just the normal amount I spread over the whole KG ground each year.

    When I plant out the pumpking in mid May (probably later for you in the UK) I add one handful of hoof and horn per plant.

    Nothing else at all. No fertilizers, not trouble for lack of bees. Remember the borage.

    My results:





  • Katherine WKatherine W Posts: 410

    I don't know why I always mispell pumpkin as pumpking... the king of pumpkins? lol

    Last summer one of my plants "escaped" over the fence and several of the very big pumpkins grew up in secret in the forest on the other side... they were only discovered when I cleared the plants in october. Very funny.

  • plotskierplotskier Posts: 65

    Thanks above. The ground around my shed was full of weeds until yesterday when I did a mass clear out. But I noticed three giant borage plants! So guess where they are going - next to the pumpkins. My pumpkins are just young plants at the mo but are growing fast! I'll look out for the flowers and try that pollination with a male stamen idea. Not much rain up here in the North , not for about two months so have had to use the site's water taps to fill the blue barrels - the strawbs are amazing - Vibrant , Marshmello, and Malwina - the first has ripened already, the latter two are well on their way. - good year for fruit. Veg is v.poor.

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