Want to know which flowers on your pumpkin plant are male and which flowers are female? Then this quick and handy guide is for you, read on to find out how to tell them apart (with photos to demonstrate!).
Male Pumpkin Flowers
Male pumpkin flowers do not go on to develop any pumpkins, their job is to help pollinate the female flowers before dying off.
Male flowers always appear before female flowers do, they are there to start attracting in pollinators which is why they often come first.
The easiest way to tell them apart from female flowers is that there is no mini pumpkin behind the flower. This will be easier to understand when you see a female flower but for now, just know that male flowers are usually on thin stems.
Female Pumpkin Flowers
A female pumpkin flower has the pumpkin behind it as soon as it develops. This will then go on to develop into a full-size pumpkin after pollination.
While the actual yellow flower on both male and female flowers is the same it is what is directly behind the flower that makes the difference.
Here you can see the as yet unfertilised pumpkin and now you can see that female flowers are easy to tell apart from male pumpkin flowers.
Why Do I Need To Know?
The main reason you need to be able to tell the difference is if you want to hand pollinate your plants.
If the weather is particularly wet when your pumpkins come into flower then there will be a lot fewer insects buzzing about and pollinating plants for you.
So if it is a particularly poor year then you may need to pollinate the flowers yourself. Moving pollen from the male flowers to the female flowers, so to do this correctly you need to be able to tell the difference between the two.
How To Hand Pollinate Pumpkins
Use a paintbrush and dab it on the stamen of a male flower, you should see some pollen bounce around a bit, this is a good sign.
Then brush this pollen into the centre of a female flower, be gentle but try and spread it around as much as possible.
You can do this a few times to increase your chances of success.