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Cucumber . ( male/female)

Worcester, United Kingdom Gb

I am trying to grow a few Cucumber plants in my unheated greenhouse.Two of my plants are beginning to fruit.
Unwins seed packet say to leave the male flower to fertilize,but a different seed packet says to remove the male flower to prevent bitterness.
The two fruits which are about 3" long,are both doing nicely and were evident BEFORE any male flowers were evident !
Can anyone with more experience please help ?



Leave the male flowers on the plant. They need to be there to provide pollen for fertilizing the female flowers. If the female flower doesn't get fertilized the fruit will not last and will shrivel up and drop off.

As you are growing your cuc's in a greenhouse you may find that you will have to hand pollinate. If you find your fruit is not maturing, take a feather or a small paintbrush and transfer pollen from the male flowers to female flowers.

23 Apr, 2009


I think the confusion arises when you get a self-fertile plant or packet of seeds Justvera. These plants should have the male flowers removed, as the cusumbers do indeed taste bitter.

The others need the Gilli treatment as given above! I

I usually buy one plant for my greenhouse, so I get a self-fertile one.

23 Apr, 2009


Thankyou Gilli and thankyou Spritzhenry.
I am still a bit confused because having sown both the Unwins seed which tell me to leave the male,and also the Suttons which tell me to remove them,I made the mistake of getting them mixed up after moving them on from the seedling stage !

One of those packets said that two plants will feed a family,so perhaps I will just have to keep going and hope for the best,disposing of the nasty ones.

Now of course,I remain with the problem.I will be more careful next year.

23 Apr, 2009


hi .
i have grown cucumbers in a green house last year but they were ridge out door, this year i am growing an f1 varity, and they are all female , no males , if your not sure , you will soon find out when you eat them like you say they will be bitter, maybe you should remove the male flowers

23 Apr, 2009


Could you not leave your cuc's outside during sunny weather whenever you see bees flying around to pollinate them for you? Just in case you decide to leave the male flowers on......

The thing about gardening is we are always learning from our mistakes. You'll know what to do next year anyway!

23 Apr, 2009


Cuc plants get BIG - don't think you'll be moving them around much lol

23 Apr, 2009


that they do Sid......The ones we used to grow in the greenhouses could get 20 feet or more. When they reached the tops of the support lines we would start laying the bottoms of the stems along the ground. After they reached about 20 feet they would stop producing fruit that was nice and straight and big. When that happened the plants would come down and the second crop would go in. They grew so fast that I honestly think you could watch them getting larger. The fruit that was too small to pick in the morning would be almost too big by the afternoon. LOL

24 Apr, 2009


Gosh,I am having a shock reading your words ! My 12' greenhouse is now planted out with 3 cucumbers in the small border,ten toms in large buckets,which I had planned to stay in the greenhouse and endless other dozens of other plants on the staging,growing on and waiting for suitable weather outdoors for moving on.
(Plus six other young cucumbers not showing flowers just yet)
I reckon I am going to be trapped in a cucumber jungle if mine grow like yours did Gilli.
Now I am wondering where I shall grow all those capsicum and chilli peppers that I have been nursing along !

24 Apr, 2009


Those were in a commercial greenhouse JV. LOL
The ones I've grown in my little unheated greenhouse only reached about 8 or 9 feet.
With mine, I suspended twine from the roof of the greenhouse and twisted them around those for support. It works really well. If you do it this way, pinch out the tendrils as they appear. This way the plants dont get all tangled together.
Watch out for the hard little hairs on the stems. They have a habit of embedding themselves in the ends of your fingers and they hurt!!

24 Apr, 2009


Ha ha - you gave Justvera a shock there I think Gilli x-) I grew just the one cuc last year and trained it up so far and then along the edge of one of the shelves, which worked well except the dangly cucs got in the way of watering the other stuff on the shelf below a bit ;-)

24 Apr, 2009


Hi, I've always removed the male flowers as soon as I spot them (usually every other day). I've never lost a fruit. Usually, I grow the variety Marketmore, and keep just 2 plants, from which we get over 30 cucumbers (just as well that the children love them). Good Luck with yours. :-)

26 Apr, 2009


It's been answered, but for as long as I remember we've talked about "Castrating cucumbers" to prevent premature seed formation.

23 Jun, 2009

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