Your first hint that your cucumbers are pollinated is the presence of pollinators around the plants. After that, look for initial fruit growth behind the female flowers. Then, the flowers should start to wilt. Over time, the fruit will look healthy and increase in size. Consider hand pollinating your plants if natural pollination doesn’t occur. It’s easy to pollinate female cucumber flowers with the anther of the male flower or by using a paintbrush.
5 Ways to Know if Your Cucumbers are Pollinated
The best part of growing cucumbers is harvesting the delicious cucumbers. So, it makes sense you’ll want to be sure that your cucumbers are being pollinated. Here are the signs that your cucumbers are properly pollinated and will soon produce.
Pollinators in View
The first sign of proper cucumber pollination is the presence of pollinators. Bees are the most common pollinators. But you might also see flies, moths, and beetles on the cucumber flowers. All these insects transport the pollen from the male to female flowers. The pollen then fertilizes the female flower and triggers fruit growth.
Initial Fruit Growth
The appearance of tiny cucumbers behind the female flowers occurs shortly after pollination. These tiny cucumbers should look cylindrical in shape. They’ll have a nice dark green color, too. The fruit should grow steadily in the days following its appearance. Any halt in its growth indicates it was not properly pollinated.
The male flowers will start to wilt after pollinating all the female flowers. The plant has no use for the males if the female fruits have started growing. The wilting flowers will soon turn brown, dry up, and fall off. The female flowers will follow suit after that. After harvesting the ripe fruit, the plant will begin again by producing more male and female flowers.
Proper pollination produces cucumbers that look bright green and healthy. Any yellowing or deformities are a good sign that the flower did not get fully pollinated. Each flower needs several visits from pollinators to get enough pollen to set healthy fruit. If that doesn’t happen, the fruit will turn yellow, and then shrivel up on the vine. Remove the yellowing fruit to trigger the plant to try again with new flowers.
Increase in Fruit Size
A steady increase in fruit size is a great sign that your cucumber flowers are fully pollinated. Healthy cucumbers grow fast. So, check on them daily to avoid letting them get too big. Harvest the cucumbers when they reach their ideal size for the variety you’re growing. Pickling cucumbers should reach about 6 inches (15 cm) in length. Slicing varieties can grow 12 inches (30 cm) long. You’ll likely get to harvest cucumbers every few days during the growing season.
Take a walk through your garden each day to watch for signs of proper cucumber pollination. Plants that do not produce a steady flow of ripe, healthy fruit may need hand pollination instead.
How Do You Make Sure Your Cucumbers are Pollinated?
The only way to make sure your cucumbers are pollinated is by waiting for the fruit to grow. You can check them daily for signs of good pollination. You should first see pollinators in the area. Then, tiny fruit should set behind the female flowers. The male flowers will fall off the plant next. The female flowers will follow.
- You’ll only know your cucumbers are pollinated when the plants grow healthy fruit.
- Check daily for signs of pollination, starting with pollinators around your plants.
- Look for tiny fruits setting behind the female flowers, followed by the loss of flowers.
- Confirm that the cucumbers are the right color and shape as they grow larger.
- The fruit should get bigger each day until they’re at the ideal size for harvest.
The fruit should look healthy as it grows. A bright green color and classic cucumber shape are surefire signs it’s growing right. Your cucumbers should get bigger each day until they reach harvestable size.
Can You Pollinate Cucumbers?
You can hand pollinate your cucumbers if the flowers do not produce healthy fruit. Hand pollination involves the transfer of pollen from the male flower’s anther to the female flower’s stigma. Do that by clipping off one male flower and touching its anther to all the stigmas on your plants. You can also use a paintbrush to transfer pollen if you don’t want to clip a male flower off your plant.
- You can hand pollinate cucumber plants that do not produce healthy fruit.
- You’ll need to transfer the pollen from the male flowers to the females.
- Clip off a male flower to start, and then touch its anther to the stigma on all the female flowers.
- Or use a paintbrush to transfer the pollen from the male anther to the female stigma.
- Repeat hand pollination 2–3 times for every female flower that appears.
Repeat the hand pollination process 2–3 times for each female flower. You can come back each day to do so. Soon after, you should see fruit starting to set behind the female flower. The fruit will likely grow big and healthy as a result of your hard work.
What Do Pollinated Cucumbers Look Like?
Properly pollinated cucumber flowers produce cylindrical green fruits. The cucumbers should grow steadily each day after appearing on the plant. The fruits should not have any yellowing or deformities.
- When properly pollinated, cucumber flowers set cylindrical green fruit.
- The cucumbers should grow more and more each day without yellowing or deformities.
- Hand pollinate any plants that do not set fruit behind their female flowers.
- You can hand pollinate cucumbers using the male flower’s anther or a paintbrush.
- Repeat the pollination process two to three times for each female flower to get fruit.
Take the time to ensure your cucumbers get properly pollinated to get lots of fruit. You can then harvest your cucumbers every 2–3 days and enjoy the fresh fruit all season long.