Learning how to tell if a cucumber is pollinated is as simple as taking a look at your fruits! Cucumbers have colorful yellow flowers and once those bloom they are very difficult to miss.
When a cucumber is pollinated, these vibrant yellow flowers will wither away and big fruit will begin to grow in their place. This is one of the most clear-cut ways to tell if your cucumber has been successfully pollinated!
If you notice that your cucumber fruit is not growing naturally, initiate the process yourself with hand-pollination. This article will discuss how to tell if a cucumber is pollinated and ways you can pollinate a cucumber yourself if your fruit is struggling to progress!
How Do You Tell If A Cucumber Is Pollinated?
You can tell if a cucumber is pollinated by paying attention to the cucumber’s physical size. If the cucumber is growing, or getting larger, then that is a sign that the pollination was a success!
There are other aesthetic changes as well that you may take instant notice of. These are nothing to worry about, though.
As you pollinate your cucumbers, you may notice the following happen. Most often, occurring in order:
Male Cucumber Flowers Fall Off Cucumber Plant
Pollinating female flowers is the sole purpose of male cucumber flowers. After all its pollen has been used, male cucumber flowers will wilt and break off.
When a male cucumber flower is gone, this indicates that all the pollen from that flower has been used and the pollination process has been completed! This, or all of the stamens have been plucked and used. In this case, there are no more pollination attempts available.
Female Cucumber Flowers Are Falling Off
Wilting and dying flowers are among the first signs that your cucumber is pollinated. When the cucumber has been pollinated, the bright yellow flower at the end of your tiny fruit wilts.
When a female cucumber flower falls off, that means your cucumber has been successfully pollinated.
The Female Cucumber Pistil Shrivels and Dies
After pollination, the female flower’s pistil will shrivel up and die. The pistil is a part of her reproductive organ and one of her main ways to collect pollen.
When the female cucumber flower’s pistil begins to wilt and fall away, this is one of the most direct signs that the pollination worked. It is a surrender to her breeding abilities and progression toward the next stage in the pollination cycle.
Some species of cucumber flowers are known to slowly change color of their pistils after pollination before they promptly die thereafter. Remember, all species and flowers are unpredictable.
The Cucumber Fruit Begins To Grow
Growth is the ultimate confirmation that your cucumber is pollinated. Since this is the goal of pollination, there is really nothing else you need to see!
A noticeable increase in the size of your cucumber should happen within a few days of your flowers falling off. Good job and good luck from here!
How Do You Pollinate Cucumber?
Pollination occurs naturally thanks to pollinating bug species like bees! Pollinators move from one flower to another and pollinate your fruits and flowers!
If you are an indoor gardener, you probably do not have many bugs around. That being said, you certainly know how tedious pollinating plants can be, cucumbers included.
Use Pollinating Bugs to Pollinate Cucumbers
Natural pollination relies on insects to complete the pollination process. Bees are a very common cucumber pollinator because they feed on pollen. As they do so, pollen sticks to their furry bodies and then transfers from males to females.
Because of their pollination abilities, bees are very helpful to farmers. Plus, by giving them the pollen they also need, it established a very beneficial relationship with the bees as well!
This eco-friendly gardening style uses a mutualistic relationship to help both you and the bees thrive! Everybody wins! The population of bees is slowly declining. By establishing your own bee territory you are conserving one of the most important pollinators in the world!
Use Hand Pollination to Hand-Pollinate Cucumbers
Even self-pollinating plants like cucumbers require pollinators. Unless you want to introduce mutualist pollinators into your garden, using your hands to pollinate your cucumbers is the only choice.
Hand-pollinating is a precise pollination technique that requires gardeners to pollinate cucumbers themselves. Using the transfer method of their choice, gardeners take pollen from the male flower stamen and transfer it to the female flower’s stigma. This initiates the pollination process and if you are successful, you will yield succulent cucumber fruit!
Hand-pollinating can be helpful for outdoor growers, too, because of the consistency it creates among your cucumbers. This can be a lengthy process but it increases your likelihood for a more successful crop.
There are two different types of hand pollination:
- Hand pollinating with a tool
- Hand pollinating with the stamen
How Do You Hand Pollinate Cucumbers?
Hand pollinating is one of the most common pollination processes because it can speed along cucumber yield, maintain consistent growth, and create more succulent crops.
Furthermore, most people are growing their cucumbers indoors so they do not have natural pollinators like bees to do their pollinating for them. Therefore, hand pollination completes a process that would otherwise go uncompleted!
The following are the steps for hand-pollinating your cucumbers:
Step 1: Identify Male and Female Cucumber Flowers
Identifying the gender of your flowers will help you determine which one is the pollinator. Both your male and female flowers are yellow and look almost identical in nature except for their base.
Look closely at each flower blossom and you will notice only the females have a spiky green fruit attached. The males have a leafy stem and usually grow in bunches. The difference between male and female cucumber flowers is at the base of their flower blossom.
Step 2: Gather Pollen From Your Male Cucumber
Male cucumbers carry pollen in the center of their bright, yellow flowers in a place called the stamen. This is their reproductive organ that will continue generating pollen until your cucumber has been successfully pollinated.
There are two ways to gather pollen from your male cucumber flower. You can either:
- Harvest the Stamen
- Harvest the Pollen with a Tool
Harvesting the stamen itself is a more direct method for pollination. Do this by harvesting the yellow flower and ripping the petals apart until you have only the stamen remaining.
Harvesting with a pollen tool is a less direct but cleaner method for pollination. With this method, use a paintbrush or a makeup brush to gently gather pollen from the stamen.
Step 3: Pollinate The Female Cucumber Flower!
Using your gathering method (either the stamen alone or a pollen tool) insert the male pollen into the female flower and gently rub or shake the pollen onto the female stigma.
The stigma is the female flower’s reproductive organ which leads directly to her ovaries. The objective is to get the pollen into the female’s ovaries! It is located in the center of the flower exactly where the male stamen is so no matter where you place the pollen, chances are you will be fine!
By transferring the male pollen to the female flower you are acting as a natural pollinator!
Step 4: Pollination Process Complete!
If you are successful in your pollination attempt, the results should show within a few days when your flowers wilt and fall off. Wilting flowers can be intimidating at first but this is actually a great sign. It indicates that your cucumber is progressing to its next stage.
How Long Does It Take A Pollinated Cucumber To Grow
It will take a pollinated cucumber only around 50-60 days to grow to full maturity. Every cucumber is different and growth speed depends on care, weather, soil conditions, and more.
Are Cucumbers Self Pollinating?
Cucumbers are self-pollinating which means they have both female and male pollinators. Self-pollinating does not mean that cucumbers can pollinate themselves. Without the help of a pollinator, like insects or hand-pollination, your cucumbers will remain unpollinated.
Cucumbers are delicious, tropical treats that can be grown quite easily under the right conditions. Despite the ease, the pollination process is not all that simple. But, if you do it right the signs of a pollinated cucumber are very clear.
By now, you should know how to tell if a cucumber is pollinated. After all, most of these signs are physical traits that can be seen right away! Recognizing key signs like wilting flowers and the most noticeable of all, a growing cucumber fruit! These are clear to the naked eye and easy to keep track of!
To harvest the best cucumbers possible, indoor growers should always use hand-pollination. Hand-pollination is a method that utilizes the individual and precise pollination of each cucumber plant. This guarantees pollination and saves you from any unknown hassles that may impede on your growing process. Unfortunately, pollen can be sticky so do not plan on touching anything else between the start and finish of your pollination process!