cucumber

You’re concerned about pollination because you don’t want to be disappointed with the harvest. 

How largely your cucumber will produce, it’s mainly dependent on how well it was pollinated.

Pollination is one of the sure ways to improve and have abundant fruits.

Pollination in cucumber takes place when you see bumble bees, honey bees, or any insects on the cucumber’s flowers.

For the purpose of transferring pollen from the male flowers to the female flowers to produce viable seeds. 

It has been pollinated once the flower starts to bear fruit — after fertilization has taken place as a result of the pollination.

Almost all fruit-bearing plants (cucumber), pollination take place when bees perch on their flowers. Cucumber is pollinated once you see bees or insects on its flowers..

Varieties of Cucumber 

cucumber

There are varieties of cucumber plants. The species of cucumber is known by the position of the male and female flowers.

There can’t be pollination without the male and female flowers. The varieties in cucumber is based on the position of the flowers

There are some that have both female and male flowers, in the same plant while others are in different plants. 

Pollination is easy, when a plant has both male and female flowers. But might be quite difficult when they’re in separate plants.

It’s important, you know the types of cucumber plants in your garden, since pollination is largely dependent on the position of the flowers.

Mainly, it is easier and faster for the bees to transfer pollen from one flower to another, especially, when the flowers are in the same plant. 

Unlike when the bees have to fly a quiet distance to transfer pollen from one flower to another.

Chances are the pollen from the male flower might fall off before the bee gets to the female flower.

When you know the types of cucumber plant in your garden, it will help you to solve the problem of pollination your cucumber may experience.

That’s why I want to show you varieties of cucumber plants.

The varieties of cucumber of plants are:

1. Monoecious Cucumbers

Cucumber plants are said to be monoecious when both the male and female flowers are in the same plant.

Some of the monoecious cucumber plants we have are the older species.

These species of cucumber normally produce more male flowers than female flowers. 

The male flowers are usually found in the main stem earlier than the female flowers. They normally develop before the female flower will sprout out.

This means, sometimes there can be flowers without pollination because the male flowers are waiting for the female flower to come out.

The truth is, pollination will not take place until the female flowers come out.

When you have this ideal, you wouldn’t bother yourself of pollination.

Many who don’t know this type of species, tend to ask why there are no female flowers when they see male flowers.

Females flower will definitely come out when male flowers are fully developed.

Once the cucumber is ready to pollinate, the female flower will then sprout out. At that time pollens are already waiting to be transferred to the female flower ovaries.

Sometimes, the development of the flowers is affected by environmental factors. Climatic change of different locations also affects flower production in cucumber.

In a high density area, where plants are struggling to get enough water, nutrients, and sunlight do delay the coming out of the flowers.

What mainly influences the abundance of cucumber fruits is the availability of female flowers. Because one male flower can pollinate 3 to 4 female flowers.

Another factor that determines how blossom of both flowers is temperatures. 

The higher the temperatures degree the higher the male flower it will produce while the lower the temperatures the more female flower it will produce.

For example, at a temperature of 85°F and above, cucumber plants will produce more of male flowers than female flowers. 

Likewise, for a temperature of 55°F to 65°F cucumber will produce more female flowers than the male flowers.

Temperature is another factor that regulates the productivity of cucumbers irrespective of the varieties. Ability for you to regulate these factors will determine the fruit it will produce.

2. Gynoecious Cucumbers

Gynoecious cucumbers are those species that produce more female flowers than the male flowers.

Unlike other species, gynoecious cucumber has few flower periods. Though, it produces a lot of fruit at any time the female flower comes out.

This type of species produces many fruits that require a mechanical harvest system. The fruit is so many sometimes it runs into another season of production.

Like the monoecious cucumber system, flowers spread all year without no much fruit compared to  gynoecious cucumber. The monoecious species has longer bear fruit than the gynoecious cucumber. 

Though, monoecious cucumber will definitely bear fruit that will be almost the same with gynoecious cucumber at the end of the year.

The easiest way to make gynoecious cucumber to produce much more is by planting monoecious cucumber alongside it. 

When both varieties are plants together, pollination will not delay. Because there is a presence of both male and female flowers. 

The monoecious cucumber will serve as pollinizers to the gynoecious cucumber. This  method will increase the fruit bearing of your cucumber.

The cross planting of Monoecious and Gynoecious is the reason for the different species of cucumber in the market.

3. Parthenocarpic Cucumbers

This is opposite of both Monoecious and Gynoecious cucumbers. The position of both female and male flowers in the Gynoecious and Monoecious cucumber are different from the parthenocarpic cucumbers.

Parthenocarpic cucumber has both female and male flowers in one plant. 

Another advantage of parthenocarpic cucumber doesn’t require pollination to produce unlike the Monoecious and Gynoecious cucumber.

Parthenocarpic cucumber pollinates itself to produce fruits unlike the Gynoecious and Monoecious cucumber.

The fruit parthenocarpic cucumbers produced don’t have seeds. Other varieties of cucumber have seed inside.

It’s seedless because of absence of pollination. But this type of cucumber is eventually pollinated; it will have seed like others.

To keep Parthenocarpic cucumber fruits from seedless always plant it in a different area from Gynoecious and Monoecious cucumber. 

What is Pollination in Fruit-Bearing Plant

Pollination in all fruit-bearing plants like in cucumber, under pollination. Pollination is the  process of moving pollen from the male flower to the female flower.

cross-pollination
Source: Britannica

Mostly, pollination is carried out by bees (bumble bees or honey bees) and insects. They’re agents of pollination.

Bees are what transfer pollen from the male flower to the female flower ovaries of cucumber. 

How do bees cause pollination to take place? Bees are attracted to cucumber flowers and crawl to search for a nectar. 

As they get inside, the sticky pollen from the male flowers clings to their legs and deposits onto the stamens of the female flowers. 

Immediately, it deposits the pollen into the female stamens, fertilization takes place that leads to production of fruits. 

Sometimes, if there are no bees, people carry out hand pollination. By collecting pollen from the male flowers, drop it into the female flowers ovaries.

Pollination takes place before fertilization, and reproduction. If there is no pollination, there will not be reproduction. 

So, pollination is very important in bearing fruit in cucumbers. The major cause of pollination in cucumber is bees.

Because bees are what will transfer the pollen from one flower to another.

Unlike other fruit plants that produce male and female flowers-in-one, most cucumber plants produce male and female flowers differently.  

Fertilization Process in cucumber

Before fertilization, pollination takes place first. Fertilization process in cucumber is when pollen from the male flowers get to the female flower, fertilization happens. 

Once this happens, the pollen is fertilized and developed to form seeds, which eventually form fruit. 

Then fruit develops around the centre of the seed. As the development continues the seed hides inside the fruits.

Then you will begin to see cucumber fruit around the fertilized female flower as a small green finger-like that will later turn big. 

The process of the pollen turning into seed inside of the flower is called fertilization. Cucumbers take at least 50 days from pollination date to be ready for eating.

What is Hand Pollination in Cucumber?

People resolve to hand pollination in cucumber, when there are no bees or insects to move pollen.

Hand pollination in cucumber simply means the movement of pollen from the male flower to the female flower. 

You don’t need to worry if the pollination will work out. So long you know how to identify the male and female flower, pollination will definitely take place.

Though, hand pollinating is time-consuming but it’s worth doing when you see the outcome.

Hand pollination is the best way to get cucumber produce much fruits. Shortly I will show you how to identify male and female flowers.

It becomes more confusing when both male and female flower glow in the same

cucumber plant. Don’t worry there is an easy way to still identify them.

The Process of Hand Pollination In Cucumber 

In the morning the female flower is always opening waiting for pollen from the male flower.

The process is to get a male flower and open it. Locate yellow pollen inside the male flower that you have opened. 

Remove the pollen with a small neat or clean artist’s brush. You can also use the little children’s toothbrush.

Or you can break the flower to carefully locate the petal, then remove it to access the pollen inside.

Take the pollen on the male anther and put it on the center of the female flower. Pollen is sticky, which is why pollination is quite a difficult and painstaking process.

One male anther pollen can pollinate 3 to 5 female flowers. Once you complete this process that means you have successfully carried cucumber pollination.

Though, the process is technical and not easy, therefore it requires several practices for you to master it. The first time is not easy but it becomes easy once you master it. 

This is the most effective cucumber pollination. It produces viable fruit in large quantities.

Don’t wait for bees any more, you can learn it and pollinate your cucumber by hand.

How to Identify Male And Female Flowers of a Cucumber

Both male and female flowers of cucumber are different in many ways. You can see their differences below.

cucumbers flowering
Source

Male Flower

The male flowers differ in appearance from the female flowers. The male flower has shorter stems. 

They’re always in clusters of 3 to 6 in a particular place. They don’t have large leaves.  

The male flowers are always open down unlike the female flowers that open only in the morning. 

There is no ovary in the male flower. It does have pollen inside when you open it. This is one of the major differences. Open both male and female flowers to see the differences. 

Female Flower

The female flowers have longer stems. You can see one female flower at one place. They’re not clusters as the male flower, rather they’re always decluster.

The female flower has small fruit at the base of the stem even before pollination takes place.

The female flower has an ovary in the center, but lacks pollen inside. This is always open in the morning.

Is Hand Pollination of Cucumber Important? 

Your garden might be in an area where there are no bees to pollinate your cucumber. 

The lack of bees might be as a result of many varieties of vegetable plants in the same location with your garden.

So, hand pollination is very important in this kind of scenario. If you don’t pollinate your cucumber by hand, they might end up not bearing fruits.

Lack of pollination in cucumber results in deformation, that’s why hand pollination is very important.

Conclusion 

Pollination in cucumber is important because it is the gateway to fruit bearing.

So, once you see your cucumber bringing out flowers just know that pollination is about to take place.

Now you know how to tell if your cucumber is pollinating, then go ahead to hand pollinate your cucumber if you notice no bees or insects that could cause pollination.

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