This question was submitted by a local vegetable gardener. Researched and answered by Advanced Master Gardener Bruce.
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I have two cucumber plants that initially produced one cucumber but since has not had any. There are plenty of blossoms. It gets watered once a day. The soil seems to be damp but not overly. These are container garden plants with holes in the bottom to allow drainage. (See photo) We had just hoped to grow some veggies for my kids this summer to help with groceries. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I also have a green pepper plant that has lots of young peppers next to it. I don’t know if this has any impact. Do they need to be separated farther to allow for more sun to the blossoms?
Sorry your cucumber is not bearing fruit. The cucumber plant produces a male and a female flower (see photo). The female has an elongated and thicker stem than the male. Both must be flowering at the same time for a cucumber to form.
Bees and other insects will usually pollinate the female plant. If you have both types of flowers and you are still not getting fruit then there are no pollinators around and you can step in and be a pollinator. Take a small paintbrush and wipe the inside of the male plant to collect pollen then take your brush and wipe the pistil (white growth in the middle of the female) with the brush and pollen attached to it. You can then watch for the cucumber to start growing behind the female flower. There are times when the plant only produces male flowers. In cucumbers, if the temperature is above 85 degrees the plant may only produce male flowers. You may need to wait until we get this hot spell before the cucumber produces a female flower. That is why you got an early cucumber and none lately. Looking at your growing container it looks like the soil is only about 6 inches deep. That could be affecting the productivity of your plant. Typically, use a five gallon pail filled to the top with soil. While the cucumber sends out shallow roots it will also send out a taproot that can grow up to three feet deep.
The pepper plant placement does not appear to interfere with with the Cucumber plant however, remember both plants need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day. If you have any additional question, please contact us again. I hope this helps.