Artificial pollination of courgette (zucchini): What’s the difference between male and female flowers?

The courgette plant has male and female flowers, but the chances of natural pollination are not very high, so it’s better to pollinate them manually to enhance the chance of getting fruits.

Since the courgette flowers open in the morning and close in the afternoon, pollination needs to be done in the morning. Normally they flower only one day, so we have to check them every morning to see whether there are female flowers open. 

How to tell the difference between female and male courgette flowers

The image above shows the bud of a female flower. The female flower is the one with the courgette (zucchini) fruit formed underneath.

In the picture at the top of this page, the flower higher up is male and the one lower down is female. The female flowers are usually closer to the base of the plant than the male flowers.

How do female flowers look when they are open? This is a photo of a courgette female flower. In the centre of the flower is the pistil, which is a collection of several round pieces.

This is a male flower. The stamen in the middle of the flower is a single, straight protuberance.

Like the pumpkin, as the plant grows the courgette male flowers begin to flower earlier than females. Since each flower often lasts only one day, check the plants every morning and if you see a female flower, pollinate it immediately.

How to pollinate courgette flowers

When you find the female flowers open, pick off the male flowers and pollinate them.

You can take the male flowers easily by snapping off the bottom of the flower. Remove the petals, leaving the stamen bare.

Rub the pistil in the female flower with the stamen so that the pistil is covered with pollen.



Pollination is now complete. You just need to wait for the courgette fruits to grow.


These are the ones we pollinated a few days ago. I think they will be ready to eat this evening.

Once the courgette starts to have female flowers, they continually produce female flowers. It is important to make sure that the female flowers are pollinated so that they do not go to waste. 

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