Growing your own pumpkins can be a very fulfilling experience, especially if you have kids. It gives you the opportunity to teach them about how plants grow and how to take care of them while they grow to jack o' lantern size. This can take a frustrating turn if your young pumpkins start to fall off the vine. Thankfully there are steps that you can take to keep this from happening.
The number one reason young pumpkins fall off the vine is that they were never pollinated. This usually happens when male flowers open and die before the female flowers emerge. If your fruits are turning yellow and the female flowers are falling off the vine, this is a sign that they have not been pollinated. You can hand pollinate by taking pollen from a male flower and directly inserting it in the female to prevent this from happening.
There are several fungal molds and mildews that can attack pumpkins if the plants are not watered deeply or are spaced too close together. Downey and Powdery mildew and gummy stem blight are all common and can attack the vines and fruits of the plant. This can lead to the dropping of fruit due to poor nourishment.
Blossom End Rot
Blossom end rot is usually due to an inconsistent moisture level in the soil. It can also be attributed to high ammonia levels in the soil. If you have a stray cat in the area that likes to mark its territory or you fail to keep the soil adequately watered, this could cause blossom end rot. The blossoms die off from the base to the tip and take the fruit with them.
Another common cause of pumpkin plants dropping their fruit is high stress. This can be due to high temperatures and high humidity. The plant may also abort a pollinated fruit if it doesn't have enough nutrients to continue growing. Proper fertilization can keep this from happening and lead to a bumper crop of pumpkins.