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Zucchini plants form a large number of fruits. Sometimes some courgettes will turn yellow and fall off. Read here why this is and how it can be prevented.

In a nutshell

  • Zucchini forms many flowers and fruits at once
  • unfertilized fruits turn yellow and fall off
  • insufficient nutrient or water supply can interfere with fruit formation
  • less common diseases or pests
  • Possibly carry out fertilization by hand

(Disrupted) fruiting in zucchini

The courgettes constantly form new flowers during their growing season. After these have withered, the fruits form from them. These grow until they are harvested. The fruits taste best when they are not that big. Regularly removing the zucchini fruits encourages the plant to form new flowers.

Notice: The flowers of the zucchini are also edible. They taste particularly good fried and stuffed.

It happens again and again that the zucchini forms fruits, which then turn yellow and fall off. Sometimes they are still very small, but sometimes they are even bigger. In some summers or with certain cultivars, dead fruits are more common.


The exact reason for a disturbed fruit formation is usually not immediately apparent. It is often a combination of several causes.

Inadequate fertilization

Zucchini flowers must be fertilized to develop into fruit. Therefore, a plant forms male and female flowers. The male flowers are usually formed some time before the female ones. For this reason it can happen that late appearing female flowers are not fertilized. The remedy is to plant several zucchini plants with different flowering times.

Male zucchini flowers (foreground), female flowers (background)

The flowers are usually pollinated by insects. However, if the weather is cool and damp, the insects may not fly. Then it helps that Pollinate flowers by hand:

  • pluck well-developed male flowers
  • Remove outer petals and expose stamens
  • use these to stroke the stigma inside the female flower
  • Pollen should remain visible
  • do not pollinate too many flowers

weather conditions

Rainy and cool summers not only mean that there are fewer insects pollinating the flowers. Bad weather also means that fungal diseases in particular spread more quickly. The weather cannot be influenced, but the effects on the vegetable crops can be limited. A rain cover keeps the plants dry. Removing an old leaf from time to time also helps to ensure that the plants get enough air. Watering is carried out exclusively directly at the root and not over the entire plant. In areas that often experience bad summers, hardy or resistant strains are a big help.

care mistakes

These include, for example, insufficient watering during drought or incorrect fertilization. However, too few, too many, or the wrong nutrients can result in yellow zucchini fruit that will not develop and fall off.

sensible measures

Zucchini plant covered with straw mulch
  • Keep soil well moist in dry summers
  • water in the morning, watering thoroughly
  • Shade plants if necessary and mulch well all around
  • Take a soil sample if fertilizing does not help
  • then fertilize as needed

Especially if there is too much nitrogen in the soil, the zucchini fruits will not grow well while the leaves sprout vigorously.

pests and diseases

It is rather rare for pests or disease to cause young zucchini fruit to turn yellow. However, they can cause them to stop growing and fall off. Snails prefer to eat young fruits. Fungi can quickly penetrate through the open spots. The zucchini rots and is pushed off the plant. Snail fences that enclose the plants tightly offer help against snails. However, it is important to plan the fence large enough, as zucchini plants take up a lot of space.

Notice: There are insects that eat the flowers and thus prevent fertilization. Even then, the zucchini fruits turn yellow and fall off.

frequently asked Questions

Do fruits of other vegetables also turn yellow and fall off?

Yes, this also applies to other fruiting vegetables that belong to the same species, such as pumpkins or cucumbers. In the case of pumpkins, however, it is naturally the case that they produce fewer fruits.

How can you ensure an even supply of nutrients?

Zucchini grows very well in mounds or raised beds, or right on the compost heap. The nutrient supply is consistently good there. Since the compost heap is often in a shady place in the garden, it is also more humid there and the water supply is therefore better.

How do you recognize male and female flowers?

Male flowers are at the end of very long stalks. Female flowers are recognizable as zucchini fruits even before fertilization, which is due to the thickened ovary.

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