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Top Problems Growing Zucchini and How to Fix Them

Zucchini plants are some of the most commonly planted vegetables in people’s summertime home gardens. Zucchinis are a versatile vegetable, but they can face issues during the growing season.

The top problems people face when growing zucchini are discoloration, leaf dryness, plant death, and bug infestations, and can be resolved using better watering as well as natural fungicides or insecticides.

With the right techniques, you can have a garden full of huge healthy zucchini. Read on for more on how to solve problems with this plant. 

Your Zucchini Plants Are Turning Yellow

Depending on the variety of zucchini you plant, the fruits of your vines can vary anywhere from dark green to light yellow. For clarity’s sake, we’ll be referencing those zucchinis that grow to be a darker green color. Sometimes when you plant green zucchini and don’t grow them in the correct conditions, they end up turning yellow in color.

When your green zucchini plants turn yellow, there is most definitely an underlying problem that is caused by one of the elements of proper growing conditions, which includes weather, temperature, and moisture. One of the main reasons that zucchini fruits turn yellow is because they have not been properly pollinated.

When any plant has not been properly pollinated, this leads to poor growth in the plant. To be able to grow properly, plants need to be pollinated by bees or other creatures like them. They are so important because they carry pollen from male zucchini flowers to female zucchini flowers. Eventually, those female zucchini flowers will turn into full zucchini fruits.

When pollinators are not able to do their job, plants don’t get pollinated. Pollinators are unable to do their jobs when the weather is poor. For example, if it is too wet and rainy out, bees will not emerge from their nest because they cannot survive the elements. Similarly, if the weather is too cold, the bees will retreat to their hive to stay warm.

So, if your areas have been experiencing an unusual amount of rain or cold weather and your zucchini plants are turning yellow, you can blame it on the pollinators. To solve this issue, you may simply have to wait until the weather improves.

Another option that is best if you only have a few zucchini plants is to pollinate them by hand, which can simply be done by swabbing a small amount of pollen from one of the male flowers onto the inner parts of one of the female flowers. However, this isn’t necessary in most cases.

If your zucchini plants aren’t flowering, or if they are flowering but not producing fruit, this is also the reason. Pollination is totally necessary for fruit growth. This is why it is so important to support the pollinating creatures in your garden. 

Your Zucchini Plants Are Wilting or Drooping

Zucchini plants, much like other plants in the same vegetable family, grow low to the ground on thick, fuzzy stems. These stems should always be hardy and strong and bright green. The same goes for the leaves of the plant – they should always be able to withstand the elements and be broad and offer a little bit of shade to the plants. If you notice that your zucchini plants are wilting or drooping, you will definitely need to change something about your garden setup.

One of the biggest issues that causes zucchini plants to wilt is the fact that they just haven’t been watered enough. Many people forget that zucchinis and plants like them need so much moisture because they are plants that produce fruits with high water content. When you don’t give your zucchinis enough water, they will sap the hydration from the leaves, vines, and stems and try to send it to the fruit.

To prevent wilting from happening, make sure that you always water your zucchini plants thoroughly. The ground around them should be moist at all times and should be watered deeply as often as necessary to make that happen. If you live in a warmer and drier climate, you will need to water them more frequently than you would in a cooler and more humid climate.

To cure wilting that has already happened, you will need to slowly reintegrate more heavy waterings into your plant care schedule. Don’t get right into giving your plants a huge drink. Especially if you are giving them water that is rather cold, you may put your plants into shock. Slowly and little by little, give them more water. Eventually, they will return to strength.

Another way that plants can become wilted or droopy is because they’ve actually been given too much water. Sometimes we get a bit overzealous with our watering schedules because, especially as new gardeners or farmers, we are so excited to grow something in our garden that we spend all of our time trying to care for it. You need to make sure that you aren’t drowning your plants. They shouldn’t be spending any time in standing water.

If you find that you’re giving your plants too much water, give them a chance to soak it all up. If they are left in standing water, that gives bacteria and disease the ability to grow and gain traction. Keeping the soil wet also cuts off oxygen flow, which will cause wilting, and will eventually cause your zucchini plants to rot from the bottom up. 

Your Zucchini Plants Are Dying

As gardeners and farmers, it’s important to pay close attention to the general health of our plants, especially when it comes to fruits and vegetables. Since zucchini plants are generally hardy plants with long lifespans, it’s particularly worrisome when your zucchini plants start to die off.

Sudden plant death is not hard to spot. When your zucchini plants are dying, they can take on numerous characteristics. Dying zucchini plants tend to shrivel up and turn different colors. These colors can be anywhere from light green and yellow all the way to dark brown and black, depending on the cause of death.

One of the most frustrating reasons that some of your zucchini plants may start dying is because they have a case of squash vine borer. The squash vine borer is actually a species of moth that lays its eggs at the base of squash or zucchini plants (because they are both very similar species of plants).

Once these eggs hatch and become small worms (known as “larvae”), they bore themselves into the stems of your plants. Squash vine borer larvae dig through the central channel of the stems of your zucchini and consume your plant from the inside out. Borers can be hard to deal with because you won’t always be able to see the signs of their presence until after your plant has died.

To determine whether or not you have a case of squash vine borer infestation, you will have to slice open one of your zucchini plants. The writers and experts at Whole Life Gardening suggest that you search for the hole through which the larva entered the plant, then slice the stem of the plant open. You’ll have to pick the larva out and get rid of it. Whole Life Gardening also suggests that you bury the part of the zucchini vine that got sliced open to help it heal.

One final reason that your zucchini plants may be suffering from death is that they were exposed to frost. Though the zucchini plant is generally hardy, the fruits themselves are fragile and full of water, making them very susceptible to frost, leading the fruits to rot and the flowers to drop.

If your zucchinis were exposed to frost, the plant might survive, but the fruits likely won’t. If you anticipate a frost coming, make sure to cover your zucchini plot or crop with burlap or another breathable but insulated fabric to keep ground heat in, and remove the covering come morning.

Your Zucchini Plants Are Drying Up

One of the most common issues that gardeners encounter is the fact that sometimes their vegetable plants dry up. When plants dry up, it usually just begins in the leaves, then spreads to the stem and vines, then all the way down to the roots of the plant. You can tell that your plants are drying up because they lack resilience, they might be crunchy or crispy, and they will turn either dark green or brown before they start to crumble and pass the point of no return.

There are a couple of different issues that can lead to the death of your zucchini plants. These issues vary heavily. One of these issues seems rather intuitive and easy to solve, while the other one is a bit more complicated to deal with and might necessitate some supplemental help from a garden product.

Copyright protected content owner: and was initially posted on June 19, 2020.

The first reason that your zucchini plants may be drying up is simply that they have not received the correct ratios of sun and water. 

Zucchinis are a late-summer harvest, meaning that they grow in the hottest days of summer. They are plants that can withstand a moderate amount of sun and heat, but they are not plants that enjoy full, direct sun. This is why zucchinis and squash have traditionally been planted with corn and beans – plants that grow tall and provide shade.

If your zucchini plants have too much sunlight, they will dry out very quickly, and you will be left with a garden filled with crunchy, dead vines, and no produce to eat. That’s why, when you realize that your zucchini plants are getting too much sun, you need to remedy that by giving them some shade. If you are working with potted zucchini plants or are growing them indoors, the process is as simple as just taking the plants out of the sun.

If you are working outside with zucchini plants that are firmly rooted in the ground, you will have a harder time than indoor gardeners. Your first option is to put up temporary fences, trellises, or décor that can block some of the sunlight from beating down too hard on your zucchini plants. You can also simply increase the amount of water you give your zucchinis, making sure that they receive multiple small but deep waterings daily instead of just one massive watering a day.

The second issue that can cause zucchini plants to dry up is an issue that is less obvious – your garden might have a case of verticillium wilt. 

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on June 19, 2020.

Verticillium wilt is a fungal infection that is caused by the verticillium strain of spore. According to the experts at SFGate, verticillium wilt strips the plant of its ability to absorb water from the soil in which it’s planted, leading it to become dry and die off even if you are giving the plant an appropriate amount of water for the conditions it’s in.

You have a couple of options when it comes to how to cure your garden of a verticillium infection. 

The first option is to attempt to use a fungicide spray. There are a number of sprays available these days that don’t contain harmful chemicals – one such natural spray is Bonide’s Copper Fungicide Spray. This spray is made of a liquid version of naturally occurring copper and is safe to use on vegetables in your home garden – it is also thought to be effective on other forms of mildew that cause your plants to turn white.

However, there are some that believe that verticillium wilt isn’t easy to cure and that it may be more worthwhile for you to simply get rid of the plants that are too heavily infected to recover and banish them from your garden. 

You will have to be very conscientious to dispose of the infected plants far away from any crops that you want to survive, and you should also be mindful not to water any infected plants from the top down because of the tendency of fungal spores like verticillium to wash down the plants towards the roots.

Your Zucchini Plants Are Infested With Bugs

All gardeners know that bugs are going to be a continual presence in their garden. There is no vegetable gardener or farmer in existence who has not seen a bug present in their crop or garden bed. Becoming a successful gardener is not about getting rid of the bugs in your garden, but rather being able to make peace with their presence.

One of the varieties of bugs that most gardeners have encountered in their experience is the aphid. Aphids are small green and red bugs that tend to blend into the color of the stems, leaves, and vines of the plants they take hostage. They are so pesky because they suck on the sap of the zucchini plants, drying them up and depriving them of moisture before leaving behind a sticky and sweet residue called honeydew.

Even if you can’t spot the aphids themselves, you will likely be able to spot the little sticky droplets on the surface of your zucchini plants’ leaves. What is unique about this production of honeydew is that it is exactly what draws ants to your zucchini plants. While the ants do little harm to your zucchini crops, the aphids are the ones to watch out for.

To get rid of your zucchini crop of aphids, you have a couple of options. The first option to try to wash the aphids off of the plant. To do this, you will need to use a hose with a spray setting that is strong enough to wash off the aphids and the sticky honeydew but also not so strong that it damages your zucchini plants. Make sure to rinse both the top and bottom sides of your zucchini leaves as well as the stems. 

Check out this video from Growing Your Greens to learn more about this rinse-off method.

If you have tried the rinse-off method to get rid of aphids and have had no success, then you should try using a natural, vegetable-safe insecticide. The most popular option for natural insecticides is neem oil, which is the essential oil of a tree that grows wild across India. Neem oil has a strong fragrance and is naturally antibacterial, making it safe both for your plants and for you and your family.

Final Thoughts

Zucchinis can be a wise addition to a home garden because of the amount of fruit they produce. If you leave zucchinis to their own devices, they can grow to become a couple of feet long. They can be made into appetizers such as zucchini fritti (Italian fried zucchini), dishes such as vegetarian lasagna, or even desserts like finely-spiced zucchini bread.

Though they are relatively easy to grow at home, you should be wary of the issues that might arise during the growing season, such as plant discoloration, wilting, drying, plant death, or insect infestations. With the right tools like better watering habits and natural fungicides or insecticides, your garden can flourish. Happy planting!

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