Competition among pollen grains for the chance to fertilize ovules typically involves two stages: arrival times on stigmas and/or the growth of pollen tubes through styles. In a previous study of Hibiscus moscheutos, we found that individual pollen donors often differed in pollen tube competitive ability. Here we determined whether short delays in pollen arrival time altered the average success of 'fast' and 'slow' pollen donors when both types of pollen experienced the same delays. Hand-pollination experiments were carried out using four pairs of pollen donors that differed in competitive ability. We allowed delays of 15 or 30 min between the first and second pollen donor and then determined seed paternity using allozyme markers. The second donor typically sired fewer seeds than pollen that arrived earlier, but, contrary to expectation, 'faster' pollen did not always sire significantly more seeds than 'slower' pollen when each was applied after delays of the same duration. In two of the four pairs of donors, differences that were seen following simultaneous pollinations disappeared when each type of pollen was applied following identical delays of 15 or 30 min. This unexpected response suggests that the dynamics of pollen tube competition are more complex than anticipated.