Hand Pollination of Flowers
Hand pollination a process where you are the bee, pollinating the female
flower of a plant, with the male pollen. To perform hand pollination, all
you need is an open female and male flower. The pollen can be from the same
plant, or from another plant, depending upon the reason for hand pollinating.
There are two major reasons to hand pollinate plants:
1. To cross pollinate two species to create a new variety of a specific type
of plant. This is done to produce varying colors, disease resistance, or
other genetic traits to the new variety. See
2. To increase the likelihood of successful pollination, especially in the
absence of bees and other pollinators. For example, giant pumpkin growers
almost exclusively hand pollinate their female flowers, to assure good fruit
set, and to assure the successful cross between two specific parents.
Did You Know? Mature (ripe) pollen can be stored in the refrigerator
for several days. If female flowers are not around, cut some of the open
male flowers. Put them in a jar with water, and put it in the refrigerator.
When the female flowers open, you have pollen available for use.
How to Hand Pollinate Flowers:
Here are the simple steps to hand pollinating flowers:
A day or two before the female flower is ready to open, cover it with a
cheesecloth netting, to prevent open pollination.
Every morning, watch to see if the female flower is opening. It is best to
hand pollinate as early in the morning as you can.
Find a few open male flowers, and cut them off the plant.
Professionals recommend using a soft, horsehair brush. Gently brush it against
the stamen to pick up some pollen.
Now, gently brush the female stigma to transfer the pollen.
You can also take the male stamen and directly rub it onto the female stigma.
Just do so gently.
Re-cover the female with the cheesecloth netting.
It will take several days to find out of your hand pollination efforts were
successful. If successful, the fruit will begin to grow. If not, the fruit
will shrivel and die.
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