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Hand Pollination Self Pollinating – How to Pollinate Plants Manually

Updated on August 23, 2009
hand pollinate your plants , img ehow
hand pollinate your plants , img ehow
shake those tomatoes:)
shake those tomatoes:)

Pollinating Plants

Pollination of plants usually occurs naturally in nature through weather conditions and with the help of bee’s wasps and other buzzing ultrasonic winged creatures, and some plants even self pollinate themselves e.g. beans and don’t require any extra help. Without successful pollination you will never get fruit on your plants so its always a gardener’s number one priority to get the most of there crop and this means successful pollination. Pollination is the transfer of pollen from the inside of the flower to the stigma of the same or different flower.

In order to increase the chances of pollination we use self pollination or use our hands to pollinate the plant manually. There are many techniques to use and depending on the type of plant can be easy as shaking the plant lightly when your plants start to flower.

Shake the plant – Most common self pollination technique is to simply grab a branch or stalk and shake gently to help the pollen drop down to the stigma of the flower. You can gently shake the plant 2 to 3 times a day around the time you start to see flowering. Hand Pollination Shake method works great for tomato plants.

Brush Method – This hand pollinate method is also simply, just take a small artistic brush and loosen the pollen from the deepest part of the flower and then rubs the brush over the tip (stigma) of the plant to help pollination. Make sure to be gentle and use a brush that doesn’t simply remove the pollen and leave it on the brush.

Electric Toothbrush – This method of self pollination is to imitate the ultrasonic waves of a buzzing bee, just take the head off your electric toothbrush hold the toothbrush against the side of the plant and give it a few bursts.

Reasons Plants Don't Fruit - Plants not Pollinating

There are many reasons for a plant not pollinating and producing fruit and the most common reason is due to temperature or weather conditions that don’t suit the particular type of plant you are growing. The most common include

Too Cold – Temperatures which are too cold generally result in slow plant growth which means pollinating could be extremely slow or never occur. For example a windy day can be great for pollinating your tomatoes but if its too windy the pollen may just be totally blown away.

Too Wet – Common reason is having too much rain which can cause the pollen to be washed away and depending on the type of plants you are growing you should watch the way you water your plants. For example when watering a corn plant do not water from the top as the pollen will become wet and often drop off which means less chance of pollination.

No Bees/Wasps to do pollinating for you – Depending on where you grow your plants especially indoors this will give bee’s wasps and flies no chance of buzzing around and using there ultrasonic waves from there wings to pollinate your plants. This is when hand pollinating is probably the best way to increase pollination.

Favourite Manual Pollination Technique

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    • profile image


      10 years ago

      A clear topped seal able container with a 1/4 layer of sterile ,dampened mix of sand and perlite will work to sprout seeds.Sprinkle seeds on sand seal lid and place in warm (not hot)spot.Sprouts may appear in 24hrs at times.

    • expectus profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Land Downunder

      yea sounds scary whole bunch of people in there gardens naked pollinating there plants with there bits

    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 

      11 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      If the bees die off - we'll all be brushing our teeth in the garden.... could be interesting as I for one usually brush my teeth when I am naked!

    • expectus profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Land Downunder

      yeaa it possible, but I would think lots of the pollen would get stuck on the swab should be alright though

    • profile image

      kiddin around farm 

      11 years ago

      Is it possible to use a cotton swab?

    • expectus profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Land Downunder

      thanks for the comment :) yea toothbrush works well you just feel a bit weird walking around your garden with an electric toothbrush hehe

    • profile image

      Natalie Marie 

      11 years ago

      This is a really neat article! I actually hand-pollinated small rapeseed plants in a zoology laboratory in college, and you are correct in that it is an effective way to pollinate. I never even thought about using something like an electric toothbrush, but it makes sense!

    • expectus profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Land Downunder

      thanks for comment dohn121, yea looking after a garden is great nothing like eating tomatoes straight from the vine :)

    • dohn121 profile image


      11 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      This was very interesting, expectus. I've always wanted a garden like the one my dad took cared of when I was a kid. Thanks for the great pollination tips.


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