Plant Pollination - Manual
Most plants with the aid of insects, wind and various forms of wildlife generally have no problem with pollination.
But there are some plants that sometimes require the human touch.
Most of the Cucurbits e.g. squash, gourd, pumpkin, cucumber, courgette, watermelon, and cantaloupe, can usually benefit from manual pollination.
This is done by transferring pollen from the anthers on the male flower to the stigma on the female flowers.
There are a number of ways this can be done for example,
- Use a soft artists paint brush.
- Use a rabbits tail.
- Use a cotton bud.
- Or by removing the male flower and rubbing or tapping it over the female flower.(as seen below)
One should clean or renew the pollinating tool after each pollination to prevent cross pollination.
Some plants have a short pollination window, so check the plants daily for new flowers.
If only male flowers are blooming, cut a few and place their stems in a cup of water to keep them alive and fresh.
This will ensure that have pollen available when female flowers bloom.
Female flowers are often distinguished by the bulbous or longitudinal ovary behind the petals.
Remove a male flower from the plant and strip off the petals.
With pumpkins the male stigma can be either brushed over or inserted into the female ovary.
With smaller cucurbits it will suffice to use the male stigma as a paint brush and brush pollen on to the female ovary.
If pollination has been successful,the petals on the female flower will die back.