Plant Pollination - Manual

Most plants with the aid of insects, wind and various forms of wildlife generally have no problem with pollination.

But with some plants the human touch is sometimes required.

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, with a soft artists paint brush, a rabbits tail, a cotton bud, or by removing the male flower and rubbing or tapping it over the female flower.

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 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.

In a matter of a couple of days the petals on the female flower will die back if pollination has been successful.

Female flower

Male flower

Female overy

Male stigma

Manual pollination

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