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Hand Pollination

Last updated: September 7, 2017

What Does Hand Pollination Mean?

Hand pollination refers to a gardener who pollinates a plant’s flowers manually, without the help of insects or the weather. It can be accomplished in any number of ways.

Hand pollination might be as simple as tapping two flower heads together to exchange pollen, or as labor intensive as using a cotton swab or small brush to transfer pollen from flower to flower in sequence, until all the flowers in the growing area have been pollinated.

Pollination must occur for non-self-fertile plants to create fruit. However, there are instances where natural pollinators are unavailable, or where their introduction would create a negative situation, such as indoor growing. Alternative methods must be found in these instances, and hand pollination can be one such solution.

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Maximum Yield Explains Hand Pollination

In the wild, most plants rely on pollinators to fly from flower to flower and combine pollen and fertilize the flowers so that fruit can develop. However, in some instances, natural pollinators might not be available. In others, such as indoor gardens, they are unwanted, and would become a nuisance. Pollination must still occur, though. Hand pollination can be a viable solution for these situations.

It should be noted that many types of vegetable plants commonly grown in gardens are known for having pollination problems, including cucumbers and watermelons. Hand pollination can help ensure a healthy, continuous crop.

Hand pollination is nothing more than humans doing the job of a natural pollinators. In order for hand pollination to work, you must identify the male and female flowers of the plant, and then transfer the pollen from the male flower’s stamen onto the stigma of the female flower. Note that only the female flower must come through this process undamaged. Male flowers can be plucked and manually manipulated in the pollination process.

In addition to hand pollination, there is also mechanical pollination, in which small robotic machines or devices are used to pollinate plants.

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