Pollination is the process by which plants transfer pollen grains. The process involves the male anther and the female stigma.
It is the initial process of producing fruits and making seeds in a plant. It is considered the most essential step of reproduction.
One thing to note is that each plant has a unique way of pollination. Some plants pollinate naturally. But other plants have separate male and female flowers.
These are the hardest to pollinate. It is recommended to establish the proper way of manually pollinating these plants.
What is artificial pollination?
Artificial pollination involves the manual application of pollen to plants. This is considered an alternative to insect-assisted pollination. Think about you being the pollination agent. It only takes carrying the pollen from the male to the female plant.
Types of manual pollination
There are two types of artificial pollination.
- Hand pollination
- Mechanical pollination
1. Hand pollination
This is pollination done by hand. The use of a brush is an easy way of doing it. The pollen is collected with the brush and applied manually on the female flower. This type is a common vegetable plant with separate male and female parts.
Hand pollination is best done in the morning when the flowers bloom. It is mainly used in small home gardens.
Plants that are easy to hand-pollinate include pumpkins, melons, and squash. They are plants that bloom and open their flowers wide for easier access when hand pollinating.
The process is straightforward for any gardener. All you need is to swab the inside of a male flower.
Then you move and swab the inside of a female flower using the same brush of cotton swab. But you have to observe keenly to ensure that the pollen is transferred.
2. Mechanical pollination
Mechanical pollination is also done manually. It also engaged human intervention. The pollen has to be collected and transferred to the flowers where needed. However, it is done in a more efficient way than hand pollination.
Mechanical pollination is most common for plants such as tomatoes, pepper, and beans. They are also self-pollinating.
A common way of mechanical pollination is using a fan. The wind from the fan forces the plant to see the pollen. It then drops from the stamen to the stigma.
Can you pollinate your plants manually?
There is no doubt that you can pollinate plants by hand. This is considered an appropriate way of assisting your plants.
All you have to do is find the best way of carrying the pollen from one flower to another. The process is achievable using two simple steps.
Step 1: Remove the petals
The first step is to remove the petals of a male flower. It is recommended not to touch the flower part with bare hands. It can transfer the pollen to the fingers and lead to failure.
Step 2: Transfer the pollen
The next step is to transfer the pollen. Push back the petals of blooming female flowers. They move the stamens of the male flower.
Move the stamens gently as you touch the stigma of the female flower. The pollen is easily moved, and pollination occurs.
Benefits of manual pollination
Artificial pollination is used mostly when there is a need for mass pollination. It is recommended for gardeners who intend to increase the number of fruits. This is because natural pollination comes with limitations. It is dependent on the activity of the pollination agents.
There are many cases where flowering does not mean automatic harvest. This is because of insufficient pollination. Pollinating your plants manually means greater control over the production process.
Manual pollination is also great for altering the genetic population of crops. It is used when gardeners look out for an improved breed. But it requires significant research.
The process may also be used to prevent cross-pollination. This is when a gardener wants to retain a similar breed of their liking.
For most gardeners, manually pollinating the plants is typical for indoor plants. It is also common for fruit trees to grow out of season. The concept is usually to ensure that the gardener meets their expectations.
It is to perfect the flowering of the production process. Remember to do your research well before engaging in manual pollination.