What is pollination?
Pollination is how plants transfer pollen from the male anther to the female stigma. In doing so, the plants create fruits and seeds. It is, therefore, an essential part of plant production.
There are two main types of pollination in plants.
Pollination can happen within a single flower. This is for the flowers with both female and male parts. These plants position the male part closer to the female part.
Therefore, the male part can drop the pollen on the stigma. This is not self-pollination. It is common among many plants that do not rely on pollinating agents.
There is also what is referred to as cross-pollination. This type of pollination involves a combination of pollen from different flowers. Pollination happens through different pollinating agents.
The flowers open, and pollen is transported through the various agents to other flowers. This is common among plants that do well in the open fields.
How do you ensure pollination?
It is not automatic that all plants pollinate. Some plants may require some human intervention. The goal is to ensure that these plants come into contact with pollen. The concern among gardens is to make sure that plants pollinate.
When plants do not pollinate adequately, they compromise on their produce. They lower their yields. That is why it is important to have a plan to support pollination. Some techniques have been proposed that can aid pollination.
These are techniques for attracting pollinators, hand pollinating, and harnessing the wind. All these techniques have been successful in contributing to improved pollination. They have been used in the past by gardeners with great success.
- Attracting more pollinators
Attracting pollinators is the most effective way of enhancing pollination. Bees and birds are among the most successful pollinators. It is important to know how best these pollinators can be attracted.
One of the best ways of attracting bees and birds is to plant flowers. Gardeners are advised to grow a variety of plants across the garden. This is because different pollinating agents have a preference for flower varieties.
The bees and birds love bright-colored flowers. They also love flowers that produce nectar.
A good way of attracting these agents is to ensure that these flowers are available in different varieties. It is also to make sure that these flowers are easily accessible.
It is also advisable to ensure that these flowers are available all year. Extending the flowering seasons ensures that the pollinating agents visit often. A word of caution is to avoid various flowers that can cause unwanted plant breeds.
- Assist the pollination process.
Sometimes pollination may not happen for some plants. This is especially when the pollinating agents need to be improved. The efficiency of pollinators may also fail. That is why gardeners are recommended to find a way of assisting in pollinating.
Some plants do not attract insects or pollinators. These plants rely only on the wind for pollination. They may also depend on manual pollination. This is what is referred to as assisted pollination.
One way to assist pollination is to decide how to plant your crops. A good example is corn which relies on wind pollination. Planting the corn in blocks is recommended. It works better by increasing the chances of pollination when the wind blows.
Planting self-fertile crops is also a good way of aiding pollination in a garden. These plants self-manage their pollination process. Among the common plants include tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. They do well when planted as undercover crops.
- Hand pollination
Other plants do not pollinate by themselves. This is especially the plants that are indoors. These plants require human intervention. They are plants that do well when assisted. Hand pollination is recommended for such plants.
There are also seasons when insects and other pollinators do not visit. This is especially true in the cold seasons. The seasons are wet and unfavorable for insects.
The poor weather requires that the gardener works out a way of helping with pollination. Here are some recommendations you can follow to make hand pollination more efficient.
- Remove the plant petals
Removing the plant petals is a more efficient way of encouraging the pollination process. This is a good way of exposing the pollen to the pollinating agents. This is made possible by stripping the petal covers.
It is also recommended to rub the inside of the flower. This also assists in separating the sticky pollen from the flower.
- Using a swab
The collection of pollen does hand pollination from one plant to another. The use of a swab can do this. However, this depends on the type of plant. It only works for plants that have large flowers that open wide.
- Using paint brushes
Other alternatives would be to use paintbrushes. This is considered effective in collecting pollen from flowers. It is regarded as an effective method for pollinating early strawberries.
These plants are easy to pollinate. But it is important to be careful to prevent damaging the plant.
Hand pollination is more effective for plants with both female and male parts. Among the plants that do well when hand-pollinated include the zucchini.
The gardener should ensure that they protect the plant. They should also follow up to make sure that the pollen is transferred.
How to Tell If a Plant Is Pollinated
It is easy to identify a pollinated plant. There are some features that you can check, including:
1: Seed production
One of the best ways is to look for a seed. If a seed is present in a plant, it means it has been pollinated.
The seed is only produced when the male pollen comes into contact with the female stigma. But some plants may only show a seed in the later stages of growth.
2: New features
Observing the pistils can also tell whether a plant is pollinated. But this requires a closer look. There are organs reproduced once the flower is pollinated.
These include hair-like structures. There is an observable change of color in the pistils. All these changes indicate a new phase of development in a plant.
3: Color changes
The different parts of the pistils change from white to red. Other plants change to dark orange. This indicates the start of fruit production.
It indicates a change in the normal flowering phase. But this is only possible for the common plants. It is from plants that the gardeners know their flowering processes.
4: Wilting of flowers
The flowers of a pollinated plant also start to wilt when pollination occurs. This indicates the end of the flowering process. It signals a new phase of seed production. Experts inform that plants take twenty-four hours to start wilting flowers after pollination.
The ovule also begins to bulge in the flowers. This is the part that starts producing fruits. Once the calyx is pollinated, it starts to swell. It indicates that the plant is ready to produce fruit. But this requires a skilled eye. It shows that the plant has begun to change.
Is pollination male to female?
It isn’t very easy to understand whether pollination is female or male. But the process is simple to understand. The pollination involves both the male and the female parts. The pollen has to move from the male anthers to the stigma.
The movement of the male pollen is what fertilizes the flower. But this has to happen when all the parts are mature. It is then that the plant is ready to produce seed. Pollination can therefore be known to be both male and female.
Overall, pollination is the most important phase of fruit production in plants. The success of the pollination process should be a great concern.
The type of pollination does not matter. What matters the most is to ensure that the plants undergo the process with minimal challenges.