The Science of Tomato Pollination


You’ve probably never thought about how tomato plants are pollinated. You’re probably well aware that any plant with flowers needs pollination. If not, look at this now and learn even more about this fantastic fruit.

So, how does a tomato plant pollinate? You might be surprised to learn that the process for tomatoes is much different than other flowering plants. So much so that many people study the pollination of tomatoes with awe because of how intricate it is.

All about the flowers of a tomato plant

The most shocking thing about tomato plants is their flowers contain both male and female reproductive organs. That’s right; a tomato plant can pollinate itself. The male part of the flower is called the stamen, and it produces the pollen. The female part is called the pistil, where the fruit begins to grow after it’s been pollinated.

How are tomato plants pollinated

So, now we know that tomato plants have both the pollen and the pistil, but how does the pollen reach the pistil? The helpful insect known as the bee does all the heavy lifting. As with other flowering fruits, bees take the pollen to the pistil.

We’ve seen a decline in bees in recent years, and that’s why tomato farmers have been so alarmed. It’s not just tomatoes that are at risk, but other plants as well that rely on bees. So, the next time you see a bee, thank it for all its hard work to ensure your favorite fruits are grown to perfection.

What impact does the weather have on pollination?

Pollen is quite finicky and doesn’t like it when it’s too humid outside. If it’s too humid, the pollen becomes sticky and less mobile. If it’s too dry outside, the pollen becomes too loose and will blow away.

This is why it’s so essential that you plant your tomatoes at the optimum time. What you’re trying to do is ensure the best possible pollination rates. If you’re too early or too late by even a few weeks, it can impact how effective pollination is.

Hand pollination is a thing, and you can pollinate your plants

Have you ever thought of pollinating a plant? It’s possible and not as difficult as you might think. All you have to do is gently shake the flower or use a small brush to transfer pollen from the stamen to the pistil.

Usually, the only people who pollinate their own tomato plants are those who use a greenhouse. If you have your tomato plants outside, there’s no need to pollinate your plants. Bees are more than happy to pollinate your tomato plants in exchange for a little nectar.

Pollination isn’t as mysterious as it might seem

If there is one takeaway from all of this, it would be that pollination isn’t a bunch of hocus pocus. There’s a real science behind it all, and it’s part of the ever-flowing part of nature. Tomato plants need to be pollinated; however, the process usually happens without us thinking about it.

So, the next time you see a tomato, just remember that the plant pollinated itself with the help of a person, or more likely, a bee. All it took was a little pollen and a whole lot of patience to make that tasty fruit possible.


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