Pollinating Plants

by David Schulze

Pollinating Plants is simply making the female pregnant so the plants can propagate or reproduce. This pregnancy results in fruit or vegetable being produced.

Pollination happens between plants when the wind blows the pollen around. Some pregnancies are made possible by bees and other insects. Animals can also pollinate plants such as the humming bird. Some plants are self-pollinating. Some plants use smell as a way to attract a pollinator while others use colors to attract a pollinator. Red is a color that birds seem attracted too since they do not have a sense of smell.

Hybridization is the scientific process of taken pollen from one species and pollinating other species of the same type.

An example would be to take the pollen of a pepper plant with great disease resistant and adding it to a large green pepper in order to produce a large green pepper with great disease resistance.  I am very simple explanation.  There are many steps involved in doing this.

If you want to save seeds from season to season and grow them and want the pure family line, then they have to be seeds that are not a hybrid.  Many companies offer hybrids that have been designed to limit disease, counter insects and produce more and larger fruit, usually at a cost to taste.  The package or webpage (at least ours will) will tell you whether it is a hybrid or not.

Click here to see our page on seed types.


Bee Pollinating a flower. This diagram shows a simple version on how the process works.

Propagation also has a direct effect on what can be planted in a greenhouse.

For vegetables, the greenhouse needs to be opened so bees can do their job and the wind can blow the air-borne pollen around.  A fan can also produce the same results.

And in some cases, like tomato plants, you many need to shake the plant. Sometimes it does not hurt to shake the tomato plant even when it is outside to ensure pollen is spread to the flowers.  Of course if you get a good breeze on a regular basis, shaking is not needed.

We do not have to worry about planting different king of plants together. Beans will not cross propagate with peppers and so on. We cannot take the sperm of a male rabbit and fertilize a pig embryo and get who knows what. The same works with our plants. This should not be a concern.  However, some plants do not do good around other plants.  Click here to see our page on companion planting to see what plants can be planted together.

But pollen of the same variety will pollinate within its family line. One type of squash will pollinate another type of squash to include zucchini. 

For instance the Brassicaceae which consist of many types of vegetables will all cross pollinate.  Some in the family are cauliflower, cabbage, kale, garden cress, bok choy and broccoli, just to name a few. 

If you wanted to keep the family line pure for one variety, you would need to plant them many feet apart.  You would need to research and find out how many feet since each is different.

I have given the basics of pollinating here.  It is a far more complicated process than what I have explained here.  For more information, search the web.