Quick Answer: How To Tell If Tomato Flower Is Pollinated?
Tomato plants are self-fertile containing male and female parts within a single flower. Once pollinated, the stem behind the flower remains green and begins to enlarge. The flowers wilt, turn brown and shed. The small green globes become visible at the base of the blossoms and eventually become fruits. If there is a lack of pollination, the stem turns yellow and the flowers will fall off without setting the fruits.
In this guide, I will help you to identify if the tomato flower has been pollinated.
Shall we dive in!
Signs Of Pollination of Tomato Flower
One of the main signs of pollination is the stem behind the flower remains green and enlarges. It may turn subsequently into fruits. The flowers may wilt and fall off upon successful pollination at an accelerated rate.
Are you wondering how to tell if your tomato flower is pollinated? Here are different signs of pollination below.
- You may notice a lot of pollinators flying around in the garden.
- After the yellow tomato flower has opened, look if the stem behind the bloom remains green. They may look swollen and small-sized green globes develop at the end of the blossom. These may eventually turn into mature tomatoes.
- Upon successful pollination, the hair-like center of the flower may turn dark and shrivel. The tomato flowers may wilt, turn brown, and shed. It may die at an accelerated rate compared to flowers dying of old age. So, you may check for a fruit set to determine if the flower is pollinated.
If there is a lack of pollination, the stem turns yellow, and flowers are shed without setting fruits.
Importance of Pollination
Pollination is a crucial step in the production of tomato fruits. The tomato plants require few biotic or abiotic agents to aid in the process.
I love the taste of homegrown, vine-ripened tomatoes as a reward for my gardening efforts.
A crucial step in producing fruits is pollination. The plants require biotic and abiotic agents to pollinate. The time to produce fruits depends on the variety, climate, and growing conditions.
Lack of pollination may prevent the beautiful flowers from making the fruits. Read on further to know more about pollination in tomatoes.
How Do Tomato Flowers Pollinate? The Process
Tomato flowers are perfect flowers with male and female parts within a single flower. With the assistance of wind, the pollen gets released onto the female part. The flowers must be pollinated within 50 hours.
Tomato bears perfect flowers as they have both male and female parts in the same flower. The yellow stamens wrap around the greenish female part in the center of the flower.
The male part has filament and another filled with pollen at the top. The female parts have an ovary, style, and stigma.
Pollination usually occurs between 10 A.M and 4 P.M.The tomato plants are self-fertile but may need the assistance of wind or bees to pollinate. Their degree of self-pollination may vary between 94 to 99%.
The tomato flowers hang down, and the male part is located above the female part.
The pollen gets released onto the female part. It happens in the open field with the assistance of the wind.
The plants bear fruits after successful pollination and fertilization.
There may be some degree of cross-pollination in tomato plants. It depends on certain factors, including temperature, insect population, wind velocity, planting design, and variety of plants.
The tomato flowers must be pollinated within 50 hours, or else they may wilt and fall off.
Check out this fascinating timelapse video on how tomato flowers produce fruits:
How to Hand Pollinate Tomato Flower?
Shake the flowers with a hand to assist in pollination. You may also use a cotton swab, art brush, or battery-operated toothbrush to distribute the pollen.
Sometimes, tomato plants may not pollinate by themselves, especially in greenhouse production. They may require some assistance to pollinate. You may create vibrations along with the tomato vines.
You may simply shake or tap the plant to shed the pollen using your hand. You may also use an art brush to make the circular motions on the inside of the flower and distribute the pollen.
Some gardeners also use a battery-operated toothbrush to aid in pollination. You may use a cotton swab to collect the pollen and distribute it on female parts.
You may pick whatever method that works for you.
You may practice hand pollination every two to three days to ensure pollination and get wonderful results.
Here is an informative video on how to hand pollinate tomato flowers:
Tomato Pollination Using Bumblebees
Buzz pollination occurs using bumblebees. The bees land on the flowers and vibrate their flight muscles causing pollen to fall from the flower. It results in pollination and subsequent fruit setting.
Another way the tomato plant pollinate is through bumblebees.
They vibrate their wing muscles without flying when they land on a flower. They are active at temperatures between 8 and 28oC.
During pollination, the bumblebee bites onto the tomato flower, and it causes the whole flower to vibrate. It releases the cloud of pollen onto the bee’s body and stigma.
The process is called buzz pollination. After pollination, fruit setting takes place.
I am fascinated by this process, check out how amazing this is in the following video –
What is Blossom Drop?
Blossom drop occurs when the tomato flowers drop without setting any fruit. It may be due to nutritional, environmental, or a combination of the two. You may follow good cultural and pest control practices to avoid the condition.
Blossom drop is the condition that causes the tomato flowers to drop. It may occur due to interference in pollination and fertilization. It is preceded by the yellowing of the pedicel.
The different conditions that cause blossom drop are
- Extreme fluctuations in temperatures
- Change in relative humidity
- High or low application of nitrogen fertilizers
- Changes in soil moisture
- Heavy fruit set
- Lack or heavy exposure to sunlight
- Damage by insects
You may grow resistant varieties, water deeply, follow disease control measures, and use appropriate fertilizers to control blossom drop.
If you are interested to know more about blossom drop, check out this video:
The amount of time taken for the pollinated plant to produce fruit is dependent on the tomato variety, certain environmental factors, and climatic conditions. It may take approximately 45 to 100 days after transplanting the seedling.
Blossom set spray is an alternative to hand pollination. It may help in pollinating the tomato flowers using a plant hormone, kinetin. You may apply it once a week to the flowers and surrounding foliage.
I hope this article helps you identify if your tomato flower is pollinated. You may also follow the tips and tricks mentioned in the article to assist with pollination.
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