Hand Pollinating Your Green Pepper Plants
How to Pollinate a Pepper Plant
During pollination, pollen is transferred from the anthers to the stigma (the center part of the flower), resulting in fertilization. Pollen is fairly sticky and composed of a multitude of tiny grains covered with finger-like projections that adhere to whatever they come in contact with.
Use a tiny artist paint brush (or even a cotton swab) to gently transfer the pollen and then gently rub it on to the flower stigma.
If you are having a difficult time getting the pollen to adhere to the swab or brush, dip it in to a bit of distilled water first. Just remember to be slow, methodical, and extremely gentle so you do not damage the blossom and the potential fruit.
Shake the Pepper Plant
Another way to to encourage pollination of your green pepper plant is to shake it, therefore hopefully moving pollen from the male to the female.
What Time of Day to Pollinate Your Pepper Plants
In order to pollinate your pepper plants more effectively, wait until the afternoon, between noon and 3 pm, when the pollen is at its peak.
Why Green Pepper Plants Sometimes Do Not Produce Fruit
Anything that stresses the green pepper plant can cause blossom drop and lack of fruit set. It is during these stressed times that you may need to hand pollinate your green peppers.
Although it is time consuming, hand pollinating peppers is simple and sometimes necessary if you desire a good fruit set.
Causes of Stress for Green Pepper Plants
- Non-Ideal Temperatures: Temperature ranges can cause stress for the green pepper plant. They prefer temperatures of at least 60°F at night and up to 85°F in the daytime. If the temperature rises above 90°F, the plants react by dropping their flowers and immature fruits.
- Inadequate Humidity: The optimum level for pollination is between 60 to 80 percent humidity. If the air is too dry, the pollen dries out and may not stick to the stigma. If the air is too moist, the pollen is too sticky and starts clumping on the stigma and will not complete fertilizing the flower. (Note: An incompletely fertilized fruit develops with the seeds on the outside and the unfertilized sections exposed on the outside of the fruits' skin.)
Avoid Cross Contamination
Avoid cross pollination when you have multiple types of peppers planted. Switch out the paint brush or swab between hand pollinating different types of peppers.
The All-Popular Green Bell Pepper
If all goes well and nature cooperates, you will see the fruits of your own labor. You will also see the wonders of what God gives us.
The green bell pepper is one of America's favorite things to grow in a home garden, and I hope each and every one of you have a plentiful bounty this year and every year. With the right temperatures, the right weather, a little help from the honey bee, and even a little helping hand from you, success will be yours. Bon Appétit!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.