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Hand-Pollinating Your Tomato Plants

Updated on May 31, 2017

Tomato Plants Are Usually Self-Sufficient

One tomato plant is capable of producing a crop, since tomatoes are self-pollinating flowers that are equipped with male and female parts. They are normally wind-pollinated and occasionally by bees, but if not, they could use a little help.

The Best Time to Pollinate Tomato Plants

Pollen is normally shed from morning till afternoon. Midday on warm, sunny days with low humidity is the optimal time for hand-pollination.

Locate Your Tomato Flowers

The first thing you need to do is to locate the pretty yellow flowers. Then find the place right behind the flower by the stem. Be prepared to vibrate this area to distribute the pollen inside the flower. Remember, you must have a gentle hand as to not destroy the flower.

Vibrating the Tomato Flower

Giving the vine a little vibrating with a battery-operated toothbrush is really all you need. Place the electric toothbrush just behind the open flowers and gently shake the plant. The vibration loosens the pollen inside the flower, which causes pollination.

Place the bristles of the toothbrush on the stem of the flowers—not on the flowers themselves—and turn it on. This is how a bumble bee would help. You only need to vibrate the flowers for a few seconds.

The Substitute Bumble Bee
The Substitute Bumble Bee

Increase your Tomato Crop

Giving Mother Nature a helping hand will substantially increase your crop of tomatoes.

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    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 2 months ago from Houston, Texas

      I would never have thought to use an electric toothbrush to pollinate tomato plants. Great idea! Using an old toothbrush just for that purpose makes sense.