How to Pollinate Your Own Plants

Updated on April 25, 2019

How to Pollinate With No Bees

I live in a suburban part of town, and bees are hard to come by! Or maybe I just repel bees. I had trouble getting my squash and pumpkins to produce fruit and vegetables without the help of bees. I had to do figure something out because my entire summer season would have been in vain, and I would have hated to waste all that time. The good news is that this method works to help your garden; the bad news is that I started a little late and now have a late crop. Oh well! Live and learn right?

Pollinating without bees can be a very easy and simple thing to do. Pollen usually needs to be transferred from flower to flower, and if we are not lucky enough to have our bee friends do it, we have to pollinate our plants ourselves. It is not time consuming, and pollinating your own plants can make you closer to your creations!

On Pollination...

Einstein supposedly said, "If the bee disappeared off the face of the globe then man would only have four years left to live."

The Birds and the Bees!

In pollinating, bees are obviously the best method to use. They are way better than we could ever possibly be at doing it because they are naturals. But what are we to do when we don't have access to bees or if we do they are just to scarce to do a big enough impact? Well, we resort to basic human instinct and adapt!

Hopefully I don't have to tell you about the birds and the bees so I hope there are no spoilers here. Every plant will have a female and a male part. You need both to produce fruit, and pollination takes the pollen from the male to the female flower. Without it, no fruit. (Some species of plants use self-pollination where both male and female parts are in the same flower, so pollination is almost always done by itself. Beans are a great example of this! Where plants use two different flowers is where this will benefit.)

The Artist's Brush

If you have a small paintbrush (one for the smallest of strokes, only a few hairs), then great! If not, then buy one, as they are very cheap. I tried a clean mascara brush I stole from my fiancé, but I damaged the female flower trying to do the self applying method, so I had to buy the small brush.

I would wear gloves just for added protection. I went in for my zucchini plant and pulled back with a stinging hand. I knew they had the spines, I just carelessly forgot.

Take your brush and very carefully collect the pollen from the male flower. (I say carefully because you don't want to damage the flowers in any way.) Your brush should be covered with little specks and flecks. This is the golden stuff we need.

Since we don't want to lose any of the pollen, slowly move it to the female plant. Use a slow and soft paint method to deposit the pollen. Do this as every so often with all the female flowers and soon vegetables and fruit will be producing. Obviously stop at this point because the pollen has done its job. Take care of your production, and hopefully you will enjoy it in a meal!

Great on These Plants





Mainly vine-growing plants!

Questions & Answers

    Any comments or suggestions—I may add great suggestions!

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      • profile image

        Gurdev Saini 

        18 months ago

        I have one zucchini after hand pollination. but do I have to pollinate again with other flowers on the same plant for fruit keep coming? or it is once time poliniation on the plant.

      • profile image


        18 months ago

        I have yellow and white corn side by side. how can I keep them from crossing?

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        thanks for sharing this information........

      • profile image


        8 years ago

        I always make sure I have year round flowering plants to attract bees, but I still hand pollinate my sweet corn plants!

        Thanks for a great lens

      • GonnaFly profile image


        8 years ago from Australia

        I am fortunate to still have bees, but I think that I could get more pumpkins and squashes if I use your method. I don't need to bother with doing this with zucchinis though. We already get so many :-) Your lens has been blessed and added to my Growing Vegetables and Herbs lens.

      • profile image


        8 years ago

        Excellent information!

      • mariaamoroso profile image


        8 years ago from Sweden

        My mother used this with lilies - Amaryllis plants too.


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