Fortunately, learning how to pollinate indoor tomatoes is as simple as 123. Tomato flowers pollinate with the help of wind and, sometimes, bees. However, if you plan to grow tomatoes indoors, factors such as high temperatures and excessive heat can slow the pollination process.
The Basics Of Indoor Tomato Care
For pollination to work, you need to learn the basics of indoor tomato care. Here are some of the things you need to remember:
Water your plants regularly
Check the soil of your tomato plant regularly to see if it needs watering. Stick your finger in the soil and if it’s dry, it’s time to water it.
Fertilize the soil weekly
Keep your tomatoes healthy and encourage more produce by adding a balanced fertilizer. For indoor tomatoes, kelp, fish emulsion or animal manure are all great options.
Help pollinate your plants
Since tomatoes are self-pollinating, they don’t necessarily need gardeners or insects to help them pollinate. But you can speed up the pollination process by placing a small fan to simulate wind, or you can pollinate them by hand.
4 Ways To Pollinate Your Indoor Tomato Plants
Tomato plants are self-pollinating and self-fertilizing. In other words, a single tomato plant can produce crops without having to plant another one. But as we’ve already established, you can help speed up the pollination process by hand pollinating them. Here are some actions you can take:
Vibrate your tomato plants with a battery-operated toothbrush
To self-pollinate with a toothbrush, you need to gently shake the vines by placing the toothbrush on the back of the open flowers. The vibrations will release the pollen to encourage pollination.
Place the bristles on the flower stems – not directly on the flowers! Turn on the electric toothbrush for just a few seconds.
Use an art brush
In addition to a toothbrush, you can use a small art brush to collect and deliver pollen to flowers in the same way that insects do. The brush doesn’t have to be expensive, but it’s best to use ones with natural bristles. This way, the pollen sticks better than plastic brushes.
Gently swirl the brush inside the petals, pistil and stigma to collect and distribute the pollen. However, be sure to always use a different brush if you have multiple types of tomatoes to avoid cross-pollination. If this is not possible, soak and dry your brush in isopropyl alcohol before hand pollinating other varieties.
Use cotton swabs
Cotton swabs are also a great tool for pollination because the cotton can help collect and distribute pollen. Use the cotton swab in the same way you would use an art brush. Another technique is to collect the pollen and place it in a small container. You can then use the swab or brush to manually apply it to the end of the stigma.
Shake your plants
If you don’t have an electric toothbrush, brush or cotton swab, you can lightly shake the plants to mimic the pollen. You can gently but quickly tap each flower to encourage pollination.
When Should I Hand Pollinate?
Hand pollination is not a one-time thing. It is best to hand pollinate every two to three days when the weather is clear.
Target each open flower until the tomato plant stops blooming. This way you can be sure that each cluster has been pollinated. Keep an eye out for fruit that begins to form after the flowers wilt.
Why Are Greenhouses A Great Investment For Planting?
Mini greenhouses are great for planting and growing tomatoes and other plants. If you’re still on the fence, here are some reasons why a greenhouse kit is a good investment:
Protection from unwanted animals and insects
Aphids, rodents, beetles and other insects and large animals would love to get a taste of your delicious tomato fruit. In addition, infectious diseases from neighboring plants can easily infect your garden plants. To protect them from unwanted animals, insects and blight, you can plant them inside mini greenhouses.
Ideal for gardeners who need extra space
If you have limited space or need more room to grow more crops, you can invest in a small greenhouse. You can place them anywhere – on balconies, decks, patios or even on your tables. Plus, you can plant almost anything in them and they’re relatively inexpensive compared to full-size greenhouses.
Protect your plants from frost
Tomatoes are warm weather plants, which means they can’t tolerate frost. If you want to grow tomatoes year-round or want to protect them from unpredictable weather, placing them in a greenhouse helps. Once the weather warms up, you have the option of transplanting them into your garden.
Final Thoughts On How To Pollinate Indoor Tomatoes
Now that you know how to pollinate indoor tomatoes, you know that there are different techniques for hand pollination. While some gardeners prefer to lightly shake the plants, while others use an artistic brush, you can use whatever works for you and your tomato plants. For best results, you can hand pollinate every two to three days. You’ll know if the pollination is working if the flowers start to fade and the fruit appears.