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Self-Pollinating Plants

Good fruit harvests depend on pollination. Flowers require pollination in order to successfully produce fruit. Flying insects like honeybees, bumblebees, flies, beetles, and wasps typically carry out this task. Cross-pollination is beneficial because it enables species diversity by combining the genetic information of various plants. However, it is contingent on the existence of pollinators that move between plants. Self-pollinating results in more uniform offspring, which means that the species is less resistant to disease, for example. However, it can spread beyond areas where suitable pollinators are present and do not require any effort to attract them.

You must include more than one of the plants in your landscape if it requires cross-pollination. That may be challenging for gardeners with limited space. However, self-pollinating plants can thrive on their own. To produce a crop, all you need is one of them in your garden. Since annuals only have a short amount of time to produce seeds that ensure their continued existence into the following year, they frequently self-pollinate.

Many soft fruits are self-fertile because they produce flowers and pollen that are compatible. Because fruit trees have flowers that are incompatible with themselves, they need another cultivar of the same fruit that is flowering at the same time nearby to pollinate their flowers. Because some fruit trees, like cherries and plums, are self-fertile, insects that pollinate their flowers will ensure that their fruit set is fruitful. When another cultivar is planted nearby to provide pollination, even self-fertile varieties typically produce better crops. Triploid cultivars are a group of apple and pear cultivars that primarily produce sterile pollen. These won’t be any use for cross-pollinating other trees, and for their fruit to set, still need other trees. Because they produce a lot of flowers over a long period of time, crab apples are especially useful for apples that need to be pollinated.

Cross PollinationSelf-Pollination
DefinitionTransfer of pollen grains from one flower to a different plant of the same speciesTransfer of pollen grains from one plant to another of the same plant
Seen inFruit plants/trees, daffodils, tulips, lavender, grasses, Holly ‘Ilex’Sunflowers, tomato plants, potatoes, apricots and peaches
TransferWind, insects, animals etc.Shed pollen directly onto stigma
Plant differencesBrightly coloured, nector and scentedSmaller flowers
ResultsMore variety but relies on pollinators to travel from plant to plantDoesn’t need to use energy to attract pollinators, but less resilient against diseases
Updated on January 11, 2023

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