Nothing is more satisfying for a passionate gardener than seeing their beautiful plants growing all year round in the greenhouse. No worries about diseases and pests! Your green babies would bloom beautifully in the controlled environment.
Growing plants in a greenhouse have many benefits. For example, you get a more stable and warm ambiance and a shelter to protect your plants from frost, rainfall, or wind. Moreover, the plants can grow beyond their natural growing season.
But this controlled environment also has a few challenges, and one of them is pollination. Some plants can self-pollinate while others cannot.
For instance, plants like melons or tomatoes won’t produce fruits without pollination. And a greenhouse structure may not encourage natural fertilization, resulting in low yields!
What’s then? Will you not set up a greenhouse or abandon the dream of a green garden? Of course not!
You can deal with these challenges perfectly and get the best off the plants in the greenhouse, ensuring excellent yields. But how? Keep reading this article to know the best ways to pollinate your plants in a greenhouse.
Pollination in a Greenhouse
Pollination is essential to achieve satisfying harvests. And it eventually affects the expected yield. However, due to their protective glass wall, nature’s pollinators can’t do their tasks of pollinating plants inside the greenhouse.
So how to encourage pollination in flowering plants in your greenhouse? Let’s find out!
1. Ensure A Healthy Airflow
Airflow inside greenhouses is essential for self-pollinating and healthy growth of your plants. In addition, it prevents the plants from molding and pests or diseases from infecting them.
Thus, ensure healthy air circulation by having vents or barn-style doors.
2. Manual Pollination
You can try to pollinate the plants with your hands. Although time taking, manual pollination is an effective and affordable way to pollinate plants within a small greenhouse. How does it work?
Gently tap flowers or shake the plants so that they release pollen grains from one flower to another to pollinate.
However, some plants, like squash, produce female and male flowers separately. In this case, you should manually transfer the pollen between blossoms.
On the contrary, plants like tomatoes contain female and male parts in a single flower. So pollen grains in the flowers get transferred within each bloom when disturbed.
However, the risks entailed in the manual pollinating process include damaging the plants due to shaking or tapping. In addition, you may need to break the branches or stems and wither the flower petals to carry out the manual process.
Nonetheless, manual pollination can accelerate the production of fruits and seeds.
3. Try Device Pollination
This pollination process involves employing devices, battery-operated or electric. Such devices feature a vibrating head that rubs a flower’s bottom part with pollen and transfers them to another flower. They are designed to make pollination an easy feat.
However, be careful while selecting a device for pollinating greenhouse plants. You will find many options in the market, and some can damage the flowers severely.
Consider the following factors if you are using a device or manual pollination –
Carry it out in a particular hour
Natural agents that stimulate pollination include temperature and time. High temperatures are typically not suitable for pollination to occur. The best time to carry out the hand or manual pollination is at 10 AM or 3 PM, considering the humidity and heat.
Know the plant type before pollinating
Knowing whether the plant you want to pollinate is cross-pollination or self-pollinating is essential. For example, your garden can have some self-pollinating plants with female and male parts that don’t seek cross-pollination.
Also Read: Greenhouse Insulation: How and When to Do it?
4. Release The Bumblebees
Don’t you have enough time to bestow in manual pollination? Try doing it with bumblebees. They are among the best pollinators of nature that can get the process done the way you want.
You can find commercial bumblebees out in the market to use in greenhouses. These diligent creatures have their food by sipping nectar from the flowers during pollination.
Bumblebees help pollinate small fruits such as blueberry, black currant, and raspberry. However, these pollinators might be the best bet for crops like eggplant, kiwi, and tomato.
Although these bees will consume honey in their beehives, you can offer added package nectar for their survival in your greenhouse. This is because it will also be a closed environment for them, just like the plants.
However, refrain from spraying insecticides or pesticides if you use bees for greenhouse pollination.
5. Get ‘Garden Bees’ For Tiny Flowers
The alfalfa leafcutter or the ‘Garden Bee’ will come in handy for pollinating tiny flowers that bumblebees can’t due to their large size. The garden bees’ small size suits the tiny blossoms in your greenhouse garden.
These non-aggressive and gentle creatures can be your ideal pollination partner. But you may have to bid farewell to the leaves. Garden bees are ‘leafcutters,’ which means they feed on leaves. Another fact is that you will find them mainly in summer.
However, alfalfa leaf-cutters are perfect pollinators for squash, melons, and cucumbers.
6. Invite Natural Pollinators Inside The Greenhouse
You must recognize the way of inviting natural pollinators inside your greenhouse. First, keep a door open during the daytime. It will allow pollinators to hover inside and the breeze to move your plants around.
Moreover, you can place colorful flowering plants in pots on each side of the door to captivate butterflies, bees, and other pollinators of nature. Another great way to attract pollinators to your greenhouse is by keeping a mixture of food crops and flowers.
Also Read: Where to Put a Greenhouse? 10 Tips on Choosing the Best Spot for Greenhouse
Pollination: Some Facts to Know
Pollination is the process by which pollen from a plant’s anthers transfer to the stigma of another plant, causing fertilization and seed production. Generally, wind, birds, and animals help transfer these pollen between plants and flowers.
So pollination is very important for flowering plants for producing fruits and seeds, thereby maintaining life on earth. However, some crops, such as leafy greens, cabbage, onion, and potato, don’t need pollination to produce new plants.
Many common lawn plants can self-pollinate and are easier for greenhouse gardening—for example, eggplants, apricots, peaches, currants, grapes, peas, and barley.
On the other hand, plants like tomatoes and mango need pollination to produce fruits and seeds. Now:
A greenhouse produces a microclimate (controlled condition) that helps to grow the plants inside at any time of the year, protecting them from all environmental challenges. But while a greenhouse is made of glass, it acts as a barrier that stops natural pollination from occurring.
Eventually, the healthy flowers of your plants can fall off without producing fruits and seeds, and it can be frustrating to see. So you have to do something to encourage the natural fertilization process in your greenhouse plants.
Things to Consider When Pollinating Greenhouse Plants
Greenhouses are equipped with fans to circulate air to keep plants dry. However, they don’t encourage the pollination of flowers naturally. Pollen grains get released only under perfect humidity and temperature. This means pollination will take place only under the right environmental conditions.
Pollen grains stick together, forming clumps if the humidity level is high within the greenhouse, which hinders pollen dispersal perfectly. On the other hand, plants usually stop discharging pollen grains in too-low and too-high temperatures.
So, how to tackle it? You can try to dry your plants before pollinating them. Apart from that, research the appropriate temperature range of pollen release and set the temperature inside your greenhouse accordingly.
Greenhouses offer many perks for plant growth throughout the year. Every plant follows a different way to pollinate and produce new plants. While some plants can self-pollinate, others depend on natural pollinators for cross-pollination.
But their glass-based structures prohibit pollination. However, pollination is necessary for your plant’s growth and production. So you can opt for the ways mentioned above to encourage pollination in your greenhouse.
It will help you maintain and prolong your plants’ life, health, production, and beauty.