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What Are Self-Pollinating Plants?

April 1, 2021

Pollination is a very important process for plants. Pollen is moved from one plant and one flower to another, fertilizing the plant and making it able to produce seeds and fruits. Flowers have male and female parts – the stamen and the pistil, respectively. When pollen is transferred from the anther in the stamen to the stigma in the pistil, the plant has been fertilized. Sometimes, this process is completed by animals and insects called pollinators like bees, butterflies, and bats. Pollinators are actually responsible for bringing us one out of every three bites of food we eat! As they move from bloom to bloom in search of nectar or seeds to eat, they collect and redistribute pollen grains. This is called cross-pollination.

U.S. Department of Agriculture
This animation from the US Forest Service shows you how cross-pollination works.

However, some plants are self-pollinating. They do not need pollinators to aid in fertilization. Pollen from these plants’ anthers land on their own stigma. As this version of pollination reduces genetic diversity, many plants have evolved to grow characteristics that attract pollinators, like special flower shapes and nectar guides..

U.S. Department of Agriculture
This animation from the US Forest Service shows you how self-pollination works.


Why Grow Self-Pollinating Plants?

If your plant requires cross-pollination, you have to include more than one of that plant in your landscape. For gardeners with a limited amount of space, that may be hard to do. Self-pollinating plants, however, are fine to grow alone. You only need one of them in your garden to grow a crop.

Which Plants Are Self-Pollinating?

Many, but not all, crops are self-pollinating. This includes: beans), broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, corn, kohlrabi, onions, and peppers. Fruit trees also self-pollinate including apples, cherries, peaches, and pears. If you’re looking for a self-pollinating blackberry, blueberry, or raspberry plant, check out Bushel & Berry’s collection!

Annuals are often self-pollinating as they have a very limited amount of time to produce seeds that help ensure their survival into next year, and so they need to pollinate quickly.

Why Isn’t My Self-Pollinating Plant Producing Fruit?

First, make sure your plant really is self-pollinating. Double-check your research. If you find it actually requires cross-pollination, you will need to get at least one more plant.

If you’re sure your plant is self-pollinating, it may just need some extra help. Gently shake the plant or fan the blooms periodically to help the pollen grains drop.

Your Local Garden Center

Our team at Martin’s Home & Garden is ready to help you pick out plants to meet your landscape’s needs! Visit our Murfreesboro store today or call us at 615-867-7121.


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