Tomato Pollination – How To Pollinate Your Tomatoes

July 23, 2009 · Print This Article

Tomato Pollination is usually left up to the bees.  Since each yellow tomato blossom has both  male and female parts, the tomato is considered a “self-fertilizing” plant.   All the bee has to to is flutter it’s wings around the blossoms, which causes the blossoms to vibrate, and waaa laaa… tomatoes are born.  Almost!  There are a few other factors to consider… one is temperature.  Tomatoes love the night time heat between 60 and 70 degrees.  If the temperature falls below 60 or above 75… it interferes with the growth of the pollen.  Also so… if the weather is to damp or too dry…it interferes with the pollination.

Now… I like to help Mother Nature’s bees along by pollinating my own tomato plants.  Follow along and I’ll teach you how to pollinate your tomatoes.

First… I grow container tomatoes… and I have cherry, grape and regular tomatoes.   The containers sit on casters so I can roll them around if I need to.  Tomato plants  need at least 8 hours of sunshine.  I water them every day because they dry out easily because the container exposes  the soil to extra heat.  When tomatoes begin to appear… I fertilize them once a week.  It keeps the blossoms coming.  Now if your have a regular tomato garden… this regiment may be difficult to follow.


Grape and cherry tomatoes have clusters of blossoms… when when the bees come around fluttering their wings… a lot of blossoms get pollinated at one time.


Successful  bee pollination produces lots of tomatoes on one stem…. like the grape and cherry tomatoes.


And, it produces an abundance of tomatoes for salads or just to pop into your mouth one at at time.


Regular tomatoes have fewer blossoms in a cluster. When is a blossom ready to be pollinated?

When the tomato blossom is wide open, the yellow petals turned back and the flower is  pointing down, the blossom is ready for pollination.

Here are the male and female parts.


The bees flutter their wings or a wind will blow… causing the pollen to come out of the straw through the Antlers on to the  Carpels or Ovary.


If the tomato pollination is successful… you’ll get an abundance of tomatoes on one tomato plant.


Now, I help tomato pollination  along by gently tapping the blossom stem, causing a vibration.  From all I can find… the best time to do this is mid-day… around noon.  Not earlier  than 10:00 and not later than 4:00.  Some folks have been know to use a battery powered tooth brush… as it’s vibration is suppose to simulate the bee’s wings.  I’ve never been that particular.  I just give the stem a little shake so the pollen will fall out of the male straw and fall on the end of the blossom.

Now some say this is all  “folk lore… or myth.”  Who know?  My experience is.. I have one heck of a lot of tomatoes on my plants whichI haven’t had  before hand pollinating.

So give it a try because  the tomato harvest is just beginning….  and you have the rest of the summer… into the fall…  to see if this pollination process works for you.

You can watch the video… to see this procedure in action.

Till Later,

Insightful Nana

P.S.  I’ve already pick my first tomato, wiped it on my shirt and with my salt shaker in hand… given it a dash of salt… and popped the whole thing in my mouth at once.  Mmmmmm.  Is this heaven?

P.P.S.  I may not look like it… but I removed a lot of leaves from my tomato plants.  Looking at these photos… it reminds me it’s time to remove a few more leaves.  Taking leaves off will give your blossoms a greater change of being pollinated by bees… and more energy goes to grown the tomato rather than the leaves.

Also… I read about a farmer who walks down the furrows of his tomato garden with a stick and gives the plants a shake.  He claims his tomatoes produce  50 percent more yield.

P.P.P.S.  One more thing.  A woman standing next to me at the nursery says she give her tomatoes a shot of Epson Salts a couple of times a season.  1 TB to a gallon of water will do the trick.  She claims it sweetens the tomatoes as well as encourages greater tomato production.  She said, “Tomatoes love acid and the Epson Salts provides it.   Haven’t tried this one yet… but I’m heading to the store for my Epson Salts.


12 Responses to “Tomato Pollination – How To Pollinate Your Tomatoes”

  1. RachelNo Gravatar on July 28th, 2009 5:33 pm

    Wow! Thank you so much for all these great tips! I was just complaining that our cherry tomatoes were too bitter tasting, and here, you have some tips for helping that, as well as other things for keeping my tomatoes healthy! =:D This is my first year gardening, so I am welcome to all the advice I can get! =;)

    Blessings in Christ!
    ~Miss Rachel~

  2. albertNo Gravatar on July 29th, 2009 7:18 pm

    Epson salt is Magnesium sulfate, not really a salt. As you probably already know, tomato plants love magnesium, especially if grown in pots as it gets washed out.

  3. adminNo Gravatar on July 31st, 2009 9:47 am

    Thanks Albert for the information on Epson Salt. I did know that Epson Salt was not a salt.. but I didn’t know
    it was Magnesium. Thanks again for the info.

  4. LorraineNo Gravatar on July 31st, 2009 3:52 pm

    ” Thank you sooooo much for all your goods recipes and also those tips,,,,,,i love your e-mails…………thanks again…


  5. Geoff HoffNo Gravatar on August 1st, 2009 2:01 pm

    We grew tomatoes in large bins several years ago and had some small success with them, but I always thought it was that they weren’t in the ground that we didn’t get tons of tomatoes. Now I want to go get more bins (I’ve moved twice and left the old ones behind) and start again! Your tips are grand, and I do love me some tomatoes!


  6. savvy_mummyNo Gravatar on November 21st, 2009 10:17 pm

    Hi Insightfulnana…I watched your video on youtube…just wondering if you know how long it takes to see the baby tomato once the flower withers? I have withered clusters of flowers on my beef steak tomato bush but i have not seen fruits yet. Wondering if the flowers are withering without any fruit production. Do you have any idea how I can assess if they will produce fruits? I am wondering if the flowers actually got pollinated…The bush is really big and has new flowers and I will do what you have taught when the rains go away…

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  8. Heather CNo Gravatar on June 13th, 2010 10:42 am

    What great tips! I have a container garden too, the soil in our yard isn’t any good so we’ve been working on getting it better since last year-and in the meantime we’re growing everything in containers. I’ve grown everything from seed(started indoors in early April) and am finally seeing little flower buds on my tomatoes. The tips you gave will help so much and I will head out in the next couple of days for the Epson salts before anything blooms. My husband and my 2 youngest children are huge tomato lovers so we have a big variety going right now-even though I have no idea what I’m doing. I have beefsteak, cherry and roma plants getting ready to bloom and I’m entirely too excited about it haha. Then I have several more from a rainbow heirloom mix packet that I bought but none have buds on them yet.

    Thans again! Off to check out the rest of your blog!

  9. LauraNo Gravatar on April 1st, 2011 6:57 am

    I love your site and tips. Last year I found your video on growing tomatoes in a container and I must say that I grew the best tomatoes ever. I only have space for a patio garden. Your information and tips are great and I really appreciate them! Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom with us!

    PS. Can I grow french lavender in containers as well?

  10. kvijayakumarNo Gravatar on July 30th, 2011 5:00 am

    i like to know more about role of stingless bees pollination in green house tomato

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  12. Scott KNo Gravatar on March 2nd, 2013 11:38 am

    Thanks so much for this tip on pollinating tomatoes! I have been gardening for over 35 years yet I never knew this about tomatoes. I just had to give this article mention on my blog. Thanks again, Scott

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