How To Tell If A Flower Has Been Pollinated?

When your garden is in full bloom, it’s easy to get lost in the beauty of it all. However, keep in mind that the process behind the petals is what makes it all possible.

Pollination is crucial for many plants to produce edible fruit, and it’s not something that we can see with the naked eye. If your vegetable plants aren’t producing well, a lack of pollination can be the reason.

This can happen if pollinators like bees, butterflies, or birds don’t pay enough attention to the blooms.

Close-up of a fuzzy, brown and yellow bee with translucent wings perched on a cluster of lavender buds, poised to pollinate.

We are here to help so you can tell if a flower has been pollinated by looking for visible signs. This will help you understand what happens after the petals fall.

Finally, to grow the best produce this season, follow our expert gardening tips for planning and laying out your garden paths. This will ensure that your tomatoes, pumpkins, and other veggies grow and are healthy.

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What Are The Common Signs of Pollinated Flowers?

While the indicators can vary slightly depending on the plant species, there are several common signs that a flower has been successfully pollinated:

Check how Clover spreads through pollination and other methods.

Flower Petals Wilt or Drop Off

The petals often lose their vibrant color after pollination and may wilt or fall off. This is a sign that the flower is putting energy into developing seeds rather than attracting pollinators.

Color Change in the Flower

In some plants, the flower may change color after pollination, which signals that the flower no longer needs to attract pollinators.

Swelling of the Ovary

The base of the flower, known as the ovary, will start to swell as it develops into a fruit. This is one of the most noticeable signs of successful pollination.

Formation of a Fruit

As the ovary grows, it gradually forms a fruit. The fruit development indicates that pollination has occurred and seeds are forming.

Development of Seeds

In some cases, you can observe the development of seeds within the fruit or the swollen part of the plant.

Shrivelling or Drying of the Stigma and Style

The stigma (the part of the flower that receives the pollen) and the style (the stalk that supports the stigma) may shrivel or dry up after pollination.

Behavior of Pollinators

Observing the behavior of pollinators like bees, butterflies, and birds can also give clues. They are likely to transfer pollen if they actively visit the flower and move from one to another.

How To Tell If Tomato Flower Is Pollinated?

Nestled among vibrant green leaves, a cluster of ripening tomatoes transitions from green to orange, hinting at the lush bounty of a garden in full swing.

Determining whether a tomato flower has been successfully pollinated involves observing key signs.

Tomato flowers are typically self-pollinating, meaning they don’t require another plant for pollination.

However, they still need the pollen to move from the male part (stamen) to the female part (pistil) within the same flower, which wind, bees, or manual shaking can aid.

Here are the signs to look for to tell if tomato flower is pollinated:

  • Flower Drop: After successful pollination, the yellow flower often wilts and drops off, leaving a small, green bulge at the base. This is the beginning of the tomato fruit.
  • Fruit Development: The most obvious sign is the development of a small green fruit at the base of the flower. This indicates that the flower was pollinated successfully, and the fruit is now beginning to grow.
  • Swelling of the Ovary: The base of the flower (the ovary) will start to swell as it develops into a tomato. If the flower remains small or dries up and falls off without swelling, pollination likely did not occur.
  • Change in Flower Structure: Post-pollination, the petals and the central parts of the flower (like the stigma and style) may shrivel or dry up as the plant’s energy focuses on fruit development.
  • Observation of Pollinator Activity: While tomatoes are self-pollinating, the presence of bees or other pollinators shaking or vibrating the flowers can indicate that pollination is likely to be successful.
  • Weather Conditions: Ideal conditions for tomato pollination include warm (not hot) and slightly humid weather. Extreme temperatures or high humidity can hinder the pollination process.

How To Tell If Female Pumpkin Flower Is Pollinated?

A pumpkin plant with large green leaves growing in the ground.

Unlike tomato plants, pumpkin plants have separate male and female flowers and rely on bees and other pollinators for successful cross-pollination.

Here are signs to look for:

  • Swelling of the Flower Base: After successful pollination, the base of the female flower, which is the ovary, starts to swell and grow. This swelling is the beginning of the pumpkin fruit. If the flower has been pollinated, this swollen part will grow into a pumpkin.
  • Wilting and Closing of the Flower: The female flower will wilt, close up, and eventually fall off after pollination. This is a natural process as the plant focuses its energy on growing the fruit.
  • Change in Color and Texture: The flower may change color or texture as it begins to wilt and die.
  • Observation of Pollinator Activity: Watching for bees or other insects visiting the flowers can be a good indicator. Successful pollination is more