I am growing some peppers inside...do I have to help polinate the flowers?
No they pollinate themselves
I've also heard a gentle shake or brush of the plant once a day doesn't hurt.
I read some place that you can use a q-tip and then brush it against each flower. I always seem to want to over do it with peppers, ie water them too much or use fretalizer to much...
Wait a sec... John how do they pollinate themselves inside with no (or very little) wind and no bees or other pollinating insects?
They are what is called perfect flowers.Both male and female parts in each blossom. I have had plants produce lots of peppers indoors with no wind no insects, and no help from me.To get pure seed for the varieties I offer through Seed Savers Exchange I bring plants inside in the fall, remove all pods and flowers, and then let the plants produce new pods --no wind ,no insects, no me shaking or daubing.
This pepper was started in December and grown entirely inside-a little difficult to see because the pods are still green but it is loaded with pods-again, all on it's own
Orange Thai x Small Wild Mexican
You can obsess and twitch the plants and use a q-tip, but it doesn't improve the crop.
These are from inside also and self-pollinated......
I think it is safe to generalize that some species/varieties self during overwintering better than others.
And I think some are more affected by day length than others even though I believe capsicums are day neutral.
We notice the effects of poor or incomplete pollination more easily on other crops such as cucumbers when we observe small, misshapen fruit, however it can happen to peppers too.
This past winter I froze all the vegetation off the plants before bringing them in for the winter so lots of new growth. No insect problems such as aphids so didn't buy ladybugs for the first time in years. As usual I matched the HPS, MH & fluorescent lighting to natural day & night conditions. No fans this year although some years do. The only plant movement would be when I water the crowded plants with my long ho-made water wand.
Lots of small pod set. Key word 'small'.
Most of the pods had but a single seed (if any) in the small ripe pods.
Draw your own conclusions & add to the discussion if you wish. I think is an interesting subject.
I've seen but a single solitary bee on my deck trellis so far this year and the cukes just would not set fruit. Recently a lot of ants have been visiting the blossoms (I like ants more than most gardeners) and I think have a couple of cukes set now. Same in the garden area. No bees. And not all bees pollinate as well as others. The sonicating of the bumble bee is supposed to be the best. Seriously thinking about taking up beekeeping here. Will have to look up an old acquaintance who is really into it. (Dave Greem at pollinator.com)
I almost mentioned my bird in above post. Mine had pods too. And a few on C. annuum longum (sp?) both which I got from you. Never opened any pods for a seed count though and the ripe ones are already picked and in the freezer. I think the latter had near normal length pods. Wish I had been more observant. However, I think both of them kept some vegetation after the big freeze as did many of the smaller plants.
Last year I had abundant bees of various types and I had no pollination issues. This year I'm in a different location and I only spot an occasional pollinating insect, usually some type of flying ant or waspy thing. All my hot peppers and pepperoncinis are doing great. My bells are not. The fruit would stay on the plant about a week after the flower dropped but never grow. I started pollinating by running the dropped flowers against the tip of the fruit and by the qtip method on open flowers. I got 2 peppers this way on 1 plant but they were deformed, with 2 lobes growing and 2 not. So, how similar are hot peppers to the bells? The flowers are a bit bigger and the flower parts are yellow instead of blue or green.
The best way to pollinate if your lazy is to place a fan and blow air on the plants. If you do not want to do this, take a small paint brush out of a water color kit and lightly brush inside the flower, and then on the long white thing that is sticking out of the flower.
I have all my peppers inside growing hydroponic, and noticed that without the fan running and blowing the plants a bit, no fruit.
So I then started hand pollinating. However later on I discovered with the fan blowing air around, the peppers self pollinate.
But to make sure, I hand pollinate with a brush, and now I have tons of peppers.
Chile Pepper Institute method
I grow inside and I HAVE to hand polinate to get ANY fruit set...
I take fallen off flowers, bend the petals downward and pull off one at a time to expose the Stamens and then I rub this inside a few open flowers.
q-tips tend to rip the pistle out of the flower, dooming it.
If the tip of the flower's pistle isnt showing, it's probably not going to set fruit anyway.
I grow inside with a fan in the greenhouse and always have self-pollinated fruit. I don't do anything but raise the plant.
richardk ~ ,
I noticed that the flowers do not always have pollen ready. When a flower is new, there really is no pollen. A few days after the flower opens, you can actually see the white powdery pollen. I learned that if you do not hand pollinate during that time, that the flower would fall off.
However, humidity also plays a huge part. In high humidity environments, the pollen cannot float in the air and therefore hand pollination again is the only way.
My humidity never goes above 45 and it is usually around 40. With a fan blowing on the plant, I get tons of flowers that pollinate and lots of peppers and tomatoes.
Lightly touch back of flowers with elec. tooth brush for manual polination, watch the pollen fly! Works on maters! AL