How to Pollinate Indoor Tomatoes - Krostrade

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How to Pollinate Indoor Tomatoes

Fortunately, learning how to pollinate indoor tomatoes is as easy as 123. Tomato flowers pollinate with the help of the wind and, occasionally, by honeybees. However, if you’re planning to grow tomatoes indoors, factors such as high temperatures and excessive heat can stunt the pollination process.

How to Pollinate Indoor Tomatoes

The Basics of Indoor Tomato Care

For the pollination to work, you need to learn the basics of indoor tomato care. Here are some of the things that you need to remember:

 

Water your plants regularly

Regularly check your tomato plant’s soil to see if it needs watering. Stick your finger into the soil and if it feels dry, it’s time to water it.

 

Fertilize the soil each week

Keep your tomatoes healthy and encourage more produce by adding balanced fertilizer. For indoor tomatoes, sea kelp, fish emulsion, or animal manure are all great options.

 

Help pollinate your plants

Since tomatoes are self-pollinating, they don’t necessarily need gardeners or insects to help them pollinate. But you could speed up the pollination process by placing a small fan to simulate the wind or you could hand-pollinate them.

 

4 Ways to Pollinate Your Indoor Tomato Plants

Tomato plants are self-pollinating and self-fruitful. In other words, a single tomato plant can produce crops without having to plant another one. But as we’ve already established, you could help hasten the pollination process by hand pollinating them. Here are a few things you can do:

 

Vibrate your tomato plants using a battery-operated toothbrush

To self-pollinate using a toothbrush, you need to slightly give the vines a little shake by placing the toothbrush at the back of the open flowers. The vibrations will loosen the pollen to encourage pollination.

Place the bristles on the flower stems – not directly on the flowers though! Turn the electric toothbrush on for only a few seconds.

 

Use an art brush

Aside from a toothbrush, you can use a small art brush to gather and deliver pollen to flowers the same way insects do. The brush doesn’t have to be expensive, but it’s better to use the ones with natural bristles. In this way, the pollen sticks better compared to plastic brushes.

Gently swirl the brush inside the petals, the pistil, and on the stigma to collect and distribute pollen. However, make sure to always use a different brush if you have several types of tomatoes to prevent cross-pollination. If that isn’t possible, dip and dry your brush in isopropyl alcohol before hand-pollinating other varieties.

 

Use cotton swabs

Cotton swabs are also a great tool for pollination because the cotton can help collect and distribute the pollen. Use the cotton swab similar to how you use an art brush. Another technique is to collect pollen and place them in a small container. You can then use the swab or the brush to manually apply it to the tip of the stigma.

 

Shake your plants

If you don’t have an electric toothbrush, a brush, or a cotton swab, you can slightly shake the plants to imitate shed pollen. You can gently but speedily tap each flower to encourage pollination.

 

When Should you Hand Pollinate?

Hand pollination is not a one-time thing. It’s best to hand pollinate every two to three days when the weather is clear.

Target every open flower until the tomato plant stops flowering. In this way, you’re sure that every cluster has been fertilized. Keep an eye out for fruits that begin to form after the flowers wilt.

 

Why Are Greenhouses a Great Investment for Planting?

Mini greenhouses are great for planting and growing tomatoes and other plants. If you’re still on the fence, here are a few reasons why a greenhouse kit is a sound investment:

 

Protection from unwanted animals and insect

Aphids, rodents, beetles, and other insects and large animals would love to get a taste of your delicious tomato fruit. Additionally, infectious diseases from neighboring plants can easily infect your garden plants. To keep them safe from unwanted animals, insects, and blight, you can plant then inside mini-greenhouses.

 

Great for gardeners who need additional space

If you have limited space or if you need more space to grow more crops, you can invest in a small greenhouse. You can place them anywhere – on balconies, decks, patios, or even on your tabletops. Additionally, you can plant almost anything in them and they’re relatively cheap compared to regular-sized greenhouses.

 

Keep your plants safe from frost

Tomatoes are warm-weather plants, which means they cannot tolerate frost. If you want to grow tomatoes all year round or you want to protect them from unpredictable weather, placing them inside a greenhouse helps. Once the weather warms, you then have the option to transplant them back into your garden.

 

Final Thoughts on How to Pollinate Indoor Tomatoes

Now that you’re familiar with how to pollinate indoor tomatoes, you’d know that there are different techniques to hand-pollination. Although some gardeners prefer to slightly shake the plants, while others use an art brush, you can use whatever works for you and your tomato plants. For best results, you can hand pollinate every two to three days. You’ll know if the pollination works if the flowers begin to wilt and fruit appears.

 

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How To Grow Mexican Heather. 3 Steps To Success

How To Grow Mexican Heather. 3 Steps To Success

You only need to overcome three steps to know how to grow Mexican heather. This compact perennial is unique not just because of its looks but also with how easy it thrives amidst hot conditions. However, do note that Mexican heather plants don’t do as well in cold regions. 

Before you give them up, you may also find it comfortable to grow Mexican heather in the greenhouse. Remember that the stable indoor conditions in the greenhouse make it ideal for starting plants. However, it can also offer protection to plants that don’t tolerate extreme climates. 

 

How To Plant Mexican Heather

 

Step #1. Planning and preparation

 

Timing

The first step in growing Mexican heather is planning and preparing to guarantee success. You want to check your calendar on when is the best time to plant Mexican heather. If your climate is similar to the Mediterranean regions, you can easily plant Mexican heather at any time

However, it’s generally ideal for growing this plant late in fall, so it has established itself before the temperatures get challenging. And as you can assume, you will need to grow Mexican heather in the greenhouse if your area has harsh winters. Starting Mexican heather from seeds indoors will guarantee flowers in the summer.

 

Location

After determining when to plant Mexican heather, you must prepare the site for your plants. Remember that the location is crucial to guarantee the steady growth of any plant. Therefore, you may benefit from starting Mexican heather indoors if your climate is fluctuating. 

In general, you want somewhere with fertile and well-draining soil. Test your soil to do the necessary amendments and improve its structure. The plant also does best with some shade because the full sun affects the foliage’s health. 

 

Step #2. Planting

After you started Mexican heather in the greenhouse, gently take the plant from the pot. Make sure to untangle and loosen the roots before setting the plant in the center of the hole. Allocate a space of three feet between each plant, and the top of the root ball should be half an inch above the ground. 

 

Step #3. Maintenance

Maintaining the newly planted Mexican heather plants is no different from other plants. You want to keep soil moisture to help the plants establish themselves. However, be sure not to create a wet environment that can decay the plant. 

Adjust your watering practices according to the weather. Mature Mexican heather plants will tolerate challenging conditions like drought and summer heat. However, it’s best to provide two to six hours of partial shade instead. 

 

 

How To Propagate Mexican Heather

 

Seeds

You can grow Mexican heather from seeds similarly to other flowering plants. Use pots with standard potting mix for sowing, and then add some soil over the seeds. Maintain soil moisture, and you can place the pots in the greenhouse to protect the seedlings from the environment. 

 

Cuttings

You can also root cuttings from a healthy Mexican heather plant. Take a four-inch stem section, remove its lower leaves, dip the end in rooting hormone, and then plant in a pot with soil. Continue watering until root establishment for transplanting. 

 

Division

Division is an excellent way to grow Mexican heather and also keep the plants from overcrowding an area. Gently loosen the soil around a plant to make lifting easier and divide the root ball into sections using a sharp and sterile knife. Depending on its size, you can get up to four divisions for transplanting in containers or onto the garden. 

 

Caring For Mexican Heather

 

Water and fertilizer

While Mexican heather can tolerate dry conditions, it would still be optimal to keep them well-hydrated. You can water the plants deeply once per week, but ensure that you’re using a well-draining medium and container. Then, wait for the ground to dry in between waterings to avoid creating standing water. 

Remember to adjust the frequency and amount of water you give to the plants. More so, container Mexican heather plants would dry faster, so water them often. You can also mulch every spring to maintain soil moisture and even smother weeds. 

Do you fertilize Mexican heather? Mexican heather is relatively low-maintenance and not meticulous when it comes to nutrients. However, you can still boost and maintain your plant by fertilizing in spring, summer, and fall with a balanced feed. 

 

Pruning

Pruning is not a requirement for Mexican heather. However, you can maintain the size and shape of your plant by trimming lightly every spring. You can also use this practice to remove the unhealthy parts. 

 

Common problems

As one can expect, Mexican heather plants are not that prone to many diseases and pests. However, you still want to maintain proper cleanliness and diligence to prevent infestation and diseases. It would also be best to maintain a stable environment such as a greenhouse to discourage spider mites or fungal infections. 

 

Conclusion

You can add another colorful perennial to your garden in three simple steps. Those who know how to grow Mexican heather can quickly tell you that this plant is the easiest to grow. However, remember to plan your planting date and site to ensure that the conditions will support the plant’s development. 

You can start indoors and then plant Mexican heather somewhere with partial shade and fertile, well-draining soil. Ensure soil moisture but never overwater the soil. Once established, you shouldn’t have any issues in growing Mexican heather. 

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