How to Self Pollinate Tomato Plants


Tomato plants produce pollen within the actual flower portion. In nature, bees cling to the flowers and resonate to stimulate the tomatoes into releasing pollen, according the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. Tomato plants produce no nectar and do not attract the traditional honeybee that is often associated with pollinating vegetable and flower gardens. To self-pollinate tomato plants, gardeners need to mimic or imitate what happens naturally in nature. Thus, the method of collecting pollen on paint brushes or cotton swabs will not work for tomato-plant pollination.

Step 1

Tilt the tomato flower in a slightly downward position. This imitates bees pulling the flower downward in nature.

Step 2

Shake the tomato flower gently and quickly to mimic natural bee vibration or the wind blowing the plants.

Step 3

Repeat with each tomato plant bloom. After tomatoes form, spray each piece of fruit with blossom-set hormone to encourage fruit to remain on the tomato vines for full maturity.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never vigorously shake and damage tomato plants.

Things You'll Need

  • Blossom-set hormone spray


  • Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation: Native Bee Pollination of Cherry Tomatoes
  • Plant Answers: Blooming Basics Tomato and Squash

Who Can Help

  • University of Illinois Extension: Watch Your Garden Grow Tomatoes
Keywords: self pollinating tomatoes, tomato pollination, propagating tomatoes

About this Author

Lisha Smith writes for several blogs and has freelanced for six years. She has a Bachelor of Arts from UNC-Greensboro in psychology. Smith has self-published several books. Her areas of experience include gardening, cooking, home improvement, pets and mental health.