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How to Hand Pollinate Orchid Flowers

By Athena Hessong ; Updated September 21, 2017
Though tedious, hand pollinating your orchids will help them produce seeds.

Exotic additions to your yard, orchids require special care to ensure their reproduction. For many varieties, hand pollinating can be the only way to get these flowers to produce seeds for new growth, especially in the absence of natural pollinators such as wasps or bees. One variety of orchid that benefits from hand pollination is vanilla, as pollination begins the growth of the coveted vanilla beans. Properly done, hand pollination results in moving the pollen from the anther on the flower to the stigma where it can fertilize the ovary to commence growth of the fruit of the orchid plant.

Locate the column in the center of the flower where the petals meet.

Gently lift the column with one hand and touch the flat side of the toothpick to the stigma on the underside of the column to apply the sticky pollen-grabbing substance made by the stigma to the toothpick.

Touch the underside of the end of the column with the toothpick to grasp a ball of pollen, known as a pollinia.

Tap the pollinia on the end of the toothpick back onto the stigma to deposit it and pollinate the orchid.

Repeat with any other flowers, and watch for the ovary to swell over the next one to two weeks, indicating a successful pollination.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Flat ended toothpick
  • Orchid flower