Self Pollinating Vegetables List


Which veggie crops are self pollinating and why is it important to know about? Are you confused about what it means when you hear a word like self pollinating and have it mixed up with self seeding?

Self-pollinating vegetables and fruits have one common denominator: they have the male stamen and female pistal present together in each flower. Natural occurrences like the breeze blowing and movement, are all that it takes to transfer pollen from the male to the female parts. Of course, the actions of our good friends, the bees, help too, and can greatly improve crop yields. Self-pollinating crops can thrive in places where insects we rely on for pollination are less common or present.

In this infographic I put together, you can see the cross section of a typical flower with this anatomy. The stamen is made up of the anther and filament. The female anatomy includes the stigma and the inner tube that pollen is carried.

self pollinating flower cross section graphic

Self-Pollinating Veggie and Fruit crop List

1 Tomatoes
2. Peppers
3. Eggplant
4. Strawberries (*some, but mot all)
5. Beans
6. Peas
7. Beets
8. Okra
9. Cabbage
10. Kale

The first three in the list, as you may know, are nightshades. Strawberries are a little different.  For the most part, they are already fertile on their own, but there are variations among varieties. This may be partly because strawberries are not classified as a “true” berry by the horticulture system. They may have periods of being dormant and not producing, which is normal (read more about them here.)

Plants in the Cucurbitae family have separate male and female flowers that develop. These include squash, cucumbers, pumpkins, and watermelon. Some berries too, and a lot of fruits, have this in common. In this closeup of one of our squash plants, can you tell how the stems look different? 

female and male squash blossoms

Insect pollinators that are encouraged to visit include bees, butterflies, some types of flies, ladybugs and wasps. Yes in the past I used to set out wasp traps (mainly from the front porch) but I used to have a rather morbid fear of them, but now that I recognize their importance in the garden, I don’t use those anymore. Usually wasps are a problem when they start building nests but lately I haven’t been seeing them doing so. Bees pick up pollen by the feelers but wasps are more passive in this regard., meaning they pick it up differently than bees.

Our yields for the cucurbits has been adequate, indicating that the presence of pollinators is also healthy. If you plant enough ornamentals in your space you can attract more of these helpers.  I’ve got spiderwort and honeysuckles close by, which isn’t a lot as far as ornamentals go, but we’re not lacking in yields. ( Our marigolds haven’t come up as I’d hoped…)

Hand pollination is another option…this could be done with a q-tip or makeup brush. A little dusting from one of these objects can help distribute pollen more effectively. Personally, I would rather cultivate more pollinator-friendly plants, which is also hands-on but less tedious, and more fun. This will definitely add more advantages to your corp plants, a gentle breeze and even your movements are enough, but you can’t beat having a great ecosustem!




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