What does a male tomato flower look like and what does a female tomato flower look like? Let’s find out!
Male and Female Tomato Flowers
There is no male or female tomato flower, tomato flowers are monoecious, meaning each flower is both male and female.
A single flower on a tomato plant contains both the male and the female parts unlike say a flower on a cucumber plant which is either male or female but not both.
This means that every tomato flower on your plant has the chance to turn into a tomato if pollinated correctly.
Tomato pollination is usually done by flying insects like bees but can actually also be done by the wind, as a side note wind pollination is how sweetcorn is pollinated.
If you are growing indoors then manual hand pollination can sometimes be necessary.
How To Hand Pollinate Tomatoes
Use a small paint brush and brush it around gently on the inside of the flower, then move on to the next flower and repeat the process of working your way through every flower.
You want to be gentle here as you don’t want to damage the flowers and pollination of tomato flowers is not usually too tough.
You sometimes need to hand pollinate tomatoes which are growing indoors for instance in greenhouses and polytunnels.
This is purely because of the lack of flying insects inside greenhouses. Even if you leave doors open and allow a lot of ventilation you are not going to get as many bees etc visiting your tomatoes as you would if they were outside.
So in order to maximise your crop and make the majority of your tomato flowers pollinate and turn into tomatoes hand pollination can be necessary.
Do All Flowers Turn Into Tomatoes?
If they are pollinated then yes they will turn into tomatoes and a truss can be absolutely chock full of tomatoes. But they don’t always get pollinated.
If you leave it up to nature then some flowers usually don’t get pollinated. If you are growing in a greenhouse or polytunnel and don’t have a good way for insects to get inside then your pollination rate will be even worse.
These are the kinds of situations where hand pollinating your tomatoes is a must when they are growing indoors or undercover.