How to hand pollinate lemon trees

How to Hand Pollinate Lemon Trees (Easy method)How to Hand Pollinate Lemon Trees (Easy method)

Do you want to hand pollinate lemon trees? How do you hand pollinate lemon trees? 

You needn’t waste time hand-pollinating lemon trees grown outdoors. In any case, bees and other pollinators will do the job for you. 

There aren’t many if any pollinators indoors. Consequently, a lemon tree will need a little by hand-pollinating. Most importantly, if it’s grown in a container indoors.

Many farmers grow trees because of their beautiful glossy leaves and their flowers’ heavenly scent. However, other farmers also hope for bountiful fruit during harvesting season. Unpollinated flowers cannot yield fruit.

Lemon trees are self-pollinating. In other words, you do not need to grow a separate tree to increase pollination chances since each tree is monoecious.

Nonetheless, growing another lemon tree a few feet away from another lemon tree will increase cross-pollination chances. Cross-pollination always yields more and better fruit. 

Do lemon trees attract bees.

Bee on lemon flower

The fragrance of lemon flowers attracts bees and other insect pollinators to the lemon. Brightly colored flowers also attract bees, so the lemon tree’s white flowers also help attract bees.

Lemons have adapted to attract bees. This is because bees accomplish the task of outdoor lemon pollinating as they buzz from one flower to another.

Bees are attracted to the flower in their pursuit of nectar, but the brightly colored and scented flowers of the lemon tend to pull the bees towards them.

Many people will not let bees and other insect pollinators into their homes. In addition, they may have insect traps to prevent entry of insects from happening. Consequently, indoor-grown lemon trees have no access to insect pollinators and wind. 

Are lemon trees self-pollinating?

As aforementioned, lemon trees are self-pollinating. Lemon trees can produce fruit without the need for adjacent other lemon trees for cross-pollination.

However, the result of cross-pollination is always more robust and higher quality fruits. It is because of the evolutionary advantage of cross-pollinated organisms over self-pollinated organisms. 

Selfed organisms often have the disadvantage of increased expression of negative recessive traits due to reduced genetic vigor. As a result of evolution, trees prefer to propagate by cross-pollination. 

Why hand pollinate lemon trees

Why hand pollinate lemon trees

Lemon trees grown indoors do not have access to wind bees and other pollinators that their outdoor counterparts too. 

Lemons cannot form from unpollinated flowers. Suppose you are hoping to harvest some lemon fruits from your indoor grown lemon tree. In that case, it would be wise to hand pollinate to increase fruit development chances.

How to hand pollinate lemon trees

The procedure of hand pollinating is not as complicated as it sounds. The general approach is to transfer pollen grains from the male part of the flower to the flower’s female part. 

The procedure of hand-pollinating a lemon tree. 

Materials and equipment needed.

1. Cotton swab or Q-tip brush

2. Blossoms


1. Collect pollen grains from the anthers

Using a cotton swab or brush, depending on what you’re using, collect pollen grains from the anthers. 

The anthers are sticky lobes borne on the filaments. The filaments are the numerous tubes on the flower’s sides that originate from the center deep within the flower.

2. Smear the pollen grains onto a stigma

Pollinating in Greenhouses

After acquiring the pollen grains, transfer them onto the stigma of another flower. The stigma is a sticky pad borne on the pistil, the centrally placed tube that originates from the flower’s center. 

3. Repeat the procedure with other flowers

Repeat the process with other flowers. If you have two lemon trees, it would be even better to transfer one plant’s pollen grains to another plant. 

The result of cross-pollination is always higher quality and better fruit. 

When to hand pollinate lemon trees

It would be best to hand-pollinate indoor lemon trees after they bloom when the lemon tree flowers are mature.

It can be challenging to determine when the flower is mature. Therefore, some farmers hand-pollinate every day until fruiting starts. 

Dos and don’ts for when you hand pollinate lemon trees

Dos and don'ts for hand pollinating lemon trees

Dos for when you hand pollinate lemon trees

1. Be gentle and delicate with flowers to avoid breaking and damaging the flower. 

2. Use a clean brush/ cotton swab.

3. Transfer pollen grains from one flower to another flower.

Don’ts for when you hand pollinate lemon trees

1. Bother with pollinating outdoor lemons. It’s not necessary. If you enjoy hand-pollinating so much that you choose to hand pollinate outdoor plants, there is no harm in that. It’s just uncalled for.

2. Transfer pollen of a flower to the stigma of the same flower.

3. Wash the brush/cotton swab in between pollinations. There isn’t any need to clean the brush in between pollinations. 

Lemon tree stigma

Lemon tree stigma

The lemon flower has 5 petals. Starting from the periphery. The thin filaments of bi-lobbed pads on top are the stamens. The lobes are the anthers.

Moving into the center of the flower, the middle tube and sticky pad that you see on top is the pistil. The stigma is the sticky pad. 


Do lemon trees need to be pollinated?

Lemon trees growing indoors need to be pollinated. Besides there aren’t any pollinators indoors. 

Lemons growing outside don’t need to be pollinated. In any case, there are plenty of insects, bees, and wind pollinators on the outside will do the work.

How do you hand pollinate a lemon tree?

You can hand pollinate a lemon tree by using a clean, soft brush or cotton swab. After that, rub pollen grains off the anthers and transfer them to the stigma of another flower.

Are Meyer lemon trees self-pollinating?

All lemon trees are self-pollinating, and Meyer lemons are no exception.

It means that the flowers of the Meyer lemon tree have both the female and male parts.

Why does my lemon tree flower but no fruit?

A lemon tree may have no fruit even though it has flowers due to several reasons. However, the most common one is that the lemon tree is too young and not fully developed to carry fruit.

Also, it could be because the lemon flowers were unpollinated. Only a handful of varieties can develop elements from unpollinated flowers. Even then, these lemons abort before maturity. 

Final thoughts

No pain, no gain. Likewise, if you want lemon fruits from your indoor lemon tree, you must bear with hand pollinating. Thankfully it is not a complicated and laborious process. Anyone can hand pollinate. 

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