I am so excited for this blog post and have been waiting since before the holidays to publish it! In this blog post, I will be showing you how I grew my pepper plant indoors and pollinated the flowers by hand. There are numerous ways you can pollinate a plant, and each method that I have used are described below. Last fall (oh how time flies!) I started a bell pepper plant from seed indoors.
Initially, I was planning on moving it to my garden outdoors but figured I would keep it in a container so I could bring it in and out as the seasons change. To start the plant from seeds, I used the same method from a previous post (Starting Seeds for Your Garden Indoors). The photo shown on the left below is of the plant in October of last year. It’s hard to believe it was so little before! On the right is the bell pepper plant after six months.
As you can see in the picture on the right, the plant does have some damage from caterpillars, but is still growing just fine. The benefits of a potted bell pepper plant is that you can move them outdoors when the weather gets warm. They will pollinate much easier on their own being outdoors, but below I will show how you can pollinate them while indoors during the colder months.
First, there are some important things to note about growing bell peppers indoors. Because they are in a milder climate when indoors, they need much less water. I give mine water once I see the leaves start to droop, which is not very often. The most important thing is to provide the bell pepper plant with enough sunlight. As a plant that’s typically grown outdoors, it requires a substantial amount of sun. A spot near a sunny window would be ideal.
Now I will give steps on how I pollinated the bell pepper flowers indoors and the different stages of the pollinated flowers. Below is a flower before being pollinated. Who knew bell pepper flowers could be so pretty?!
Pollinating can be done by hand with your fingertip, a cotton swab, or really anything that you can wiggle around on the inside of the flower. When flowering plants are outdoors, various insects pollinate the flowers by spreading the pollen from flower to flower. So, basically all you need to do is mimic this pollination with your finger, cotton swab, etc.
I like to wiggle my finger on the stamens, or yellow/brown parts towards the center of the flower. Usually, I can see pollen on my finger afterwards so I know it’s working. Going from flower to flower helps the pollen spread and get to the places it needs to in order to successfully pollinate the plant and produce fruit.
Another way that plants are pollinated outdoors is through breezes or wind. This can be imitated indoors by tapping or shaking the plant. When tapping above the flowers or shaking the stem of the plant, you can see the pollen fall off of the flowers. Also, it may be helpful to remove the first flowers that emerge, allowing for a larger plant and bigger bell peppers later on.
Above is a photo of a flower that has been pollinated. You can just barely see the green pepper starting to come out as the flowers grows out with it. Once your flowers are pollinated, all you have to do is care for the plant while the peppers grow and ripen. Below is a photo of one of the first ripe bell peppers from my plant.
This little bell pepper may seem like nothing special, but I was pretty dang proud of myself! They were quite small the first time around, but the plant has produced larger bell peppers the second time around. I’m thinking the next round might be even bigger as the plant continues to grow and mature.
I hope this post was helpful for anyone looking to grow bell peppers indoors or information on how to pollinate flowers by hand. Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any further tips or questions.