Orange Tree Pollination – Tips For Hand Pollinating Oranges

Tiny White Flowers Of An Orange Tree
orange blossoms
(Image credit: dina2001)

Pollination is the process that turns a flower into fruit. Your orange tree can produce the most beautiful flowers, but without pollination, you won’t see a single orange. Keep reading to learn about orange tree pollination and how to hand pollinate orange trees.

How Do Orange Trees Pollinate?

The process of pollination is the transfer of pollen from the male part of one flower, the stamen, to the female part of another flower, the pistil. In nature, this process is taken care of mostly by bees that carry pollen on their bodies as they move from flower to flower. If your orange tree is kept indoors or in a greenhouse, if you live in an area without many bees nearby, or if your tree is blooming but the weather is still cool (meaning the bees may not be out in force yet), you should consider manual orange tree pollination. Even if you live in a warm, bee-rich area, but you want to increase fruit production, hand pollinating oranges might be the solution.

How to Hand Pollinate an Orange Tree

Hand pollinating oranges isn‘t difficult. All you need to hand pollinate orange trees is a small, soft tool. This can be cheap but soft, such as a children’s paintbrush, a cotton swab, or even a soft bird’s feather. The goal is to transfer the pollen, which you should be able to see as collections of powdery grain on the ends of the stalks (this is the stamen) that form an outer circle, to the pistil, the single, bigger stalk in the middle of the ring of stamens, on another flower. If you brush your tool against the stamen of one flower, you should see the powder come off your tool. Brush this powder on the pistil of another flower. Repeat this process until you’ve touched all the flowers on your tree. You should also repeat this process once a week until all the flowers are gone for the highest yield of oranges.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.