Timing and Weather
We have talked about emasculating the maternal host blossoms and collecting pollen from the paternal donor, let’s discuss the timing of blossom maturity and fertilization techniques.
The timing of everything primarily depends on the maternal blossom; it must be mature enough to emasculate, and then it takes another day or so for it to become sticky and receptive to pollen. If both these tasks are conquered, then your next step is finding the pollen donor and collecting the pollen, as mentioned in the last article.
With both parents correctly timed and prepared, now you must find the right time and climate in which to fertilize the mother. If your mother plant is outdoors in the ground, it’s best to add the pollen in the earlier part of the day before the temperatures climb because extreme heat can kill pollen or cause it not to stick to the stigma. Also, rain or strong wind can easily ruin a cross. For these reasons, I prefer to grow my planned mothers in five-gallon containers so that I can easily move them indoors or into the greenhouse during inclement weather.
The act of pollination is simple: Gently dab the tip of the stigma into your pile of pollen. For good measure and accuracy, it’s a good practice to add additional pollen every six hours, two more times. If the cross takes, you’ll begin to see the ovary swell in roughly one week.