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How to Pollinate Citrus Plant:
Increase Your Yield

Updated: December 21, 2022

Do you have a citrus plant that’s not producing enough fruit? Pollination plays a crucial role in the fruiting process of citrus plants. While some citrus trees are self-fertile, others require cross-pollination to produce fruit. In this article, we will discuss the different methods of pollinating citrus plants and how you can increase your yield.

Understanding Citrus Pollination

Citrus plants are usually pollinated by bees and other insects. However, some species of citrus such as lemons and limes are self-fertile, which means they do not need any other plant to produce fruit. On the other hand, oranges, tangerines, and grapefruits require cross-pollination to produce fruit.

Cross-pollination occurs when pollen from one plant is transferred to the stigma of another plant of the same species. This process leads to fertilization and eventually the development of fruit.

Methods of Pollinating Citrus Plants

There are several methods you can use to pollinate your citrus plants:

Natural Pollination

If you have a citrus tree growing in your garden, it is likely that bees and other insects will naturally pollinate it. Bees are attracted to the sweet scent of the citrus flowers and will transfer pollen from one flower to another as they gather nectar.

Hand Pollination

Hand pollination is a manual process that involves transferring pollen from the male part of a flower (the anther) to the female part (the stigma). This method is useful if you have a small number of citrus trees or if you want to ensure cross-pollination between two specific trees.

To hand-pollinate your citrus tree, follow these steps:

  1. Wait until your tree is in full bloom.
  2. Locate the flowers on your tree that have not yet opened.
  3. Gently open the flower using your fingers or a small brush.
  4. Carefully remove the anthers from the flower.
  5. Transfer the pollen from the anthers to the stigma using a small brush or cotton swab.
  6. Repeat this process for each flower on the tree.

Wind Pollination

Some citrus trees, such as grapefruits, are pollinated by the wind. These trees have flowers that are designed to release their pollen into the air. However, wind pollination is unpredictable and may not be sufficient to produce a good crop.

Tips for Increasing Your Citrus Yield

Now that you understand how to pollinate your citrus tree, here are some tips to help you increase your yield:

  1. Plant different varieties of citrus trees that bloom at different times to ensure cross-pollination.
  2. Place beehives near your citrus trees to attract bees and other pollinators.
  3. Use hand pollination if you have a small number of trees or want to ensure cross-pollination between specific trees.
  4. Prune your citrus tree regularly to promote new growth and increase fruit production.
  5. Water and fertilize your tree regularly to keep it healthy.


1. When is the best time to pollinate citrus plants?

The best time to pollinate citrus plants is when they are in full bloom. This usually occurs in late winter or early spring.

2. Can I use a paintbrush for hand pollination?

Yes, you can use a paintbrush or any small brush for hand pollination.

3. Do I need multiple citrus trees for cross-pollination?

Yes, you need multiple citrus trees of the same species for cross-pollination to occur.

4. How long does it take for citrus fruit to develop after pollination?

It takes around six months for most citrus fruit to develop after pollination.

5. Can I over-pollinate my citrus tree?

No, you cannot over-pollinate your citrus tree. However, excessive hand pollination can damage the flowers and reduce fruit production.