Covering newly pollinated flowers.

Thanks everyone for answering novice questions. Last summer I followed the RH booklets religiously and now have 21 seedlings. I covered newly pollinated flowers with wax paper and twist ties. Is there a better way / material to cover the little buggers? I remember George Mander’s article about how his whole yard was covered with little bags when he first started out. Thanks in advance! Robyn

There is no need to cover pollinated flowers. Just slather the pollen on the pistils after the flowers have been emasculated and there is very little chance they will be contaminated by foreign pollen. The bees are attracted to the anthers. If there are none, they quickly move on. If you want to be 99% sure of no contamination, then also remove the petals.



Thanks Paul, I did remove the petals. I also thought a cover might keep off the rain.(It IS the Pacific NW here!) Henry, do the 2" plastic bags stay on by themselves, I couldn’t quite tell by the picture. Thanks! Robyn

Yes, they are the zip lock type. I just finger press them shut from both ends close to the stem.

I recommend the thinnest bag material if your source has bags of several thicknesses.

I have learned not to even bother when it is raining here in the PNW. Ive learned to use that time to collect and dry out pollen in the hopes that the sun will shine soon. Every covering method I have ever used has failed. If it is lighltly sprinkling and no it will stop soon, I use little tin foil hats. They seem to work with no massive amounts of failures.


Agree with Paul. No need to cover once you have polinated. There are no anthers with pollen and no petals, so nothing to attract any insects. Don’t worry about any rain if you have polinated on a nice day, and it doesn’t rain for several hours. If you cover with plastic bags, the temp can get so high in a short time and ruin all you have tried to do.

Don’t waste your time and energy covering the pollinated blooms. The likelihood of contamination from insects is so minute as to be insignificant.


Covering the blooms with plastic here in the Southwest is a deathnell not only to the pollen, but to the whole flower unit. I sometimes lightly cover for the day with foil or some other materials if the temps are expected to rise into the 90’s, otherwise I don’t. All depends on your temps, humidity, rain (rain? what’s that???). It has not rained here since October, 2005. Can you imagine? Sure is different from your climate!

My records include when the flower was pollinated,

As you can see, I pollinate successfully into August in my zone 5 northern Ohio garden. All of the cross pollinated flowers were immediately covered by the 2 inch by 2 inch zip lock bags as described in my link given earlier in this thread.

Another thread that you may find interesting is:

Henry, I liked the fact your hips are tagged and bagged. I had offspring with no fathers (not my own) due to tags falling off. Robyn

That’s what I was indirectly saying Judith. Instead of your scenario here, they rot instead.

It may be useful for those who had negative results to describe what they did in detail.

Earlier thread with comments about zip lock bag and Al foil use: