Watermelon is a fruit that is both nutritious and refreshing. The plant must go through the growing phase in order to produce a luscious melon when harvested. Do you know how to tell if watermelon is pollinated?
Pollination is the movement of pollen from a plant’s anther (male part) to its stigma (female part), allowing fertilization and seed formation later. Pollination is most commonly accomplished by an animal or the wind. Animals such as insects, birds, and bats can pollinate flowers, as can water, wind, and even the plants themselves when self-pollination occurs within a closed flower.
The pollination process for watermelons is discussed in a similar way. In nature and in plant breeding, cross-pollination between species can result in hybrid progeny. Watermelon is a hybrid offspring.
So what are the signs after pollination of watermelons? The following article will answer questions about this issue.
How to tell if watermelon is pollinated?
The fruit will be formed by the ovary of the flower at the base of the pistil. Whether or not the ova inside the ovary were fertilized after pollen was delivered to the top of the pistil, the stigma determines whether it ever ripens into a fruit.
After pollen is deposited, a germ tube must grow down the length of the pistil so that the male germ cell can move down the tube and fertilize an ovum. Pollen is occasionally discharged, but the germ tubes do not fully mature. Pollination is useless in this instance.
In the long run, the only method to tell if a flower has been pollinated is to watch for the fruit to develop. This could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. The pistil and stigma will dry out and shrivel in either scenario.
It doesn’t matter if pollination occurred or not if the ovary shrivels up as well. We know the flower was pollinated when the ovary begins to enlarge since the eggs were fertilized, causing a hormonal shift that leads the fruit to ripen.
How to pollinate watermelon plants
Flowers can be pollinated in a variety of ways, including wind, insects, self-pollination, and human assistance.
1. Pollination of watermelons by insects
Bees are the main insect pollinators for watermelons. This is also the insect that helps pollination occur most effectively.
Inadequate pollination by bees may result in both poor fruit set and misshapen fruit, according to The University of California (David) Vegetable Research And Information Centre.
Inadequate bee pollination can cause not only misshapen fruit and fewer fruits per plant but also a hollow heart, which can be seen as an internal split or divide in the middle of the fruit, resulting in a gap in the center.
Bee pollination may be linked to the sweetness of watermelons, at least in part. Following successful pollination by bees, the fruit eventually expands as sugar accumulates.
Watermelon flowers are only available for a single day. Flowers open early in the morning, close in the afternoon, and do not reopen if they are not pollinated. As a result, it is critical that the flower is visited by bees on that day so that the opportunity for pollination is not lost! This means that a large number of bees are required to pollinate a field of watermelons.
According to research, bees need to visit the flowers of standard seeded watermelons seven or eight times for adequate fertilization.
Additionally, it is a good idea to grow companion plants that attract bees nearby when starting a watermelon or other cucurbit planting to even up the odds for pollination.
2. Hand Pollination of Watermelon Flowers
Insects are an effective pollination method, although they are not present everywhere. If you have a tiny garden on your balcony, for example, insects cannot fly in since your house is too high. As a result, hand pollination is a viable alternative.
To begin, you must understand the distinction between male and female flowers. Males have a stamen, which is made up of an anther attached to a filament that extends from the flower’s base.
Female flowers have a pistil, which is made up of an ovary at the base of the flower that extends along a tube-like structure called a style until it reaches the stigma, which is the pollen receptor for pollen from the male anther.
The ovary at the base of the female flower is where whatever the plant is supposed to produce develops. The pollen needed by the ovary to transform into fruit is carried by the anther on the end of the stamen.
Watermelon blossoms only bloom for one day, so keep an eye on them every day. If you find flowers flowering, pollinate them right away so you don’t lose out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
When the vines are about 59 inches long and bloom profusely, pollen is released in the morning from 7-9 hours (25-30 days after planting). Remove any male flowers that have recently bloomed, are huge, and have a lot of pollen; evenly apply the powder to the female flower that has recently flowered.
If all went well, you should notice a significant change in the female flower within a few days if everything went well. The stem that connects the ovary to the vine thickens and lengthens, and the ovary begins to tip downward. It will start to get larger at a surprising rate as it turns into a melon.
A watermelon will bear fruit in four months after being pollinated. This period can be considerably decreased if you grow your watermelon in a polytunnel or greenhouse.
The fruit develops along the ground until it reaches maturity and is collected, immediately below the female flower bud. Once the plant has been pollinated, all it takes is some warm summer weather and regular watering to produce edible fruit.
Read more: 8 Watermelon Growing Stages You Need To Know
What is the secret to growing watermelons?
Temperature, soil, watering frequency, and fertilization all contribute to an optimum environment for watermelon growth. Here are a handful of our recommendations.
1. The Best Weather for Watermelon
Watermelon plants thrive in hot weather and require a lengthy, warm growing season of at least 70 to 85 days, depending on the type, in order to produce sweet fruit. They grow best when the temperature is between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit at night.
They may flourish in both humid and semi-arid conditions, however, humid locations are more likely to acquire fungal leaf diseases than dry areas. Watermelon plants require full sunlight to fully develop. Aside from choosing cold-tolerant varieties of watermelon, growers in cooler locations can extend their season by providing a greenhouse, cold frame, or other shelters at the start and end of the season.
2. Watermelon-Friendly Soil
Watermelon thrives in sandy loam soils that are rich and well-drained. Before planting, most soils benefit from a layer of organic compost and possibly some fertilizer. Watermelon’s growth will be stunted if the soil is too sandy or too clayey. Weed control around the melons will limit competition for water and nutrients from planting to harvest. Furthermore, a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch at the base of the plants can help with weed suppression while requiring less manual exertion.
3. Watermelon Moisture Requirements
Despite the fact that the watermelon’s deep root structure makes it drought resistant, the plant still requires a lot of water to produce quality fruit. From the time the seed is planted until the fruit reaches the size of a tennis ball, keep the soil moist. Water when the top of the soil seems dry to the touch after that.
If you must water this plant overhead, do so in the morning so that the leaves have a chance to dry over the day. Drip irrigation can completely eliminate or drastically lessen this issue. Water deeply to a depth of at least 6 inches each time you water.
4. Fertilizer for watermelon
All plants, as you may know, require macronutrients and micronutrients. Because N-P-K is the most important macronutrient, you should always check labels for the N-P-K ratio.
While watermelons are young, they need more nitrogen, and when they are actively producing melons, they need more potassium and phosphorus. After the melons have been set, using high nitrogen fertilizers can result in excessive foliage growth rather than melon development.
Instead of feeding the fruit, this will feed the vine! Throughout the lifecycle of your plant, and N-P-K ratio of around 1-1-1 (such as 10-10-10 or 14-14-14) can be employed. If you’re using a fertilizer with greater nitrogen content, make sure to switch to a more balanced one after your melon has reached maturity.
Fertilize it three times during the course of its life. Before we start planting the seed or transplanting your seedling, we’ll need to wait a while. When the vines start to ramble, it’s time to cut them down. And then there’s a third time when the fruits are fully ripe.
If you’re using a granular fertilizer, keep it away from the leaves. The leaves are delicate and might be destroyed if they come into contact with fertilizer.
After applying the fertilizer, make sure to thoroughly hydrate the roots so they can absorb the nutrients, and the fruit size may be larger.
Frequently Asked Question
Q: Why are the flowers on my watermelon plant falling off?
A variety of things could be causing the watermelon’s flowers to droop prematurely. Pollination problems, environmental variables, a lack of fertile soil and/or irrigation, and even insects can cause plants to drop prematurely. Make sure the melon is planted in healthy soil and that it is adequately irrigated.
Q: When watermelons are almost ripe, why do they split open?
A shortage of or excess water can cause watermelons to break open. It usually happens after a time of drought, followed by a period of significant rain. Heat is another factor that causes melons to split.
When the temperature rises, the melon’s water pressure rises, causing the melon to split open. To combat this, cover the melons with shade cloth or straw mulch to keep them cooler.
Answers to questions about identifying pollinated watermelons have been provided. Moreover, we offer additional information on care techniques and helpful hints. Please contact us if you have any questions about how to grow this melon.