Cross pollinating chillies

Cross pollinating chillies

As a plant nursery we mainly specialise in herb and chilli plants and our range has grown from year to year. Over the years we have used different cross pollinating methods with our chillies in order to make new varieties, which has helped us grow our chilli range. But this time we’ve decided to work on a little cross-pollinating experiment which involves cross pollinating with flies.

What is cross pollination?

Cross pollinating is when one plant pollinates a plant of another variety and the two plants combining results into a “new variety”. Many gardeners cross pollinate intentionally, but it can also happen naturally from the wind or insects carrying pollen from one plant to another.

Will the flies cross pollinate?

When you think of pollination bees may be the first thing that comes to mind but, many animals are involved in pollination, including flies. Flies are often overlooked pollinators, but they play a bigger part in pollinating than you might think with one hundred cultivated crops being pollinated by a huge range of flies. So, it sounds promising that this experiment will be successful.

To be honest we have no idea what the outcome will be, which is what makes this experiment very exciting! Even if this experiment is successful and does produce new chillies, it will take 5-6 years for those chillies to be available for sale. We have set this up by covering the chilli plants with mosquito nets with the maggots placed in the base of the plants and will be left to hatch. In theory, the flies are going to cross pollinate across the varieties and when the plant starts producing fruit, we’ll pick the fruit, sow the seed and hopefully will have a new variety.

Take a look at our video below to see the first stages of this experiment and how you can try this experiment too. We will of course keep you updated on the progress and if you have any questions, comment or get in contact with us. We’d love to hear from you!