Tomatoes – need a pollinator? What about cross-breeding?

Q. I like 4 different tomato plants. Can you grow a single plant and get fruit or do you need to have 2 or 3 of each to get a good crop?

A. Tomatoes do not need a pollinator plant – they are self-fertile, meaning the flower has both male and female parts, so they do not need any outside help.

However, different tomato plants can get cross-bred by wind, bees, and of course human intervention (that’s how hybridization is accomplished). Therefore, if you intend to save your tomatoes for their seeds, you had better do two things. 1) Start with heirloom plants – those which will breed true – rather than a hybrid, the seed from which will be something different. 2) Plant your different varieties clear across the yard from each other, and then hope the bees don’t hybridize them anyway.

Leave a comment