Top 10 Best Cross-Pollinating Vegetables

Sharing is caring!

Last Updated on July 30, 2022

In this article, we will look at a list of cross-pollinating vegetables that you can grow and that works best for you.

The majority of plants are not self-pollinating, which means they need to be pollinated by another plant. As well as the majority of vegetables are not self-pollinating and so require cross-pollination. This means that you will need to grow different varieties of plants together to achieve maximum yield.

We’ll cover the benefits of growing more than one variety of vegetables,  cross-pollination, and how to save seeds for future generations.

What Is Cross-Pollination?

Cross-pollination is when pollen from one plant is transferred to another plant. If the other plant is also self-fertile (able to produce seeds without cross-pollination), it will grow and produce fruit.

However, if the other plant is not self-fertile, then the fruit will not be viable. In this case, the fruit will be sterile.

What Are The Benefits Of Cross-Pollination?

As with many things in life, there are advantages to cross-pollination. If two plants are close together, but not exactly the same, and they have a compatible pollinator, they can still cross-pollinate and produce fruit.

This is because of a process called pollen tube guidance. The pollen tube is the tube that carries the sperm cells from the pollen to the ovules of the flower. It follows the route that the pollen tube guidance proteins have programmed it to follow.

If the pollen tube guidance proteins are compatible between the two plants, then the pollen tube will follow the correct route. It will then fertilize the egg cells inside the ovule. This is called self-fertilization.

However, if the pollen tube guidance proteins are not compatible, then the pollen tube will not be able to follow the correct route and the egg cells will remain unfertilized. This is called outcrossing. Cross-pollination can also occur when the pollen tube guidance proteins are incompatible with each other.

In this case, the pollen tube will be unable to make the correct connection with the egg cell, thus resulting in no fertilization.

Check Out A Guide On How To Tell If A Squash Is Bad?

List Of Cross-Pollinating Vegetables

The following list shows which vegetables are cross-pollinating vegetables:

Beans – These are self-pollinating but they cross-pollinate between the different types.

Beets – It cross-pollinates with Beta vulgaris species such as Swiss chard, leaf beet, and spinach beet.

Broccoli – It cross-pollinates with other Brassica oleracea species – broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi,  brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, collard greens, romanesco broccoli, kale, collard greens.

List Of Cross-Pollinating Vegetables - Broccoli

Carrots – They cross-pollinate with other carrot species and also with parsnips and radishes.

Cauliflower – It cross-pollinates with other Brassica oleracea species – broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, and collard greens.

Celery – It cross-pollinates with other Brassica oleracea species – cabbage, cauliflower, celery, kohlrabi, collard greens, romanesco broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts, and kohlrabi.

Chilies – It cross-pollinates with other Capsicum species – bell pepper, chili pepper, pimento, habanero, jalapeno, and cayenne pepper.

Corn – It cross-pollinates with varieties such as sweet, flour, popcorn, flint, dent, and ornamental corns.

Cucumbers – It cross-pollinates with parthenocarpic cucumber varieties.

Ginger – It cross-pollinates with other Zingiber officinale species – ginger, turmeric, and zingiber.

Kikhope 100Pcs 6″x4″ Fruit Protection Bags, Garden Netting Bags with Drawstring

Which Vegetables Do Not Cross-Pollinate?

With the top best cross-pollinating vegetables listed above, there are other vegetables that do not cross-pollinate or very rarely do.  They include:

Eggplant – It self-pollinates as it has “perfect” or “complete” flowers. It is very rare for eggplants to cross-pollinate.

Garlic – It is self-pollinating and will not cross-pollinate.

Pea – It is self-pollinating and does not cross-pollinate.

Tomatoes – The tomato plant is generally a self-pollinating plant. However, in some cases, it can cross-pollinate with other tomatoes, but it is not done easily.

Read more aboutWhen Do I Harvest Carrots – The Right Time?

Tips For Harvesting Cross-Pollinating Vegetable Seeds

To be able to harvest seeds from the above list of cross-pollinating vegetables, you will need to harvest the vegetables when they are fully mature.

Pumpkins and Squash.  Harvest them once they are fully ripe. The skin should be firm and thick.  After harvesting, leave the seeds to mature for about three weeks.

Cut the fruit open and harvest the seeds from the flesh. Dry them in readiness for the next planting season.

Cucumbers.  Allow them to overgrown before harvesting them if you plan to use the seeds.  They will turn yellow, orange, or white depending on the cultivar you are growing. Cut them open and scoop out the seeds plus pulp. 

Put them in a glass and add as much water then place it in a dark cool place for about 48 hours.  This will allow fermentation to take place cleaning the seeds.

Any immature seeds and the pulp floats to the top and you can skim them off.  Rinse off the remaining seeds in a sieve and dry them as you would for pumpkin or squash.

Tips For Harvesting Cross-Pollinating Vegetable Seeds

Harvesting cross-pollinating seeds is a process that requires accuracy to ensure you end up with quality seeds.

Final Thoughts On Cross-Pollinating Vegetables

Most gardeners are not able to tell the difference between cross-pollinating vegetables and non-cross-pollinating ones.

In fact, you can be a vegetable gardener and save up your own seeds rather than buy them every time. However, if you want to produce vegetable seeds so you don’t have to keep making grocery visits, then you will have to harvest your own seeds.


Which crops are cross-pollinated?

Cross-pollination occurs when pollen from a flower of one plant is deposited on the stigma of another plant. This can occur with both insect-pollinated plants and wind-pollinated plants. Cross-pollination can occur between related (self-pollinated) and unrelated (outcrossed) plants.  Crops that are cross-pollinated include Apples, Avocados, Bananas, Beans, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Celery, Cherries, Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Fennel, Garlic, Grapes, Hops, Kale, Lettuce, Limes, Mangoes, Melons, Nectarines, Peaches, Pears, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Quince, Rhubarb, Squash, Strawberries, Sweet peppers, Zucchini, etc.

What fruits and vegetables cross-pollinate?

Vegetables that cross-pollinate are listed above in this article.  Some of the fruits that cross-pollinate include apples, bananas, cherries, mangoes, melons, peaches, pears, strawberries, etc. 

Does cross-pollination affect vegetables?

Cross-pollination does not affect the quality of vegetables. Some of these vegetables you will need to allow them to overgrow if you are harvesting the seeds but beside that cross-pollination does not affect the vegetables.

What are the disadvantages of cross-pollination?

The disadvantages of cross-pollination include:

Decrease in quality of the fruits produced from the self-pollinated plants.
Lower crop yields because some of the seeds have not been fertilized.
Increased production costs and reduced efficiency because more resources are required for the pollination process.
Changes in plant morphology (e.g., altered flowering time or flower structure) as a result of interplant pollination.
Loss of genetic diversity.
Altered gene expression.
Possible disease transmission.
Alteration of plant physiology.

Sharing is caring!