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Chocolate soldier
Chocolate soldier
Kalanchoe tomentosa
What Should You Know About Pollinating Chocolate Soldier?
Chocolate soldier relies on industrious bees as their primary pollinators. These buzzing pollinators are seduced by the plant's alluring fragrances and colorful visuals. The plant's nectar acts as a pivotal lure, coaxing bees to facilitate a fascinating pollination mechanism wherein pollen is transferred from male to female parts. This pollination drama, critical to chocolate soldier's reproduction, often unfolds during daytime hours when bees are most active.
Which Pollinators are Suitable for Chocolate Soldier?
Bloom Time
Late spring, Early summer
Primary pollinators
Bees
Potential pollinators
Butterflies
How Does Pollination Occur in Chocolate Soldier?
Chocolate soldier's flowers are small, tubular in shape, and covered in fine hairs similar to the rest of the plant. Bell-shaped and typically yellow to brown in color, they produce a nectar that attracts potential pollinators.

Pollination in chocolate soldier occurs through insects that are attracted to the plant's flowers due to its nectar and scent, thereby facilitating cross-pollination.
How Can You Enhance the Pollination of Chocolate Soldier?
Plant Diversity
Increase the number of flowering plants in your garden or farm. A variety of flowering plants can provide a continuous supply of nectar and pollen; this attracts bees and butterflies and encourages them to revisit for pollination.
Provide Water Source
Provide a shallow water source for these pollinators. A bee or butterfly puddler, or a shallow dish with pebbles and water can provide a drinking spot for these insects and further encourage them to frequent the area.
Avoid Pesticides
Minimize or ideally avoid the use of pesticides, as they can harm or even kill these pollinators. If a pest problem is unavoidable, consider using organic or integrated pest management strategies that are less harmful to pollinators.
Plant Placement
Plant 'Chocolate soldier' (Kalanchoe tomentosa) in clusters in sunny spots, as this can make them more visible and attractive to pollinators. Butterflies and bees are attracted to sunny, warm areas with wind protection. Also, clusters of flowers make foraging more efficient for these pollinators.
How Can You Determine if Chocolate Soldier has Been Pollinated?
Flower Color Change
Chocolate soldier's flowers may exhibit a change in color once pollinated, typically a subtle shift in hue or a darkening of the color, indicating successful pollination.
Stigma Darkening
Observe the top of the pistil, known as the stigma. A darkened or dried out stigma in chocolate soldier can be a sign of successful pollination.
Fruit/Seed Formation
The development of small, fuzzy pods that eventually mature into seeds at the flower base indicates successful pollination of chocolate soldier.
Understanding Hand-Pollination in Chocolate Soldier
Normal
Difficulty
60 120 mins
Duration
What Tools are Necessary for Hand-Pollinating Chocolate Soldier?
Small Soft Brush
To delicately collect and transfer pollen without damaging the flowers.
Gloves
To protect your hands and prevent any contaminants from interacting with the pollen.
Magnifying Glass
Helps in identifying the location of pollen and stigma of the flowers.
What is the Optimal Time for Hand-Pollinating Chocolate Soldier?
The best time to perform hand-pollination for chocolate soldier is when the flowers are fully open, typically in the morning hours around 9-11 AM. This is when the flowers are most receptive. The overall timing should fall within the middle of the plant's blooming period to ensure higher chances of success. Avoid pollinating during extreme weather such as high heat or rain.
Steps to Hand-Pollinate Chocolate Soldier
Step1: Preparation
First, put on your gloves and make sure your tools are clean. This reduces the risk of contaminating the pollen.
Step2: Collecting Pollen
Use the small soft brush to gently collect pollen from the flowers. You should see a yellow powdery substance on your brush - this is the pollen.
Step3: Transfer
Next, carefully dab the brush onto the stigma part of another chocolate soldier flower. An ideal flower is one that is also mature and fully opened.
Step4: Repetition
Repeat this process for all your chocolate soldier plants. You can use the same pollen if you run out, simply go back to step 2.
Step5: Observation
Over the following days, observe your plants for signs of successful pollination such as the development of seed pods.
Why Aren't There Fruits on Chocolate Soldier Despite the Presence of Flowers?
No Pollinators
If chocolate soldier isn't attracting pollinators, consider hand-pollination or introduce beneficial insect species, such as bees, to the area.
No Flowering
Insufficient light or nutrient deficiency can cause chocolate soldier not to flower. Increase sunlight exposure and use a balanced fertilizer.
Disease or Pest Issues
Pests or diseases can hinder pollination. Treat chocolate soldier with appropriate pesticides or fungicides while ensuring the plant isn't stressed.
Discover care info about seasonal tips, plant diseases, and more?
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