I don't know if plants work this way or not. I'm looking at getting an Australian Finger Lime. From what I've read they are self fruitful but do much better with a pollinator. If I buy one and propagate it into several, would the clones provide that preferred cross pollination? Or since they're clones they wouldn't pollinate each other beneficially?
On one hand, it seems like clones wouldn't help each other much. Then again, large apple orchards with honeycrisp monocrops make me wonder if they aren't helping one another somehow.
Propagating them by clones would provide more flowers, pollen, and attract more pollinators, which wouldn't hurt in a self pollinating cultivar; however, self fertile cultivars that do better with a pollinator, which means you need a different pollen compatible cultivar. When your dealing with diploid genetics, it's rare that a single cultivar would self pollinate, and the ones that do, always get better pollination with a pollinator, meaning a different pollen and bloom cycle compatible cultivar. So the answer is yes and no, yes you may get better pollination with multiple specimens, but that's still inadequate compared to the recommendation of a proper pollinator in applied context.
Thanks R! I think the particular greenhouse that sells these limes propagates their own plant material. So I'm thinking the odds are high that even if I bought several baby trees from them, they'd be clones of one another.
In the case of an Australian Finger Lime, what would another "pollen compatible cultivar" be? Any other citrus? Or any other lime? I don't think there are different cultivars of finger lime but I could easily be mistaken...
Named cultivars of diploid species like apples and citrus, for the most part are all clones from a single parent plant. Of course some cultivars are true to seed, but they are getting rare it seems these days. So if its a true named cultivar from our modern era, regardless of where you get them, they would all be clones. That's why most diploid species of named cultivars require pollinators, because they are all clones originating from a single parent. You can research typically pollinaton rates for your self fertile variety, and that should let you know if you even need a pollinator. Never know, maybe it will save you from the chore fruit thinning. Myer lemons are self fertile, and they produce well enough without cross pollinaton from an additional pollinator. Unlike apples, many citrus cultivars popular for home use are adequately self fertile, especially if they are small cultivars that can't produce aboundant fruits due to size limitations.