Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Open pollinated or hybrid? What’s the difference? When we talk about heirloom seeds, that means they’re grown on plants that are open pollinated. The female flower structure gets pollen transferred to it by insects, wind, shaking, or other other “natural” means. Open pollinated plants are more genetically diverse and plants from the same pack of seeds will have slight differences in height, vigor, disease resistance, or time of ripening. Hybrid plants are created by selecting two different species or varieties and controlling the transfer of pollen, sometimes with a paint brush or by removing the male flowers from one parent, like with hybrid corn. All the plants from a package of hybrid seeds will be the same height and ripen at the same time, a boon for commercial farmer but not for a backyard gardener who wants to pick beans or cucumbers all summer long.