New research shows how targeting two bacterial genes into an ornamental plant (Pelargonium), can produce long-lived and pollen-free plants.
Spanish researchers modified the plant's DNA to prevent the development of male progenitor cells, resulting in pollen-free flowers.
Individual plants carrying the modified genes were more compact with increased number of branches and leaves than normal.
Geraniums have been cultivated in Europe since 17th century and are now one of the most popular garden and house plants around the world.
These plants also had small leaves and flowers, with more vibrant colours, and extra cytokinin in the leaves meant that these plants lived longer than usual.
In a statement, the researchers pointed out that while the lack of pollen is great for hay fever sufferers, the extra cytokinin does not protect against owners forgetting to water their plants!
The research was published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Plant Biology.