Monday, January 22, 2007

Hybridizing From Start to Finish! part 1

We have something very interesting for you that's going to start TODAY! Barb Werness is going to lead us through the hybridizing process one step at a time. From the selection of our parent plants to the pollination of the flowers, then to the ripening of the seed pod and the sowing and growing of the baby hybrids. We are going to have it all - in text and pictures! Be sure to keep checking back as the weeks go by to see how the "seeds" are coming along. Also, please comment and post questions for Barb or other readers. We all learn from from each other!

Hybridizing - Session 1: Let’s do a hybridizing project. At each step of the process, I will submit some pictures, explanations and rational for what is happening. Now my approach to hybridizing has never been scientific. There are dominant and recessive genes which affect color, shape, marking, etc. I pay no attention to any of that. Basically, my approach to hybridizing is the “gee, what if” method. Some crosses have resulted in absolutely nothing and some have been very fruitful. I was going gung-ho with hybridizing several years ago and then between working full time, bad knees and most importantly the two grandbabies, plants were put on a back burner. Well, now I’ve started again and have several seed pods to be sown, plus a few more crosses in mind.

My daughter, Lynne has been after me for a few years to name a new African violet after her. But I have been waiting for the “perfect” plant and blossom. Finally, one day she advised me of what she wanted the plant to look like. It was to be large with great variegation and a big, bold, dark blossom. Sure, okay, no problem, just a snap of the fingers. So I looked over what was in my plant room and decided which ones to cross.

Here are the plants chosen:

Rebel’s Scotty - symmetrical, large, great variegation, fairly large dark pink blossoms

Heinz Sentimental - symmetrical, nice variegation, dark red blossoms

Private Dancer - symmetrical, large, great variegation, dark blue blossoms

Sora School Time­ - okay symmetry, okay variegation, large deep blue white edged blossoms

The problem with a double blossom is that often it is hard to get a good pistil for pollination. On some doubles the pistil is nonexistent or deformed. But this is part of the challenge. There would be three father plants, Heinz Sentimental, Private Dancer and Sora School Time. I will probably also reverse the process and use Rebel’s Scotty as the father plant and the other three as mothers. Usually, I try to have the mother plant be the one with the symmetry and variegation desired; but if there is not a good pistil, then reverse order will be necessary. Although Sora School Time is not the most impressive plant, the blossoms are gorgeous.

So that’s the end of Session 1. The parent plants are chosen. Next will be the pollination process.

1 comment:

Joan B. said...

Very interesting! I will be watching for all the updates on this, Barb