Sunday, February 11, 2007

Hybridizing, Part 3 The Pollination Process

Hybridizing - Session III: Here are the actual steps to pollinate the plants. I believe each step of the process is covered, but if you have any questions or you think something needs more detailed explanation, please post a comment and I will respond.

The piece of paper is simply for picture contrast. Fortunately, the new blossom pistils on Rebel’s Scotty have been strong and well formed. Many hybridizers remove the pollen sacs (anthers) from the mother plant. I usually don’t bother, but since I am reverse pollinating and will be using them, I have. You want to be sure the blossom is freshly opened.

I use a cuticle scissors to cut off the pollen sacs from the paternal plant, trying to get at least three or four good plump sacs. Fresh sacs and fresh pistils will give you the best results.

Cut the edge off the sac to form a hole and gently squeeze the sac so the pollen is exposed. Push the sac over the tip of the pistil so that it is well coated with pollen.

I mentioned above getting three or four sacs. I like to pollinate two or three blossoms on a bloom stem (peduncle). On each blossom, I use the pollen from two different sacs to be sure it takes.

Winter months for most of us will have our plants showing signs of powdery mildew.

That will kill of the bloom stems and seed pods very quickly. So I keep a eye on them and use a paint brush soaked in fungicide to clean the stem.

This same process will be repeated for each of the parent plants. Not much happens now except for the seed pods to form, grow and dry up. The full process will be about six months. However, there will be pictures monthly to show you the progress of the different crosses. Some may not take at all and will be started over. We shall see.

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