Nature Intended for Plants to Reproduce by Means of Sexual Reproduction.
Along time ago when the earth was green (stole that line from the Irish Rovers song “The Unicorn”) new plants were born. Chance seedlings that just popped up. Probably a tad more complicated than that but for the sake of simplicity we’ll just assume the very first dogwood tree that was found growing on the earth was a chance seedling of a white dogwood tree, later given the botanical name of (cornus florida).
The White Dogwood tree is a prolific bloom producing tree, covered with white bloom around mid spring. After the tree is done blooming it starts producing seeds which takes most of the summer, by fall the seed pods are cherry red and start falling from the tree. Birds and other critters love them so many of the seeds get eaten and as they pass through the digestive system of the animal two things are happening.
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1. The outer coating that protects the seeds is being softened by the digestive fluids of the animal.
2. The seeds are being relocated and eventually deposited some distance from the tree that produced them.
The animals that eat the seeds play an important part in the process because by eating the seeds they actually help to speed the process of germination. Come spring, or late spring the seeds start to germinate and a new tree is produced. I think it’s safe to say that out of 100,000 white dogwood seeds that are germinated you are quite likely to get 100,000 white dogwood trees. Not pink, not red, not Rainbow, not Cloud 9, just plain old everyday white dogwoods.
Hanky Panky in the Wild!
Then all of a sudden out of 100,000 white dogwood seedlings that germinate, one of them makes pink or red flowers. Not white. How can that be? Why is that one seedling different from all of the rest. Hanky Panky took place during the pollination process and some how that one bloom got cross pollinated with something else that altered the genetics of the seed to make the seedling act and look differently than all of the rest. (a rebellious bee conducting his own experiment?)
This is How New Plants are Born!
For years and years and years most new plant introductions were the result of a chance seedling that was completely different, or at least slightly different from the rest. These new and different chance seedlings are the result of cross pollination. They are hybrids. New cultivars. These new cultivars would not be available to you and I today if they some how did not end up in the hands of nurseryman who had the ability to reproduce them and bring them to market.
These new cultivars are the result of cross pollination and therefore the seeds that they produce will not produce a plant that is true to the parent plant. Chances are the seedlings will revert back to the generic species. In other words, if you collect seeds from a Pink Dogwood tree chances are the seeds will produce a white dogwood, not a pink dogwood. The chances of growing a Pink Dogwood from seed are pretty slim.
Hybrids are not Evil! Not all are Man Made.
Because of work that is being done by some big companies in the area of farming where certain seeds are being tampered with in laboratory situations to intentionally alter the genetics of certain seeds, (GMO seeds) it seems that all hybrid plants are getting a bad rap. My point to this article is simply to point out that not all hybrids are by the hand of man. Some of the most beautiful hybrids that adorn this earth are the work of nature, but they have been replicated by man.
Many hybrids started out as chance seedlings that acted differently, and thankfully somebody was sharp enough to start reproducing that one plant and turning it into many. Years ago somebody found a chance seedling growing in a garden in up state New York, pointed it out to my friend Tim Brotzman. Tim started reproducing the plant in quantity. He applied for and was granted a Plant Patent, which is another story for another day.
But the good news is, I have this beautiful tree in my front yard and in just a few weeks it will be covered with tiny lavender blooms. Everybody that sees this tree wants one.
What a Boring World it would be without Hybrids!
There are a lot of things going on in the nursery world regarding plant patents that I’m not crazy about and we’ll talk about that at a different time, but I am delighted that Tim Brotzman brought this tree to market. Think about dogwood trees. Without hybrids there would be no pink dogwoods, no red dogwoods, the prolific bloomer known as Cloud 9 would not exist nor would the incredibly beautiful dogwoods with variegated cultivars of Rainbow and Welchi.
Hybrid Garden Seeds
In the world of garden seeds most hybrids were starting to be introduced around or after 1951. These seeds are not chance seedlings but are intentionally created by encouraging cross pollination in controlled growing environments. When they were first introduced they became extremely popular and they are still quite popular today and millions and millions of them are sold annually. However, many home gardeners are going back to heirloom seeds for a variety of different reasons. Many cite better taste, healthier plants, many are concerned about pesticides etc. that may have contaminated non heirloom seeds.
Others are growing heirloom vegetables and saving their own seeds so they can be passed from generation to generation and just a week ago we had Rather Lively and Enlightening Discussion about Heirloom Seeds. Check it Out! Some are growing heirloom seeds because they no longer trust the big corporations and or government intervention in the area of growing.
I’d like to personal thank everybody that commented. I read all of your comments but could not respond to them all, but thank you for sharing you thoughts, ideas and resources.
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Comments? Questions? Post them below.
I love and grow both heirlooms and hybrids. With heirlooms I can save my seeds and grow them again the next year. Eventually most will acclimatize to my environment, some do faster than others. I also hope they become hardy against the usual pests.
Hybrids give us wonderful new varieties as you say. I respect do not re-propagate on these and don’t save the seeds over. Some hybrids may have low seed germination results or the offspring may not be much like the parents anyway, depending on their di-ploid haploid or something like that. Some hybrids are stable and the seeds can be saved, but that is someone’s work and they deserve my repeated patronage until their “patent” expires.
I grow mostly food plants, or plants that protect my little crops. I don’t feel a lovely ornamental is a waste of space, but something about the anticipation of sweet fruits and fresh vegetables keeps me attentive to my gardens and pots. As a matter of fact, the ornamentals benefit from the attention, too, because while I’m out there I check everything.
I’m growing gourds for the first time this year, and I’ve had the notion of crossing some in the same family to see if I can get some new shapes and sizes. I have to do some more research, it may be a better idea not to cross in the same family. You never can tell with plants!
Jan Vafa says
Really interesting discussion – Once someone explained what GMO was! My English teacher in College told me to never use an Abbreviation like that without first defining it… thusly… a Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) … Then your reader can understand what you are talking about … even if they ar new to the subject.
It seems that a lot of people have a knee-jerk reaction to the idea of a GMO that will be used as a food – the so-called franken-food… But what I think really worries them is that they don’t know WHAT was put into the food genetically-wise … Was it a human gene – or a frog or fish gene? I think everyone is OK with GMOs that use other plant genes… it is the worry that what we are eating may not b e a plant that bother’s us…
Then we come to the problem of the seeds not ‘replicating’ the parent – if we want to be independent of the Big Corporations, or just don’t want to keep paying more and more for garden seeds… we will want to keep our seeds and plant them next year… especially if we really liked the parent plant… But with the GMO plants we can’t be sure of the result we will get. So… Be a Pioneer … Dare to live! It won’t kill you! and you may make a great discovery!
Open-pollinated plants – they happen all the time – and lead to some of the neatest new plants that come on the market…
And as was discussed Hybridization is easy … you can do it in your backyard with a hair paintbrush, some plastic bags, and rubber bands… Who knows you may find you really like it. And it would be a really neat thing to do with your kids as they grow up … a very good way to teach them patience!
I grew up on a farm – we raised barley for different brewerys … Each one had a specific variety they wanted you to grow … you bought the seed from them and sold your harvest to them – if it passed inspection. Each one was looking for a different sweet spot in the barley – the amount of protein in it etc… and each variety was different. It is the same with all the plants.
Look at the different varieties of Roses… Different growth habits, scents, flower type, color, hardiness, but they are all still roses… and it doesn’t matter to me whether they are Heirloom, GMO, Open-pollinated, Hybrids, or the wild rambling rose of my youth. I love them all.
Annoyed Gardener says
Mike – Thanks… I just seem to see the same things repeated by people around the web, often referencing non-factual websites, such as infowars (whose host is part of a cottage industry of self-promoting alt-med/survivalist folks who tend to make things up and exaggerate to sell gold, all-natural organic whatever, and etc). The worst part is that I used to believe all the bad press about GMOs, too.
Someone also says that GM crops are bad because they can have various -cides sprayed on them. To which I say: so what? For one, we can’t accept at face value that that’s a bad thing. It might sound scary, but time and time again it has shown not to be a danger to us, as much as it seems it should be.
I’d be remiss to point out that there are other GM crops than ones modified to be -cide resistant. And that a blanket disapproval of GM hampers their development too. Which is short-sighted at best. In first world countries often we’re spoiled by the abundance of nutritious food. Not everyone has that luxury. And as the global climate changes, agriculture will become significantly more difficult, even if we do make an effort to breed hybrids (GM or not).
well i don’t like hydroponic tomato’s they’re to watery and no sting in them when grown in water they’re just not good i can always tell a hydro grown tomato from an dirt grown tomato just look at the color.
the Lavender Twist Weeping Redbud Tree is how tall the peach shrub/bush is i found along the road it had good tasting peaches on it to.
Mike..I knew that was a ‘Red Bud’..but the Weeping variety.. Very Nice ! May be a little ‘off topic’ but I was considering trying some ‘Grafting’ to a few different varieties.. is there a ‘Tried and True Rule’ one must follow regarding ‘different species’..or is it a ‘Try and ‘See what happens’ kind of Rule ? I know different Apple to Apple, Apple to Pear varieties, etc. are done.. what about say ‘Cotoneaster to a Sambucus, vice-versa, etc. ? Is it possible ?
Hey Mike – the link under the Lavender Twist Weeping Redbud Tree picture isn’t working. I was looking for more info about it.
GMOs are not all bad? They are GMd so that the entire field of food can be sprayed with toxic chemicals and the crop still lives. toxic chemicals on food. cheers mates
Ole Field says
One reason so many people are looking for heirloom seed is that the big chemical companies are buying up all the seed companies. This will allow them to control our food supply and force the use of GMO plants. We need to be able to save seed that will produce consistent results each generation. I am going to start saving my own heirloom seeds for future years.
John, if you want to grow great tasting tomatoes you need to supply the plant with at least 16 different minerals.
When your tomatoes are nutritious and full of minerals they are very dense and will sink to the bottom when placed in a bowl of water. The tasteless tomatoes you have been trying will float when placed in water.
Agreed it would be a far less interesting world without hybrids.
Consider another aspect, my most favorite summer food is a tomato. I go to the store and buy a beautiful red round tomato, it don’t feel like my favorite tomato, it don’t slice like my tomato and it (to me) sure don’t taste or eat like a tomato. Undaunted, I go and search for a farmers market, I’m willing to pay $5/lb for a real tomato, they tell me they grew it themselves, yuck! it tastes and feels the same as the store bought tomato. I retire and move to South Alabama where the weather is just right, I’m just outside of Slocomb, AL, Tomato Capital of the world! Do you think I can find a good tasting tomato? NO!!!!!
These Tomatoes look perfect, ship for thousands of miles without a bruise, sit in my refrigerator for 4-5 weeks and look and taste just like when I bought it, but is it a tomato? Well it is NOTHING like what I could get 40 years ago, I’d pay $15/lb for a real tomato, that’s why I bought Mike’s Backyard Nursery course, I intend to grow real Tomatoes!
Hybrid roses are one thing, but hybrid produce that ships nice, last a long time but doesn’t taste right or lacks nutrients because it is genetically designed to grow fast, look good and not lose yield due to plant diseases is killing us slow and sure. Give me Organic, Heirloom seeds and I will be healthy and happy. Maybe not rich, but quality of life to me is more important than quantity.
There are lots of great hybrids. Highly productive, disease resistant, etc. Heirlooms very widely, too. I grow many varieties each year. For a seed saver, to know you will get the same results year by year you have to go with open Pollinated varieties, as was already stated. But, I have grown many hybrids and saved the seeds and gotten very favorable results planting those seeds the next year.
“They” say it cannot be done. But we are people of a different ilk. Try it this year and see what happens. It is not playing God to experiment within His creation.
I find that all tomatoes lose some good taste if they are refrigerated.
Richard Miller says
I would like to point out that most hybrids do not require cross pollination by bees. As a bee keeper this is distressing as huge fields of crops are planted that do not require bees and in some cases require spray coatings that are lethal to bees I.E. Niconitoids.
I am a butterfly gardener. I have tried to avoid planting hybrids that claim to attract butterflies. I’m afraid that the nectar will be lost or lessened in a hybrid plant. I have very limited space & a limited budget, so every plant has to work & be productive for the butterfly.
There are some beautiful new pink Yarrow plants that I’m going to plant this year, so I guess I’ll find out. I think it depends on the plant. The butterflies & bees completely ignore the dwarf Bee Balm.
Annoyed Gardener says
So, reading over the previous article’s comments, I see that the misinfo starts early.
A few facts: Blueberries are not GMO, it’s just not a possibility at this time, GMO blueberries are not commercially available. GMOs are only problematic because of intellectual property rights disputes – from a health and science standpoint everything bad you’ve heard about them is misinfo. The vast majority of food you can buy in a store is just a conventional hybrid, not GMO – unless you’re buying papaya.
Also, all this foolishness about hybrids tasting bad? Well, as has been pointed out, all varieties have hybridized at some point in the past… if you’re not cool with that, never touch a kernel of corn again, it was heavily hybridized before this continent was even invaded. I have had plenty of “heirlooms” whose taste is mediocre and plenty “hybrids” that taste amazing.
So, do some research instead of rereading the same misinfo again and again, folks. Please.
Dear Annoyed Gardener,
Your comments and your input is appreciated which is really why I opened this subject. I think we can all learn if we do more research from varied sources. Thanks for sharing.
Dear Annoyed: Are you saying that the Corn oil, Corn Syrup,Nearly every Cereal in a box, everything with Soy flour, Soy Bean Oil, Vegetable Oil, Soy Milk… Are made from Open Pollinated, Non-GMO’d crops? Check out this “old News”: http://www.infowars.com/the-top-10-breakfast-cereals-most-likely-to-contain-monsantos-gmo-corn/
Hybrids are different from GMO’s. GMO’s have stuff infused into them, like genes from a whole different plant,bug killer and even weed killer. This stuff ends up in the end product. Hybrids you just cross pollinate the plants to get a hybrid . Gmo stands for Genetically Modified Organism. Some people call them Franken plants, short for Frankenstein.
thats cool i already read about all that stuff. this year im gonna grow some cucumbers and pick them when young because they taste so sweet its like eating a piece of candy.
Sandra Fackler says
It might be a lot of the same old nature or nurture question. For example I live in the southwest USA and it’s my joy to travel to several states to see the mountain trees when they turn color. The main high growing tree not evergreen is the Aspen. I can attest that trees in different areas turn different colors. An article about that posited that this is caused by the different minerals in the soil. Some Aspens turn lemon yellow with no red and others and more orange over all or decidedly red spots on yellow leaves. Old timers also tell me that the temperature also has a bearing on the color.
So some of the changes in plants may be do to where they are planted and the weather conditions, rather than a loss of characteristics.
Sandra Fackler says
I agree that hybrid plants are great, in the wild or with human help. Where I get upset is with the DNA is messed with and especially when human DNA is inserted into the DNA of plants for growing food. There is a reason nature does not, actually can’t mix species DNA. When humans force the issue, causing cows to become cannibals but including cattle parts in their food, mad cow disease happened. That’s why I hate the idea of GMO and work for correct labeling.
That said, bring on the hybrids carefully crossed for disease-resistance, longer bloom time, more showy blooms, more wear-resistant grasses and hundreds of other reasons.
As for me, I grow species orchids, because if it wasn’t for them, we would have no hybrids. Happy Spring.
I buy pork blood meal from a place that uses it to mix with feed for dairy cows as a protein booster. I use it as a Nitrogen Booster in the garden. It is a natural time release and it is cheaper in a 50 # bag than getting it at the garden center. Same stuff.
Gross tho, that the real use is for Feeding the cows we get milk from. Cannibalism.
i only use horse poop for plant food and it works fine.
clyde w holmes says
ICANNOT GET INTO THAT DISCOUSSON BECAUSE I DO NOT KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT THE GENETICS OF ANYTHING TO DISCUSS IT WITH ANY BODY ALTHOUGH I TRY TO LEARN SOMETHING THAT MIKE COVERS AN I ENJOY EVERY ARTICLR MIKE PUTS OUT, KEEP UP THE GOD WORK MIKE.
Hybridization is a natural process, man just encourages it to happen and picks out the partners sometiems. I see no issues with that, it’s still naturally made.
The problem is that when one becomes popular, it’s produced in mass and often times the original is forgotten about and fades away from the landscaping scene. When all plants of the same species have the same genetic makeup, they don’t have much room to evolve. Remember the potato famine? That was because most of the potatoes were of the same genetics so they all got wiped out by the fungus.
Also, hybrids have a high tendency to have sterile seeds.
Bob Lester says
Correction: should NOT be
Bob Lester says
Hybrids are great and have no problem with them but do have a serious problem with GMOs. As everything is interrelated
(this effects that and that and that) we should now be playing with things we do not have full knowledge of, only the creator/God does and He made it perfect already.
Mike Walker’s explanation of natural variation within a kind is probably closer to what is actually happening in your dogwood illustration, Mike.
Dogwoods as a kind of tree (not just limited to Cornus spp, but all in that family we call Cornacea, and perhaps some others from our order Cornales) probably all stemmed, if you will, from a common ancestor with a huge amount of genetic information governing many, many different traits. The white dogwood of your example may well have contained that pink gene but it wasn’t active, or expressed, for reasons of environmental stress, or other genetic triggers. Alternatively, the gene might have mutated to make pink flowers…or a related gene mutated so the pink could be expressed. There are many different possibilities.
Also, I wish to make a small clarification on your title to this article. Asexual reproduction in plants only takes place by cuttings, rootings, bulblets, etc when a vegetative part of the plant is used to make a new plant of exactly the same genetic makeup. Anytime there are flowers or, more precisely, pollen involved, it is sexual reproduction….whether the pollen fertilizes the same plant’s own ova in its flower’s ovary or it goes to a different plant via wind, insects, bats, birds, etc. Self-pollination is still sexual reproduction. Hope that helps.
Thanks for you input and you are so right about the title. That was a typo, or maybe a brain typo, was supposed to be sexual reproduction. I’ll get that changed! Thanks.
Beuna Tomalino says
I think that hybrids and open-pollinated both have their place. Heirlooms tend to grow in climates similar to where they have been grown in the past so that can be a reason some have less success with them. Some hybrids were chosen for their appearance or storablity rather than flavor. If someone has always grown a certain variety of tomato or whatever they may want to try a different one just to see if they like it better – grow the some of each and compare. My concern is GMOs and the lack of varieties that could become available.
PDG Jake Karpfinger says
In 1993 I had an old house roof leaked the woolpaper insulation got wet, the window jam was rotting when a bird who was eating birch seed flew by and deposited his load on the window jam. Unbeknown to me the following spring I saw a sprig starting to grow and thought I will just what becomes of it. That summer it grew about 18 inches skyward and 18inches downward inside the wall. the second year it grew an additional 2 ft in both directions. The third year it grew aprox 3 more feet and now it was higher than the roof and the roots were breaking through the wall into the basement and continued to grow at first i thought it was a buckthorn but by the seventh year it was showing me it was a white birch. I felt grow where you are planted has a whole new meaning! The tree now was growing over the roof of the second floor and higher than the tv antenna. It continued to grow till June of 2011 when a storm from a southwestern direction blew the tree over along with the wall this was the first occasion I was able to measure the birch it was 41 ft from the root/trunk joint. this year i was able to get some seeds and some cuttings which I am trying to grow. Patience is need for this type of work…. Jake
Beth Williams says
Jake, what a delightful story! I’m glad I’m not the only one who sometimes indulges in the joy of the unknown. I know others may think we’re irresponsible, but the cost of unrequieted curiosity to me is very high. Part of being a risk taker, maybe. Thanks. Would love to have one of your trees someday. Beth
Carol Lindahl says
Good morning Mike. Thank you for writing this. I am a non-GMO advocate and I appreciate you pointing out that not all hybrids are bad, especially in the non-food sector, and realizing that many fruits are hybrids. I guess when you think about it, we ourselves are hybrids, and the only caution there, advisably, is not to cross with a first cousin or sibling. I could expand on that, but won’t.
But when it comes to our food chain, there is a large war going on across not just the USA, but around the world. We are all searching for the answer as to our many diseases and illnesses and too much evidence has come about as to what we have blindly allowed to happen to our food in relation to GMO’s, how and where our meat and fish supplies are raised, and on and on. I was extremely pleased with your last post and the great responses. I am continually pleased with the youth of today who are supporting the movement and feel that within time, many big changes will occur, to include Washington as a whole and the USDA waking up to the wants and needs of the people.
It is certainly heart warming seeing all of the community, front, and back yard gardens popping up this time of year and ever expanding CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) programs. Oh if I were only 30 years younger… My Mother and Aunt were Nutritionists, and I can only guess how pleased they would be in my niece’s entry into the Organic and Healthy Living life style and teaching such to the inner city youth. There is no better stress reliever than playing in the dirt, and the payoff is so rewarding at harvest time.
I’ve picked up so many good ideas from your postings and want to thank you for that. Thank you for sharing.
The Farmer’s Daughter in Kansas,
you are welcome and thank your for supporting me and contributing to the discussion.
Darold Gingerich says
Thanks for the good information, you sure have a great way to tread on hard topics and come out smelling like and old heirloom rose!
I too am glad for hybrids, and frankly I would never have married my sister, instead I married the most beautiful one I could find born in another state and God has granted us many beautiful hybrids as a result.
Keep it up Mike, I love it!
Thanks Darold, I appreciate that. -Mike McGroarty
Mike Walker says
I would suggest an alternate view of your posited scenario with the dogwood. It would be my belief that originally all dogwood possessed the ability to generate all possible varieties of dogwood. If one color of dogwood became predominant it would possibly have been because of limited exposure in a local population of plants having the same gene makeup, and of elimination over time of plants having differing characteristics. Thus the red variety could potentially have been bred out of a local population’s gene variations over a number of generations. This could have been due to some environmental constraint that gave the white dogwood variety some survival advantage in its given location, such as the local pollinators preferring one color over another.
I also think we need to distinguish between hybrids that are just natural variations that crop up because of cross pollination that occurs in nature, and hybrids that are produced by man’s intervention and which cannot generally be cyclically replicated through open pollination. The super sweet corns are an example of the latter; under very controlled conditions one variety of corn is forced to pollinate the tassels of another variety and the resulting corn, while super sweet, cannot be used for seed to generate the same sweet variety.
“Hybrids” in nature are just varieties that result from innate genetic variations built into the species. Pure strains result from breeding which eventually eliminates certain gene variations from a species of plant, resulting in characteristics that may be those sought by the gardener. I think that most gardeners would not have a problem with a hybrid plant if it could be successfully replicated from generation to generation, or even if the resulting offspring were superior in some way to the heirloom variety. My personal objective is to be able to save seeds, and figure on using them from season to season, without needing to be dependent on some external process that is beyond my ability to control. I think that when the term “hybrid” is used, gardeners automatically assume that the resulting plants cannot be used as a seed source since the next generation’s characteristics cannot be relied upon to be those that are desired.
If a cross between Kentucky Wonder beans and Contender beans produced a variety that was different from either, and it could be replicated from generation to generation, in the common vernacular it would be considered a new “open-pollinated” variety, and not a “hybrid”. I prefer to use the “open-pollinated” distinction rather than the term “heirloom” as I am not so concerned with whether a variety has been around for a long time as I am with the ability to save the seeds and depend upon successful replication of desired characteristics from generation to generation.
I appreciate your input and the information you provide. That’s how we all learn. -Mike McGroarty
Lee Walker says
Not so many replies on this weeks issue.
In today’s food market many GMO’s are in the cans and boxes in the grocery store that can harm us. These too are forms of hybrids. Not all hybrids are harmful, still man is probably going to far in producing products that travel well such as watermelons, thus losing taste. The same for seedless melons. GMO corn has caused cancer in 100% of lab mice, yet Monsanto has fought hard against publishing that fact with the FDA, and I think in the courts. Monsanto will grow a crop in the middle of an area where farmers are not using their product. Then they sue the farmers for stealing their product because they happened to cross-pollinate. So I don’t condemn hybrids, but I remind everyone to be cautious over the type of hybrid that you eat.
Thanks so much for your discussions. I learn so much each time. It helped clear up the difference between regular hybrids and GMO plants. I’m planting some hybrids and some heirlooms this year. I find value in both. If you had been my high school biology teacher I might have paid attention in class!
missy may says
this question is for Charline Joy?
I have alot of slugs eating my cymbidium flowers. What do you recommend for anti slug to put on the cymbidium pots
ayo james says
I also want an answer to your question about dealing with slugs & Cymbidiums. Please let me know what you find out.
I’ve used this product for slug control on my hostas and it worked great. Beyond that, I really can’t offer much else. http://www.gardensalive.com/escar-go-slug-snail-control/p/2111/ -Mike McGroarty
Diatomaceous earth repels slugs , as well as other bugs !!! Non toxic .
Grant Hartman says
I like to plant hybrids as they seem to provide excellent vegetable plants. Many of them are results of University research that gives the vegetable disease resistance, improved yield and yes even better taste. The hybrid plant really makes up for the seed cost by increased yield, saving space and growers time. The new hybrid plants are exciting to grow!
David Stoud says
I’ve been growing plants for years, many from grocery fruit seeds as well as bonsais.
I’ve never hybridized plants. Does it take a greenhouse to create a hybrid since, as I understand, cross-pollination must be done?
Look forward to hearing from you.
David, I am not a hybridizer but I don’t think you need a greenhouse. To the best of my knowledge you need an environment where plants can openly pollinate one another. I know those who do hybridizing as a profession do manually gather and distribute pollen but I really don’t know a lot about it. In the landscape gardening world most of the really popular hybrids were chance seedlings then people like me and other growers just duplicate the hybrid using means of Asexual reproduction (cuttings, buds, grafts, etc.) so we can get a duplicate of the plant we are trying to clone.
I have two relatives by marriage who hybridize iris and daylilies. Associations for each of these plants can probably give you names of many others. Aunt Lila (deceased) hybridized iris for the fun and to enter in competitions. Her son Donald & his wife do it for the challenge, but they also have built a retirement business and enter their iris in competitions. I think Aunt Lila told me she just brushes pollen from one plant to another variety and then covers it with a bag that prevents the bees from interfering. I’ve seen photos in plant books, and I’m sure one could find information on the net. Have fun!
Charline Jolly says
We live here in Luther Burbank country, just a few miles South of Santa Rosa. We have enjoyed the results of his work all our lives. Up in the mountains we walked through the Rainbow Iris Gardens, an amazing display of the variety of beautiful colors available through cross pollinization.
In my California back yard I have over 50 Cymbidium Orchids, all different sizes and colors. Our cool nights and warm days are perfect for them. The only pest I have discovered is an occasional Banana slug (uggh!)
I delight in the beauty made available in hybrids.
Laurie Mackey says
I have an Althea (rose of Sharon) that I rooted from a cutting many years ago. The blooms are solid white throughout, and enormous. Then some years ago I noticed that one sucker from the base had verigated foliage. I took that off and rooted it. I now have lots of Althea plants with verigated foliage with beautiful white blooms.
I’ve never seen any thing like offered in nursery outlets. Is this considered a hybrid and is it a canadite for a patent ??
Laurie, I don’t think it could be considered a hybrid since it doesn’t appear to something that was grown from seed. From what you’ve said it sounds more like a sport that just had different characteristics. Could it be a candidate for plant patent? Yes, it could. One of the qualifications of a patent is that the new plant must be stable. In other words, after several generations of asexually reproducing the plant its unique characteristics remain constant and are not lost through the process and grown out.
Of course there is some expense involved in having a patent issued and I really don’t know how much. But truth be told, a patent really isn’t worth a lot unless you have pockets that are deep enough to really market the new introduction like crazy.
Several years back a friend of mine developed a new Red Twig Dogwood Variety that was variegated but also grew really tight and compact. His was not a chance seedling, but a sport from one of the plants that he took cuttings from. From that one plant he quietly grew 5,000 plants that remained stable before he even told anybody what he had found. Rather than going through the hassle of applying for a patent and all of that he just sold the whole shootin match to a grower who was big enough to bring the new plant to market.
I hope that helps. -Mike McGroarty
Julia Dickinson says
Do you grow these plants in pots, or trays or in the ground?
That depends on what you are growing, how big you want it to be before you sell them. Rooting cuttings can be sold right out of a flat or bed of sand. http://freeplants.com/wanted.htm