Your shopping cart is empty.
Find the right pro for your project

What are YOU hybridizing?

February 20, 2008

Just wondering what all of you out there are hybridizing, or thinking about hybridizing. This can include insect pollinated and volunteer seedlings. At present I am working with Pacific Giant Delphiniums, Columbines, Heuchera, Hosta,Carnation and Geranium, but my main focus is upon delphinium and Hosta. SAM

Comments (23)

  • maineman


    That's quite a diversified bunch of hybridizing projects. Myself, I'm specializing in just zinnias. They have plenty of diversity to keep me interested.


  • davemichigan

    Sam, I am going to do sweet pea, daylily and amaryllis. Daylily and amaryllis takes a long time to bloom from seed, but since I have the plants, I think I might as well do it.

    I am considering dahlia too but probably not this year. Too many things. I will grow dahlia from seed this year just to have a feel.

  • sambal

    Looks lke it is just we three again. Sure hope some more people join this thread. Actually, I will probably focus on delphinium and hostas and perhaps the heucheras. Like Dave, these are plants I already have a head start on. Dahlias could be very interesting. They grow readily from seed. Seems like most of the plants offered in the seed catalogs have been hybridized to death, so to speak. But, I saw some amazing dahlias at the Seattle Garden Show a couple of years ago. I've never seen them listed in catalogs. MM, I read in a post that you had hired people to cull out all of the white zinnias. You must have a large patch of land to work with. Are you looking for a specific color? Is that why you culled out the whites? I know you are a dedicated hybridizer. We have all learned alot from you and are very interested in your results. Dave, we are kind of handicaped going with perennials, as we have a whole season to wait for results. However, sweet peas, the annual kinds, might give you a chance to gather seed and replant. People out here usually sow them in late Feb. or early March. And I know from experience that if the flowers aren't deadheaded, or weather gets hot, they run to seed quite rapidly. Good luck to all of us. Sam

  • agent1xe13

    I have seeds from hostas, echinaceas and own roots roses from last year bees' work to sow in a few weeks, and I plan on letting the bees continue on their work with the hostas, roses, peonies and echinaceas this year, but I'll keep the bearded irises for my self. And if if get around anything else that may seem interesting, I'll give it try!

  • davemichigan

    Yes, this is quiet place. I do know many in the daylily and amaryllis forums are doing hybridizing, but they don't seem to come here.

  • maineman


    "I read in a post that you had hired people to cull out all of the white zinnias. You must have a large patch of land to work with. Are you looking for a specific color? Is that why you culled out the whites?"

    You misunderstood my post. I was saying that the growers of the white Burpeeanas that I planted had rogued out all the non-whites, but that was the only thing that they eliminated. The packet of seeds that I grew had a variety of white zinnias with plant habits and flower forms other than the "true" white Burpeeana zinnias, which are supposed to have a uniform well-branched medium height bush with a cactus flower form.

    My zinnia patch is only about 30 feet wide on the North end by 40 feet wide on the South end and about 80 feet long. I may expand its length by another 10 feet this year. But I'm nothing remotely close to being a commercial seed grower.

    It's not likely that I will be hiring anybody, unless it is to deliver some topsoil or a load of sand. Sorry for the misunderstanding.


  • davemichigan

    MM, I must say that when I was shopping for seeds these few weeks, I looked at zinnia a lot (in the past I didn't). They look very interesting... lots of shapes and colors and patterns....

    But then I know you are doing it already, so I thought I should do something else but I can enjoy your result at the same time. :-) Please do continue to show your pictures (I do follow the Breed-Your-Own-Zinnia thread from the Annual forum). Thanks.

  • ninecrow

    Well I did Amaryllis
    President Johnson


    X UnKnown


    And I have 2 seedling bulbs, wieghting for them to flower...

  • davemichigan

    NC, they look beautiful! I like the first one especially.

  • maineman


    "But then I know you are doing it already, so I thought I should do something else but I can enjoy your result at the same time. :-)"

    Please don't let that stop you from trying your hand at zinnia breeding. As far as I am concerned, the more zinnia breeders, the better. Zinnias have the advantage that they grow and bloom fast and you can see the results of your crosses or seed selections very quickly, and much sooner than you can with most other flowers. Also, the mechanics of doing cross pollination is very simple with zinnias, and the pollen florets are big and easy to handle.


  • sambal

    Agent 1. Nice to hear from you. At present I have germinated seed of Hosta Blue Cadet. I assume they were self pollinated by bees. There were no other hostas blooming at the time. I am hardening them off now and am very close to transplanting them to a communal pot. I have another self-pollinated hosta that just began germinating last week. It is from seeds labelled F1. So I guess for purposes of keeping records I'll call it F2. Or FX2, (x meaning experiment). It was a plain green plant with nice blue blooms. Nothing extraordinary, but a nice plant nonethe less. The seeds of this one are interesting. It has only sent out 3 seedlings at this time. Unlike the Blue Cadets seeds which are very compact, these seeds emerge with a rather large leaf on a long stalk. They are only now sending up the other seed leaf. What plants did you gather your seeds from? I only gathered 10 seed from my green and white plant. I'm not really expecting any streaky kids, although that would add alot of interest to my hosta sowing.
    My Sum and Substance developed alot of flower scapes but not one pod developed seed! I know it isn't sterile, but evidently there was something it didn't like. We would like to hear more from you. This is actually a very interesting site. We just need a few more people to know about it!! Thanks, SAM

  • agent1xe13

    Hi Sam,

    The hosta seeds I gathered (30 or so) are from hosta Dick Ward (a sport of 'Zounds', yellow leaves, puckered, with a broad green margin). I had a few other variagated leaves hostas in bloom at the same time and Sum and Substance. I have 8 Sum and Substance plants, all did put up many flowers scapes, but just like you, not one of them gave me a single seed pod.

    I have seeds of peony Cora Stubb to plant soon, as well as seeds from Morden FireGlow rose. Last year I started many seeds from new echinaceas cultivar available since a couple of years, several bloomed the same year, most should bloom this year. They can be seen here: http://homepage.mac.com/lauriernappert/Echinaceas/index.html

    I have more to start this year and from different cultivars.

    That's about it for now, it is much too early to sow seeds up here, I'll be doing it aroud March 22. More to come much later this year!

  • woodhawk

    Hi, new here. I currently hybridize Daylilies and Iris. This year I bought several different Zinna seed packets from Lilliput to Giants of California. How hard is it to hybridize Zinnias? If it is not to hard maybe I will give that a try this year.
    Wonderful forum, glad I found it.


  • davemichigan

    Hi Ted, welcome. I am new here too.

    If you search this forum for "breed your own zinnias," you will a 4 great threads by maineman with lots of pictures of interesting zinnia crosses.

  • echinaceamaniac

    Nothing but Echinacea plants. I love them! I'm crossing Tennessee Coneflowers with many other varieties.

  • maineman


    "How hard is it to hybridize Zinnias? If it is not too hard maybe I will give that a try this year."

    It is not hard at all. Basically all you need is a good pair of tweezers or an equivalent (I currently use a small pair of surgical forceps). Using the tweezers, you remove a disk floret from one flower and rub it on the stigmas of another flower. Refer to this anatomy of a zinnia flower.

    It takes only a few minutes to pollinate a zinnia flower. The best time to do that is in the morning when fresh pollen is available. It is helpful to label the flowers that you have pollinated so that you will know which ones to save seeds from.

    As Dave suggested, for more information you can link to It can be fun to breed your own zinnias and its continuations in Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

    Zinnias come in a wide variety of colors, plant habits, and flower forms, so there are an incredible number of combinations that you could cross pollinate. They grow fast, so you don't have to wait long to see what your hybrids look like. There is a good chance that you could make crosses this Spring, plant some seeds from them this Summer, and see your hybrids this Fall. Compared to many other flowers, zinnias give you almost instant gratification. That's one of the reasons why I enjoy the hobby.


  • woodhawk

    Thanks MM I've been reading for over an hour and a half got through part one an some of part two. Wonderful topic can't wait to get started with this new addiction. First Iris' then Daylilies and now it looks like it might be Zinnas. Thanks again for the great help.


  • venom_within

    I'll be attempting my first crosses between seven Phaseolus vulgaris beans this year. Some snap, some dry; some pole, some bush; many color variances, flavor, earliness/lateness, and so on. I have a few goals in mind, but not really sure what to expect until I grow out F2's.

    I just finished part one of Carol Deppe's "Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties" and I'm totally in love. When we get a place of our own (and out of this apartment), I'll have a massive garden where I'll begin my crossbreeding experiments with squashes, beans, peas, corn, tomato, chickpeas, potato, eggplant, lettuce, cauliflower/broccoli/kohlrabi/etc., and many others. But until then, just a few simple beans... *sigh*

    I'm still rather new (although not inexperienced with genetics in any way) to the hybrid vegetable scene, and it's quite hard to juggle the responsibilities of life and try to grow a descent garden while working retail in a big city at the age of 23. Once I have a few more years under my belt and a stable yard, I intend to expand my horizons with plant breeding.

  • lewist

    If my last message did not take-I breed Asaitic lilies. My goal is to breed POLLEN-FREE Asiatic lilies that are up-facing and dwarf. I have obtained a few with that meet that goal and also have wide petals and grow well in pots. The colors obtained are orange, and yellow.

    I also have a few gladiolus which I have bred, and a number of daffodils. Daffodils take a long time from seed to bloom, and more time to evaluate and multiply.

  • sambal

    Wow! This site has been busy! Some of you have already obtained results from your efforts. I am basically a newbie in that last year was the first time I gathered seed from some progeny of F1 seeds. I call them FX2 for recording purposes. This season I am starting seeds of the FX2's, which I'm calling FX3. They were basically self pollinated. I have a very large sample of the Pacific Giant Delphinium plants...they are seed collected from a commercial mix I grew last season. 20+ are now hardened off and only brought inside if night temps. go below 38F. I have another seed container of these that just began germinating yesterday. Finding space is going to be a big problem but I'll do the best I can. As for traits? Right now I am looking for color but I know I need to grow some of the other varieties out there to add to the gene pool. The FX3 hostas are about to be put in an outside pot...a big communial one. I have a growing interest in geraniums..the tender ones. I have a pot of COLORAMA F2 that is just about ready to begin potting into 2" pots. I can easily purchase a few different varieties to get me going in that direction...esp. the Marth Washingtons. Theres alot of other stuff, too, but I guess it will come down to what does well this season. Mostly I need to grow in containers. I forgot who is doing the peony...anyway, I have fresh seed from a large tree peony that has large, double white flowers with a beautiful yellow center. If you are interested, just send a small, sabe and I'll be happy to send them to you. Lewist...I have some lily seed...pink trumpt probably crosses with Henryii...the bees were going from to another. If interested, let me know. The only hosta seed I have left is those from an open pollinated Blue Cadet...once again just let me know. I notice we have another post just like this one with something like 50 posts! Will have to take a look at that one. Happy Weekend Everyone...SAM

  • bonsai_bliss

    I'm gonna be attempting to Hybridize some Aloes, Haworthias, and Aeoniums this summer.

    Right now i'm just building up a good sized collection, and trying to find good literature. I recently began reading an old book written in 1914 called Fundamentals of Plant Breeding by John M. Coulter, it seems to be a good source of background information before I actually start hybridizing. I think I'm also gonna check out a fiction called Searching for Miss Fortuna by Chester Skotak, and maybe set it aside for a lazy day.

    If anyone knows of any hybridizing books specific to:

    Aeoniums, or

    please, let me know!

    Thanks- Chris

    Here is a link that might be useful: My Succulent Collection Page

  • peachguy

    I am hybridizing lilium, and right now I have some asiatic seedlings growing in the basement right now(will upload a picture). This year I plan to hybridize some orientals and some interdiviontal crosses. I will however have to wait a few years to see the flowers and how the plants face up to dieases and growing adaptability.

  • tnangela

    Lillies, columbines, gardenias, azaleas, rhododendrens, camellias, daffodils, dianthus, gladiolus, petunias, peonies...
    I'm very interested in the broad amaryllis crosses...such as amarcrinum, hippeastrellia, amarines and amarygias.

    Yet, for me, roses give the most immediate and satisfying results.

    Daffodil seedlings.

    Peony Seedling:

    Azalea seedling;

    Camellia seedling:

    Echinacea seedlings:

    Gardenia seedlings:

    I better stop there as I have lots more pictures of my seedlings but don't want to bore anyone or clog the thread.

Need help with an existing Houzz order? Call 1-800-368-4268 (Mon-Sun).