Seeds from F1 Hybrid

June 25, 2010

If a person were to save seeds from the first growing season of an F1 hybrid such as Better Boy, should the offspring come true to the F1 hybrid? Or, will they be "mutts?"

Thanks in advance!

Comments (22)

  • gardendawgie

    The seeds you save will be F2 seeds.

    I highly recommend you keep doing this until you reach at least F6 at which time you will have a new variety that you can name anything you want. Thousands of really good varieties can be developed from one original F1 hybrid.

    People must stop discouraging others from planting f2 seeds. That is the way all new varieties were developed. In the old days the seed house would go to f6 and then release it to the public. now they simply release the hybrid f1 for more profits.

    Actually in the f2 plants and f3 plants some can be much better than the original f1. You can select for what you want like best flavor, best production, biggest size etc. You choose anything you want and just keep doing that. Once you finish you can revive your old f2 or f3 or f4 seeds and start from there once again with a different pick. so keep good notes and keep your seeds well marked so you can return back to any point you want.

    Remember your f1 hybrid has the best genetics possible from 2 different fantastic parents. You have double genetics and can pick any combination you want.

    Most people will mindlessly tell you not to grow them. They do not understand genetics at all. They do not understand that fantastic genetics are contained in all modern f1 hybrids. Good hybrids are picked by Tomato Developers as a starting point. This is the same thing you can do. Start with the best genetics. start with an F1 hybrid plant.

    bye the way f1 hybrids come from 2 parents of at least f6 parents. Professionals are making new f6 all the time from f1 seed.

    GO FOR IT.

  • HoosierCheroKee

    "Most people will mindlessly tell you not to grow them. They do not understand genetics at all. They do not understand that fantastic genetics are contained in all modern f1 hybrids."

    Are there any not so fantastic genetics contained in an otherwise fantastic modern F1 hybrid tomato variety? I mean do you think there may be some undesirable traits in the genetics of a fantastic F1 hybrid that happen to be masked by the dominant genes in the respective pairings?

    Do you know that many hybrids have one parent that carries male sterility genes? Do you know why this is so?

    Do you know how to spot that male sterile expression in the first F2 segregations so that you don't grow plants that won't bear any fruit because they are incapable of self-pollination?

    Are you aware of other traits that are employed in the breeding lines used to make modern hybrids, which traits may not be desirable when they segregate out in the F2 or F3 grow-outs?

    What would be the minimum number of F2 or F3 plants that you suggest a person grow from a single hybrid variety in order to really get a good look at enough segregations to pick a winner to pursue further down the line?

    If you started with a really superior hybrid tomato and grew enough plants to find one really great recombination, would you suggest backcrossing it to the original F1? Why or why not?

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  • carolyn137

    Additionally, only the earliest hybrids such as Big Boy, Better Boy, Ramapo and some others have two parents.

    More modern hybrids can have up to four parental genetic inputs in each of the two breeding lines that are created in the development of the final F1 hybrid. So a modern hybrid can have up to 8 parental genetic inputs.

    So saving F2 seeds from a hybrid and what you might get with those F2 seeds depends on the parentage of the hybrid as well as the selections you make in terms of whether you'll get anything worthwhile down the genetic road.

    I can give you some idea of what you'd get with Big Boy F1 b'c many years ago I tried to dehybridize it to get out the one parent Teddy Jones, a large pink heirloom from the midwest, and Teddy Jones is also one parent of Better Boy F1.

    From F2 seeds I planted out 12 plants. Ten of the 12 had red fruits that were nothing special and two had pink fruits. The pink fruits were smaller than I expected so I asked Dr. Oved Schifriss, whom I knew at the time and who had bred Big BoyF1 about that. He said that my pinks were way too small and said to keep making selections for the pink and told me that even if I got a large pink out that it would only have about 80% of the genes of Teddy Jones.

    For several reasons I didn't continue that project.

    Ramapo F1 has only two parents and when it went out of production I dehybridized that one and it only took out to the F3 to get a good OP, and quite a few folks are out to the F6 and F7 and it's still the same. I had access to F1 Ramapo seeds at the time so at each selection had those plants and fruits to compare with my selections ofr the OP to be.

    One person used to be a commercial tomato grower in NJ and he used to grow Ramapo F1 all the time and he said that the OP version was not sifnificantl different from the F1 and I also agreed b'c we used to grow the F1 on the farm.

    of course Rutgers now has Ramapo F1 back in production, so there you go. ( smile)

    If someone has a lot of space and wants to fool around with F2 saved seeds from a known hybrid, so be it, but that doesn't interest me very much.

    I'm much more interested in the directed crosses that some are doing, Hoosier is one of several doing such crosses, and seeing what comes out of those crosses.

    I don't have that much room to grow stuff these days so I can't fool around with growing out lots of selections, but am growing the F1 seeds sent to me of a cross between Dr/ Wyche and German Red Strawberry, so at least I'll take a look at the F1.

    And I'm also growing out one F2 plant each of a soon to be green when ripe heart as well as a purple heart, just for a look see b'c the person doesn't want F3 seeds back b'c he wants to do his own reselections and growouts.

    So there's lots of factors to consider in terms of growing out saved F2 seeds from a hybrid, whether a known named one, one from accidental cross pollination or one from a directed cross.


  • carolyn137

    People must stop discouraging others from planting f2 seeds. That is the way all new varieties were developed. In the old days the seed house would go to f6 and then release it to the public. now they simply release the hybrid f1 for more profits.


    Not quite, the way I see it. There are about 15,000 known and named OP varieties, most of them heirlooms, and I've seen estimates that from 90 to 95% of them resulted from natural cross pollination and the other few percent from mutation from a previously known OP.

    When an accidental cross pollination occurs the subsequent fruits may have a variable number of F1 seeds as well as OP self pollenized seeds b'c self pollenization is the rule but if not all the ovules in the tomato ovary have been fertilized ( seeds to be) then those ovules can be X pollinated.

    let's say we now have a nice looking accidentally crossed F1 plant. In the past an astute gardener or farmer might have saved F2 seeds and made some selections and continued doing it until all seed saved gave the same plant with the same fruits at which time it would be an OP.

    There's nothing magic about growing out to the F6 as you mentioned above b'c how many generations out you have to go depends on the genetic parental inputs and what you're selecting for and can take anywheres from 3 to 10 years.

    The first directed hybrids became available to the public in the late 30's and early 40's and were based on the use of known OP's that existed at the time.

    So profesiional hybridizers continue to use genetic inputs in creating new hybrids and some now are including genes from some great tasting heirloom OP's to try and rev up the taste of some of the newer F1's.

    it's up to each person if they want to grow primarily OP's or F1's and most folks I know grow some of both.

    The genetics of creating hybrids as well as dehybridizing them, whether known named F1's, directed crosses or accidental X pollination F1's is a very interesting subject and one of the main reasons I did this post is so that I could direct you and others who might be interested to an excellent website which explains those processes.

    The person who created that website is someone who posts here from time to time.

    So I hope you'll find the following link useful.


    Here is a link that might be useful: The Online Tomato Vine

  • digdirt2

    So beebiz - back to your original question: If a person were to save seeds from the first growing season of an F1 hybrid such as Better Boy, should the offspring come true to the F1 hybrid? Or, will they be "mutts?"

    They will be "mutts". :)


  • trudi_d

    To boil it all down:

    Use your own eyes. Grow them out and see what you get. Save seeds each year from the best of the best.

  • carolyn137

    They will be "mutts". :)


    Well yes Dave, they will be mutts, but there's some darn good mutts out there that I think may deserve attention if one or more of the mutts turns out to look like it might benefit from being a purebred. LOL

    That's a decision only the grower can make.

    Which is why I gave some examples of some of my experiences with dehybridizing and making selections and the kinds of results I found as examples, and also giving the link to Keith's website so that if the poster or anyone else wanted to read a bit more about dehybridizing and how long it takes and making selections, etc. they would have more information.

    Carolyn, a human mutt like almsot everone else who today is enjoying her birthday Dark Chocolate Fudge Torte and Lemon Bars and waiting for the rain to stop so she can go fetch her lethal mixed fried seafood dinner now that Wimbledon live coverage is through for the day. LOL

  • digdirt2

    Oh I agree Carolyn and I do it all the time. Love mutts!

    But that wasn't his question. He just wanted to know if they would breed true or not and gardendawgie routed him off into an unrelated debate on de-hybridizing to which you and hoosier very correctly responded.


  • beebiz1960

    Alright, guys... first, I thank each one of you for your comments and input. There are two areas in which I suppose I should have been more specific. Had I been, it might not have set of the above debate. I apologize!

    The first area is my use of the term "mutt." I suppose a better way to have asked that is like this: Or, is it highly likely that the offspring will be something that is much less than desirable?

    The second area is where I probably should have stated the specific tomato that is the object of my interest. It is the cherry/salad tomato called Sweet 100.

    So, I'll now rephrase my question as follows: If a person were to save seeds from the cherry/salad tomato called Sweet 100, would the offspring come true to the Sweet 100? Or, would the offspring come true to one or more of the varieties that make up the Sweet 100? And, if the offspring come true to one or more of the varieties that make up the Sweet 100, would it be reasonable to expect that the fruit of the offspring would at least be similar in the quality and quantity produced by the Sweet 100?

    Thanks again for your help and input. I hope this "new" question doesn't spark a wildfire!!! !>)

  • digdirt2

    Have you actually found seeds in the Sweet 100? From what I know of it it doesn't set seed or at least not many and the flowers are listed as sterile. It has a detailed plant file on a garden site that begins with a D but cannot be mentioned here that states it will not grow true from F2 seed

    But if you have them then as Trudi suggested, grow them out and see what you get if they germinate. But as with any hybrid variety, the odds certainly don't favor them being true from seed.

    I don't know it's parentage - maybe Carolyn does - other than I 'think' is was an early 80's from N-K Seeds. But as cherry tomatoes go it tends to get only average reviews so I have never grown it myself.

    Hope this helps.


    PS: and you didn't spark any wildfire. ;)

  • jon_z6b

    I have lots of thoughts on this. I come from a hobby hybridizer background. It can be great fun to make directed crosses and grow out seed. It was my understanding that some tomato growers grow out a significant amount of seed and then make a few selections and then clone those selections to grow out. One of the strengths of tomatoes is the normal self pollination- so that traits can be amplified with selection. In my opinion selection is the name of the game whether you work with hybrids or OP heirlooms.

    Last year I crossed Bush Goliath F1 and Jetstar F1. I liked the 'look' of Bush Goliath and Jetstar was a matter of opportunity.

    I grew out a flat of these seeds. I guess only four had that Bush Goliath 'look'. One is intermediary and maybe somewhat deformed. One is clearly superior to the others.

    This year I made about ten crosses between it and Cherokee Purple and Italian Tree. The fun is to see what you end up with. Because you are doing it for yourself, you can do whatever you want. For whatever reasons you want.

    I already have my eyes on obtaining Japanese Black Trifele to add to the cross next year because yet again I like how the foliage looks...

  • beebiz1960

    Thanks for the information, Dave. I think I know the "D" site to which you refer.

    I've not actually eaten any of the Sweet 100... my brother has. I bought one plant from a local farm supply store because of his recommendation. And, I figured if it was as good as his raves claimed, I'd like to save some seeds from them.

    But, here's what I'd really and truly like... and maybe you or someone else can help me out. What I'd really, really like to find is an open pollinated cherry tomato that has a good tomato flavor, is a bit sweet, and is small enough that one little tomato makes one good bite!!

    When I was a kid, my grandmother grew some like this. And, I fell head over heels in love with the little cherry tomatoes! When they were in season and I'd spend the night, I'd usually end up in trouble for stealing the salt shaker and raiding the cherry tomato vines!!

    Now that you and everyone knows what my true quest is, is there anyone who can help me out??? And, possibly even with some seeds??? I'd be your best friend forever!!!!! ;>)

    One more thing real quick... When I started this thread, I marked it for me to receive emails when there were followups posted. But, I've not received a single one!! Got any suggestions??????

    Thanks again in advance for your help, guys!!!! ;>)

  • digdirt2

    One more thing real quick... When I started this thread, I marked it for me to receive emails when there were followups posted. But, I've not received a single one!! Got any suggestions??????

    Check your junk email box. Unless you mark GW as safe it often gets routed to the Junk folder.

    Check out Elfin. It is a sweet OP grape type but it is determinate not an indeterminate. Or Sweetie. It is OP indeterminate if you can find seeds.


  • beebiz1960

    Thanks for the info, Dave! You got any suggestions as to where I might start looking for seeds?

    I've got my email set to trust Garden Web. Plus, my email client tells me how many emails have been downloaded... including "junk" emails. Then, it shows the number of emails in it next to the junk folder. Any time an email goes to the junk folder, I check it out before I delete it or allow the client to delete it.

  • HoosierCheroKee

    Gardener's Delight (aka Sugar Lump) is one of the parents of Sweet 100.

    If what you want to achieve is a stable cherry type, Gardener's Delight is an excellent, already open pollinated, red, sweet cherry tomato with tomatoey overtones.

    There apparently are strains of Gardener's Delight out there and some are superior to others. The one I grow that I particularly like is from Thompson & Morgan.

  • trudi_d

    Beebiz, the GW mail system is sometimes whacy-dacky so, even if you set up the post to have the replies sent to you, they may or may not get there. Sigh.

    There are several online catalogue sites that specialize in tomatoes and they'll have the cherries listed as "small fruited" or cherry. There are many cherries that are just wonderful so don't limit yourself to trying only one or two. You can also go to a good, well-stocked nursery each spring and buy cherry tomato plants.

  • beebiz1960

    Trudi, the bad thing is that I don't have any "well stocked" nurseries near me!

    I may end up trying more than one variety at the beginning. But, I want to end up with only one. It's only me and my wife. And, I can't see growing a bunch more than we will use. I know I could can them. But, I already have full size tomatoes that I use for canning.

    I know there is a plethora of online seed cats with cherry tomatoes. But, I don't trust their descriptions near as much as I trust the opinions of members here! ;>)

    Hoosier, as far as what I'm looking for, you nailed it... right between the eyes!!! I thank you for the Gardener's Delight name and for the T&M source! The description sounds like what my grandmother grew. And, your approval has sealed the deal! I'll definitely be placing an order for them on Monday!!! ;>)

    Thank you again for your help!!

  • lee_71

    What I'd really, really like to find is an open pollinated cherry tomato that has a good tomato flavor, is a bit sweet, and is small enough that one little tomato makes one good bite!!

    Not what you had as a kid, but Black Cherry would fit your
    requirements quite well. Top notch cherry tomato in my opinion.


  • carolyn137

    I agree with Hoosier's suggestion of Gardener's Delight, aka Sugar Lump, and would also suggest the following:

    Chadwick's Cherry, aka Camp Joy, red

    Green Zebra Cherry, new, sweet, not like the GZ many of us have grown

    Green Doctors, a green when ripe cherry, a mutation from the ivory cherry variety Dr. Carolyn or it's mutation Green Doctors Frosted which has a clear epidermis thus no amber blush.

    Big Sungold Select, the latest OP version of Sungold F1 developed by Reinhard Kraft in Germany. It's cherry sized, orange, a bit larger than F1 Sungold and has darn good taste but not all the fruitness that the F1 has, which has been difficult to capture although work in that direction proceeds.

    ..... to name a few that at least as grown by me meet your criteria of cherry sized, OP and on the sweet side.


  • digdirt2

    Ditto hoosiers vote for Gardener's Delight - I forgot about it. Elfin seeds are offered by (excellent source) but off hand I don't know of a source for Sweetie.


  • HoosierCheroKee

    BeeBiz, if you don't want to pay the shipping and handling for just one variety of cherry tomato, you can usually find Gardener's Delight packed by Ferry Morse for Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart, etc. Those are good seeds too, and only cost a buck and a half or so.

  • beebiz1960

    Thanks once again for all the input!! By it being suggested multiple times, I definitely want to give the Gardener's Delight a try! I'll check the big box stores and see if I can come up with some. If I've got to make a trip to one of them anyway, it would be cheaper than shipping, I'm sure!

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