Question about crosses

macroclemysJuly 6, 2013

I greatly enjoy seeing photos of crosses that people often post on this forum. Based on what I see in the photos, many of these crosses are as beautiful and unique as those that are available commercially. So I have often wondered if most of these are deficient in some way that would result in their being disregarded for commercial production (such as weak scape, inconsistent flowering, slow growth, susceptibility to disease, etc.). So, those of you who have dabbled with crosses, do you typically encounter these "other issues" in your crosses that otherwise are quite unique and impressive?


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kaboehm (zone 9a, TX USA)

Bill, these are just my please take them or leave them.

Say you cross A and B and get 50 seeds. You pamper them and with luck, they bloom in 2 years. First blooms aren't always the best indicator of what the blooms will really look like, so you grow out the bulbs for another year to Year 3.

Keep in mind that with 50 seedlings and 50 resulting bulbs, you will get many different appearing blooms. In the extreme case, you may have 50 slightly different looking blooms; no two being the same! Let's hope/say you get 10 that look identical...(they are genetically different, so you can't call them "the same") so that in Year 4 you can enter the blooms in some amaryllis show completions/exhibitions where they are scored and evaluated by experienced growers and breeders; the Keukenhof amaryllis show on opening day is typical and would provide exposure. Hopefully, you could do some networking to determine if the blooms that you think are so outstanding are truly unique or if similar blooms have been developed by anyone else.

So... Then if this bulb has bloomed well for you and is unique with the characteristics that are accepted: scapes strong enough to support the blooms (hopefully at least 4/scape), two scapes/ bulb, you have successfully forced them so that holiday blooms could be obtained, etc. then you would pay someone a large sum to propagate the bulb via tissue culture, resulting in thousands of genetically identical clones of the one bulb you started with. Grow them out for another 3 years and you can think of selling, hopefully with the help of a distributor. Somewhere during that time, you name and register the bulb... And we see it in a catalog 8-10 years after you planted that first seed!!!

It's not a fast process. I don't think that the profits are huge unless you are growing tens of thousands of bulbs (or more)! Along the way it would be likely that, depending where you live, you could have some loses due to insects (NBF) and disease. This could set you back a bit or more!

This is why I make my crosses for my own pleasure!! But, if I see a real winner in my own backyard, I wouldn't hesitate to set the wheels in motion to propagate it for sale. You could too!!!

Again, I'm sure I didn't think about everything, but that just the way I see the journey from seed to sale!


    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 7:10PM
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Thanks for the insight. I also don't have any aspirations beyond having fun!


    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 7:12PM
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Yes! Like there will be pretty and not so pretty ones, there will be performers and "so so" performers. Only performers are kept by the commercial growers and put in production as they are the $$$ earners.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 12:55AM
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