Not exactly what I was going for, but.......

LisaCLV(HI)December 2, 2009

....I'm not complaining!

If I have a blind spot as a hybridizer, it's probably that I tend to focus so much on foliage markings and coloration that I often overlook good form. It's not that I'm not attracted to a perfect round rosette, it's just that if I have to choose between that and an interesting pattern, I'll go for the pattern every time, and just hope that the form will somehow sort itself out in the process. Of course it seldom does, so I've lately been forced to look within and contemplate the error of my ways. Old habits die hard, but every once in a while I'll stumble across a magical combination almost by accident and find myself wondering "can that really be one of mine???"

Such is the case with this grex. I really wasn't thinking about form when I made the cross, I was actually going for color. I wanted a concentrica-ish plant with the hot colored streaks of a Groves hybrid. To that end, I crossed one of my own hybrids, Momona, with Big Mac. Well, I didn't get what I wanted, but look at what I did get:









Now, most of you know that I rarely keep more than 3 or 4 cvs from any grex, but I think I've culled down about as far as I want to go with these 8. Some are better than others, but there are no dogs here.

Also, they're all fairly different...... except for #1 and #2. I don't know what to do about those two. They actually look more different in the photos than they do in real life, probably because I'm not usually looking straight down on them like this. I'm not ready to pick out names yet, but when I do, I'm not sure if these should each have their own name or be #1 and #2 of the same cv. I guess I'll wait until they bloom to decide that. If #2 has a darker cup as well as the darker outer leaves, it will stand out more from the other one. Those scooped out leaf tips on both of them just keep improving with age.

#3 was comparatively colorless until it bloomed, but I kept it around as a contrast to the rest of the grex. I'm glad I did, it was really lovely when the flowers first opened a couple of months ago. It's gotten a bit duller now. That's the only one to bloom so far, and yes, those are pollen tags in there. ;-)

#4 has some of the coolest fingernails I've ever seen, and is also the biggest of the bunch. Oddly enough, I came this close to hurling it onto the trash pile when it was younger because the the lower leaves have a kind of blotchy, unfinished I-don't-know-what-I-want-to-be-when-I-grow-up kind of look to them, but those fingernails saved its life! It also has that upturned leaf tip that I am particularly fond of.

#5 is a bit more subtle than some of the others, but I'm a fan of pink, so I'm hoping for a shell pink cup.

#6 is really growing on me with those weird fingernails too. Really, I don't know where those came from, but it's got a voluptuous "thanks for the mammaries" vibe that I rather like. A lot going on there.

#7 may not have a lot of flash, but you can't beat the form. It lies a bit flatter than some of the others, like a layered petticoat.

#8 is the least interesting to me, and frankly I probably wouldn't miss it much if it were gone, but in another grex it might be the pick of the litter, so it's a keeper, at least for now.

Now for the disclaimer: No, these are NOT available. They are one-off seedlings. They will not be in the trade for several years, so for all you lurkers who have been copying my pictures and emailing them to Michael asking for the plants, PLEASE DON'T. Not only is it bad cyber-manners, but he doesn't have them. Sorry if I sound cranky, but this is kind of a pet peeve of mine. I do enjoy sharing with other GW contributors all over the globe, and I thank all of my online friends for understanding my position.

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Wow Lisa. Love #2 & 7 but the others are great too.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 5:09AM
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Hi Lisa

Out of 1 and 2, 2 is my pick.

I like 6 and 8 too...

Very interesting results considering the parentage, obviously Big Mac has taken over. I reckon the big test will be to see if these plants will form that hefty rosette outside of the tropics. I am sure you will find many volunteers!

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 5:36AM
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Beautyfull Lisa ,absolutely great shapes ,2 ,6 , 8 are my picks ,so if you dont mind if 8 was gone ,i shall give it a home ,love the fingernail effect on some of those ,in my humble opinion there is enough difference between 1 and 2 to warrant different names ,for me there is something about 8 , but they are all lovely plants ,and sometimes what we aim for is surpassed by what we finally hit ,well done ,

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 6:14AM
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Hi Lisa,

All are very good looking plants. I think differently from you. Different people has different eyes. I really love the rosette froms. Look like a roses. You don't known this rosette type plants are very popular esapecially with those weird fingernails. Thai people is looking for colourful and compact rosette forms like youe hybrids and Zonate plants are also very sought after plants.

I like #1,#2 and #7 very much. The pink margin in both #1 and #2 is stunning. Hope you have a good luck with #3.

About the rule in hybridization, the color comes from pollen plant and the form is from mother. For the hybrids you did don't follow the rule but it's in the reverse. As you said everything is possible. So I and others have to learn from the experts like you. Thank for sharing.


    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 6:51AM
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Must be an exciting time as the hybrids you've worked hard to grow and nurture take on they're adult form - well done! 2 and 6 are immediate eye-catchers, 7 has nice contrast and agreed - don't throw out 8 - I can see that being very popular - particularly as a gift for mother's day, valentines etc.

Thanks for sharing Lisa, looks like you've created many fine plants and yr shared knowledge on here is greatly appreciated.


    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 7:12AM
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Lisa, if these nefarious Neo's are causing you a lack of slumber, I have a solution....send 'em to me!

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 7:45AM
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Gorgeous Lisa!

#6, #1, #7, #8, #2, #3, #4, #5. Those are the order in which I will arrange them. At the moment. Tomorrow I might feel different. But however my mood changes, #6 will always be my number One!

And as Dennis says, will they look the same if I grow them here in South Africa?! We here always drool about those tight rosettes grown in the tropics!

Well done!


    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 8:11AM
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I would pick 1,2,4,8.

You could name #2 as Mr. XX and #1 as Mrs. XX, where XX is as you pls. They are not a Yin and Yang but are also like a pair but just in a different way.

#4 has good proportions too. Yes, it is a bit looser shaped than the others and those significant fingernails on the ends fit well to this leaf size and form. I personally find it very decorative and am surprised that it is barely mentioned by others. I guess this is why we want you to keep several:-)

#8 closely resembles what I was hoping for when I ordered my Ninja - without the pink overcast off course. Unfortunately, my Ninja turned out to be not so nice. It was a mail order and I had no influence on what I was getting. Granted, I would take this as a substitute, no questions asked.

They are great Lisa. Thanks.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 9:01AM
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bambi_too(5 Ohio)

I would say you hit on a winning combination there. I agree #6 is my favorite too, but they are all very nice and different enough that they could all be registered and introduced. I did a cross of BIG MAC X STRAWBERRY SUNDAY, I can only hope to get something as nice. The seedling are only a few months old so it will be awhile.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 9:03AM
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Hi Lisa,

As usual, your plants are nothing but class! class! class!

It's hard to imagine how the shape on those could be improved upon, they're truly magnificent.

You once told me culling gets easier with experience, but I bet you still tore some hair out while deciding on this little lot. What a magical looking group.

Long live the hybridizer!

Thanks for sharing, all the best Nev.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 2:04PM
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Thank you all for your kind comments. It's interesting that there is no general consensus on the top picks. All the more reason to keep all of them!

Yong, thank you for bringing up the "rule" about form coming from mother. I have never subscribed to that rule, as most of my experience has shown no difference either way. This grex, as you say, shows exactly the opposite. What is interesting, though, is that I did the cross both ways. These seedlings stood out from the very beginning for their fat form, whereas the BM x M bunch did not. I don't have room for a lot of reciprocal crosses (I only do them if I'm not sure which parent will set seeds better), so that was enough to make me toss out the whole lot without even growing them out, since these looked so much better. Maybe they would have inherited more color from the pollen parent, but they certainly did not have the form of the seed parent. I can't explain the differences between the two grexes, as it also contradicts my own belief that it doesn't matter, but so much for the "rules".

Thai people are not the only ones who like the tight round rosettes. Hawaii people are the same, which is why I have been trying to retrain my thinking. One thing I have to say about these types of Neos, however, is that they require special care in watering. Even after a good rain the pots of these guys are often bone dry, as the leaves effectively block the water from getting to the soil.

Unfortunately Hawaii people don't seem to be as interested in zonates as the Thais and the rest of the world are, but I AM, so I'll keep doing them, and hopefully you guys will keep buying them! ;-)

"#6 will always be my number One!"
Funny, Japie, the last time I showed you this lot you said that #7 was your number one! That's okay, I won't tell #6 you said that. I keep changing my preferences too, but right now if I had to grab three and run, it would be #2, #4 and #6. As I said, I always go for the most interesting patterns and markings, and the leaf tips qualify.

I'd hate to leave #1 behind, though, particularly since it was an earlier favorite. It's just that #2 covers most of the same features and does it bolder. I like your Mr. & Mrs. idea, noid. Or at least some combination of names that both ties them together and distinguishes between the two. I'll have to think about that. I try not to name too early because I hate getting attached to a name and then having it turn up on somebody else's hybrid before I'm ready to register mine. I don't believe in registering before you have enough to sell, so I have plenty of time to think about it.

I'm with you on #4 too, I thought that would get more attention. Maybe it's the angle of the photograph, but when you walk into the shadehouse and see the lot of them, that's the one that really catches your eye. Here is a photo from 3 months ago, I think you can see better what I mean about the upturned leaf tips.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 2:06PM
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Lisa, my humble apologies to 6 and 7 (but they both are in my top 3 anyway). What hooked me on 7 then, was that almost perfect rose shape. And maybe also the angle of the picture created a bit more shadows and made it look a bit darker? And it has developed quite a bit - that rosette is now almost too perfect!

6 did not had that voluptuous look 3 months ago - she matured beautifully, very curious to see her in bloom! If I have to do my choices over again, then and now, I would choose exactly the same. Just shows my inexperience judging the developement of new hybrids - that's why it is so good to see other's hybrids and how they develop, it will take me 10 times as long if I can learn only from my own experience!


    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 2:55PM
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Dear Lisa

Love those rosette forms, they will make great landscaping plants. Well done!

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 9:10PM
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Hi Lisa, Isn't that half the fun of hybridizing.
You never know what you will get.
Absolutely stunning - love the indentations.

Cheers Richard

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 3:53AM
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Late submission of appreciation here.

Fan-bloody-tastic Lisa! I reckon they're all registerable, and hope they don't take too long to be available on our fair shores. I also hope they will hold that form south of the tropics.
For what it's worth, my absolute faves are #2 and #6.


K :)

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 8:52AM
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I agree, Richard, you never know what you will get. And even when you get it, you don't always know how it will mature.

Case in point-- here's #3 as it looked last January. Fairly drab in winter, but still nicely shaped:

And here is the same plant opening its first flower in August:

Who knows what sort of transformation may await its siblings when it's their time to bloom? If plain green can pink up that much, I'm thinking shy little #5 may really show her true colors!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 2:27PM
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paul_t23(Coastal Sydney)

Hi Lisa, they are just beautiful. What a stunning bunch of gorgeous rosettes - "voluptuous" certainly is the word. The combinations and particularly the contrasts in #2 make it my pick and it just leaps straight off the screen at me, but all the rest are right up there. Many thanks, Paul

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 12:43AM
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Wow Lisa, the photos from the top are awesome, but the ones that show the side are over the top! The middle one on the left of that shot is unbelievable. The girth and how bulbous it looks is fantastic. Is it just the angle of that particular picture and all of them look like that or is that one especially 'bulbous'? Always love your picture shows!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 1:36AM
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Andy, that group shot shows some of the differences in overall habit better than the top shots. The one you like on the middle left is #2, which has always had more upright growth than some of the others. #1 on the bottom left has lately developed virtually the same habit, although you can't see it in this older pic. #7 is the next one up and has a more layered look, whereas some of them almost stack straight up. #4 behind it is the only one with the upturned tips.

As for the "bulbous" look, I think our relatively even climate helps a lot there. That and not feeding them too heavily. I'm not sure how the fact that the soil under these guys often dries out may be playing into it either. That's not intentional, but it could be slowing the growth rate down somewhat.

Side note: I've been trying to locate that old thread where I posted some pics of how to pollinate Neos (I think HDD may have started it). The reason is that one of the pictures shows the mother plant with the marked seed pod that these all came from. I didn't date the pics, but if I can put a date on that thread it will show exactly how long it took them to get to this point.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 1:40PM
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Lisa, this might be the topic you wanted. I had book marked it way back when.

Here is a link that might be useful: bright lights

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 2:51PM
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Hi Lisa ,you mentioned that with these Neo's that dispite watering / or rain the pots do not get damp due to the tightly packed leaves making such a dense rosette. i find i have the same problem with my broad leaved Vr. hybrids, you can water all you like but the pot remains dry ,this ofcourse presents its own problems ,as they dont like dry roots.and then the plant suffers , i have a blind spot ( like you ) but mine is the reverse ,i want good shape and broad leaves so look for that ,than i will worry about pattern and colours ,and allthough you have mentioned before about it not making much / any difference wich way you do the cross , i have found with a lot of Foliage Vr. it does make a difference wich is pollen parent and wich is seed parent ,I will admit some plants do'nt care .Vr.hieroglyphica does what it does for its own sake and is dominant each way ,my Vr 'Uluru Sunset' also is so dominant that either way seems to make no difference ,Vr ' Milky Way ' makes a big difference depending wich way you use it ,but as you say , so much for rules ,and we all get some surprises that cause us to go back to the ' drawing board ' #3 still has a lot of appeal even before it coloured up ,on its shape alone you'd have to see how it would colour up , Lovely plants all of them , cheers

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 3:30PM
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Well, I guess we'll never agree on some things, Jack, but I think we can both agree that Mother Nature often has a mind of her own!

Thanks for the link, Nick. I thought that was the one, but I don't see the photo with the pollen tags that I was thinking of (I know I didn't remove it). Maybe Nev will know where it is, since he borrowed the images with my permission for a very nice presentation he gave to his local BS. That's how I happened to notice it. That is Momona being pollinated in those photos, though, so that date, Sept. '06 should be about right. Just over 3 years, then.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 4:08PM
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I tried to bring the thread forward, but it refused. I think this is what you were looking for:

Here is a link that might be useful: Momona x Big Mac tag

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 4:57PM
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#s 2, 6 and 7 get my pick!

Awesome work Lisa!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 5:42PM
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That's it, thanks, Japie! No need to bring it forward, it just struck me as a funny coincidence that Nev sent me a copy of his article with that photo the same day I posted this.

BTW, none of those other tagged crosses survived the cut. They either didn't set up or got culled out at some point. No regrets. Hybridizing is kind of like Crazy Eddie's Used Car Sales: it's all about VOLUME! VOLUME! VOLUME!!!!!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 5:43PM
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Hi Lisa
All i can say is WOW there all stunning and i for one am glad i live in your time, to see the wonders your create, i hope your passing on all your knowledge of hybridizing to someone, so future generations can and will enjoy the pleasure and beauty you have brought to the Bromeliads world of today.
They'd sure be missing out on something special if all your knowledge was lost for future generations

    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 9:59PM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

It's a privilege to get this inside view of your work, Lisa, thanks! I love 1 & 2, also 6, 7 & 8, but with the group shot it becomes obvious one must have the whole group for full effect! Delicious colors and fabulous fat rosettes, just gorgeous.

Are your plants (not these of course, but others) available on the big island? I'd like to do a little shopping. : )

    Bookmark   December 11, 2009 at 12:01PM
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Gee, brommad, I thought I was passing it on to all of you! Not all of my secrets, of course, but really, it's not so much about secrets as it is just plain old trial and error. That bit about volume was no joke. If you want to get the good stuff, you have to be prepared to devote a lot of years to it, do hundreds of crosses and throw away at least 99% of what you produce. I've got a pile of about 150 tags on my desk from grexes that all got thrown out. And that's just within the past couple of years!

Kim, where are you doing your shopping on the Big Island? Shiigi may have a few of my older hybrids, but I haven't seen him in years, and I don't know who else would be growing them. Not Hawaiian Sunshine. Gotta come to Oahu for best selection (or go to Florida)!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2009 at 1:34PM
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bromeliaddict(z6 MI)

Well, I'm late to this party! I'm going to add my votes for #2 and 6 as my favorites! After Lisa's posting of the group photo, I can see the appeal for #4, too. I'll look forward to seeing the photos of all of them in bloom. I suspect that they will all be at least as nice as #3!
Lisa, congrats on all of your beautiful new hybrids. Wishing you many more pleasant "unexpected results" for the coming year!


    Bookmark   December 11, 2009 at 3:09PM
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