Is it possible to hybridize ornamental grasses? If so, how could I go about doing so? Has anyone had success, and if so which grasses have you crossed?
Interesting question! I'll look forward to the answers.
I guess in order to hybridize them, you'd have to figure out how and when they're pollinated, do it yourself, and then isolate the hand-pollinated plant from further contact, collect seeds and grow them out.
I don't know if it's fact or not, but I have it in my mind grasses are wind pollinated. With the exception of Luzula nivea (Snowy Woodrush) I've never seen bees on my grasses.
It seems the steps would be:
Collect pollen from one grass (How, I have no idea).
Transfer it to the appropriate part of the other grass (How, I have no idea).
Isolate the pollinated plant from further pollen attacks. Cheesecloth wouldn't do it. You'd have to use some material finer than that, but still light, air and moisture transparent.
Wait for viable seed, and collect it.
Successfully germinate the seed and grow out the results.
Sounds like quite an undertaking.
I'm not really sure how to collect, or transfer pollen, but thats the next thing to learn I guess.
Thank you for the response.
Here's a start, Mike:
Obviously, it varies from genus to genus, but the basic procedure would be to remove the anthers from the grass you'll pollinate, so they can't do the deed themselves.
Then take an anther from the pollen donor, and rub it on the stigma of the recipient.
Then the hard part. What material could you use to isolate the recipient flower from further pollination?
I'm thinking back through all my classes on OG's and the huge selection of types I buy in for my nursery and can come up with only a couple of natural hybrids but not a single man-made hybrid comes to mind. Lots of named cultivars to be sure, but these are generally propagated by selection and division or isolated seeding, not by hybridization or crossing. While it may very well be possible to achieve such a feat (as a few naturally occurring hybrids do exist), one would think that if it was in any way easy, it would already have been accomplished.