Can I hand-pollinate hoyas?

jesuisOctober 13, 2011

Hi guys!

I'm Alessandro, an Italian teenager who loves gardening especially tropical plants.

In fact, I love Hoyas... but I began hoya growing just a months ago, and so I actually have got some self-rooted cuttings... they are H.carnosa variegata, H.carnosa, H.australis, H. DS70, H wayetii and a leaf of kerrii...

Ok, let's go to the real question...

Do you think is possible to hand-pollinate hoyas? I'd like to create some hybrids...

Can you explain me how to do this?

I'm sorry for my English... and I hope you will help me!

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ciao je, ti do il mio benevenuto in italiano, ma da ora in poi, per rispetto a questo forum , parleremo inglese.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 9:48AM
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Hi Alessandro,

Welcome to the hoya forum!

If you google hoya hand pollination I think you will find a great material as I remember to have seen it somewhere at internet, sorry that I can't help you better.

Greetings from Brazil


    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 12:53PM
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We discussed this a little while back.


Here is a link that might be useful: Hoya pollination

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 2:21PM
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    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 8:46PM
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mairzy_dotes(zone 10)

"RainforestGuy" (who posts frequently on this forum) has created some beautiful hybrid hoyas. Maybe he will chime in with some info. too.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 12:03AM
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If you are a teenager, you will succeed. I have found that younger people tend to try and try again until success.
Perhaps simple self pollination at the start then try your hand at cross pollination.
I must stress that before attempting to cross pollinate between the species, you understand the relationship and subgenus level at which hoyas belong. I am of the sole reasoning that Hoyas are a mega genus with true subgenus levels that should be raised to true genus status.
Any way, the pollinia is attached to a wishbone fork that is secured in the pollinia ducts. zthese must be pulled out and reattached to the stigmas which unlike most other species is not located at the tip. Just Apocynaceae and Asclepiadaceae are the only two families that do not have terminal stigmas. This means that their receptive organs are located on the side of what appears to be the stigmas. This is the sole reason why many breeders fail from pollination.
I don't have a compound microscope/camera apparatus to show what I mean, but I think trial and error will lead to success. The hoya genus is pretty generous in being pollinated. Heck insects do it totally by mistake and the pollinia may sometimes be seen attached to legs of flies, wasps, bees, butterflies, wasps, etc. A very haphazard attempt in pollination.

Pollination best occurs in the early morning and early evenings, usually timed with their fragrance emitting factories. Pollination outside of this time frame is haphazard and by chance.
The pollinia MUST be wedged into the style grooves in order for the pollinia=pollen tubes to reach the stigmas. Simple placement of pollinia onto stigmas will not work because there are shileds and folds that prevent pollination to occur. Thus only species with the right size pollinia are allowed to fit in and maneuver themselves in these styles. Pollinia of an unrelated species will be just too large or too fat to fit.

Hoya carnosa is difficult, I believe this is due to self-sterile issues. But not all carnosas are self infertile, I have had some make seed pods on their own but alas naked seeds inside. No embryo.
Hoya australis is easy but unfortunately the species related to it (I believe) are all truly H. australis of a different leaf or form/locality).
The Hoya incrassata, meredithii finlaysonii, et al complex is a very easy to ross group as they freely cross pollinate effortless and easily. Many cross pollinate easily with the aid of insects as small as ants.
Always tag your crosses.
Date and keep the labels. You'd be surprised at how many self pollinated species will turn out to be hybrids making seedlings of every color from one extreme to another. Just not a true species to begin with.

What ever you do, label them and stand by your guard. For years of hybridizing I have been scolded for told that I have made errors in labeling my crosses. especially when flowers and leaves did not even come close to the parents, later finding out that the species I used were actually hybrids. After visiting the locales and discovering multi-populations of true species and intermediate swarms of hybrids (labeled as species). This is why horticulturalists shouldn't be collecting and botanists shouldn't be growing! A horticulturalist will just see a new swarm of like flowers and foliage to be a new species when in reality it is a hybrid swarm. We see this commonly with all species such as Nepenthes, Begonias, Gesneriads, Orchids, etc found in these regions. Nature has a way of constantly making improvements over its errors. Always trying to over correct itself like a beginning student driver turning the wheel a bit too much to drive a straight line.
We will see it in everything in nature.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 1:09AM
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Thank you all!!!

I think it won't be easy, but if someone has done this, I can do too!!!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 8:53AM
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For cross pollination, can you tell us about the relationship and subgenus level at which hoyas belong?

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 9:40AM
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For cross pollination, can you tell us about the relationship and subgenus level at which hoyas belong?

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 10:03AM
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RFG thanks for that info. The mention of higher success while the plants are producing their pollinator attracting scent is truly valuable information. I have tried and failed many times but now I have a new tactic. lol
I have to agree that the study of Hoyas has not gone much beyond collecting them. There needs to be a proper assessment of plants in the field to see how they relate to other plants (Hoyas) of the same area. Naturally occurring hybrids are very common in some many plants and in some cases (Kohleria, Gesneriaceae) the hybrids can be more numerous than the species and have a wider range.

Mayyan that is a lot to explain but it would be best if you understood these relationships. If you go to the Apodagis site and click on the Hoyas page you will find STEMMA Journal issues in PDF form at the bottom of the page. If you read through these issues paying close attention to the Hoya Sections articles you will see these relationships, lists of species (proposed) for each section or complex are listed and these are plants that would readily cross as long as you keep pollinia size etc in mind when planning your cross.


Here is a link that might be useful: Apodagis index page STEMMA at bottom

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 11:32AM
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Knowing all the subgenus levels is difficult since so many of the names are wrong. But I usually use the coronal lobes and pollinia shape to help determine the way hoyas are related. The most important note is that hoyas have their receptive stigmas on the side of the column , not terminally as in most plants.
This is the biggest mistake that pollinators do not realize. They appear to be receptive but this is not the case. Remember bees, butterflies, flies and wasps are the pollinators and they stumble across the flower reaching in deep to get at the nectar. On some species, nectar is oozed over the surface of the flower and insects lap this up with gusto. Walking and getting their legs in a fix allows pollinia receptors to be attached and this is what they bring to the next flower.
Trial and error is the ebst practice. Start with self pollination (note some species are self infertile) but for the most part, almost all can be self pollinated. Hoya imperialis is a species which is self infertile. But I think some of the imperialis clones are actually backcrossed hybrids and do self pollinate.
Many of the eriostemmas are hybrids and we call them species. Many of the guppyi's, susseula, and others are all hybrids. This can be seen when you self pollinate these and watch the variation come out in its offspring.

The best tool to use is a coarse cat whisker, a watch repairman's magnifying eye-glass attachment, and a white scotch pad (to place the pollinia upon while gathering pollinia and going from one flower to the next. The scotch pad works since the pollinia gets stuck onto it and no gust of wind or just the breeze from walking will flutter these pollinia away.

Attach the cat whisker to a thin pencil-like rod and use good secured electric tape, or similar material.
Do not use metal or toothpicks, or anything that can damage the coronas. If you break a corona it will bleed sap and that sap is toxic to the stigmas and pollination process. Cat whiskers are best since they are stiff but not stiff enough to damage the floral parts.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 2:10PM
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Thanks you both,

Mike, for the pointer

RFG, for more first hand useful tips

    Bookmark   October 16, 2011 at 7:57AM
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Like many other genera, I believe that hoyas have hybrid swarm populations where they can be more common than either parent. The changing forces that drive such processes can be evidenced by nearly all groups of plants and animals in the wild. As our planet changes species will either face extinction or adaption. Usually adaption is a process where two related species may hybridize to produce a super plant. Hybrids have the added advantage of "hybrid vigor" while their species parents do not. Some species seem to just excel no matter what the circumstance. This may be a suspect for a hybrid.
Unfortunately like I mentioned elsewhere, the collectors of hoyas were mostly horticulturalists, a new plan = new interest, more $ and so forth. Nobody notices that there seems to be a large population of this "new" species among or in between other species populations that are quite similar.
In any event, breeding hoyas will be challenging as well as rewarding. On one hand you'll be the first to discover that the species you self pollinated is a hybrid.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2011 at 12:11PM
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Ament(5a SD)

To both RFG and Mike, your knowledge posted here for jesuis & mayyan as well as future readers is/will be wonderful. Thank you both for sharing! :)

Maybe in a few years I too will wander down this path, to try new things, Not sure yet. Who knows? ;) But I just wanted to thank the both of you for sharing.


    Bookmark   October 17, 2011 at 5:39PM
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