Taneedley(5b)April 14, 2014

I have planted a few seeds from a coleus variety pack. It had occurred to me that it might be a worth while hobby to cross breed them, see if I can create any new and beautiful plants. Had anybody here done this before? If you would be do kind as to tell me how the process works I would be very grateful! Thank you in advance!

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I might add that I am very new to hybridizing, but I am a quick learner!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 12:48AM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Last I heard there are around 900 named cultivars lol I grow around 25 and have grown from seed but the tough part would be deciding who the father is?? You'd certainly have to limit the cultivars you grow otherwise they would cross breed?? Must be fairly easy though given there are sooo many varieties?? Good luck gary

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 1:15AM
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Hi Taneedley,

My hobby is breeding zinnias, so I don't have any first hand experience breeding coleus. However, the book Plant Breeding for the Home Gardener has a section on breeding coleus beginning on page 140. The author says "Coleus flowers are tiny, and though it is possible to emasculate them, it takes a fine pair of tweezers, a very steady hand, and a lot of patience." He also goes on to say that one successful coleus breeder just planted a lot of different coleus varieties together and let the bees do the cross pollination. Unfortunately the Coleus section is not accessible by Amazon's Read Inside feature. There are only about 3 pages devoted to coleus, but there is a lot of related material in the book that would be applicable, so you might want to buy it. A lot of books on plant breeding don't even mention coleus.

If you are still making up your mind, I could make a good case for you to pick zinnias for your hybridizing experiments. More colors, more flower forms and plant habits, easier to cross pollinate, bigger easier to handle seeds, faster growing, the list goes on. Incidentally, zinnias are also covered in Tychonievich's book, along with a lot of different garden plants.

(not associated with any product or vendor mentioned or linked)

This post was edited by zenman on Mon, Apr 14, 14 at 1:43

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 1:31AM
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