Seedling color?

kasha77March 6, 2012

I have a question, if anyone can help- I'm growing plumeria from seed. How true does the seedling's flower color come close to the parent's color, if at all? I'm getting so excited looking at seeds for sale, until I realized that the offspring could be vastly different than the photo of the parent. Any info will be greatly appreciated!

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tdogdad(Zone 9)

Nobody answered so I will. In my experience, the plumeria has so many genes that exact copies of the parent is 50-50 chance. With whites you get a majority of whites. With yellows you get whites and yellows. With rainbows or red/pinks you get a variety. For me I have had about 5% unique plants. I also had many that were less than the parent. Maybe the color was correct but the petals were floppy or small. The downside of seeds is that a seedling often can take years to flower and often the first flower is not true. I still have some 7 foot tall seedling bushes that are nine years old and have yet to flower. I have had seedlings flower in one year, two, a majority in 3 to 5 but many took longer. Bill Moragne had some seedlings take 20 years to flower so it can take longer. Taking cuttings from a great plant for me has always given me another great plant. Of all my seedlings, I will probably end up keeping 3-4 (but I am picky in what I have room for so many are not that bad, just not for me.)

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 12:16AM
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Thank you for taking the time to answer me. So it sounds like seedlings are mostly inferior to the parent plants? If you can remember, what was the name of the seeds (lings) that bloomed in their first year? (I'm hoping that I might have started one of them!:) It sounds pretty disappointing to me, especially since you live in a much warmer zone that I do. Maybe Plumeria aren't practical for me. I have 2 greenhouses, 10 x 24, but I don't know if I can keep them as warm as they'd need/like overwinter. (60-70*) I fill my houses up with brugmansia (angels trumpets) and there isn't much room for larger plants, unless I plan differently next winter. Can anyone tell me how to overwinter these beauties in zone 7b? Thanks in advance!:)

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 8:33AM
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Kasha, I'm not sure I'd say that seedlings tend to be inferior. Jim Little says that superior varieties tend to produce superior offspring and vice versa. Remember that most of our exciting new colors and shapes are seedlings themselves, like Metallica, Don Ho, Bali Whirl, and Wildfire. If you planted nice, named varieties I'm sure you'll get some beautiful seedlings along with some let-downs.

You may need to switch your winter arrangements next year. The plumeria, especially tender seedlings, are more cold-sensitive than brugs are. Brugs will often come back from the roots after freezing but plumeria usually won't. I keep my few brugs in the garage (I know people around here plant them in-ground with the expectation that they'll freeze and come back in spring) and keep the plumies in the house with a few exceptions that go in the garage.

White and yellow plumerias will tend to tolerate lower temps but most reds and rainbows want to stay above 38 all winter.


    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 9:49AM
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