Help with hybridizing experiment

shockingelkMarch 13, 2008

I grow veggies under HPS/MH lights in my basement during off-season months and - while I grow that stuff outdoors this coming season - want to use my polinator-free basement setup to play with salvia crosses this summer.

I referenced this page - - to determine number of chromosomes. I have seeds of 6 varieties reported by that page to have 11 chromosomes. From Chiltern Seeds I've received 6 species with 11 reported chromosomes:

S. Aethiopis

S. Argentea

S. Coccinea

S. Sclarea

S. Splendens

S. Tilifolia

More recently while researching these species I've realized that there will be at least a few outliers in regards to flowering conditions. I had incorrectly assumed that all species of Salvia would have similar flowering conditions.

Further research tells me that some will flower in response to a short day, some in response to a long day and some in response to light intensity.

So, I'm very eager to hear what conditions your experience (or reference) has found to induce flowering in the above species.


- Erik

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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

Your best chances of crosses are with new world to new world species, and old world to old world species. If you do succeed in crossing old with new, there is a graduate student at Michigan State who would be very interested in the results.

You won't know if you've succeeded until the hybrid blooms. Some hybrids will tell you right out of the box when you see the first true leaves. They often start out looking like one parent then develop towards the other. One parent's traits will tend to dominate at one pole of an extreme (such as temperature or day length) and the other parent at the opposite pole. I think this is mostly true for F1 hybrids.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 9:10AM
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Having surface sown 5 seeds on the "wrong end" of small rockwool cubes moistened with gibberellin 100 ppm water, at least 3 have sprouted on each cube other than the Argentea - no sprouting yet.

Any comments about the flowering conditions of any of the species I listed ... or germination of the Argentea appreciated! At 2 weeks, patience is my strategy with the Argentea.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2008 at 11:20PM
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Sorry for being late on this conversation.I have seen a
coccinea x splendens hybrid.It looked like a coccinea
but was shorter w/bigger flowers,sterile too with no
frost tolerance. Don't let that stop you! There are endless combinations with these plants. I have only done a little
hybridizing here in Texas.Mostly greggii, microphylla
lyciodes hybrids, darcyi hybrids I just keep trying for a
blue greggii or microphylla . I don't know if there is such a thing as a tetraploid salvia but your on the right track making sure you have the chromosome count.Keep us posted on your results and conclusions. Please keep records that will help a lot too. Art Petley

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 12:17AM
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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

For those interested, go to the U of Wisconsin site for chromosome numbers.

Given the polyploidy of guaraniticas and the known hybrids, you might get triploids, which is probably why guaranitica x gesneriflora `Tequila' (Purple Majesty) is sterile.

Here is a link that might be useful: Salvia Research Network - Cytology

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 12:29AM
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peterls(N Yorks, UK)

It just shows my ignorance - I had assumed that all Salvias would have the same chromasome count. I presumed that similar chromasomes was one of the things that put all the Salvias into the same genus.

Are you saying that only species with similiar numbers could hybridise and that disimilar numbers could never hybridise?

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 2:48PM
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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

Hybrids with parents of different chromosome counts are possible, but will be sterile. If you make a tetraploid of this, you will balance out the count to even, with one side being A + B, and the other B + A, and get a new plant which will set seed. So doubling the chromosomes of Purple Majesty or Indigo Spires would probably make them seed bearing again.

It is very unlikely that New World and Old World sages will cross with one another. See the Salvia Research Network for details on this.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 1:08AM
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peterls(N Yorks, UK)

Thanks Rich - that's most interesting.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 6:30PM
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