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True to parent?

Posted by sue_in_nova_scotia 5b (My Page) on
Wed, Oct 18, 06 at 11:39

Hi, I was wondering what plants do NOT come true to hybrid parents? I know that Hostas are unlikely and daylilys are a surprise but what about the new echnachias? Last year I didn't collect the seeds from my dark leaved hardy geranium 'midnight reiter' b/c I was told that only about 1 in 30 would be dark leaved and low and behold this spring there were about 10 baby dark leaved geraniums arround mamma.
I think it would be interesting to hear if there are any 'fancy cultivar' sucess storys.
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Follow-Up Postings:

RE: True to parent?


My point of view is that folks should always try but know that they may not get exactly what the parent plant looked like. In a lot of cases, I've seen folks discourage others by saying the seeds of one plant will not come true to the parent, yet I've tried it and the results were good.

As an example, I was told that the seeds Echinacea Double Decker would not come true. Sure enough, the first couple of years there was no 'deck', but when the plant truly matured in the third year, the deck was there.

In terms of Hostas, I did a lot of Francis Williams this past year. True, the variegation is not showing on the little ones, but the width of the leaf and it's thickness is certainly there and the colour is a nice green.

Another is Lorraine Sunshine. From the batch of seeds I received three years ago, 1/2 grew with the variegated leaves. One plant is my favourite - the leaves are all green except for a white outer edge. Nice! I kept even the non-variegated. They are nice plants. And this year I noticed that the variegated which I had separated from the others in the gardens reseeded and produced more true Lorraine Sunshines.

I guess I'm a patient gardener. I will always try for a couple of years to get what I want from seed. By that time, if it's still a no-go, the price of the plant has gone down and I can buy lots!! :)

RE: True to parent?

So it could very well be that they come true to parent even more often then we realize as some people might pull it out when the 'features' they were after did not show up immediately...ok this is good news...Patience is a virtue (just not one that I possess) :)

RE: True to parent?

The 'Reiter' Geraniums are a seed strain, so unless they have crossed with the plain species they will come true. Echinacea are unfortunately not self-fertile, so expect a lot of variation.

RE: True to parent?

Last year I too noticed "true" seedlings around the mother plant of Geranium pratense Victor Reiter Jr..

RE: True to parent?

I suspect that the more genetics that are involved in a hyrid/cultivar, the less time it will hold it's appearance in it's offspring. That is likely why things like Hostas and Daylilies just don't breed true. With oldies like Marigolds you can get a number of years of seeds out of them before they start to revert back to their parent variety. Columbines are another that often breeds untrue and again I think it's the introduction of just too many varieties into one plant that prevent the offspring from being the same as the parent. You 'can' increase the chances of these plants breeding true by having large patches of each variety but not everyone has the space to do this and another method is hand polinating but that method isn't 100% due to the addition of insect polination interfering with your hand polinating efforts.


RE: True to parent?

I thought this was interesting about hosta breeding (from Gardens North website):

"Tony Avent, of Plant Delights Nursery has this to say: "The first rule of thumb is that the leaf color of the seedling will be derived from the color in the center of the leaf of the parent plant (grandparents are included here also). Green hostas will usually produce green offspring, blue hostas will produce some blue, some green, and some gold offspring. Gold hostas will produce some of each also. Edged variegated hostas will NOT produce variegated offspring. Only hostas that have white streaks (streaky) in the center of the leaf will produce variegated offspring. White centered hostas will produce all white hostas which usually die in the seed pots due to a lack of chlorophyll.""

Cool, eh?

RE: True to parent?

I just may have to write that down! And low and behold...I have some hosta seeds lol

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