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Seedling genetics

Posted by disneyhorse CA (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 30, 13 at 1:05

I am curious as to how plumeria genetics work.
In my first-year foray into plumerias, I have bought some seeds which amount to about 50 seeds. I've germinated a third of them with only two that didn't germinate so far. I heard that seedling genetics are sketchy so I'm wondering how many I'm going to want to hold onto.
Obviously without careful management, the flower could be cross pollinated by anything.
But I've gotten so many "warnings" that the seeds might not look like the parent plant or that they could just end up as no flowering or bland white that I'm starting to wonder.
Is a plain white a "common throwback" occurrence?
What percentage of seeds actually get cross pollinated? What percentage ends up like the parent?
If a flower is cross pollinated, do the offspring usually look like a blend, or are the genes so unpredictable you don't know what you will get?
Obviously some nice plants are created from seed, or we wouldn't have the vast variety of cultivars.
I'm just wondering how exciting it will be to hang on to forty seedlings for a few years, versus just chopping them all up for grafting or giving them away as gifts down the road.
Right now I'm just excited to watch them grow regardless of color, but I do love to learn.
Thanks for your time,

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Seedling genetics

Andrea- Plumerias have a large number of genes which means you can have quite a variety in the plant. I do not believe anyone can tell you the percentages for cross pollination vs self pollination because the parts are so small that i feel self pollination has a far greater odds. I raised 50 from a pod on a Cindy Moragne (White) and most were some form of white but some had floppy petals, some had blush, some had pink, etc. Then there were 2 orange brown, one red cup and a yellow,pink,white. The bigger problem is that some will bloom in 2-3 years, some longer and some much longer. I still have 2 very large ones (ten years old) that have yet to flower. If your parent plant was a red, pink, or multi, or a Moragne, you have a chance of something new. Yellows and whites seem to produce mostly yellows and whites. If you look at the Moragnes you will see the best of 282 seedlings from the first successful cross between a bright red and a large pink/white. I have had many pods but I do not know how they were pollinated (moths, small insects, rain, wind, butterflies, etc.). You just wait and watch. Bill

RE: Seedling genetics

I had read somewhere that Bill Moragne had one plant that took something like 20 years before it bloomed.

RE: Seedling genetics

  • Posted by mksmth oklahoma 7a (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 30, 13 at 9:21

Wow Bill. 10 years and still waiting. I really hope it is something awesome for you when it does bloom. I think we all agree that if anyone deserves a unique and special plant its you.

Maybe this is the year!


RE: Seedling genetics

Disneyhorse, Welcome to the patient world of seedlings. I cannot believe that I am going to do 2 seed pods again when they open up off of 2 really great cuttings I brought from Maui and Oahu the past few years. You end up carrying them around like babies, atleast I did thru a huge remodel we did in '05. 25 were great trees and bloomed EVENTUALLY! Of those, 3 were the darkest red I have seen locally and the trunks look like baseball bats. I am not super sure, but the parent of the seed pod on my 1st set was Loretta...not the best of bloom or quality. I have given many of the "bland ones" to neighbors. It will be these next 2 pods that I am excited to try. Both cuttings bloom lei quality like crazy and 1 has an info on each tip and is only 2 years from leaving the island to the mainland... :-) roxanne

RE: Seedling genetics

I have a 5` multi-tipped that is at least 8 years old that I am still waiting to bloom. It has no excuse. A friend grew them from seeds she brought back from Thailand. She has since moved and lost touch so I can`t find out if hers ever bloomed.
Tally HO!

RE: Seedling genetics

Well, I will try to be patient then... For some reason all of the "no ID" seeds I got from Fuzzy in HI sprouted and are growing the fastest. My JL Pink Pansy are the second vigorous with very long oblong leaves. Waimea are third vigorous with rounder leaves, and Penang Peach are the slowest to germinate with the least success rate. Very interesting! I'm starting to feel a little overrun with these little guys, especially since they seem to be needing their own one gallon pots...
I'm looking forward to seeing how fast they grow. I hope they're attractive enough to give as Christmas presents to the family, since I don't need forty little trees...

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