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Re: HYB: questions...

I will say in a VERY basic sense you are correct about not much improvement on color can be made in the blues, purples and whites as far as color.  Keep in mind the excludes color distribution patterns like plicatas (and its variations may may or may not be genenetically related to each other), variegatas, amoenas, the "Honkey Tonk Blues" patterns, the "Prototype" pattern.

I will disagree that the best way to improve on a color ( or line of colors) is to breed them with themselves.  Unless you have done some extensive parental research on the varieties being used to cross you may be inbreeding inadvertently which may contribute to overall hybrid vigor.  Yes breeding whites to whites will, or should, produce all white seedlings.  That is assuming that the two parents are BOTH recessive whites.  If one or both parents is a dominant white, then you could very easily get a range of blues, purples and red-violets.

You need to know if your white is a recessive white or a dominant white.  If it is a recessive white cross it with a parent that has a recessive white as a parent or has been known to produce recessive white offspring.  If it is a dominant white I would cross it with any anthocyanin colored plant you like.  The other option might be a to cross it with a pure carotenoid colored flower that has one parent that is pure anthocyanin.  This cross will give you less dominant whites as the carotenoids will appear in the seedlings.  It depends on your goals... and if the plants you want to cross will produce viable seeds.  Of course you could also cross a recessive white with a dominat white.  You would then get a some anthocyanin colored floweres depending on the genetics of the two parents.

"Hot color" topics to be considered are of course the true reds, blacks, oranges, deeper lycopene pinks.  As the color intensity increases you need to start to consider a flower's resitance to fading or bleaching in the sun.  I will add purple to the list as I have not been all that impressed with some of the purples I have grown.  I would like one that is a strikingly vibrant purple with ultra-modern form and superb growth habits and reblooms well.

There is still work to be done with the blues as well.  I am currently working with Navajo Jewel to improve the clarity, intensity and substance of blues.  This can also be applied to the gray-blues such as Song of Norway and others.

You might also consider purple spathes as a character to look at while you are browsing the parentals and seedling patch.  It is a genetically dominant characteristic for me so far and an added bonus in the appearance of a variety.  It is also usually associated with Purple based foliage.

There are also other characteristics that are "hot" to consider, but a really personal preferences.  Bubble ruffling, plant proportion( MTB, BB, IB,  or TB).  Color breaking flowers a newer and apealling to some.  You will want to do some reaech on this before you start working on color breaking ( CB) flowers.  Space age flowers are also hot... do some research on this characteristic also.  Stalk strength is of significant improtance as well as upright foliage.  

Depending on your hybridizing goals, plannning crosses is important.  Surprises are part of the fun and how significant avances are made sometimes.  Very rarely have I gotten what I wanted in the first generation.  However I hadn't planned on getting it in the first generation either.  That wasn't my goal, but the surprises on the way there have been interesting.  Besides, whether you want them or not you will have some surprises.  Use them to your advantage.  Keep in mind that the carotenoid dotted plicatas (Light Beam, Champaign Time, Orange Plume, Waltz Across Texas and others) were derived form cultivars that were anthocyanin plicatas in brown, red and purple combinations and the anthocyanin was reduced or made to a recessive white to allow the carotenoids to ahow at the dotting points.  I think many were simply chance occurances on the way to other things the breeders were looking for.

Paul Archer
Raleigh, NC  Zone 7

-----Original Message-----
>From: mahlberg s <s_j_mahlberg@yahoo.com>
>Sent: Jun 4, 2006 4:35 PM
>To: iris@hort.net
>Subject: [iris] HYB: questions...
>I realize that hybridizing is quite an extensively covered topic.
>  I was wondering, besides improved bud count, branching, or basic health/survival of a plant in one's and outside one's location, what are feautures to watch out for?
>  What colors are "hot topics" or things for newbies to hybridizing to consider?
>  I understand that blues, purples, whites have been hybridized into oblivion and there's not much to do with them, it seems.
>   I have a basic "introductory level" knowledge of genetics.
>  I understand that mixing blues and blues or whites and whites, etc is the best way to obtain or attempt improvement on a single color, usually. 
>  My next question concerns the following.
>   I am considering a quality white to hybridize with as improvement of a colored variety seedling of mine that has poor plant features.
>   Am I mistakenly thinking that the results of a white crossed to a colored f1 seedling will result in a number of color f2 seedlings similar to the f1 seedling parent? Or are there too many factors, because whites come from whites, blues, and other colors that I would have to know the parents and grandparents of the particular white I consider using in my hybridizing venture to make sure no hidden surprises show up in my f2 seedling patch?
>  thanks so much for the advice,
>  steve m zone 4b northeastern minnesota
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