Re: Hosta Questions!
>more and more, I grow most ly my crosses. They do give me a much
>higher percentage of "keepers" than growing "open pollinated"
In some cases controlled pollinates are more desirable, but sometimes
OP seed can be quite useful. It depends to a great extent what your
goals are. Maybe some people will think I'm being too ruthless, but I
start selecting the seedlings when they are at about the two leaf
stage when I generally transfer them to small 2 inch pots. I don't
have that much shaded area for growing hosta seedlings to maturity and
I have some ideas of what I am looking for. One of my goals is just
to produce some nice seedlings that I can sell locally at a low price.
OP seed works quite well for this.
However, there is other reasons why using OP seed can be useful. Last
year I germinated quite a few seedlings from the Japanese species and
some other small leafed and interesting hostas that probably have not
been used much in hybridizing from OP seed. I was mainly interested
in hybrids of these with large leafed hostas because I want to see
what the segregation looks like in the F2 generation. It really
doesn't make too much difference to me just exactly what large leafed
hosta is the pollen parent - it's the large leafed trait that I am
look for. I selected out only about a half dozen to maybe at most a
dozen seedlings from each pod parent. I could have made controlled
crosses, but I don't think I would have gotten anything better then
what I did get. It's the recombination of the genes in the F2
generation that I'm most interested in. After that I may then do more
I should also add that the value of OP seed will depend to some extent
on the quality of the other hostas in the garden that can contribute
pollen. If you have a varied and good collection, then OP seeds from
selected parents can represent a wide array of possible crosses. By
looking at the quality of the OP seeds from given pod parents you can
get some idea of what breeding value the plant may have because you
are seeing the results from a wide assortment of crosses. The only
thing is that you don't know the exact pollen parent of each seedling.
However, if you select the best of these and then intermate them you
are getting the desirable genes from the pod parent combined with a
lot of different genes from different pollen parents that could result
in some interesting combinations.
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