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Re: Blooming seedlings


>I do believe my friend Ron L. will attempt to cross first
>year plants.  How about it Ron, had any success doing this?  It is my
>understanding that making crosses with first year plants is generally 
>not recommended.

There is no reason I can see why one can't or shouldn't make crosses 
on first time bloom.  Yes, you do have the problem that the plant is 
not fully mature and not completely evaluated, but sometimes you want 
to go to the second generation quickly.  I like to make a cross and 
then plan on looking in the F2 generation for introduction quality 
plants, so I want to use the seedlings the first year they bloom.  
Even though you can't fully evaluate a seedling that young you can 
still select out desirable plants to intermate - it's the 
recombination of all those genes that you are interested in.  And as 
Ron stated, you want to use streaked plants before they stabilize.

Sometimes also, a trait will show up that you want to incorporate into 
other breeding lines quickly.  For example, I have one seedling that 
has the most beautiful power blue foliage I've seen.  I'll use that 
seedling even though it hasn't been fully evaluated because I want to 
combine that color with other traits, but I know that I will most 
likely only get what I want in the F2 generation from the original 
cross.  There is no reason for me to wait to use the blue seedling.  

Also, I like to grow out a limited number of self pollinated seedlings 
from particular hostas, both named introductions and seedlings, as 
these selfed progenies give me an insight into the plant's genotype. 
All of my crosses with seedlings are done on greenhouse grown plants, 
so they are a decent size when they bloom the following year.  I 
realize I could probably get some of them to bloom the first year by 
growing them under lights during the winter, but I have found that to 
be more trouble then it is generally worth.

Joe Halinar

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