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It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Posted by zenman Kansas 5b (My Page) on
Tue, Jun 24, 14 at 15:43

Hello everyone,

Welcome to this ongoing message thread. Once again, the previous part of this continuing series, It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 25, has become rather long and slow to load or read, so we are continuing the series here for yet another fresh start.

The same guidelines apply here. Anything remotely related to zinnias is fine. As always, if you have any related pictures, you are invited to post them.

Most of my zinnias have not bloomed out yet, with the exception of my patch of Burpeeana Giants, which have their first blooms and are ready for culling. Among those of my own breeding, I am still getting a number of "tubular" petaled recombinants, like this one.

I am also getting the more "exotic" star-tipped tubular recombinants. The objective of my exotic zinnia breeding is to get each petal to look like a flower in itself. I have made some progress in that direction, like with this current recombinant.

As you all know, botanically, zinnias are composites and each petal is botanically a flower, because it is a plant part that can produce a seed. So I figure that if the petals are going to be flowers botanically, I would enjoy making them look more like flowers.

I look forward to more posts from all of you. My favorite part of growing zinnias is the suspense of watching new blooms appear. They remind me a bit of Forest Gump, and him referring to life as like a box of chocolates, that you never know what you are going to get.

ZM


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

ZM,

Wow! Those last two flowers are so unique! If shown to a gardener who doesn't read this thread, I would guess that he wouldn't recognize these as zinnias. They are pretty, too, and the colors are nice. You're doing a great job in capturing that tubular trait. Looking forward to seeing more! Did you say that the trait skips generations? I have a feeling that that happens some within my X-rolls population, but i"m not sure what causes it. For me, it may be that I'm not controlling the crosses as well as I could.

I think by checking Google Scholar, we may find more info on zinnia research. I saw an example today (Hort Science 33(4): 696-698, 1998 ) that could be interesting, correlating seed morphology with the size of flowers produced from that seed.

Below is the first of my scabious zinnias blooming:

.

Jackie
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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi Jackie,

"Did you say that the trait skips generations? I have a feeling that that happens some within my X-rolls population, but I'm not sure what causes it."

The tubular petaled trait of my original tubular petaled "mutant" (coded E2) is multi-genic, but most of them seem to be recessive genes, such that tubular zinnias crossed with non-tubular zinnias almost always produce non-tubular F1 specimens.

But the tubular genes are not "lost", they are only hidden in the F1 specimens, and in the F2 specimens the tubular genes can reappear in various recombinations. Many of those recombinations are also non-tubular, but some of them are tubular. The various tubular genes reappear in various combinations, such that a variety of tubular forms reappear, many of which are not the original "pure" combination. And by "F2" I mean the usual selfing of the F1 specimens, as well as various crosses between various specimens of the F1 generation.

In either case, recombination of genes occurs in both the production of new pollen cells as well as in the production of new egg cells. Whether the F1 specimens are selfed or intercrossed with sibling F1 specimens, the egg cells and the pollen cells involved contain recombined gene combinations. The recombined egg cells have their own combinations which represent "virtual" zinnia specimens which we never see. Likewise, the recombined pollen cells contain a combination of genes of a "virtual" zinnia that we never see.

If those pollen cells were tissue-cultured into haploid plants, then we would see what the virtual combinations looked like, and the chromosomes of those haploids could be doubled with colchicine or an equivalent compound to create a fertile diploid of the virtual zinnia, which would no longer be virtual.

But the realities of selfing the F1 specimens or intercrossing the F1 specimens are that virtual egg cell recombinations are combined with virtual pollen cell recombinations to create the hybrid combinations that we see in "F2" specimens. The mathematical variety of egg cell genetics and the mathematical variety of the pollen cell genetics mean that the "F2" generation can contain many new and unique combinations of the original genes.

So, in simple terms, yes, the tubular traits do "skip" a generation, but they re-emerge in a variety of new forms, some of which can closely resemble the original tubular form and some of which can differ significantly from the original form, although still under the umbrella term "tubular".

My original star-petaled mutant (coded G13) had the star petal genes and was also a single bloom, in that it had only a single row of petals. They are apparently separate sets of genes, in that "singleness" and "star tips" can appear independently. And we have seen that zinnia "doubleness" can appear in various degrees, from very double to semi-double. The petals in a zinnia bloom can be very close together, just somewhat close, or rather wide apart, as in this current recombinant specimen.

A side view shows that the angle of the petals also varies.

I like that specimen, because if I am going to portray the petals as separate flowers, it helps not to have them all jammed together. Incidentally, some of the florets in that scabious specimen you just showed are structurally very similar to the petals in some of my "exotic" forms. They also have "tubes" ending in star tips. More later. Oh, and thanks for the reference to Google Scholar. That can be a helpful resource.

ZM

This post was edited by zenman on Thu, Jun 26, 14 at 11:56


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Oh, I just love it when you folks talk all technical-like! ;)

But seriously, JG - am I reading that article correctly that the author is saying there is greater chance of double flowered zinnias if one chooses the thin ray floret seeds as opposed to the wide ray floret seeds or the disc seeds, which I think ZM told me disc refers to the main petals? I should make this a focus of my experiments. Well, or I would if I was approaching this in a properly disciplined fashion. I've already started off well - I neglected to make any real markers designating which is what. But I told myself that, after all, I should be able to tell the difference when they bloom between Cactus, Green Envy, Scabious, and Whirligigs. I sort of know what went where...:)

Lovely flowers, BTW, you guys. I have one starting bloom now, but it's such a tiny bloom, I figure it's sort of a "starter" - I'll wait till the second bloom before I dignify it with a pic.

- Alex



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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

That last star-tip zinnia is perhaps the most bizarre zinnia I have ever seen! You really should make a strain of such plants.

I had a seedling from the Bernard's Giants which had short little tubes where the ray petal surrounded the center of the floret and formed a short tube, with the petal enveloping it, kind of like a nasturtium leaf. I hope at least a few of that zinnias seed found it into my patch! Have you seen such a thing in zinnias?


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi Alex,

"...there is greater chance of double flowered zinnias if one chooses the thin ray floret seeds as opposed to the wide ray floret seeds or the disc seeds, which I think ZM told me disc refers to the main petals?"

We might have a communication problem. Maybe not. But I wouldn't say that disc refers to the main petals. I consider the main petals to be the botanical "ray flowers". The classic botanical nomenclature for composite daisy-like flowers is that the disc flowers are in the middle (the round disc-shaped circular area) and the ray flowers are the long strap-like petals radiating out from the edge of the disc.

There is enough variation in the zinnia flower forms that we are working with that the "daisy" model is inadequate. Typically the "wide" floret seeds (the classic zinnia florets being the fuzzy yellow pollen-bearing "starfish" parts) are the disc seeds. In reality, the floret (disc) seeds come in many sizes, shapes, colors, and descriptions. The petal seeds show less variation, but can vary in shape from wide to narrow and from small to large. I haven't noticed any correlation between seed appearance and bloom doubleness, but I have noticed a correlation between petal shape and petal seed shape (long narrow petal seeds tend to be attached to long narrow petals).

When you have saved a lot of zinnia seeds, it would be nice to have some way of picking out the "good" ones. But when I have bought a package of zinnia seeds, I have paid enough per seed that I am not going to be discarding any of them. I will plant them all and do my culling at first bloom.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi Goclon,

"I had a seedling from the Bernard's Giants which had short little tubes where the ray petal surrounded the center of the floret and formed a short tube, with the petal enveloping it, kind of like a nasturtium leaf."

I have not seen one like that, but if I did, I would use every bit of the pollen from that flower on itself and other zinnia flowers. Did you mean Benary's Giants?

I do like unusual zinnia flower forms, mainly just because they make the zinnia garden more interesting. I especially like the one that you commented on, but I don't consider it to be an ultimate -- I would like the ends of the petals to have a lot more "stuff".

This will be an interesting Summer for me, because I will have more zinnias coming into bloom that have similar parentage to that specimen. It may be a little brash of me to say it, but I am reminded of that show-business saying that "You haven't seen anything yet." Let's hope that those developing recombinant zinnias have some more surprises for us.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi!

ZM, your tubular example there is very interesting because of the lengths of the tubes you have there! Really great selective breeding! And, patient breeding! I know you like the "airy" look in zinnias..

With respect to F1 offspring, I understand that you have recessive traits with the tubular flowers, so you would expect to get essentially no tubular flowers in a cross with a non-tubular flower that wasn't of the (tubular) line you are working with.. What I wanted to know is if when selfing the tubular flowers, you get 100% tubulars in the F1. I was saying before that when I self the extreme roll flowers, I don't get 100% extreme roll offspring (sad to say!).

I think that the jist of that paper I referred to is that the authors found (in two strains of zinnias) that usually zinnias with a single layer of petals (ray flowers) tend to have wider seeds. And, the very double large blooms tend to have narrower seeds. So, if workers in the field harvest seeds of a mix of single- and double-petaled flowers then the seeds can be assorted by size to try to select the seeds from the double-petaled flowers. Double-petaled flowers' seeds in that study tended to yield mostly, if not all, plants with double-petaled flowers. And the seeds coming from the disk florets in double-petaled flowers tended to give a lower percentage of double-petaled offspring than the seeds coming from ray flowers.

Alex, as ZM said, the disk flowers are the flowers right in the center of the zinnia, with a yellow appearance (usually), and they are the ones that shed pollen. Some very full zinnias with a lot of rays (what you would consider petals) never produce disc flowers. There is a description of zinnia anatomy in this blog I just found: http://staygouldponyboy.blogspot.com/2013/05/anatomy-of-zinnia.html (Gould Zinnia Experiment; contributors listed on that site). I notice they used a photo of pollen I had submitted to this thread some time ago, LOL.

Goclon, I hope what you described is something you find this year! We would love to see it! I'm not sure what you mean by nasturtium leaf. All of the nasturtium leaves here are flat and almost round..

I have nothing unusual to show, but here is one of the Whirligigs blooming for me now. There is hardly a typical Whirligig, as they come in many forms. This one I can tell is a Whirligig because it is orange with purple center, The light petals in the middle most likely will mature to orange with purple in the center.

.

Jackie


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi Jackie,

That's a pretty Whirligig type. Actually, in your garden, that may be a recombinant. And I am now wondering if your "secret sauce" with respect to the Extreme Rolls might be those Peruvianas. I have had a few, but never seriously crossed them because of their inconveniently small florets and stigmas (and small unimpressive flowers). But now I may grow some indoors and make a serious attempt to get some Peruviana genes into my gene pool.

" ...What I wanted to know is if when selfing the tubular flowers, you get 100% tubulars in the F1. "

That is a very good and pertinent question, but I can't answer that for certain. With bee pollination still a factor, it is possible that an intended "self" could actually be a cross with something else. Another complication is the "inaccessible" tubular stigmas. The floret seeds of tubulars are reasonably certain selfs, and there are usually a good number of them, so I depend on them for selfs. But I have become fairly adept at exposing the stigmas in the tubes and pollinating them, and for some reason I always cross pollinate them, frequently with selected non-tubulars. In recent times those "selected non-tubulars" have been G13 or G13 progeny (the star tipped phenotype). The tubulars still have the mystery that some specimens manage to have a high yield of petal seeds that I did not expose the stigmas on -- that were somehow "naturally pollinated". I tend to plant those seeds because that might prove to be a good trait. Though that is not a certainty.

" ...I was saying before that when I self the extreme roll flowers, I don't get 100% extreme roll offspring (sad to say!)."

I'm not certain what the explanation of that is. One possibility is that the Extreme Roll trait is dominant, but that some of your Extreme Roll specimens are a hybrid between Extreme Roll and some competing trait that is recessive. Selfing such an Extreme Roll would allow the recessive non-ER trait to make an appearance in the recombining process. Even crossing one such heterozygous ER with another heterozygous ER would allow a percentage of non ER progeny. Of course, all of that speculation is based on the assumption that ER is dominant, and that may not be the case. I hope you get more Extreme Rolls this year.

I wouldn't rule out the possibility that at some time in the future some seed company might make you an attractive offer for your seed stock of the Extreme Rolls. And those white backside petals have potential, too. In a few years my "exotics" might have advanced to a point where they also could be worthy of such an offer.

This started for me as just a hobby and nothing more, and that is still the case, but I am kind of "bowled over" by the progress I have made with the help of some lucky mutations and a lot of cross pollination. It's like, you have to be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

A few years ago I took the liberty of "blowing up" one of your Extreme Roll pictures, because I felt it deserved more attention. That was back when Garden Web allowed us to post large pictures. Do you mind if I try to repeat that with that same picture, here where I could show it at the forum limit of 550 pixels, but linkable to a larger 1000 pixel version, like all of the pictures I am currently posting? I will understand if you prefer that I not do that, because you have had your pictures misused by others without your permission quite enough. More later.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi Folks,
Oops! Got it backwards about the ray and the disc florets, did I? And Jackie, are you saying that you don't think the seed morphology can be used in a more general sense? Killjoy! :)
OMG - that is a mega-beautiful whirligig! I'm wondering why it is that I have not previously been much attracted to them, aside from size (I like the larger flowered zinnias the best)? You know, I'm thinking it's because they are too random. As you and ZM are schooling me, there is little standardization to them - they can look like most anything. Not that I'm against surprises, but I guess I like to see drifts of a same plant and color, instead of a polka-dot effect of color. As for instance, I only bought Blue Daddy petunias, instead of a mix of colors. Oh, well - just me.
Decided that the little first zinnia bloom looked better this morning now that it had a chance to finish opening, so here it is, spider webbing and all. It should be a scabious, and it does look to be, though not much of a crest on this one.
first zinnia blooming - scabious photo firstzinnia-scabious_zpsd2283548.jpg

And I can't resist posting a second pic to show the progression of some of the rest of the garden. Aren't the Red Acre cabbage in that center bed lovely? LOL
- Alex

cole crops, Samhain's pond and tomato trellis photo colecropsandSamhainspond_zpsfeeaf6f2.jpg


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

It kind of looks like that. The nasturtium comparison was the closest thing to a perforate pattern, although the petal is far off the center. The large flat thing is the petal


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi Goclon,

That sketch indicates a narrow tubular petal with a very large flare-out. I think that little "dimple" in the left-hand side of the petal is a hole that goes down inside the narrow tube. You are describing a variation of a tubular petaled mutant that I have not seen, although I have seen some tubular petals that had a flared ending maybe one third as large as in your sketch.

" I hope at least a few of that zinnias seed found it into my patch! "

Me too. If you should get one or more zinnias like that, give them special care and mark them in some way so that you will know to save seeds from them. And use their pollen to self them or to cross with other zinnias that you like. If you cross a mutant like that with a "regular" zinnia, there is a good chance that the hybrid will not have those special petals. But don't despair -- save seeds from that hybrid and it is possible the special petal form will reappear in the progeny of the hybrid, perhaps in a somewhat modified form.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi everyone,

I grew zinnias all Winter and got two generations successfully in my indoor gardening of zinnias. All Winter I was in a running battle with Thrips. I believe the species was the Western Flower Thrips. I used Imidacloprid in the nutrient mix because it is taken up systemicly and is transmitted throughout the plant as it grows. Zinnia blooms that seemed to be Thrips infested despite the systemic Imidacloprid got a light spraying with Acephate, and that seemed to work well, but Acephate stinks, so I limited my use of it to just the most choice breeder specimens.

I started some seedlings from my second generation breeders to set into the garden after the last frost. I gave them nutrients with full strength Imidacloprid as an anti-thrips measure. I fully expected the systemic Imidacloprid to protect my seedlings against the Thrips. I was wrong, and the Thrips attacked my zinnia seedlings in great numbers, wreaking disfiguring damage to all of them and killing nearly half of them outright.

I placed the survivors in the shade on the deck, to let them acclimatize to an outdoor environment. And since they were now outside, I applied the recommended dose of Acephate in their nutrient water. The Acephate, and possibly the Sun and the Kansas wind, killed the Thrips almost instantly. Horribly distorted growth gave way to rapid healthy normal zinnia growth, and soon the seedlings were ready for placement in the garden.

There was an unexpected benefit of sorts from that Thrips attack. The Thrips destroyed the growing points of many of the seedlings, which was equivalent to "pinching them". I don't usually "pinch" my breeders, because I want to get to the first bloom culling phase as soon as possible. But the Thrips did some "pinching" at various stages of the seedling growth. One surprise for me was this zinnia plant (picture taken today).

The growing point of that plant was killed after the first pair of true leaves. That is much earlier than I would have ever tried. But two branches arose from the seed leaf bases and two branches arose from the two "true leaf" bases, creating a plant with 4 well developed branches. It looks different, but kind of good. The best time to pinch a zinnia may come earlier than I thought. More later. I will research better controls for indoor thrips on zinnias this Summer. I want to be ready for them next Winter.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi everyone,

I took this picture yesterday. I imagine that the little grasshopper thinks that this tubular petaled zinnia has his favorite color.

That is one of those hard-to-name zinnia colors. Something like an old ivory color. I noticed that the grasshopper and the zinnia had nearly the same color, whatever it is. That zinnia is not particularly good as it stands, but it might cross well with some other zinnia.

I have noticed quite a few young grasshoppers on my zinnias lately, which worries me a bit. In the past, grasshoppers have not actually eaten any significant amount of my zinnias, although they do visit them fairly frequently. When it comes to eating, it seems that grasshoppers live up to their name, and prefer to eat grass. Which we have an abundance of. More later. We got about a quarter of an inch of rain yesterday. It was needed. We could use some more.

ZM



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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi everyone,

ZM, I think your tubular flowers have a lot of commercial potential! I think the challenge of getting them there is a lot of fun because you see all of the things that can happen with the crosses! The color you have in that last tubular does match the grasshopper, or v.v. Maybe he is a little like a chameleon and can change his color to match the background.

The only visible trouble I have had with bugs this past month has been the presence of little white bugs that leave fuzzy white powder all over the leaves. Sometimes they can do damage if I don't get to them quickly enough...possibly they are mealybugs..

ZM, if you want, you are welcome to reshow any of the photos I have posted here before. Here are several extreme rolls that are in my garden now:

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This second one is not so extreme, but has a nice change of color from the usual purple shade:

.

Goclon, I hope you get a repeat of the petal type you showed. That would be a new type on this thread, and definitely unusual!

Alex, your garden looks really good. Veggies doing extremely well! You have to have patience with the scabious zinnias. I have never gotten a pack of seed that has even come close to getting 30% of the scabious flower type in the resulting plants.

Jackie


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi Jackie,

That first Extreme Roll is an excellent example of the impact of that flower form. I like the long narrow petals, the "spikey look" that they give to the bloom, and there is a lot of space between the petals , such that the bloom has that "airy" "see-through" look that I like.

Continuing with the grasshopper theme, here is a picture I took yesterday of a little green grasshopper on one of my recombinant "exotic" zinnias.

There is no evidence that he took a bite out of my zinnia, although there is evidence that the grasshopper "disrespected" the zinnia. More later.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Disrespected? You mean he pooped on it? Lol!


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

ZM - I'd say you nailed the color, calling it old ivory. Watch out for those grasshoppers - they may be small disrespectful punks now, but they too fast become garden thugs! My main problems right now are slugs. All the moisture we've had and the place is overrun. They especially love my marigolds and have eaten some down to the stalk. I haven't done anything about them except engage in slug-flinging. Not particularly effective against the horde, but still somewhat satisfying.

Jackie - Those are very striking blooms. I especially like the rolled pink petals with the contrasting yellow spoon-tips.
Waiting impatiently for my second bloom to open. Looks like whirligigs are going to be next.

- Alex


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi Alex,

"My main problems right now are slugs. All the moisture we've had and the place is overrun. They especially love my marigolds and have eaten some down to the stalk. I haven't done anything about them except engage in slug-flinging. Not particularly effective against the horde, but still somewhat satisfying. "

During extended wet periods (we haven't had one for the last few years, and we are several inches below average for the year right now), we can have slugs here. I get reasonable control of them by sprinkling a product called Sluggo around my plants that I want to protect. Its active ingredient is iron phosphate, which occurs in small amounts in the soil. Unlike the metaldehyde based products, Sluggo can be safely used around pets and wildlife, and is effective against slugs and snails. Apparently their metabolisms can't handle an overdose of iron. As it eventually becomes a part of the soil, it supplies the plant nutrients phosphorous and iron.

There is a more expensive version called Sluggo Plus that I have not used, but it also contains Spinosad in addition to iron phosphate, and controls more pests than just slugs and snails.

I'm hoping that my grasshoppers don't become a problem. In the past they have relied on grass as their food supply and just wander into the garden from time to time, without being a problem. Wooly worms can gobble zinnias rather fast in the Fall, but I just hand pick them. The Nine Spotted Cucumber Beetles were a problem when we were growing things that they liked, like cucumbers, muskmelons or cantaloupes, or watermelons and such. I quit growing watermelons and musk melons/cantaloupes just to cut down on the Nine Spotted Cucumber Beetles, and that seems to have made them much less numerous. I did control their activities somewhat by hand picking them, although that can be a bit tedious and tricky, because they are skittish and drop when disturbed. That habit can be used against them by positioning one hand beneath them before going after them with the other hand. I am not an organic gardener, but I prefer to avoid insecticides whenever possible.

ZM
(not associated with any product or vendor mentioned or linked)



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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi everyone,

New recombinants continue to bloom out. Many are culls, and they get pulled up and put in the trash to go to the landfill. A few are oddballs like this one.

It has tubular-type petals, but instead of flaring out at the end, the tubes actually seem to almost pinch closed. There is still a hole at the end, but the inside petal color can barely be seen. I think it is a pink. I'm not culling it, because it is somewhat of a novelty. The petal exteriors are somewhat whitish. I'll probably cross it with something, just to see what develops. More later. We got a light shower, but we still need more rain.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

I'm kind of sad. Every single zinnia bush I have has opened up at least one bloom, and every single one of them is solid yellow, except for 2 zinnias I have in a container! They are pinkish.


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hello!

ZM, I think Indiana is getting its share of rain along with that of Kansas! It is jungle-like outside now, and it seems we have been getting record amounts of rain interspersed with hot, sunny, humid days. Last night we had about 3/4" along with an inch of rain from the day before, and the wind was terrible. My task today will be picking up huge branches that were torn out of the trees, and pulling up my dwarf apple tree that was blown over. In addition, about 1/4 of my main plot of zinnias was flattened, and I am hoping they revive somewhat so that I don't have to stake them. So with those, and a patch of about 40 corn plants I was trying to grow, and was also flattened, I will take the "hands off" approach and see how they manage to right themselves. Tonite we are expecting another round of storms.

ZM, that last flower was bizarre, and I hope you are able to get more. That is almost a lethal mutation, as I doubt if the flower would have a chance to produce many seeds without some help. If you get a chance, please do show it when it is totally open.

Alex, you mentioned "spoon tips." Here is an example of one of my spoon-tipped zinnias, up from the general mix of seeds that I have:

June 30 005

Zinnias show lots of somatic mutations, that aren't inherited. Here are "conjoined twins" :

June 30 006

I'm jealous of ZM's tubular zinnias. Last year, I had a partially-tubular salmon-colored zinnia, and so I saved the seeds. Here is the first of the offspring (looking just the same as last year!):

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Desirai, don't be disappoined that you have just a few colors. The ones you have are nice, and being in a more southern zone, you can either run to a store and buy some more zinnia seeds, or go online and order some from one of the reputable seed dealers (Park, Burpee, Stokes, and many more). I bet if you planted in the next week, you can still get more zinnias in other colors. Here is a yellow scabious that I have now:

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Finally, here is another rolled flower, with more red:

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With all the rain we have had, I am surprised I haven't seen more slugs, but they are few and far between. I have a small shady spot in my garden, where I put hostas, and they seem to be doing alright. In the past, I have tried pouring diatomaceous earth around the base of the plants. It seemed to be somewhat effective, but I hated working with that stuff!

Jackie

This post was edited by jackier_gardener on Tue, Jul 1, 14 at 14:47


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

That peachy tubular zinnia is quite attractive! Hope one of those pop up in my patch! How long does it normally take zinnias to bloom? I planted m seeds in mid-April, and I have yet to see a flower...


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Goclon,

The salmon color of my "semi-tubular" flower is OK, but the form is pretty bad! There is a mix of both tubular and non-tubular petals, and it would be so nice to have all tubular petals! Back to the breeding board, o dear...

You definitely should have seen flowers by now. Usually here in Indiana it takes about 6 weeks to get flowers from seed. Do you have your plants in full sun? What kind of soil do you have? Post a photo of your plants if you can.

Below is another flower here, accented in white:

.

Jackie


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi Goclon,

"How long does it normally take zinnias to bloom? I planted my seeds in mid-April, and I have yet to see a flower..."

It may be that zinnias are slower to come into bloom in your latitude. For me, normally zinnias open their first main bloom in 6 to 8 weeks from germination. For indoor growth under fluorescent lights with the timer set for 16 hours of light, I have gotten blooms in 5 weeks from inserting the seed in the growing medium. If you pinch the first bud to encourage bushiness, that can add 2 or 3 weeks.

Actually, it is not necessarily the best to get a quick bloom. I wish I knew some way to encourage the plant to develop a big bush before blooming. I guess pinching a lot of buds would be one way to do that. But it would be nice if the plant would make a good bush without all that pinching. I am starting to think along the line of plant development as well as flower development.

"That peachy tubular zinnia is quite attractive! Hope one of those pop up in my patch! "

It's possible that you could get a tubular zinnia. They aren't super rare. Jackie's peachy tubular is attractive. It differs from most of mine in having a larger tube diameter. Mine tend to have narrower tubes, like this current bloom.

I hope to get some specimens with wider tubes, just to broaden the variety of my tubular specimens. Perhaps if I cross some of my tubulars with some larger zinnias, I could get something like that in the future. I like growing and breeding zinnias, because they always have a promise of something better in the future.

ZM

This post was edited by zenman on Wed, Jul 2, 14 at 12:35


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Here's a picture of a purple zinnia that just opened up! It's in the flowerbox at the end of my driveway! :) (sorry for camera phone picture!)


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hello everyone,

I am actually still planting my Fall crop zinnias, and probably will be doing that for the next few days. The weather is unseasonably cool and nice.

Desirai,

No need to apologize, your camera phone picture is quite good, and shows the details of the zinnia very well. I'm not good at naming zinnia colors, but I was going to call that zinnia a lavender, but it is a little pinker than what I usually call lavender, so I am going to call that zinnia "orchid" colored. I like it that the center color matches the petal's color. I agree with Jackie, that you probably have time this year to buy and plant some mixed color zinnias seeds for a Fall display.

Jackie,

I had forgotten how good your spoon petaled zinnias look. That is yet another good unique zinnia flower form. I suspect your spoon petaled zinnias share some genes in common with your extreme roll strain. I don't have anything like your spoon-petaled strain. I continue to have some interesting tubulars with various petal-end treatments, like this specimen for example.

Those petal ends remind me of cartoon-character hands. I don't know whether those star-tipped genes are at work in that specimen or not. I plan to put the pollen from tubulars like that one onto some of my Burpeeanas. The F1s might conceal the tubularity, but the F2s could yield a few variations of the tubular petal form. I think of that as giving the tubular form a "round trip" through the Burpeeanas. More later. I am still busy planting my Fall crop of zinnias.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hello!

Desirai, your lavender zinnia is really nice and full! Let it go for awhile,and you should be able to get a number of seeds from it! You could cross it with some of your yellows to see what the offspring might be, or self it to ensure production of seeds.

ZM, the last two tubulars you showed both had irregular edges on the tubes and the colors are good. In the last one, it even appears that some of the petals are arising from the disc part of the flower. Could that be a contribution from a scabious line? It seems for the last one, you could simply drop pollen from the disc flowers right into the tubes...but then crossing it with the Burpeanas might give you some interesting results...maybe HUGE tubular flowers!

Here are several of my flowers, the first in red:

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I mentioned earlier that heavy rain and wind flattened a number of my zinnias. The extreme roll population was relatively untouched except for a few plants. When righting the plant with the following flower, I accidentally broke the flower off the stem. The plants are very fragile and easy to break now because they are hydrated, but I hate to leave them down too long or they start to bend and grow in many ways to reach the sun. Anyway, this next flower is unusual because it is part rolled, part normal:

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Jackie


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

I'm enjoying seeing all the exotic hybrids, you guys! That watermelon and purple spoon-tipped bloom is fantastic, Jackie! So far I haven't attempted any crosses since none of my cactus zinnias have bloomed and I'm more interested in trying to get a larger cross with some of them. But I've also been preoccupied with the rest of the garden - and with big mating moths, of all things. :)

All of the blooming zinnias appear to be the scabious, and though pretty, they none of them have a high crest. I'll still try to make some crosses with their blooms once my cactus zinnias open. I'll have to review your notes when the time comes, ZM.

Still having issues with slugs, and some disease on the zinnias which has blackened in some places some of the lower leaves. A few of the zinnias may not make it as a result, but the others seem to have gotten past it, and all new growth is healthy and full.

- Alex

 photo scabious-orange_zps499add2d.jpg

scabious - white photo scabious-white_zps4d3057f5.jpg

 photo scabious-pink_zpsb66d76ea.jpg


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hello,

Desirai, I wonder what color you would get if you crossed your lavender-orchid zinnia with some of your yellow zinnias. Maybe a brown zinnia is possible.

Alex, your experience with off-type scabiosa flowered zinnias is typical. I have gotten as few as one good one in 20 plants. Besides their unusual flower form, the scabious zinnias tend to have extra bushy plants that flower over an extended time. So from the standpoint of a plant breeder, getting a small percentage of "good" zinnias is acceptable. You have done a good job of photographing some of your off-type scabis. That fly on your last picture is of a species that is common around here. They don't bite and they seem "clean" compared to houseflies. They seem to think my sweat is delicious.

Jackie, your extreme roll red specimen is great, and that flower form gives zinnias a whole new look. I notice that some of its pollen florets have six arms rather than the usual five arms. That part-rolled part-"normal" specimen is something new. I suspect that the extreme rolls, like so many zinnia traits, are influenced and controlled by more than one gene. And that is good. It just means that we can get a greater variety of new zinnia forms in our recombinants.

This is a newly blooming recombinant of the "Razzle Dazzle" type.

That bloom is rather small. This is a somewhat larger specimen of the Razzle Dazzle flower form.

My Razzle Dazzles need some significant improvement in both flower size and color range. I need to cross them with some bigger zinnias in a variety of colors. Have a fun and safe Fourth of July you all.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

ZM - those two razzle dazzles make me think of a jewel brooch, so your name for them fits them well.
Have elected not to stay in the village tonight for the fireworks, though John will be there to see that no one sets fire to the shop in their holiday enthusiasm. :) There is an annual professional show put on (that we all chip in for), that's really worth the viewing, but I'm tired, so to all a good night and Happy 4th!


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

ZM,

The Razzle Dazzles were appropriate for the 4th of July...they look like tiny firecrackers on a stem! The colorful tips ending in yellow are something you definitely want to continue in your lines!

Alex, looking to see some of your whirligigs and cactuses (cacti?) when they bloom! Sooner or later, you should get at least one scabious with the frilly center--what you see is very typical for plants from a pack of scabious seeds!.

I am getting quite a few extreme rolled flowers this summer--would sure like to see more color in them though! I have started to make some crosses. I notice the birds are already stealing seeds from my zinnias!

.

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Jackie


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi Jackie,

That first curved petal uprolled specimen manages to look very similar to a tubular petaled zinnia. I am glad that you are getting a good number of extreme roll specimens this year, and that you are crossing them with other zinnias to expand their color range. So far this year the birds have not been a problem for me, but I will have to watch for that.

This recently opened recombinant is labeled at the end of the row as containing star-tipped genes, but it has the appearance of a Whirligig-scabious combination.

I didn't notice that bit of aerial seed fluff when I took the picture. Crossing the exotics with scabious zinnias was on my to-do list, but I wasn't expecting that it was, in effect, already done. The scabious central parts may be star-tipped tubes mimicking scabious parts. You can see them in a little more detail by clicking on the picture and using the F11 key like I have mentioned before. This zinnia is a bit of a mystery, but I would like to self this specimen and cross it with other zinnias as well. I still intend to cross the exotics with scabious zinnias to increase the range of their variability. More later. This zinnia is another example of those surprises that zinnias can do.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi Alex,

"...those two razzle dazzles make me think of a jewel brooch, so your name for them fits them well."

Those new zinnias closely resembled a strain of Gaillardia named "Razzle Dazzle", so the name seemed appropriate. I consider my present specimens as just a starting point for the new zinnia strain. I will be crossing my current specimens (I now have several) with bigger zinnias like Burpeeana Giants and large recombinants to increase their size and broaden their color range.

"Have elected not to stay in the village tonight for the fireworks, ...There is an annual professional show put on (that we all chip in for), that's really worth the viewing."

Our nearby town has been putting on a fireworks show every year that we skipped going to. This year we decided to go, and the show far exceeded our expectations. There have been some amazing improvements in professional grade fireworks technology. Some Whirligig zinnias remind me of fireworks exploding in the sky.

Getting that white-tipped effect on a dark "spider flowered" zinnia could look even more like a fireworks starburst. Selecting the right parents for such a cross is on my "to do" list. More later. I hope you get some interesting Whirligig blooms.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Here's a zinnia from my dad's garden. This was the only one that was open when I took the pics.


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

ZM - still waiting for my whirligigs. Looks like the Green Envy may bloom next, though a couple of the cactus are coming along fast now.

I do like those zinnias you posted above - I remember them from before; very striking with the bright tips to the ends of the dark petals.

Hope I have something I want to cross soon. :)

Alex


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

ZM,

That scabious-whirligig hybrid is very pretty... I would accept that as an end-product, and try to keep flowers like that going! It just has a lot of things going for it like the colors, and the florets in the center.

Desirai, your pink zinnia looks like an example of the Benary strain...I always like to grow some of those every year because of the many petals they have and the wide range of colors they come in., and these can be passed on to future generations.

Here are some of the zinnias I've seen in the last days. This one has a little more color:

.

This one was interesting with loosely rolled petals:

zinniaA 7-6-14

This one is very extreme:

.

This one appears to be a tubular one...waiting for it to fully open:

.

Jackie


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi Jackie,

You continue to amaze me. That "very extreme" raises the bar. I actually consider it to be a new form. And the one that appears to be tubular is also a new form. I suspect that it may actually be just a more fully rolled petal rather than a true tubular, but it could be that some of those petals are actually tubular. If just fully rolled, you are getting the advantage of the tubular look without the disadvantage of inaccessible stigmas.

And your first two are also very desirable. Your rolled petals are very versatile, by expressing themselves with a variety of different looks, each of which could be the basis for a new strain of zinnias.

This is one of my current recombinant "improved" tubular petaled specimens.

I consider its narrower longer more pointed leaves to be an advantage. I am beginning to be more aware of the plants that are bearing the flowers. I now find myself culling "substandard" tubular petaled specimens. I have a lot of cross-pollinating to do in order to improve my exotics in size and in color range. More later. You have just shown us some very exciting zinnias.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

ZM,

That last flower has a wonderful color...I love that pink! I remember from past seasons how you really prefer the narrow leaves, and with this plant, you have just the right combination! Also, I see that the ends of the petals have the fancy edges. It will be interesting to see what you do further with this line.

Here are some more of the line I have here. There is certainly a lot of variation among them. The next one will have a lot of petals when fully opened.

.

The next one looks a little like a star.

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Like many of the extreme roll line, this flower has thin, flattened petals.

.

Jackie


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Wow! All these different shapes are really bowling me over! "These are not your mother's zinnias" to misquote a phrase.
Excuse me...I have to go hurry along my cactus z's into opening...
- Alex


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi there,

Alex, maybe if you talk to your cactus zinnias they will open faster. But seriously, don't expect too much from them, or expect too little. Zinnias can have some very fine nuances of variation that you might not notice at first glance. A few years ago I had a zinnia that was especially attractive to ants. Come to think of it, I think I still have some seeds from that one -- I'll include a few of them in my Fall crop.

Jackie, you could probably segregate at least half a dozen great new zinnia strains from your extreme rolled seed stock. You have shown us several distinctly different looks of your extreme rolls, and I suspect that several genes must be involved with them. Some, perhaps all, of those genes may be recessive, so there may be many of them still hidden in your seed stock, just waiting for the right recombination of genes to bring them out. More extreme roll forms may appear, and that "very extreme" specimen you showed last Sunday makes me expect the possibility of a very very extreme variant with almost thread-like petals. In any case, future recombinations may produce some interesting new zinnias.

Some of my recombinant specimens involving both tubular and star-tipped genes combine those genes to produce the "razzle dazzle" form that I like, and this is such a specimen.

I was concerned that the brown tips in the original star-tipped mutant might appear in all of the star tips. Some brown tips have occurred (I don't like them) but in many cases the brown tips are modified to non-brown. Some of the tips of this recombinant have a bit of white, and I don't mind that. That cross has worked out better than I expected, because the original mutant was kind of awful looking. More later. We had a violent rain storm last night, and I am still "picking up the pieces" from that.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

ZM,

I sympathize with you in regard to the storm. With a lot of wind and rain, it's a disaster for a garden. I am still trying to fix things from the last storm that we had.

Your last flower is another pretty one! I see why you are trying to increase the size. Can you imagine what such a flower would look like if it were cactus-flower sized! I wonder about the brown tips that you see. Are they maybe red and look that way because of the overall pink color? Or could they be a result of weathering or damage to the bud as it was opening?

Alex, looking to see your cactus flowers when they open! You will be surprised at the variety of form that you see...and that makes it interesting.

We had been mentioning earlier flowers whose back sides are white. For me, those flowers also have a different texture. The petals are less thick and have a silky feeling. Here are several I have now:

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I have a rolled flower that also has white on the backs of the petals.

.

Jackie


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

I have begun!
Before I say anything else...
ZM - and this is what you call easy?? I have to have a magnifying glass plus reading glasses to see anything!
To be continued...
- Alex


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hello everyone,

Just wanted to say that these Whirligigs are the happiest looking flowers!

.

.

July 9 006

Jackie


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Whoa, Jackie - I LOVE those! That first one is AMAZING - never seen anything like it. Is it a cross of yours or a straight-out-of-the-packet?

Anyway, here are my selections as of today - I made some crosses with each of these:
white scabious
 photo whitescabious1_zps0912f722.jpg

I think I decided this was actually a whirligig
 photo whirligig3_zps9fcc87bc.jpg

Another whirligig

 photo whirligig2_zps2c923b55.jpg

Nice patterned whirligig - little out of focus...
 photo whirligig1_zps91124536.jpg

Green Envy
 photo greenenvy1_zpsac6f229e.jpg

Cactus, not quite open, but I tried to cross it anyway
 photo cactus1_zpsb850809b.jpg

This is one from cactus seed I saved in 2011 - was surprised to get germination, and I love, love, LOVE this color!!!
 photo cactus2_zps399b8c75.jpg

And a final pic of the zinnia bed with three of my feral garden helpers, taking a break from "helping" me
 photo zinniabedandgardenhelpers2_zps7e5cf17a.jpg


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi everyone,

Alex, that Green Envy looks quite good. The white center is a good feature, and the greenish petals are a good shade. Some Green Envys have much greener petals, and they are a little too green for me. Yours looks good, and is a non-typical version. I'm always looking for non-typical. Cross it with other stuff and put pollen from other stuff on it. "Stuff" being zinnias. That bright scarlet one that you finally decided was a Whirligig is probably an off-type scabious. That pale flesh pink cactus is great. It should make a good "mother" to a lot of hybrids. Remember, it is the F2's that will really give you some variation. The F1 hybrids, although interesting, are just a stepping stone to the F2's, where some real genetic recombination can take place. But you have some good material to work with. And some good "helpers" in those black cats. That last picture is a cozy garden scene.

Jackie, your last Whirligig pictures make a good case for breeding single zinnias. That tricolor is especially spectacular. A plant covered with blooms like that would be a show stopper in a landscape. I think I am going to plant some Oklahomas just to get some bushy plant genes in my gene pool. More later. This is a busy multitasking season for me, with weeding, pollinating, and Fall planting going all-at-once. That last violent rainstorm showed how valuable my zinnia cages could be, and I will be making some more of them in my "spare" time.

ZM

This post was edited by zenman on Sun, Jul 13, 14 at 14:12


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

My purple zinnia!


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hello!

Alex, you've got a good selection of breeding material going! The more diversity you add to your gene pool, the more exciting the next crop of zinnias will be! I do a number of crosses myself, then let the pollinators do some at random, too. For me, the most exciting results have come from those seeds that result from random pollination. But, I will add, there is also very little control there---which is not always the best way to go about a breeding program. ZM tends to get what he is after with a lot of patience, planning and technical skill.

Those Whirligigs I posted here came from a pack of Whirligig seeds from Stokes. There is a huge variety of flowers coming from those, and I just posted some of my favorites. There are a number in that group that show no particular color pattern at all, but there may be other traits, like curly or silky petals.

Oh, your cats are closely monitoring activity in your garden! My cat Betty likes to lead the way when I go into my garden.

.

It's nice to have her company there.

Desirai, your flowers are looking good. Another Benary type with the purple one!

There are many forms of cactus zinnias, and they can usually come up from a single pack of seeds. Here is one I have now...I like this form.

.

Another type of extreme roll:

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Jackie


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Jackie - that's a beautiful gold cactus. The various cactus forms are admittedly my favorites, but this is going to be a great learning experience for me - growing different varieties for the sake of the genes! Who knew I'd like whirligigs so much? They're gorgeous and much bigger than I thought they'd be.

Tell Betty to turn around so we can see her face. :)
- Alex


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hello!

We've got rain today, on and off, and although I would have liked to spend more time with my zinnias, I found that almost overnight, my tomatoes came down with a bad case of early blight, so I spent a lot of time trimmimg them, amd doing what damage control I could. I'm trying to avoid using chemicals, but I know one thing for sure-- the tomatoes will be somewhere else on the property next year, and a lot further apart from each other!

Near the tomatoes, I have some Benary zinnias growing, and I took photos of two. The orange one has some rain and sun damage.

.

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Alex, here is a front view of Betty, the garden cat, sitting on the barn door.

Betty(3)

Jackie


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Jackie - yeah, it's a blight year - probably all the moisture. It's raining here right now, too. I'm not worried, though, as the plants have already set lots of fruit. Unless something drastic happens, we'll still harvest plenty of tomatoes.

And everything else is setting fruit like crazy, though there's some problem with slugs eating some of the squash before they're ready. :( Once again, there's plenty to go around anyway.

Did some crosses this morning before the rains started. I can't see any sign of the ones I'd already done shriveling up like you told me, ZM. I guess it takes more than a couple of days? I did them over again to be sure. We'll see.

Betty's a pretty tortoiseshell girl. Nice pic of her.

- Alex


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi Alex,

"Did some crosses this morning before the rains started. I can't see any sign of the ones I'd already done shriveling up like you told me, ZM. I guess it takes more than a couple of days? I did them over again to be sure."

You should see the stigmas withering a couple of days after a successful pollination. It's best to do the pollination in the morning as the pollen is being pushed out of the yellow floret's internal anther bundle out onto the fuzzy yellow "starfish arms" of the floret. Sometimes you can actually see a tiny pile of pollen in the center of a floret. The exact time in the morning of the emergence of the pollen depends on the local weather conditions. If it is hot and sunny, the pollen will be pushed in the early morning. If cloudy and a little cooler, the pollen will come out a little later in the day.

It's best to use fresh pollen, only a very few hours old at the most. The fresher, the better. Just keep an eye on the emerging pollen florets. The pollen is pushed out of the internal anther bundle by a stigma in the center of the bundle. If you don't use the floret, there is a good chance that the floret stigma will be selfed by the pollen that it is pushing out, and the floret will frequently produce a viable floret seed.

Sometimes when I am saving zinnia seeds I will save the floret seeds in a separate package from the petal seeds. Your successful cross pollinations will almost always be confined to petal seeds. When you are saving seeds from your F1 hybrid plants, you are going for recombinations and the F2 seeds will have recombinations in both the petal seeds and the floret seeds, so F2 floret seeds can be just as useful as F2 petal seeds.

It's cloudy today, so I am doing some later-in-the day cross pollinations. This is a picture of some of the Burpeeana Giants I am using as females for some "exotic" pollen. I hope to increase the size and color range of my "exotics" by making such crosses.

I also have some larger recombinant zinnia specimens that I am using as females for my "exotic" pollen. Some of my recombinants run larger than most of the Burpeeana Giants. More later.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

ZM - OK, I saw the shriveled stigmas this morning, so I'm crossing my fingers that these are my crosses.

I notice my apricot-pink cactus has no little starfish anther bundles - will they show up later?

I can see I'll need to grow some Burpeeana Giants next year - they look very-cactus-ish.

Have been working hard at the shop, but tomorrow I should be able to get out there and make some more crosses. I wish there was some way I could mark which petals exactly were my possible crosses. I even considered using a magic marker to put a little dot on the petal near the stigma, but thought that might be rather ugly, and maybe not effective anyway once the petal browns. Is that being too obsessive-compulsive of me? LOL

- Alex


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

I'm so far behind all of you. We've had such a cool, rainy season. I did see some blossom buds forming on a few of my zinnia plants today. Fortunately, my garden consists of much more than zinnias. I may need to start seeds under lights next year, though. Hopefully this means my plants won't develop the powdery mildew as early as they did last year. There's plenty of room for air movement.LOL.

Martha


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi Alex,

"OK, I saw the shriveled stigmas this morning, so I'm crossing my fingers that these are my crosses. "

They probably are your crosses. Bees aren't very efficient at pollinating petal stigmas, because the bees are much more interested in the pollen florets, which have both pollen and nectar.

"I notice my apricot-pink cactus has no little starfish anther bundles - will they show up later?"

Not necessarily. Some blooms never put out any pollen florets. I have several breeders like that right now. But they make good females, because you don't need to emasculate them, or use their pollen quickly to avoid it selfing some of the petal stigmas.

"I can see I'll need to grow some Burpeeana Giants next year - they look very-cactus-ish."

Well said. Very-cactus-ish. I will save some seed from selected Burpeeanas this year, but I will also buy some new seed from Burpee. Always looking for new genes. And next year I will also order some Burpeeanas from an alternate source -- Swallowtail Gardens most likely.

" I wish there was some way I could mark which petals exactly were my possible crosses. I even considered using a magic marker to put a little dot on the petal near the stigma, but thought that might be rather ugly, and maybe not effective anyway once the petal browns. Is that being too obsessive-compulsive of me? "

Well, as a person who tends to be more than a little obsessive-compulsive, I am probably not the one to pass judgment on that. But try any scheme that occurs to you. After all, they are your zinnias and you can do anything you want with them. Poking a small hole in a petal might remain as a marker after the petal shrivels. And if you choose to use the green-seed technique, you will be harvesting your seeds before the petals die and become brown. Even if you decided to put a dot of luminescent paint on each petal, I would not laugh at you. You might need to gather seeds at night. I try to pollinate all of the stigmas, so I don't need to mark them.

Speaking of luminescent paint, I was very impressed that genetic engineers created glow-in-the-dark aquarium fish. If I had genetic engineering capability, I might create glow-in-the-dark zinnia blooms, glowing in a variety of colors. I guess the glowing vegetation and other bioluminescent life forms on the planet Pandora in the movie Avatar may have given me that idea. Apparently there are some people working on creating bioluminescent plants. I am curious as to what extent genetic engineering might be feasible at the hobbyist level. I understand that the first gene gun was a modified Crosman air gun.

I continue to be pleased by the recombinants from crossing tubular with star-tipped zinnias, like this one.

That one looks a lot better in the big picture version that you can get by mouse-clicking on the picture and using the F11 key. I am looking forward to tomorrow when I will continue making crosses involving "exotics" and conventional zinnias.

ZM
(not associated with any product or vendor mentioned or linked)

This post was edited by zenman on Mon, Jul 14, 14 at 0:35


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Martha - I started my small zinnia selection indoors, too, so don’t worry if yours are behind in growth - it would be surprising if they weren’t. And as you say, maybe you’ll be able to stave off the powdery mildew for longer. :)

ZM - well I did it ! I marked some of my crosses! Though, really, you seriously may be on to something - florescent or luminescent paint might be better in the long run for marking petals. I’ll have to go get some… BTW, interesting article about the glow-in-the-dark houseplants. But what a gyp - it says the plant dies after some months! OK, I guess that’s no different than an annual in the garden, but can you save seed? LOL

That is such a cool shape, but refresh my memory - where are the pistils and anthers? Down those tube petals? Are you having to dissect each petal to get to them?

So, here are my zinnias as of today:
Cactus #1 - fully open now
cactus 1 fully open photo cactus1_zpsdf25e991.jpg

Cactus #2 - fully open. The photo really doesn’t do justice to that color, though I tried to get it right in photoshop.
cactus 2 fully open photo cactus2_zps5cf50cde.jpg

Cactus #3 - you can see where I’ve marked some of the petals. I will, of course, gather more petal seeds, but anything marked (if this works and I can see the mark), will be put under a separate label.
cactus 3 with potential crosses photo cactus3withmypotentialcrossesmarked_zps2e15cd6b.jpg

Whirligig 3 - I’m still labeling it a whirligig, but ZM, I think you’re right and this should be a scabious. The interesting thing about this is that the petal color on this 2nd bloom is totally different from the 1st bloom, which was that bright orange one I posted a pic of earlier. You can see the blurry image of it in the background. What’s that about? I don’t know - I just have a feeling about this plant - that’s it’s destined to produce something really cool in future generations! Ha! I'm a garden geek now, huh?
whirligig 3 (possibly scabious?) - 2nd bloom different from 1st photo whirligig3-maybescabious-2ndbloomdifferentfromfirst_zps30c98a79.jpg

Whirligig #5 - simple clean shape with space between petals
whirligig 5 photo whirligig5_zps4a838173.jpg

Whirligig #6 before marking
whirligig 6 before marking photo whirligig6_zpsf40331fe.jpg

Whirligig #6 after marking
whirligig 6 with potential crosses photo whirligig6withpotentialcrosses_zps500d7709.jpg

This is definitely fun!
- Alex
P.S. Forgot to say that my apricot pink cactus has put out a couple of anther bundles. Yay!

This post was edited by samhain10 on Mon, Jul 14, 14 at 20:51


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi Alex,

Glad you are having fun. Deciding what to cross with what is a very creative process. When I do that, I have all sorts of "virtual zinnias" in my mind, as I try to envision the results of this cross or another.

"That is such a cool shape, but refresh my memory - where are the pistils and anthers? Down those tube petals? Are you having to dissect each petal to get to them? "

Many of the tubular petals do not contain anthers, but some do. The anther bundle is inside the tube when it is present, down about a quarter of an inch from the connection of the petal with the future seed coat. Botanically, the pistil is the combination of the stigma, the style, and the ovary. What I refer to as the stigma is actually the stigma and the style. The stigma is the split fork at the end of the yellow Y-shaped organs and the style is the single bottom-of-the-Y connected to the ovary, which is inside the seed coat. This is a link to a description of composite flower anatomy.

The chrysanthemum example is similar to zinnia anatomy. So, in answer to your question, yes, I do dissect the tubular petals to expose the stigmas that are hidden within. I have done that enough times that I can do it fairly fast now. Sometimes as fast as one second per petal. More typically, it takes several seconds. Early on, it took me about a minute per petal.

ZM



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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

ZM - I'm not sure if I will try to green-harvest at this time or simply take precautions by covering seed heads with some tulle bags when they start to ripen, but can you remind me how long after pollination is it generally before you do the green-harvest?


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi Alex,

"...how long after pollination is it generally before you do the green-harvest?"

The embryos have usually reached their full size after about three weeks from the time when the stigmas shriveled. If you are gentle, you can visually inspect a seed while it is still in the flower head by pushing down a bit on the petal, and maybe lift up a bit some of the petals just above it to let you get a peak at the petal seed. It takes a bit of experimentation.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi everyone,

We had just enough rain this afternoon to drive me out of my zinnia patch. I was preparing another seedbed for a Fall planting of zinnias. Hopefully I can get that bed finished and planted tomorrow. This is a recent picture of a recombinant involving tubular and star-tipped genes.

This is a picture of another similar specimen.

This specimen is more similar to the Razzle Dazzle flower form.

These recombinants differ in several details, which makes me think that multiple genes are at work. I will be curious to see how these perform when crossed with more conventional zinnias. They still need more size and color range. I would like to see what they look like with Whirligig bicolors and tricolors and how the toothy genes affect them. I have lots more things to do in developing these zinnia flower types. Hopefully I can get back in the garden tomorrow.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi everyone!

Alex, I like the way you are marking your pollination sites..and it looks like you have some good stock to start crossing now! It is so much fun to see how the offspring turn out. If you have birds that like seeds nearby, better protect the flowers you have pollinated as ZM does, so you are the one to get to them first! The birds here steal many of my seeds as they mature if I don't "net" the flowers. They watch me as I pass through the flowers!

ZM, your flowers are becoming more and more spectacular. That last yellow and purple flower is very pretty. The crosses with Burpeeanas will be very interesting. I can just imagine a giant tubular flower! Wow! but then again, a plant with many small tubular flowers would be really great, too.

I have hosted a garden tour this week,-- so although by myself, I like my garden, I see a lot of flaws in it when folks are planning to check it! My garden is hardly the landscaping feature that many people make of their gardens, but I want everyone to enjoy it...so there was lots of weeding, pruning, etc. involved this week.

Lately, we have had unusually cool weather. I am very hopeful that this doesn't promote a lot of mildew! Has anyone here used a preventative of any sort that is relatively benign for the pollinators?

I have installed some bees here, and have been busy making new frames with wax foundation for them.

Here are a few "twists" on the extreme roll line:

.

.

Jackie


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hey Folks!
I had to take the day off today, as I was feeling a bit of overload - too much to do and not enough time and energy to do it. Worked mostly in the garden, except for the time spent taking the cats on their leash walks. Did some crosses. Here are the latest:
Pink cactus
pink cactus photo pinkcactus_zps80166fa1.jpg

This scabious you can see my new marking system - fluorescent fingernail polish.

pink scabious marked with fingernail polish photo pinkscabiousmarkedwithfingernailpolish_zps163e3f87.jpg

Another pink and white whirligig but more sharp contrast of color
pink and white whirligig photo pinkandwhitewhirligig_zpsf502158a.jpg

Light pink cactus marked with polish
light pink cactus marked with fingernail polish photo lightpinkcactusmarkedwithfingernailpolish_zps88d40b8a.jpg

another green envy
another green envy photo anothergreenenvy_zpsdb4a2db7.jpg

OK - this is that same bloom I photographed before -definitely a scabious, and the yellow color has changed to orange like the first bloom I posted.
orange scabious (originally labeled w3) photo whirligig3-actuallyascabious-hasturnedorange_zps97f9b7c1.jpg

ZM - congrats on the rain! This has been an unusual summer season for us so far with the extra rain and the definitely below normal temps. Good and bad consequences as a result, but mostly I vote for "good".

You know, I don't know how you keep track of all you've got planted - I am already afraid of confusing my crosses. So far I've only got them listed on my in-ground markers (and I've taken pics of the individual flowers). I need to start a hard copy log of the crosses. I've got a blank book that we picked up somewhere in a house call that I could use. Have never done a log of this sort, but I suppose it's pretty straight-forward. Feel free to throw any pointers my way, however.

Jackie - oooo - a garden tour! Do we get pics of the freshly weeded and prettified beds? How exciting!

- Alex


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

I've been enjoying this thread. This is my first year growing flowers other than marigolds. I'm a veggie grower. Having an issue with spots on some of my plants.

The first picture shows what I'm used to seeing on my tomatoes. I just shrug it off and still get tomatoes

The other picture, next message, shows what has me concerned. Foliage is drying and dying on a few plants. New growth is healthy and flowers look healthy, but for how much longer?

I'm hoping to have flowers in two weeks for my wedding. Is there a chance flower production will dramatically decrease? If so, anything I can do?

Thank you!!


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Follow up image


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Alioca - the others on here will probably have something to say that could be more directly helpful pertaining to zinnias, but I can tell you that I had this problem with my zinnias, too, though they seem to have gotten past that stage and have healthy growth now. As for my tomatoes, this is definitely a blight year, but as far as I know, that's something specific to tomatoes. The tomatoes will continue to decline, but since they've already set lots of fruit, I'm not worried. Experience says we'll still get tomatoes. And you should get flowers for your wedding, is my guess.
- Alex


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi Alioca,

The spots on your zinnia foliage look like Cercospora Leaf Spot, which is caused by the fungus Cercospora zinniae.

The foliage that is drying and dying in your follow-up picture could be a nutrient deficiency. I would suggest the use of a soluble nutrient formula like Miracle-Gro Bloom Booster Flower Food, which you apply with a sprinkling can to the foliage, so that you get foliar feeding and the run-off from the drench feeds the roots also. You mix it no stronger than one tablespoon per gallon of water. Apply it to the leaves but not open blooms, which might be burned by the fertilizer. If there is danger of damaging the blooms, I cut the strength to about one quarter the recommended strength and just apply the nutrients more frequently.

When rapidly growing zinnias start to run short of nutrients, they steal nutrients from the older leaves to use in the new growth. Zinnias are heavy feeders, so it is fairly common to see the older leaves in bad shape.

Wet foliage promotes most foliage diseases in zinnias (the exception being Powdery Mildew, which water retards), so drench the foliage early in the day so that the foliage has time to dry off before evening.

I don't know whether you want to fight the leaf spot or not. If you do, we can discuss your options. Incidentally, are you an organic gardener? I am not, so I don't mind using soluble nutrients, as well as various fungicides and bactericides. There are some safe fungicides that are approved for organic gardening. I understand that your wedding in two weeks doesn't give you a lot of time or budget for your zinnia project. You did a good job in providing the pictures of your zinnia problems.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi Jackie,

"Lately, we have had unusually cool weather. I am very hopeful that this doesn't promote a lot of mildew! Has anyone here used a preventative of any sort that is relatively benign for the pollinators?"

I think the product called Green Cure would be safe for your pollinators. Green Cure is effective against a long list of foliage diseases. Green Cure is safe in the environment, and shouldn't harm your honeybees. The only downside I see to it is that rain, or even heavy dews, can wash it off so that you need to reapply it. However, the washed-off Green Cure can still help your plants, because the potassium in the potassium bicarbonate can serve as a nutrient. And the bicarbonate part might release a little extra carbon dioxide to boost your plant's photosynthesis.

Here is another recent picture of one of my recombinants involving tubular petals with the star tips.

That one has a tendency toward white coloration on the outside of the petal tubes. I am really looking forward to see how those genes recombine with some of the large zinnia genes, like the Burpeeana Giants and some of my large Aster Flowered zinnias. I am hoping I can get these "exotics" and the Razzle Dazzle types to be bigger and better. More later. I am still working on my Fall zinnia plantings. And I am beginning to formulate my preliminary plans for my upcoming indoor Winter zinnia projects.

ZM
(not associated with any product or vendor mentioned or linked)


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Thanks to Alex and Zenman in response to my poor looking zinnia foliage!

I am grateful for your responses, much more hopeful today and than yesterday about my flower situation =D

I applied Miracle Grow Bloom Booster yesterday morning before posting here. I used the 1tsp to one gallon suggestion from one of your previous posts Zenman. I will apply again in 2-3 days (so would Tuesday be too soon?). It was when I was applying the fertilizer that I noticed it was getting worse. Usually when I go back I'm so excited about new flowers I hardly noticed the spots.

So I'm crossing my fingers that the added nutrients will help what ZM contributes to the larger bottom leaves drying and dying.

I'm very interested in fighting the fungal issue if it means I will lose flower production in the next (less than!!) 2 weeks. I've been really impressed with Zinnias and I'm happy I chose them for my wedding. I know I will continue to grow them for a long time. It would be good to know what my best option is in terms of the fungicide for future reference. I'm sure this will happen again...

I try to be as organic as possible. When I saw ZM's beautiful zinnia's and suggestion of Miracle Gro's Bloom Booster, I unclenched a little bit at the idea of Monsanto. In this instance, beautiful blooms like I see in this thread are more important than not supporting them. Same goes for the fungicide, if it's something I can buy once and have for years to come and does more good than harm I can be practical.

Thank you both again


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Alioca - I hope your zinnias are magnificent for your wedding! Congrats on the upcoming event.

ZM - those tubes, seen up close, look sort of stripey. How many generations has it been to get to these tubular petals - or is that too much to calculate? It will be interesting to see what happens with the Burpeeana crosses.

Meanwhile, in my own humble little patch, here are the latest flowers to open:

a scabious bi-color which I crossed with my first, and so far - largest cactus bloom
scabious bi-color photo scabiousbi-color_zps8d3b411f.jpg

a scarlet whirligig which I crossed with one of the light colored cactus
scarlet whirligig photo scarletwhirligig_zps6eab6d84.jpg

and a pic of one of the Green Envys with a friend
dragonfly on Green Envy photo dragonflyongreenenvy2_zps25052a84.jpg

- Alex


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi again Alioca,

"I try to be as organic as possible. When I saw ZM's beautiful zinnia's and suggestion of Miracle Gro's Bloom Booster, I unclenched a little bit at the idea of Monsanto."

Monsanto ??? Monsanto doesn't have anything to do with Miracle-Gro. Miracle-Gro is a product of Scotts Miracle-Gro Products, Inc.

"Same goes for the fungicide, if it's something I can buy once and have for years to come and does more good than harm I can be practical."

The Green Cure I recommended to Jackie is an approved fungicide for organic gardeners, as well as for gardeners like myself. You probably won't have it for years, because you have to reapply it after every rain, or even after really heavy dews. Or if you water your plants by sprinkling them, that will wash the Green Cure off, so that you will need to reapply it. Green Cure gets used up fairly fast.

Good luck with your zinnias and your upcoming wedding. Too bad I can't be there to throw some GMO rice after the wedding. (Grin)

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi Alex,

You have some great looking zinnias. I like that picture of the dragonfly on the Green Envy.

"...those tubes, seen up close, look sort of stripey."

Yes, those seem to be colored veins. I would just as soon not have them, but they seem to be on a lot of my zinnias, in one color or another.

"How many generations has it been to get to these tubular petals - or is that too much to calculate?"

I grew some Zig Zags in 2011, and a tubular red "mutant" appeared in my bed of Zig Zags. I recognized it as something different and crossed it extensively with many of my breeder zinnias. The next year I was disappointed that none of my F1 crosses had tubular petals, but then I remembered that many traits are recessive, and that the progeny of those crosses (the F2 generation) would have recombinations and that it was likely that some tubulars would show up. And show up they did in 2013, in a variety of colors and forms.

Also in 2013 a mutant star-petaled specimen appeared in a planting of White Cactus zinnias, and I aggressively crossed it with many of my breeder zinnias, including many of the tubulars. I grew that F1 generation indoors last Winter and from them grew F2 specimens in a second indoor generation. I was lucky to find the mutants and I made some more luck by cross-pollinating those mutants with many breeder-quality zinnias.

Incidentally, Zig Zags are a discontinued strain of zinnias that have bicolors and tricolors similar to the Whirligigs. I planted most of my remaining Zig Zag seed in my South Garden this year, because the seed was getting older. I'll be looking to see if anything interesting pops up in those.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

ZM, do you breed any other plants than zinnias?
Here are 2 of my dad's zinnias. I believe they are just lilliput. These pictures don't do the colors justice. I edited them in photoshop a little but I still can't get the exact colors.




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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi Desirai,

"...do you breed any other plants than zinnias?"

No, my zinnia hobby keeps me plenty busy. I don't have time or space to work with any other plant.

"Here are 2 of my dad's zinnias. I believe they are just lilliput."

Lilliput zinnias have very small flowers, hence the name. I grew some white Lilliputs a couple of years ago, and their flowers ranged from just about an inch in diameter with the larger ones perhaps 1.5 inches in diameter. Those zinnias of your Dad's appear to be much larger than Lilliputs. They might be Cut-and-Come-Agains or Oklahomas. They could even be Giant Dahlia flowered. Your Dad's zinnias do have some unusual colorations. Some even seem to have a transition from one color to another.

I do use Photoshop to resize my zinnia pictures. Fortunately my Nikon D3200 camera does a pretty good job of capturing the colors, so I usually don't have to adjust the colors. Sometimes, if the lighting conditions were really weird, I have to compensate for that.

My Nikon D3200 does take very large pictures, 6016 x 4000 pixels, so I use Photoshop to crop and downsize the pictures to a smaller size appropriate for viewing here. This forum limits the width of our pictures to 550 pixels wide, so I include a link to 1000 pixels wide for a somewhat larger view. But 1000 pixels is still a lot less than my original 6016 pixel wide pictures.

You seem to have done a good job with the photographs you posted here. Keep up the good work.

ZM



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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Thanks ZM!!

I'm still not an expert with my camera, so sometimes it will take pictures and the colors will be off, or too bright, or too dark.

When you look at these zinnias in person they have very visible gradation between colors, which makes them so gorgeous. But my camera took the pictures too dark, so I tried to lighten them up.

I always assumed lilliput were the puffball looking zinnias (like the ones I posted a picture of)

because of lack of rain, his zinnias are not doing well at all this year :( Mine are huge and filled with flowers because I water them almost daily. But his garden is out of reach of his watering hose.


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi Desirai,

"When you look at these zinnias in person they have very visible gradation between colors, which makes them so gorgeous. But my camera took the pictures too dark, so I tried to lighten them up."

You succeeded. I can see the transition from tangerine orange to a hot magenta pink. I don't know if it gets cold in the Fall where you are, but in my experience my zinnias have extra intense colors when the weather starts to get cool. Unfortunately, they also become susceptible to Powdery Mildew in cold weather and short days.

"But his garden is out of reach of his watering hose."

That's unfortunate. I don't know how far his garden is from his water faucet, but you can attach two or more hoses together to go a fairly long distance. Maybe your Dad just needs another water hose.

"I always assumed lilliput were the puffball looking zinnias (like the ones I posted a picture of) "

Well, the Lilliputs do have a ball-like flower shape (some seed catalogs refer to that as "pom pom"), but their flowers do range from 1" to 1.5" in diameter, like those I grew. This recombinant in my garden now has a kind of "puffball" shape.

Did you happen to notice the little spider in the center? Here is a close-up of the center of the bloom.

One advantage of my over-sized 6016 x 4000 pixel images is that I can crop a close-up detail out of them, from anywhere in the picture.

Well, I need to plant a few Fall crop zinnia seeds. We had 100-degree heat today, so I work for fairly short periods during the hot part of the day.

ZM

This post was edited by zenman on Tue, Jul 22, 14 at 23:32


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Desirai - I can see the gradation very well - it's lovely! I'm developing a new appreciation for all forms of zinnias - this project has been refreshing.

ZM - my condolences on the 100 degree weather - and I thought low 80's was bad. Yikes! Did a couple of crosses this morning, but then noticed that I may have confused my notations on an earlier cross - sigh. Well, I'm doing this for fun, after all. But it's a bit bothersome to my sense of order.

ZM - you really are able to harvest from seed sown now? When is your last frost? Oh, I forgot, you have your cages for protection, don't you?
- Alex


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Wed, Jul 23, 14 at 1:04

Hi Alex,

"...you really are able to harvest from seed sown now? When is your last frost?"

I think you meant when is my first frost. Last year we got a slight "nip" of frost early in October, I think it was about the 10th. I was already saving green seeds then, but only the leaf tips and petal tips were affected.

Somewhere about October 20th we got a frost that did a lot of damage. I would call it a killing frost because no useful growth occurred after that, although I harvested both brown head and green seeds after that date that germinated successfully.

Using the climate data for Ottawa, Kansas, there is a 10% chance of 32 degrees as early as Sep 30, 50% chance of 32 degrees as early as Oct 17, and 90% chance as early as Nov 3.

There is a 10% chance of 28 degrees as early as Oct 13, 50% chance of 28 degrees as early as Oct 31, and 90% chance of 28 degrees as early as Nov 18.

There is a 10% chance of 24 degrees as early as Oct 25, 50% chance of 24 degrees as early as Nov 12, and 90% chance of 24 degrees as early as Dec 3.

As with all weather matters, it's a gamble, but it helps to know the odds. I think the 28 degrees level is a pretty good criterion and the 50% probability is an "even odds" thing, which means that I should plan on having my green seeds indoors by Oct 31, or using the 10% figure as a "safe" criterion, I should expect to continue harvesting seeds as late as Oct 13.

Zinnias bloom in 6 to 8 weeks, and green seeds are ready in 3 weeks from pollination. Using the 8 weeks as conservative, green seeds take 11 weeks or more from the planting date. A usable harvest of green seeds could be expected in 12 weeks from the planting date. That's about 3 months.

Three months from tomorrow would be about October 23rd. And the probability mumbo jumbo in the previous paragraph said "... which means that I should plan on having my green seeds indoors by Oct 31." So I think it is worth a gamble to plant zinnia seeds as late as the last day of this month. It's a gamble. The feasibility of gathering green seeds is a big plus factor in this. And I have Jackie R to thank for that technique.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

ZM -
There was a time when I kept fairly good records of temps and freeze times (you're right, of course - I meant 1st frost), but haven't done it for awhile. And it doesn't matter as much now, since the weather has been changing in the last 10 years and is much more unpredictable (in the long term) from my point of view. Meaning, the weather folks are extremely good about predicting what's coming in the next few days and even a week, but forget about saying what the likelihood of frost dates will be months from now. Still the odds as quoted for your area probably covers it as well as can be expected. Up (or lower - depending on how you look at it) those odds somewhat for us. If we don't see a killing frost by the end of September, I'm surprised.

So - I guess I'm not planting any green seeds this year, even though it would be fun to see what I might get with the F1s. Question: since I'm not going to do that, is there any need to try to harvest green seed right away? Could I simply put a net bag over the blooms that are probably going to be ripe by next week, and let them dry naturally? Or can I, in a couple of weeks, cut the whole head off and bring it in to finish drying safely inside? Less chance of birds, mold, disease?
- Alex


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi Alex,

"And it doesn't matter as much now, since the weather has been changing in the last 10 years and is much more unpredictable (in the long term) from my point of view."

Yes, climate change does make old climate data less relevant, and my USDA zone may have changed from 5b to 6a. I think the climate data probabilities haven't changed massively -- they may have shifted things by a few days. I still use the probabilities as a guideline, and I may "get away with" planting zinnias on July 31st, or I may not. I recognize it is a gamble, and the climate data encourages me that it might be a gamble worth taking. So I am taking it.

"Question: since I'm not going to do that, is there any need to try to harvest green seed right away? Could I simply put a net bag over the blooms that are probably going to be ripe by next week, and let them dry naturally?"

Yes, you could just net the blooms you intend to save seeds from, and that should protect your seeds from the finches and other birds. I have never collected green seeds by saving a green flowerhead, and there might be problems with doing that. I have always collected green seeds one at a time as they mature. The seeds in a larger flower head mature over a period of maybe two weeks, with the first ones usually coming from the bottom of the flower. But position in the flowerhead is only a guideline -- the time of pollen fertilization is more the "start date" for the seed.

Since you aren't in a hurry to plant your seeds, you could just net the blooms and let them mature to brown heads the "old fashioned" way. More later. I just opened up furrows in a new seed bed, and they are calling for seeds. And the temps are supposed to be about 10 degrees cooler (less hot) today.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

ZM - 10 degrees cooler when you said yesterday was 100, doesn't sound like much of an improvement to me - LOL! But I suppose it's relative to what you're accustomed to. Meanwhile it's in the 60s here and they're predicting it will fall to 48 overnight - this is plain crazy. And then tomorrow we're back up to 75 - what is wrong with this picture?

OK - so, I may reconsider using the fingernail polish for marking petals, as I noticed some of the marked petals browned-up a day or two after, and that didn't seem like a very good thing for the life of the embryo. The magic marker on the other hand, fades a bit, but doesn't seem to affect the health of the petal. I would think that embryo needs some nutrients from the petal as well as the plant, wouldn't you? Or not?
- Alex


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi Alex,

"10 degrees cooler when you said yesterday was 100, doesn't sound like much of an improvement to me... "

Believe me, 10 degrees makes a big difference. I got a seedbed finished, planted, and watered-in today. I don't think I could have made that much progress in 100-plus heat.

My motive is to get some good big zinnias to use as females for crosses with some of my "exotic" zinnias. The seeds I planted in the new bed were about twice the size of regular zinnia seeds, and were saved in 2010 through 2012 from some extra large aster flowered specimens.

I'll be starting the construction of another new bed tomorrow, and the ground is very irregular where it will go, so I will be moving in a lot of fill dirt to level it. Today's bed required a couple of days of earth work, but this new bed will be more difficult.

I figure all this infrastructure work will pay off next year, with minimal work required to make next year's zinnia plantings.

I could use some of your cool weather to make my garden earthwork easier. I wear headbands to keep the sweat out of my eyes, and I fill up several of them a day in this warm weather.

" I may reconsider using the fingernail polish for marking petals, as I noticed some of the marked petals browned-up a day or two after, and that didn't seem like a very good thing for the life of the embryo."

At least you are trying new things, and that is a good thing. You are probably the only person on the planet to have put fingernail polish on zinnia petals.

"The magic marker on the other hand, fades a bit, but doesn't seem to affect the health of the petal. I would think that embryo needs some nutrients from the petal as well as the plant, wouldn't you?"

It's very perceptive of you to wonder about the relation between the petal and the embryo. It is possible that the petal does provide sustenance to the developing embryo, but I haven't seen any thing about that in the literature. I think that petals can absorb foliar nutrients after a fashion, but not necessarily in the same way as the leaves can absorb foliar nutrients. Petals seem to be more easily damaged and foliar feeding should be more dilute for them.

Since zinnias can redirect nutrients from their older leaves to support the growth of newer leaves, perhaps zinnias can draw nutrients from the petals to their attached embryos.

It may be that the acetone in nail polish kills cells in contact with it, or the nail polish could simply block the breathing of the petals, if indeed they need to breathe. The leaves have stomata to breathe through. I don't know if the zinnia petals have stomata, or much at all about the workings of the petals. It will be interesting to see how your zinnia embryos fare.

I continue to see variations in my recombinant tubular star-tipped specimens. This one has more widely spaced tubular petal-flowers.

I have mentioned before that I like zinnia blooms to have their petals more loosely arranged so that you can "see through" the bloom, and that "exotic" specimen tends to have that property.

As new variations of the exotics appear, I wonder how far this type of zinnia can be developed. That is why I want to cross them with a variety of zinnia forms and colors.

ZM


 o
RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

ZM - hope you are staying hydrated. It will not benefit your little leafy children if you are down with a summer cold or heat stroke. You're doing springtime duty in the middle of the summer, after all.
That latest tubular flower looks sort of scabious formed. Do you get some plants that revert to the great-great,etc.-grandmother's form, or do the tubulars pretty much remain tubular when you cross them with each other? Or are you only crossing them now with the larger flowered Burpees Giants and such?

Wow - now there's a distinction: You are probably the only person on the planet to have put fingernail polish on zinnia petals. No, surely not. There must be at least one other fool out there who had this idea. :) I really should have known better. I don't like the smell of that stuff - I can feel it's toxicity - of course it would be bad for the plant. I fell into the mistaken notion of a petal being analogous to a fingernail - dead extension, so to speak. I will have to make note if any of the marked petals actually produce a viable embryo or not. That goes for the magic markered ones as well. Will have to do unmarked crosses of future blossoms of the same plants, making note of location by using the same specific quadrant of the flowerheads, and save that seed separately, so I can make a comparison. Just as well, as I said before, that I've kept my zinnia bed small - this is already taxing my limited memory capacity - lol. Actually, my memory is quite good - if we're talking books, authors and titles. :) Just don't ask me what I did yesterday, because I can't remember.

- Alex


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 26

Hi Alex,

"...hope you are staying hydrated."

I am. I am single handedly supporting the Gatorade people. I consume their low calorie version, G2, and in the food-color-free mixed berry flavor.

" Do you get some plants that revert to the great-great, etc.-grandmother's form, or do the tubulars pretty much remain tubular when you cross them with each other?"

Many of them do seem to revert to members of the family tree, or at least to forms similar to the ancestors. Apparently the recombinants can occur in nearly all possible combinations and recombinations of the genetic mix. Over 90% are "not what I am looking for", so my cull rate remains high. Today I am doing some garden maintenance, and I am culling quite a few tubulars that look kind of "trashy". A few years ago I would have been thrilled to have them. That's progress.

"Or are you only crossing them now with the larger flowered Burpees Giants and such?"

Most of the tubulars have at least one large zinnia in their family tree, although none of them have Burpeeana Giants blood. Large aster flowered is the most common large representative. This is the first year that I have been using the Burpeeana Giants to cross with exotics. Next year I plan to include Benary's Giants as an important contributor to my breeding, mainly for their strong stems and largish double flowers.

Most of my tubulars now are at least twice the size of the original tubular "mutant" (E2). One recent tubular was over four inches in diameter, although its large tubular flare-out and close-packed petals disguised the tubular nature of the bloom. My goal is to get the "exotics" as large as the largest zinnias, over six inches in diameter.

"That latest tubular flower looks sort of scabious formed. "

This is a current recombinant that reminds me even more of the scabious flowerform.

Looking closer at the "petals" reveals that they are not really tubular, but are open "tubes" or "florets", with the look of a floret with a possible anther bundle. Perhaps you can see the unusual stigma shape in this close-up.

That specimen merits closer study, and designation as a breeder. It may be the first zinnia whose petals come complete with their own anther bundles. As I grow more and more of these "exotics", I expect that I will see more interesting variations.

ZM


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