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It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
Wed, Jul 4, 12 at 1:11

Greetings all,

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 17, is becoming 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, you are invited to post your pictures, but as a courtesy to readers with smaller monitors, try to keep the pictures posted no wider than 986 pixels.

This picture is 986 pixels wide, and it shows a recent snapshot of part of my zinnia patch of my home-bred hybrids.

A lot of those recombinants will be culled in the next few days, but I will be showing some pictures of specimens that I liked and kept for breeding purposes. In these massed beds, I plant zinnia seeds about 4 to 6 inches apart in rows spaced 16 inches apart. After each grouping of three rows, I leave a wider space to serve as a "path". From this angle, you can't see the paths in the picture.

I usually get fairly good germination, so my plants are much too close together, and need to be thinned. So the culling serves two purposes, to discard "bad" specimens and to make more room for "good" specimens.

As always, I look forward to your participation in this message thread, to ask questions, answer questions, post pictures, or just make any kind of comment.

ZM


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

Hi ZM...
I Am REALLY Enjoying this Thread.... As I live in a 1st Floor Flat at the moment I haven't been able to Grow any of My own....

But I'm Hoping to Move to a Ground Floor Flat, Hoperfly I'll get to Grow Some in a Few pots at least....


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

Oh ZM, I am soooo jealous of your zinnia patch! Would love to do something like that in the future. What size is the patch in your picture? Is it your only one?


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 6, 12 at 10:26

Hi NC,

I hope you will be able to grow a few zinnias when you get to move to a ground floor flat. This is a picture of one of the "breeders" that I selected in my zinnia patch.

It got the two-tone effect from Whirligig ancestry. The flower form is also very much influenced by Whirligig, although it is much larger than a Whirligig. It is definitely not Dahlia flowered or Cactus flowered or Chrysanthemum flowered. I have been referring to the longer petaled flowers with loose, somewhat "open" flowers, as Aster flowered. Although this is not the purest form of the aster flowered flower form. I really like its coloration, and the flower form is fine with me too.

I'll be pollinating it with its own pollen if it produces any. Otherwise, I will pollinate it with "upgrades", which loosely means anything that might produce something interesting.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 6, 12 at 11:15

Hi Katrina,

The zinnia patch in that picture is about 30 x 30 feet. I have a second patch that is about 10 x 30 feet, but I plan to expand it to about 30 x 30 feet also. The more zinnias you can grow, the better are your chances for finding something good.

I hope to till up a third patch about the same size on the other side of the house that I will use for white zinnias. It will be about 150 feet from my other zinnias, and I am hoping that will be far enough to keep bees from contaminating them with non-white zinnia pollen from my main zinnia beds.

Crossing whites with other colors gives some nice pastel colors, but it occurred to me that I don't have any good dependable strains of white zinnias, and I want to work toward that. This is one of the few good white zinnias in my big zinnia bed.

I think of that zinnia flower form as "chrysanthemum flowered". Some people might call it "cactus flowered". It has a yellow center, while some truly white zinnias have a matching white center. I intend to pollinate it with its own pollen or pollen from other reasonably good white zinnias.

ZM



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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

ZM,

I love your zinnia patch! It looks wonderful despite the hot weather! Your red/purple and white flowers are beautiful, too!

Your expansion plans are really impressive! It is going to be a very pretty area around your yard!

I've got a few flowers beginning to bloom, but nothing different yet--except a Whirligig without petals and a contorted July Bonnet descendent. I tried watering them all by hand early this morning--hope it helps!

I, too, have branched out in gardenng....the sunflowers are holding their own, as are the daturas...but I think I may lose a number of perennials. I also have squash, cucumbers, and small watermelons growing. The watermelons seem to be the only ones of those that resist total wilting during the high temperatures despite the amount of water they have been given. I have a large number of tomatoes..many of the heirlooms are failing to set fruit despite many flowers..but I may get something from the hybrids and the cherry tomatoes.

Looking forward to seeing everyone's photos here!

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

ZM, the color combination of that first specimen you showed us is wonderful. It looks like it's glowing from within. Is that a true representative or my computer/eyes?


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

Rhizo, the colors are real. I have one just like it in my bed. In fact, I have 2 just like it and am going to save seeds from the larger one. Petals aren't curled on mine, though.


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Mon, Jul 9, 12 at 13:46

Hi Rhizo,

"It looks like it's glowing from within. Is that a true representative or my computer/eyes?"

It is not actually glowing from within, but I noticed that discrepancy as soon as I took the shot. The preview that showed on the back of my camera looked noticeably lighter, especially in the light purple part of the petals. And eahamel is right, too, the colors are real. But they are appearing a shade or two too light in the picture, and that is the way my camera caught them. I didn't attempt to correct that in post processing, because I didn't want to tamper with the picture other than the de-noising that my software does automatically, and of course I downsampled it to 986 pixels wide. The original was 6016 pixels wide.

Your comment, "Is that a true representative or my computer/eyes?", set me to thinking. Zinnias occur in a remarkable color range, many of them with very subtle nuances, and this picture was an example of the difficulty in communicating them via pictures on the Internet. My picture of that zinnia wasn't a highly accurate representation of its visual appearance. And the problem seemed to be in how I took the picture, and not how it was processed for display here.

So I got out the manual for my camera, and started reading. The manual is 208 pages long and I haven't read nearly all of them even yet. My entry level Nikon camera has a lot of options, and I studied the ones that might have bearing on color accuracy. I was surprised to learn that there is an option for Color Space. I was in the default sRGB color space, which is suitable for older monitors and many color printers. But the camera also has the capability for the Adobe RGB color space, which is considerably larger than sRGB. So I switched to Adobe RGB and took some pictures, including one of the zinnia in question. The results looked much closer to reality. I even plucked a petal from the zinnia and compared it with the onscreen picture and the comparison was very close. This is that picture.

That bloom has added many petals and the flower form has transitioned into a fairly classic cactus flowered zinnia. Which is unfortunate, because overlapping petals conceal many interesting petal colorations. But it is what it is, and this is a reasonably accurate representation of the bloom as it was when I took its picture yesterday. I am glad that I set my camera to the Adobe RGB color space, and I intend to leave it there. So this has been a kind of "live and learn" experience for me.

I still have no idea what the picture looks like, exactly, on the many different monitors out there in Internet land, and the Adobe RGB color space will contain colors that older monitors can't produce exactly, but hopefully they will be close enough. I may be able to make further improvements in my zinnia pictures, but for the time being I am concentrating on planting my Fall crop of zinnias.

But you and eahamel were both right about that picture. The colors are real, but their representation needed improvement.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

Hey ZM, just wanted to say that your new pictures are lovely. I would only suggest switching to the "A" mode on your camera, and try increasing the number until the entire flower is sharp (may have to have stronger lighting or a tripod). The first Google result seems pretty thorough on this topic, if you're interested.

I would post more pictures but I haven't had time to do much more than water and cut the occasional plant. I'm gonna attempt to plant some more seeds tomorrow and hope they make it through this heat and drought. It seems like a losing battle. Oh, by the way, a new bloom opened on that three-in-one flower's plant. It doesn't show the same effect, sadly. I'm thinking it was just a fluke.


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 10, 12 at 11:05

Hi TC,

That is a very good suggestion you made about abandoning the S mode in order to get more depth of field. I read your link about the A mode with interest, and bookmarked it for convenient re-reading. A disadvantage of the A mode is that it lets the shutter speed "float" to slower values, and I need some shutter speed to stop the zinnias if they are moving about due to wind, OR if I am not holding the camera too steady. I currently have only one macro lens, a 40mm f2.8 that does not have image stabilization (Nikon calls that VR for "vibration reduction").

So, I compensate for that with a faster shutter. My entry level Nikon D3200 has a maximum shutter speed of "only" 1/4000th. Most of the more advanced Nikon DSLRs have a 1/8000th shutter. However, I can "get by" with my entry level 1/4000th shutter. When there is any wind at all, my zinnias are bobbing and moving around, and photographing them has some of same problems as photographing a sports event. So I need some shutter and am willing to pay for it with higher ISO.

I am taking your suggestion to get more depth of field seriously. But rather than set the f-stop higher and let the shutter float lower, I took this picture this morning in the M mode (Manual), setting both the aperture to f/10 and the shutter to 1/800th and let the ISO float to 6400.

De-noising in the raw file post processing (using DxO's Optics Pro 7) effectively removed the noise caused by the high ISO and saved the image in a 16-bit per channel lossless TIFF file. I down-sampled the 6016 x 4000 pixel TIFF in Photoshop CS3 to the 986 x 664 pixel JPEG file that is linked in above. It shows one of my three-centered zinnias. So far all of the side blooms on my three-centered specimens have been normal, the same as your specimen. However, I think the tendency for fractured centers is genetic, with increased probability for multi-centers in the saved seed.

We had a light rain yesterday, only a sprinkle really. I would estimate it at about 1/10th inch. I guess I need a rain gauge. Although, in this dry spell, that wouldn't get much use. More later. I think there is time for zinnias to complete a second generation from seed sown in the next couple of weeks. But, as you say, watering them could be a problem. We need rain, and lots of it.

Following your advice, I won't limit my depth of field by using the S mode, unless I deliberately want the background more out of focus.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

I went out and pulled as many weeds as I could find, cut out some old blooms, and spread a layer of new seeds out. Here's a funny coincidence in unlucky zinnias:

I have no idea why one is missing petals and the other is missing the entire center, but it's pretty funny looking.
The heat and drought has pretty much ravaged everything here, and my zinnias are no exception. Seems the hotter it gets, the more desperate bugs seem to be, and also the worse my garden turns out. At least my peppers seem to be holding up.


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Wed, Jul 11, 12 at 15:17

Hi TC,

That zinnia with the entire center gone has me stumped. All I can think of that might do that is a Fourth of July firecracker.

The zinnia that is missing the petals is more explainable. I love it that there is a little ant on it. What is it with ants and zinnias? My theory is that the ants are gathering or feeding on the same nectar that hummingbirds and butterflies go for. But you have to watch those ants. Some of them "herd" aphids.

Anyway, a zinnia of that sort is called a femina, and it is apetalous (without petals), male sterile (doesn't produce pollen), and is female fertile (you or a bee can put zinnia pollen on it to produce F1 hybrids). Seed companies can't afford to hire people to cross-pollinate zinnias to produce F1 hybrid zinnia seed, so they plant alternate rows of femina zinnias with rows of carefully selected and inbred male pollen donor zinnias, and bees move pollen from the males onto the feminas. Seed from the feminas is harvested for sale as true F1 hybrid zinnia seed. If you save seed from commercial F1 hybrid zinnias, you will probably see some feminas in the recombinant progeny. Your petal-less zinnia is probably a femina.

Amateur zinnia breeders have a powerful advantage over commercial zinnia breeders, in that we can pretty much cross any zinnia with any other zinnia by hand-pollinating them. And we can save seeds from any hybrid zinnia that we want to. That is the way that rose breeders work. They cross hybrids with other hybrids and save seeds from the resulting hybrids until they get something good. Then they have to propagate that specimen asexually to build up a large population of salable rose bushes. As amateur zinnia breeders, we have several options, including "dehybridizing" by repeated selection, or asexual propagation, or just continue crossing things willynilly for our own entertainment.

This is a picture of another one of my current "broken centered" zinnia specimens, also taken at f/10, 1/800th, ISO 6400.

The only reason I am interested in these oddball zinnias is in case they can evolve into zinnias with several flower heads on a single stem. I have seen hints that such a thing might be possible, such as two flowers on the same stem.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

Hi all,

My zinnias are finally starting to bloom. No rain yet, but the watering-with-water can is helping! Below-- a gold cactus, a yellow cactus, and a July Bonnet descendent:

I have some Extreme Rolls ready to bloom,...will post those in a week or so.

ZM, those last zinnias are really pretty. especially the silver color!

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

Hello!

Here are several new flowers, coming sooner than expected:

.

Expression of the quilled trait isn't uniform, as usual...but it almost seems that the red/purple color is linked to that type of petal...I have only seen a few exceptions so far...

The flowers are coming quickly now....it sure makes a difference to go out into the garden and see all the color!

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

Two "any kind of" comments:

I just hope no one breeds away that wonderful, famous pale gray-pink zinnia color of yesteryear. That pink can never be duplicated.

A bouquet of zinnias is what my Mother always bought me from the Saturday morning farmers market when I was a child. I am 71, so my memory is a long one and a sweet one. I never see a zinnia without thinking of her gifts.
Pat


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

Hi everyone,

Here are a few more of what are coming out:

July 13b 005

Many of my scabious hybrids show the larger petals of other types zinnias.

July 13b 007

A good number of the zinnias here have shorter, curly petals toward the center.

July 13b 010

Some of the Envy zinnias open in pretty ways!

July 13b 009

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

Pat,

I think many of us have a lot of sentiment with respect to zinnias. My grandmother used to have a huge patch of them that I spent hours in, looking at all the butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds they attracted. With the color and memories, they are "feel-good' flowers...

You're so right about those silvery flowers that ZM grows..very classy.

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 13, 12 at 18:24

JG,

You have posted pictures of some really spectacular specimens. Your July Bonnet descendents remain unique, and your Extreme Roll really deserves to be a whole new strain of zinnias. That plum colored one on the left shows how unique that flowerform can be. You are right, that the degree of roll is variable, which suggests to me that more than one gene is involved. Your scabious specimen has a remarkable light pastel look, and its florets are particularly admirable. This is a picture of one of my contemporary scabious recombinants.

The garden was losing the light at the time I took that, so it is a little under-exposed. I seem to have better luck with pictures taken in open shade than in direct sunlight.

My "silvery" zinnias are nearly white, with a touch of lavender. A few decades ago, Burpee introduced a strain of zinnias called Luther Burbank that were all different shades of light pastels in a cactus flower form. I suspect they all had been crossed with pure white zinnias.

White zinnias intrigue me. I wonder what makes them white. I don't think it is any white pigment like chalk or titanium white. I think it must be a kind of structural color, like tiny air bubbles or specialized highly reflective cells. Long ago I saw some zinnias with an iridescent effect in their petals, and I suspect that was a form of structural color. I haven't seen that effect in recent times, but if I do, I will "jump on it" with a massive seed save and pollen use. Zinnias have a lot of hidden capabilities that we have yet to discover.

Pat,

I too have nostalgic memories of zinnias. My Mother loved zinnias, and I guess I got my enthusiasm for zinnias from her.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Sat, Jul 14, 12 at 23:45

Hi all,

I took this picture before I started taking Telescody's advice about closing down my camera's aperture for more depth of field, so parts of this zinnia are not in sharp focus.

But I want to show it anyway because it shows some subtle nuances of pastel coloration that come from Whirligig "blood". This is another more-in-focus picture of a similar zinnia.

Zinnias can have some nice looking two-tone and sometimes three-tone petal colorations, all courtesy of Whirligigs. This just motivates me to grow some more Whirligigs for breeding purposes.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

ZM,

The purple color in scabious flowers is not common in my garden. Those are really nice. I also like the cactus flowers with several tones in them..I also think the whirligig influence brings a lot of possibilities to offspring plants. Most of my zinnias just come from a "general" population of seeds I collect from random crosses each year. I often don't get fancy flowers, but I see a lot of interesting color combinations. I am seeing more and more of the rolled flowers. I think you are right about a combination of genes involved in that phenotype. Definitely inherited, but probably hybrid for several traits.

. .

. .

.

You were talking earlier about white zinnias. There was a paper that came out in 1988 by Boyle and Stimart. They did a limited number of studies, but suggested that the white color in zinnias was caused by a dominant suppressor of carotenoid synthesis. Flowers either homozygous or heterozygous for that gene will be white. So, if you have a flower that is homozygous for that gene, you can cross it with flowers of any color and get all white offspring. When you cross the offspring, you should see only 1 in 4 offspring that show color. That is according to what B & S saw and what cultivars of Zinnia elegans they were using...might be exceptions!

JR


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

ZM,

I wanted to ask--are your seeds from plants with tubular flowers giving rise to 100% offspring with tubular flowers?

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 17, 12 at 14:33

Hi JG,

"...are your seeds from plants with tubular flowers giving rise to 100% offspring with tubular flowers?"

So far, tubulars crossed with tubulars give 100% tubulars. Tubulars crossed with non-tubulars give 100% non-tubular. So, the tubular genes, and there are apparently several of them, are behaving as recessives. The only tiny exception to that is that the tubulars with three-armed stigmas give a high percentage of crosses with non-tubulars that are non-tubular, but have three-armed stigmas. In those cases, the three-armed stigmas are apparently a "tell" for hidden tubular genes.

Some of the tubular specimens look rather conventional seen from a distance.

I am still optimistic that the tubulars will "pay off" in some future recombinations. So I will continue to grow them and cross them with other zinnias. But, in the meantime, I will pursue other avenues as well. I just planted a bunch of "toothy" seed for a fall crop of zinnias.

Incidentally, thanks for the info about white zinnias. That was very timely and helpful for me. I can plant my whites closer to non-whites based on that information, and that will let me devote my "separate" growing space to Whirligigs, because they looked good there last year, landscaping-wise.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

JG, I really like the first and second zinnias that you posted recently. Any chance you could link to a higher resolution picture of the first one? It's so pretty.


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

ZM,

Your tubular zinnias have come to a new level! The flowers on the one plant that you have shown last are so full! I think you are well along in controlling the breeding process. Since you are interested in white zinnias, it might be interesting to see how white tubular zinnias would look...also, some modified whirligig colors might look great on them! --like, white with yellow centers.... Very interesting that the triple stigmas are happening along with the tubular petals....if I ever see any tubular flowers here again, I will have to check that.

I am already starting to collect seeds...the goldfinches pretty much clue me in as to when they are ready! I may not get so many seeds this year as I lost whole patches of zinnias due to the drought. Below is a picture of my largest zinnia patch this year...this time, it is about 40 by 25 feet, with rows about 20 inches apart, and seeds planted closely together in the rows.

Zinnia patch

Below are some of the flowers I am seeing. The last is an Extreme Roll offspring that seems to be only expressing the rolled trait in its newer petals.

X-Roll Desc2

July 20

X-Roll Desc.

TC, which date of photos are you referring to? Not sure I can provide higher resolution photos....

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

ZM I'd LOVE some of Those Tubey's....

How Tall And How Wide are They also Do You Think They'd Do OK in Pots????

Sorry Loads of Questions... Bit Hyper... LOL


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 20, 12 at 12:29

Hi JG,

"Since you are interested in white zinnias, it might be interesting to see how white tubular zinnias would look...also, some modified whirligig colors might look great on them! --like, white with yellow centers..."

Yes, I would very much like to see the tubulars in white. So far that hasn't happened, but I plan to cross them with all colors of zinnias and grow recombinants from those crosses. I hope eventually to have them in an all-color strain. And I hope to have a much improved version of their petal form.

"I am already starting to collect seeds...the goldfinches pretty much clue me in as to when they are ready!"

Me too. I have seen a few goldfinches and other seed-eating birds in my zinnias. I need to collect seeds and deploy a few "hairnets".

"TC, which date of photos are you referring to? Not sure I can provide higher resolution photos.... "

I think this is the zinnia that TC was referring to. If you don't mind, I think I could upsample it and display it in a larger size. But I won't do that without your permission.

That first picture just after the picture of your zinnia patch has an informal flower form that I refer to as "aster flowered", because it has long, loosely placed petals. I like an open flowerform like that, because it lets you see the coloration of the entire petal, which is especially beneficial for bi-color and tricolor petals. In that flower, the petals are yellow orange based tangerine, or approximately that. I am not too good at descriptive color names. I would definitely save seeds from that one. All of your pictured zinnias look really good.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 20, 12 at 13:16

Hi NC,

"How Tall And How Wide are They..."

They are intermediate in height, ranging from about 15 inches to 2 feet tall, and about that wide as well. Many zinnia plants are larger than they are. Their plants are rather similar to Whirligig plants. I imagine they will become more diversified as I out-cross them with more zinnia types.

"Do You Think They'd Do OK in Pots????"

That I don't know. I have grown a few of them indoors in pots, simply because indoor growing is pretty much limited to pots or hydroponics, and I am not set up for hydroponics. A zinnia's root system is roughly the same size as its above-ground plant, so they would need rather large pots. And zinnias like a lot of sun. I think that for pots, the lower growing strains, like Dreamland and Magellan would do better. I grow zinnias as house plants under fluorescent lights during the Winter, but it is not easy to do. Zinnias require more care than most house plants.

I am not close to being ready to release seeds. Eventually I will probably have enough seeds to distribute, but for the time being I need more seeds than I have for my ongoing breeding hobby.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

TC and ZM,

Here is the larger picture:

.

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 20, 12 at 14:51

I think the larger picture looks a lot better.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Sat, Jul 21, 12 at 18:33

Hi all,

For quite some time now I have been wondering if there is a feasible way of showing pictures here at a maximum size, say full screen, or possibly even larger. JG's picture above is 1,024 by 948 pixels, and it looks very good to me at that larger size. JG, I am curious whether your original picture may have been even larger than that.

I have devised a scheme that hopefully will let us show larger pictures, if we want to. Notice that your mouse cursor changes to a selection "pointing finger" as it passes over this picture. Before you click on this small image, I should warn you that if you do, after a pause to load it, a much larger picture will appear. You might want to read the instructions in the next paragraph before you click on the picture. Or, you can omit clicking on the picture, to stay on this forum page.

In that large picture, your mouse cursor will appear as a plus sign (+) inside a small circle, indicating that if you left-click your mouse, a larger full-sized picture will appear. It will have scroll bars that will let you explore the picture. While you are in that full-sized picture, your mouse cursor appears as a minus sign (-) inside a small circle, indicating that you can return to the full-screen version of the picture by left-clicking your mouse again. You should be able to return back to this forum page again by clicking the back-arrow in your browser. It sounds more complicated than it is. This scheme makes it optional whether you explore a larger version of a picture.

I have tested this scheme in the Preview Message window here in the FireFox browser and partially in the Windows Internet Explorer browser, but some browsers may have problems with it. And things aren't always the same in the submitted message as they are in the preview window. So, until I submit this message, I don't know whether this works at all. I'll let you know if it works for me after I submit it. Let me know whether this scheme worked for you, or if you had problems with it, or any other comments.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Sat, Jul 21, 12 at 18:35

OK. Good. It still works for me after I submitted it.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

ZM,

Using Internet Explorer, the photo will enlarge. So, how do you get that to happen?

The photo of the yellow and pink zinnia was originally 5184 x 3456 pixels, then when cropped for this thread, was 1473 x 1363 pixels, prior to posting.

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Sun, Jul 22, 12 at 0:54

Hi JG,

"The photo of the yellow and pink zinnia was originally 5184 x 3456 pixels, then when cropped for this thread, was 1473 x 1363 pixels, prior to posting."

I suspected that a lot of pixels were going to waste. It's interesting that when cropped for this thread, it was 1473 x 1363 pixels. Did you downsize it to 1,024 by 948 pixels, or was that done by the forum software? You can see the size of any picture on your screen by right-clicking on it and select View Image Info from the pulldown menu. If you do that on my image above, you will see that its dimensions are 390px x 328px. That is how I got the dimensions of your large image.

"Using Internet Explorer, the photo will enlarge. So, how do you get that to happen?"

There are no secrets in HTML, because anyone can "look behind the curtain" by right-clicking and selecting View Page Source from the pulldown menu. You could do that and discover that the "secret" to the enlarging picture is to insert an HTML hyperlink to a large image into your Message text. That hyperlink includes a smaller image button. This is an excerpt from my message text that contained the hyperlink:

JG, I am curious whether your original picture may have been even larger than that.

< a href="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v608/MaineMan/Experimental/DSC_0182_DxObig.jpg" >< img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v608/MaineMan/Experimental/DSC_0182_DxOthumb.jpg" align="left" border="0" >< /a >I have devised a scheme that hopefully will let us show larger pictures, if we want to.

I have "disabled" the HTML in that text string by inserting a blank space after each < and before each > to keep them from parsing as HTML. You would remove the blanks to get operational HTML. There are only two images involved:

DSC_0182_DxOthumb.jpg is the smaller image that appears in my forum message. The "align" parameter setting causes the small picture to be pushed to the left of the text, and the "border" parameter setting prevents a border from showing around it in some browsers like Internet Explorer (which would indicate that the image is a hyperlink button). I don't like the looks of the blue border, so I disabled it.

DSC_0182_DxObig.jpg is a large image that creates the two enlarged views. I downsampled my camera's 6016 x 4000 pixel image to 2,560 x 1,702 pixels to get something that would load in a reasonable amount of time, and still be big enough to overfill most monitors. Photobucket provided the + and - viewing options. Incidentally, this looks a little better in FireFox than in Internet Explorer 8.

The only "trick" in all this is that my small image has a 15-pixel white border on its righthand side to give the illusion of a border between it and the text to its right.

I will probably use this image presentation method again in the future, but I haven't decided yet how often. I'm waiting for some more feedback on troubles with this in some browsers. It should be OK, because it is standard HTML, but different browsers can implement HTML in different ways.

Since, as I suspected, your camera takes some high-pixel images, some of your modest-sized posted images may have come from some rather spectacular original images. We got a taste of that from your response to Telescody's request.

On a different note, I planted some Fall crop melons and scabiosa recombinant zinnias today. But we are in the midst of a triple digit heat wave and a worsening drought.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

ZM,

Here is a large photo of an orange X-Roll flower. I tried the command that you used on your photo to make it enlargeable, but Flickr won't allow that to happen, apparently. But, you have to realize that I am not at all familiar with html! I always looked for file information under the "Properties" option. The larger amount of info you referred to is not all that usable to someone not savvy with that language.

X-Roll Orange 001

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Mon, Jul 23, 12 at 11:36

Hi JG,

That is a great picture of a great zinnia! Its X-roll petals are accentuated by the two-tone effect, with orange going into the roll and yellow coming out. Apparently the X-roll effect is multi-gene, since the amount and style of the petal roll seems to occur in different variations.

Don't worry about the problem implementing my little-image-big-image scheme in Flickr. I may look into that when I get to a "lull" in my activities. But your presentation of large pictures is working just fine, and getting the job done.

I am currently planting my Fall crop of Whirligigs. I am using some old seed, dated 2007, so I will plant with a closer spacing to allow for a lower germination percentage. The "survivors" of this long storage time will have passed a test of sorts. That could be a good thing. I hope to find some specimens with at least some amount of petal up-roll, and inter-cross them to get the beginnings of a strain. More later.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

ZM,

I would think the age of the Whirligig seeds would be far less a problem than the severe heat you are dealing with out there now! How will you keep the seeds moist during germination? Just asking that because I was considering putting in more zinnia seeds but I was afraid they would dry out! I did plant a few sunflowers, by cutting out the bottoms of plastic cups, embedding the cups in the soil, then putting the seeds in them. When I water them, the water is focused on the area around the seed. But I only planted a dozen or so sunflowers!

Here again is one of the most extreme of my flowers.

X-Roll

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

Jackie, this latest one is fascinating.


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Wed, Jul 25, 12 at 13:57

JG,

That latest one is more than spectacular. I am so glad it got a big picture. I so hope that the X-roll zinnias can be saved as a strain.

"How will you keep the seeds moist during germination?"

I use a garden hose with a fan spray head to sprinkle the seedbeds gently at least once a day. I don't want to wash them out of their soil cover. I do that for seedbeds even when the heat isn't excessive.

Today is another triple digit day in our current heat wave, but there is a possibility of showers tomorrow. It's not really a cool front, it's a not-quite-so-hot front. And we will hopefully be in the mid or upper nineties for the next two or three days. Then back to the triple digit madness. Our lawn is mostly crispy brown. Walking on the grass crunches like walking on corn flakes.

But I spend some time each day watering various critical parts of my garden. I hope our well doesn't run dry, but I suppose that is a possibility. It must be quite deep, though, because the water from it runs cold, even in this heat. I water some and then let the well "rest". And then I water some more, and let it rest again. More later. I am so inspired by your Extreme Roll flower form. I am so glad that zinnias can "do that".

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

Rhizo,
I'm not sure if these kind of zinnias are resulting from a mutation or just an unusual combination of genes, but I've been able to keep them going for three years now....they're definitely hybrids but I haven't figured out what the pattern of inheritance is! And, there are different levels of expression of the trait.

ZM,
I'm glad you'll be getting a second crop of zinnias. I have small beds that haven't come up at all because I was hoping to count on the rain. Maybe I will water those and see if anything comes up! They were a little far from the house to carry water.. We are now in a region of "exceptional drought" according to the U.S. Drought Monitor as is about 1/5 of Indiana.

I'll show just a few favorites that come up from year to year:

First, the type of flower that has very silky petals that are white on the back..followed by yellow zinnias that have a white center, only visible when they first start to bloom, or later when you pull the petals up..
silky petal White Center

Then, flowers that are the reverse of each other; one is lighter in the center of the flower, the other, darker in the center.
July 21 054July 21 053

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 27, 12 at 15:57

Hi JG,

"I have small beds that haven't come up at all because I was hoping to count on the rain. Maybe I will water those and see if anything comes up! They were a little far from the house to carry water...."

If you had a garden hose you wouldn't need to carry the water. When I was a kid I lost a whole marigold garden that I had carefully prepared the seed beds for and then waited for rain to germinate them. Rain didn't come, but winds did, and blew away the fine sandy soil and the marigold seeds, leaving me with nothing. Now I never depend on a rain to germinate my seeds.

Incidentally, the Whirligigs that I planted on the 23rd started emerging yesterday. I planted a second bed on the 25th, and another bed yesterday, and they aren't coming up yet. I think the old seed is germinating at about 30 to 40 percent, as compared to the 80 percent of new seed. So I am planting extra thick to compensate. I hope to prepare and plant a fourth bed of Whirligigs today. Those beds are next to each other, and will create a Whirligig garden.

Your latest pictures are quite interesting. The white on the backs of the petals is interesting. I have seen it on a very few specimens of mine. I think it would be an interesting strain, and would look especially good on extreme roll zinnias.

Those last two pictures of reverse colorations are really nice, and demonstrate the versatility of zinnia colors. That first pink silky zinnia is quite refined. You have many home bred zinnias that aren't available commercially and are worthy of continued propagation. Well, I have some soil preparation and planting to do. More later.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

ZM,

I hope your planting is going well! I planted a few more seeds in my closest garden that I water every 4 or 5 days..will water more where the seeds have gone in. As far as watering my other plots with a hose, I will hold back on that this year--they are several hundred feet from the outdoor faucet.

Here are a few current examples of the X-roll flowers. You can see, I hardly have a handle on the breeding, but I do think I have the gene pool for those flowers captured (somewhat!).
X-roll 7-31-2
X-roll 7-31-5
X-roll 7-31
X-roll 7-31-3
X-roll 7-31-4

Many of these flowers are shedding pollen, which is a plus in crossing them--there are a few that don't form pollen at all.

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 1, 12 at 2:15

Hi JG,

I love those pictures of X-rolls. The second one from the top is my favorite, and with lots of stigmas and no pollen, it is an ideal female for crosses.

"As far as watering my other plots with a hose, I will hold back on that this year--they are several hundred feet from the outdoor faucet."

Wow! You must have an extended growing space! I thought my space was extensive, but your must be much more so. I can see why you wouldn't have several hundred feet of hose on hand.

I extended our garden by over 100 feet to the North, and got a 1-inch 100 foot hose to go with our existing 100-foot 3/4-inch hose. I paid extra to get the 1-inch hose, because it has much less pressure drop with distance and basically moves our water source 100 feet into the garden, pressure wise. It makes it feasible to water all of the extended garden. This year the extended part was planted in corn, seed sunflowers, okra, and several kinds of melons. Next year zinnias will get some of that new space, as I am building up my seed supply this year.

There have been a couple of developments with the trumpet flowered zinnias. I got a trumpet flowered zinnia from a non-trumpet flowered zinnia. It was dahlia flowered, with possible trumpet pollination. At least one of its progeny is trumpet flowered. So apparently trumpet flowered zinnias can reappear after apparently vanishing in recessive pollinations.

I discovered the other thing while saving seed from trumpet flowered specimens today. I found a trumpet flowered plant whose seedheads contained apparently viable seeds attached to tubular petals. The stigmas enclosed in the tubular petal were somehow pollinated, possibly by anthers that also developed inside the tube.

Another possibility could be that the zinnia attracted ants inside the petal tubes with nectar and the ants inadvertently carried pollen down into the tubes and got some on the stigmas.

I have noticed that an occasional unusual zinnia will be amazingly attractive to ants. I had one like that last year. It had big light pink flowers that attracted hundreds of ants while zinnias immediately around it had only an occasional ant.

I always worry that ants can herd aphids, because in Maine aphid-herding ants were a problem. One type of ants herded aphids into the zinnia flowers and foliage, while other ants herded aphids underground on the zinnia root systems. Those ants had a separate ant den at the base of each affected zinnia plant. But the Kansas ants are apparently just collecting nectar. I have no idea whether they accidentally move any pollen around.

Well, anyway, I will consider it a breakthrough if these tubular petal seeds are actually viable. The have the weight and solidity to be viable. Incidentally, several years ago I discovered anthers inside some tubular zinnia petals that I was splitting in order to pollinate their stigmas. So growing anthers inside a tubular petal is a thing that zinnias can do. More later. I plan to gather some more seed from trumpet flowered specimens tomorrow. I hope to have enough trumpet flowered seed to plant them inground next year.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

ZM,

It sounds like you really have a lot of garden space! My spaces aren't continuous, but there is a plot set up here and there, and spaced fairly far apart. And, then, I have the main plot, where the vast majority of zinnias grow.

It sounds like the trumpet gene pool is broadening for you now that you have some coming from non-trumpet flowers. It's acting like a recessive gene, and apparently the parent of that new zinnia was carrying the gene (or genes).

I'm still pretty convinced that zinnias can be pollinated by wind. Each pollen grain is microscopic, and when there is wind, I have a feeling that the air in a zinnia patch is full of pollen, blowing away from the flowers that are producing it. I've had isolated plots of Benary zinnias where just a few flowers were producing pollen, and the flowers that only had the rays ended up making a lot of seeds. Insects aren't likely to be attracted to those flowers as they are shedding no pollen. And it seems that the major nectaries are at the base of the disc flowers.

When you saw anthers inside the tube petals, did they have the typical appearance of a yellow disc flower? And, when you collect seeds from the trumpet flowers, aren't they usually attached to the base of the petals, or are you only collecting the seeds at the base of the disc flowers?
These are interesting flowers that you have!

I wonder if those few flowers that are so attractive to the ants also have a fragrance?

The orange X-roll flower that I showed earlier here has filled out some, so here is what it looks like now:

Orange X-roll3

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 1, 12 at 21:45

JG,

OMG! You have reached a new pinnacle with that orange X-roll! If that were a stable strain, you could have a field day thinking of a name for it. I think that is the most sensational zinnia picture and the most sensational zinnia ever shown in this entire 18-part message thread.

You may be right that zinnias can be pollinated by wind, at least for short distances. Their pollen grains are pretty heavy compared to most windborne pollen. But in some intra-flower pollination, even simple gravity may transfer some pollen to the stigmas.

"And it seems that the major nectaries are at the base of the disc flowers."

That's probably true for most zinnias. For those few zinnias that seem to be so attractive to ants, I wonder if some mutation hasn't caused them to have an abundance of nectaries throughout the bloom.

"When you saw anthers inside the tube petals, did they have the typical appearance of a yellow disc flower?"

No, not at all. What was inside the tube petals was an anther bundle, like the anther bundle that is inside the tube of the yellow disc flowers (the 5-star or 6-star fuzzy yellow pollen florets). Incidentally, for indoor pollination or indoor cross-pollination, you can get pretty surgical with the pollination procedure. I frequently extract the anther bundle from a floret before the pollen has spilled, and use the whole anther bundle, part of it, or even individual anthers to dab pollen grains directly on the stigmas. I wear a pair of magnifiers to aid me in that close work, and I have some precision tweezers. That's more time consuming than just grabbing a floret and using it as a brush to apply pollen. But you can use the anther bundles before the style has pushed the pollen out of the anther bundle, and make the pollen from a single floret go farther. Anyhow, the anther bundle inside the tubular petal was a fairly normal looking anther bundle.

"And, when you collect seeds from the trumpet flowers, aren't they usually attached to the base of the petals, or are you only collecting the seeds at the base of the disc flowers? "

Except for that recent exception, the seeds at the base of the tubular petals are empty non-viable seeds, because the stigma in each petal tube was physically inaccessible. Last year, for the original mutant trumpet specimen (which I designated as E2) I split a lot of petals to get access to the stigmas and pollinated them. So I had a fairly good yield of petal seeds from E2. This year I have been too busy to do any outdoor petal splitting, so all of the trumpet seeds I have been getting are floret seeds, the ones at the base of the fairly normal looking pollen florets -- the disc flowers. That's why I was so surprised to shuck a trumpet head and find viable seeds attached to many of the tubular petals. Incidentally, many of those petal seeds are a bit odd looking. Maybe I will take a picture of them.

"I wonder if those few flowers that are so attractive to the ants also have a fragrance?"

You know, I should have smelled them, but didn't. Hopefully I will remember to do that next time I see one. And try not to let any ants get on my nose. Some zinnias have a very faint fragrance, but nothing that you could experience from a distance. It would be great if we could find fragrant zinnias.

ZM



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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

***And try not to let any ants get on my nose***

On your nose What About UP Your Nose....
Snorting Ants is NOT A Fun Thing To Do, even WORSE if They BITE!!!!!

FAB Photos Everyome!!!
Thanks for Sharing
NC


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

ZM,

I don't know if the last zinnia was the most sensational, but it is very interesting...and it's exciting that someone else likes it along with me! I think just as sensational are the tubular zinnias you have now as well as some of the "shaggy dogs" you have shown in the past! And some of the elegant airy zinnias that you have.

I've saved seeds from every descendent (that produced seeds) from the original X-roll flower and just keep growing them out. Some are crossed by me; others I just let the bees cross in case there is some inbred type of incompatibility. I always do plant the seeds of X-roll-(phenotype) plants together and they tend to give rise to the greatest concentration of X-roll flowers in the garden.

Your tubular ray flowers that are producing seeds seem to me to be similar to the florets of the scabious zinnias, which also do not possess the yellow petal found in the disc flowers, but do have anthers, at least, in some cases, as in below--not the best photo, but...

scabious flower

NC, something tells me that if ZM finds a fragrant flower, he will take his chances with the ants, LOL..

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 4, 12 at 15:20

Hi NC,

JG is right, if I find a fragrant zinnia, I will take my chances with the ants. Actually, that is a real danger, because those little ants scurry around quite rapidly when it is warm, and it would be quite unpleasant if one or more got up my nose. I have inhaled a gnat on a few occasions, and that results in repeated nose blowing. But as gardeners, sometimes we "boldly go...", as they say on Star Trek.

JG,

I hope you will continue saving seeds from your X-rolls. Even the ones that aren't quite so "extreme", because that extra-narrow petal form may be somewhat recessive, and could pop up in the progeny of some partially extreme specimens. Your extreme-roll petals have a big advantage over my tubular petals, by presenting the stigmas openly for access to pollination. And I think their structure is probably more flexible, too. The tubes seem to resist bending, which makes them somewhat prone to breaking. Actually, I used tube breaking as means of exposing the stigmas, with some success. But too much surgery on a zinnia flower can have bad effects, and some of the flowers with nearly all of their petals split or otherwise "operated on" withered and died. I'm not sure what the mechanism is, but a lot of wounding of a zinnia bloom can cause it to wither and die. Possibly it's bacterial infection. I should experiment with spraying an antiseptic, like Physan 20, on the petals where petal surgery produces a lot of open wounds.

The structure of the tubular petals that do form seeds can have some very narrow tubular petal attachment, as in this sample of recently saved petal seeds from breeder F35, which has a fairly high percentage of viable petal seeds. F35 was a progeny of F5, which was a non-tubular specimen from E2, the original trumpet-petaled specimen. Apparently F5 was a cross between E2 and some selected pollen parent, and the trumpet petal trait was recessive in it, but came out in F35.

It is still an open question in my mind how these trumpet petals are able to get pollen onto their rather tightly enclosed stigmas. An anther bundle is small and rather compact, because it can fit within the neck of a disk flower pollen-bearing floret. I still think that some tiny insect vector could carry pollen into the thin tube of a trumpet petal, but that would be a tight fit for many ants. But there are some very small ants. And other small insects, like thrips for example, could be candidate pollen carriers.

I hope the tubular petal seeds are produced by anther bundles, because any local tiny insects might not be available elsewhere. I suppose I should do some surgery on some trumpet petals, to see if I can find any anther bundles. I did split a lot of petals on E2 to pollinate their enclosed stigmas, and in the many dozens of petals that I opened, I didn't see any trace of anther bundles. However, I might have missed them, since they would be below the stigma arms, and I usually just split a petal enough to expose the stigma arms and occasionally a short part of the stigma neck.

My goal is to breed some tubular petals that are much larger, and potentially with wider diameter tubes. I am also looking for larger florets in scabious types.

In the next week or two, I plan to plant a few more zinnias for Fall growing. The middle of August will probably be my cutoff date, unless I am planting specifically to produce cutting material to bring in before a killing frost.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

ZM,

It's interesting to look at the features of the trumpet petals. In one way, if those flowers within do not have anthers, then you have a lot of control over how they are bred. But,in another way, it would be nice if they could at least self themselves, so that you could get seeds without having to make crosses. I wonder if they are at all analogous to the scabious florets? You could cross one of the trumpet flowers with a scabious flower with large florets to see what would happen.

It will be interesting also to see if the seeds you collected from the trumpet flowers will germinate! If so, you might want to selectively cross those trumpet flowers that have both anthers and stigmas in the tubular petals to get a more fertile strain.

We finally got an inch of rain in the last 24 hours---the first measurable amount of rain here since mid-May! Already the grass is beginning to get green! This is the longest drought I have seen. Along with the high temperatures, we have lost a number of trees (in the 5 to 30 year old range) that couldn't survive these conditions.

Today I found an odd mutation among my Benary zinnias. I don't know if it will develop further-- right now it looks a bit like a cauliflower!

Mutant

I planted some empty spots in my main garden with seeds, and they have come up in 3 days (they were seeds from my 2009 garden).

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 5, 12 at 23:52

Hi JG,

I have never seen anything like that Benary's mutant. Let's keep an eye on it to see what it does. If it produces seeds or pollen, they could have some interesting results. Zinnias are full of surprises.

We got a few drops, literally, of rain yesterday. The drought is still going on here. I have to water anything I want to keep alive.

"It will be interesting also to see if the seeds you collected from the trumpet flowers will germinate!"

I will find out the answer to that in the next few days. Today I tilled up a new flower bed, sized for 5 rows 16 inches apart. The rows are about 20 feet long. I will plant something in it tomorrow, including two or more rows of my newly saved trumpet flowered seeds. Here is a picture of a larger sample of the trumpet petal seeds.

I will include a row of trumpet petal seeds, and space them a decent amount apart, like 8 inches. And I will plant at least one row of trumpet floret seeds. Hopefully there will be time to get a seed crop from them before a killing frost.

"But,in another way, it would be nice if they could at least self themselves, so that you could get seeds without having to make crosses. I wonder if they are at all analogous to the scabious florets?"

If they have fertile anther bundles, they are functionally the same as many of the scabious florets. (Scabious florets come in several functional versions.) I think I made several crosses between the original E2 and some scabious specimens, but I will have to check my tags to see if any of them are growing. The tubular trumpet petals can be wider and more open, to allow entrance of an insect, like in this picture.

The individual petals on that one remind me of Pitcher Plants. I think I need to do a lot more crossing and growing out with these trumpet petaled zinnias if they are ever going to amount to anything. You are right that the trumpets should be crossed with the scabious ones to get some interaction between their traits. I plan to cross them with pretty much everything, and I am hoping that next year I will get some decent results from them. Maybe each individual petal could look like a little morning glory. I think I would like that.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

ZM,

That last zinnia you've shown is so unusual! I look forward to see what your latest plantings show! --especially if you can get those trumpet flower seeds to germinate (the ones that may have been selfed).

I'm collecting seeds now,and trying to beat the finches, who are very active in getting a meal from among my flowers. I used to cut the entire flower off and collect the mature seeds, but now I am doing what the finches do--taking the mature seeds from the base of the flower and allowing the newer seeds to develop as the flower reamains in the garden. Also, the pollen, if present, will be around longer for crossing there. The bees are more numerous than ever this year--I think it is because so few flowers are blooming around here with the heat and dryness.

Here is one of my zinnias, which has a very deep flower, with lots of petals. I would bet that this flower is a descendent of one of the Queen Lime zinnias.

pink-green zin

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 9, 12 at 13:16

Hi JG,

"I'm collecting seeds now,and trying to beat the finches, who are very active in getting a meal from among my flowers."

I am in the same mode that you are. The finches feed every morning and evening. I have too many seedheads to protect all of them with seedhead nets. I have draped some of the net material over a few adjoining breeder zinnias, with some success. I also have left a lot of decoy zinnias whose seeds I am not interested in. If I have time, I will try to devise some kind of scarecrow for finches.

"The bees are more numerous than ever this year..."

Yes. Same here. And I have seen a new kind of bee, a black bodied bee about the size of a honeybee, gathering zinnia pollen. I sure hope it isn't an African Killer Bee. My son says it is too cold here during the Winter for killer bees, and I think he is right about that. Which leaves the new black bee unidentified.

"I look forward to see what your latest plantings show! --especially if you can get those trumpet flower seeds to germinate"

I planted a row of petal seeds and a row of floret seeds of F35, which is one of my second generation trumpet-petaled breeders. I was particularly in suspense about the petal seeds, because their stigmas are seemingly inaccessible inside the narrow petal tubes. Several of the petal seedlings were emerging this morning. (One is pictured on the left.) I planted them the 6th, and today is the 9th, so 3-day germination is nicely prompt, but about what you can expect in this warm weather. In the past I have gotten one-day and two-day emergence for zinnia seedlings, so these haven't set any speed record. I still don't know how they do it, but this shows that the tubular petals can have viable seeds without any special attention or surgery. I think that is good news for the tubular zinnias. I think they have proved that they would be able to survive and grow under field-grown conditions. I am no longer worried about that. It remains to use them to produce a decent looking new flower form. That needs a lot of improvement, because the present trumpet-petaled flowers are kind of freaky looking. But I think the potential is there.

I really like the zinnia in your last picture. I normally don't like zinnia that have petals piled closely on top of each other, but I like the looks of your nearly spherical zinnia bloom enough to make an exception. I think a lot of people would like a strain of zinnias that had ball-shaped flowers in an assortment of good colors. If it were me, I would save seeds from the zinnia in that last picture based on the spherical shape of the bloom, looking for spherical blooms in the next next generation. I haven't seen any ball-shaped zinnias this year, but I had one a few years ago, and some of its genes are probably still in my gene pool. I will be on the lookout for them next year.

I think I will quit planting Fall crop zinnia seeds in the next day or two. There is quite a bit of uncertainty for our first killing frost date, and I don't want to get involved in too much rescue cutting taking.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

zenman, I can pretty much guarantee the black bodied bee that you saw was not an Africanized (killer) bee (AHB). To the untrained eye, Africanized honey bees and those that are descended from European bees look exactly alike (No honeybees are native to the New World). You can't even really tell them apart from their behavior because all honey bee behavior runs a continuum from very aggressive (actually defensive because they only sting in quantity when there is a threat to the hive) to docile. It is just that AHB behavior clusters more often at the aggressive end.

And your son is right, an AHB swarm that got off a train, truck or ship might last through the summer and fall in Ottawa, but they would not survive the winter.

I'll get off that soap box now (part of my day job is to keep the USDA spread of Africanized honey bee map).

I really love your pitcher plant petaled (trumpet petal) zinnia. Have you had the form show up in other colors besides the pink?

KimKa


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 10, 12 at 11:30

Hi KimKa,

Thanks for setting my mind at rest about the black bodied bees. When I get a little spare time, I will try to capture a picture of one so that I can make a leisurely identification. I am used to a variety of bees gathering zinnia pollen -- the honeybees, bumble bees, and carpenter bees. There are a few that I don't know, with the black-bodied medium sized bee being the latest.

"I really love your pitcher plant petaled (trumpet petal) zinnia. Have you had the form show up in other colors besides the pink?"

So far, only the pink one in the pitcher plant form. But I am crossing these tubular petaled zinnias with other forms and colors, and in the shakeout of recombinants that will follow from all those crosses, I expect that I will get the wider tubed forms (pitcher plant petaled), as well as narrow tubed forms, in all zinnia colors. I get three or four generations of zinnias a year, but even so, that might take a couple of years or more.

I wonder how long it might take for the zinnia pitcher plant petals to become functional carnivorous plant parts. Zinnias already benefit from foliar feeding. Since rainwater can accumulate in the zinnia "pitcher" petals, and some insects might drown in that water and decompose to release nutrients, the foliar feeding capability might extend to the petals and make zinnia pitcher plant petals a carnivorous nutrient source. I had previously thought that carnivorous zinnias were a fictional concept, but now I am not so sure.

JG has some zinnias with white on the backside of the petals, which would correspond to the outside of the pitcher plant petal, and I would like to get that trait in the tubulars. For that matter, I would like to get the outside of the tubulars in a variety of "good" colors in addition to white, instead of the dull veined "backside" look that they now have. Even some of the Whirligig zinnia specimens show quite a bit of petal backside, like this one.

And, of course, JG's "extreme rolls" show even more backside. So I am beginning to realize that backside petal color is becoming a much more important trait in zinnias. A few years ago, I saw a purple zinnia with white petal backsides in my garden, and I didn't think much of it, because on it you didn't see the petal backsides. But with the advent of rolled petals, extreme rolled petals, and tubular petals, the backside petal color becomes an important trait in zinnias. I will be watching for it in the future.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

Speaking of bees, I was watering the flowers one morning and noticed this guy just hanging out on the petals. I nudged him with a blade of grass thinking he may have been dead for some reason, but he seemed to just be waiting for it to warm up. I suppose he got in that position trying to get some nectar and ran out of steam.


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

Hello everyone!

ZM, I look forward to seeing the phenotypes of your tubular plants....coming from floret vs. petal seeds! What did F35 look like?

I've tried to identify some of the bees visiting my garden. One type of bee was larger than a honeybee, having a black abdomen. He was identified by entomologists as a giant resin bee. You might check some of the
images of these online to see if maybe that is what you have!

Telescody, I've seen bumblebees early in the morning much as you pictured your bee....just hanging onto a flower, looking like they collapsed there the evening before after a hard day's work! I've also seen honeybees like that.

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 12, 12 at 0:54

TC,

That is a great close-up picture of that bumblebee. I am guessing that it is a bumblebee. Like JG, I have also seen bees like that, apparently asleep on a zinnia flower.

Judging from the scale of the bumblebee, that zinnia is a small flowered variety. Its petal shape resembles the petal shape of other zinnias you have pictured. Are they all the same zinnia variety? That seems to be a nice pure white zinnia.

JG,

"What did F35 look like?"

F35 had medium large trumpet petaled flowers. F35 was over twice the size of E2, the original trumpet petaled mutant. F35's maternal parent was F5, whose maternal parent was the original E2. F5 was planted indoors last January, spent its entire life indoors, was pollinated indoors, and set seed indoors, including the seed that produced F35. F35 was started indoors and set into the garden as a budding seedling.

Interestingly enough, F5 was not trumpet petaled, but was pumila flowered (a little like Telescody's zinnias) with broad petals that had a slight notch. F5 had large pointed leaves on a tall, strong plant (unlike its E2 parent, which had a medium sized plant with small pointed leaves.) F35 had a good yield of both petal seeds and floret seeds.

In addition to the two F35 test rows I planted, I will have quite a few of its progeny next year. I had several trumpet petaled zinnias this year that gave a decent seed yield, but not all of them had viable petal seeds. I am hoping to grow enough trumpet petaled progeny next year to see a fairly wide spectrum of variations on the theme. If I get any good F35 progeny this Fall, and can save seed or take cuttings from them, they will continue indoors as a fourth generation this year.

My new black bees were about the size of a honeybee. I'll try to snap a picture of one if I think about it.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

Are they all the same zinnia variety?
Well, I think that one in particular is an F2 of two "Purity" flowers mixed together, as I had a few in my garden last year. Funny that you mention "pure" white, since that's the marketed name.
Here's a kind of battered looking Purity that isn't fairing too well:

Made a kind of neat picture, though.

By the way, the bee that was pictured is definitely a carpenter bee. We have honey bees as well, but they're shaped differently. I've only seen a bumble bee a few times before.


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 14, 12 at 16:29

Hi TC,

"...the bee that was pictured is definitely a carpenter bee."

You are right. That is definitely a carpenter bee. They are about the size and shape of a bumblebee, but bumblebees have yellow or orange "fur" on their abdomen. I see both bumblebees and carpenter bees on my zinnias, and sometimes I confuse the two. I also see several kinds of sweat bees.

I like to cross different large zinnia flowerforms, just to get some new looks in the flowerforms of the recombinants from those crosses. My so-called "aster flowered" zinnias arose in that way. This picture was taken two or three weeks ago, before the water shortage and triple digit hot weather pushed my zinnias into premature seed setting.

There are Burpeeana Giant and Burpee's Hybrids genes, as well as some Whirligig genes, in the mix that gives rise to the aster flowered variation.

Your Purity bloom is a fine specimen, and worthy of saving seeds from. I think Purity was one of the Giants of California strain of zinnias, and they had taller plants and somewhat broader petals than the similar Dahlia Flowered zinnia strain.

I probably should grow a few California Giants next year, just to add them to my gene pool. Specifically, I would like to see how they interact with the trumpet petaled tubular zinnias that I am experimenting with. I need to increase the size and diameter of the trumpet petals. More later. I need to weed my Fall zinnia garden.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 15, 12 at 13:29

Hi all,

The first of my Fall crop of zinnias is starting to bloom. Several have already qualified as "culls" and will be discarded, but this is a toothy specimen that caught my eye. This picture was taken yesterday.

That zinnia has a reasonable amount of toothiness, and I used that single pollen floret to self-pollinate most of the available stigmas on this bloom. I did that by using a special pair of fine point tweezers to extract the anther bundle from the floret and touch the exposed anthers to the stigmas. That is a technique I developed indoors last Winter to make choice pollen go farther. It is enabled by a special pair of tweezers that have curved fine points.

I hope to see more toothy zinnias in my Fall crop of zinnias. I don't have any tubular zinnias in the pollen-bearing stage right now (they have all gone to seed and I have harvested the seed to save them from the Finches), but there are some tubular seedlings coming on in the Fall crop. If I have the opportunity, I will make some crosses between the toothys and tubulars, both ways. I would like to see the toothy trait in some tubulars, or vice versa.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

Hello!

Just got back to my home and garden after a 10-day trip to Texas...we have had 2 1/5 inches of rain here and what a difference the rain makes! The zinnias are blooming like they never have and look great. If I see anything different in the next few days, I will post it...well, maybe if it isn't different!

Telescody, it's good you are collecting seeds from your white flowers. Let us know if you get colors other than white when you grow out the seeds!...I still wonder how much crossing goes on the garden...

ZM, your pink aster flowers look great..interesting to hear of the kinds of zinnias that cross to give that sort of bloom. And, I see that your toothy flowers are coming true to form...toothy, tubular flowers could look good...actually fluffy with the ragged edges...hope you can get that to work!

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 19, 12 at 12:30

Hi JG,

Welcome back from Texas. Our rains haven't amounted to much so far. They were less than a tenth of an inch to just a trace. The drought is still in full force here, but at least the temperatures are cooler, and it is reasonably comfortable doing physical garden work.

This is one of my recent toothy zinnias. This picture was taken about 30 minutes ago.

That one has obvious Whirligig influence. I think that at least some of the toothiness came from selected Whirligigs that had some noticeable petal-end toothy effect. Some scabious zinnias also display some toothiness, and it may be a different sort from what the Whirligigs have. It may be that the toothier specimens combine some toothiness from Whirligigs and scabiosa flowered specimens. In any case, it helps to intercross different toothy specimens.

"...toothy, tubular flowers could look good...actually fluffy with the ragged edges...hope you can get that to work! "

I hope so, too. I am optimistic about making some real progress next year. This year my efforts have been divided between zinnia breeding and garden expansion activities. I expect to have most of the infrastructure of my garden completed by the end of this Fall, so that next year I can concentrate on growing and breeding zinnias.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

ZM,

I hope that you get rain soon! A day or two with rain and cloudy skies makes a tremendous difference. We have been moved from exceptional to extreme drought here...but the grass is now green, and the ground somewhat damp.

Here are some of the flowers I am seeing now:

An example of a flower with silky petals with white backing:

.

Many of my flowers show petals that change from yellow or orange to magenta as they mature. Notice that one of these has white-backed petals:

. .

I don't have many toothy petaled flowers as you do, but here is one:

.

One of the Extreme Roll descendents has pink-backed petals (I've shown a flower from this plant before):

.

Some flowers here look a little like powder puffs, having no well-defined center:

.

Then, finally, the mutant I showed before, now about 3" wide. It seems to be producing an almost endless number of bracts, and no rays, scales, stamens, or pistils
.

From the side, you can see the large numbers of stems emerging from one area:

.

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 21, 12 at 16:42

JG,

Those new pictures are absolutely intriguing. As I have said before, the white-backed petals are potentially very useful for breeding purposes. Your extreme roll zinnias could show off the white-backed petals in a most dramatic way. Just imagine a bright red X-roll with bright white wrapping around the petals! And my tubulars could benefit spectacularly from white on the outside of their tubes, with a matching or contrasting petal color emerging from the inside at the end of each tube.

And your green mutant is just plain amazing! The top view shows a multiplicity of apparent flower buds, and the side view shows that each of the composite flower florets on the base "flower" or "capitula" has transformed into a potential whole separate composite flower. I suppose that could be a "Witches Broom" produced by the Aster Yellows pathogen, but if it is genetic, it could be the basis of a whole new race of multi-headed zinnias. If it puts out a side branch or produces seed in any way, try to get seed from it.

This is a photo of one of my new examples of the toothy zinnia strain from my "Fall crop" of zinnias. Its newly emerging petals give some hint of what a toothy x tubular cross might produce in the way of petals. Its new petals look somewhat like tubes with toothy ends, in that stage of their development.

I still have a fairly high cull rate in the progeny of this strain, but I am making progress in that direction, in that I am getting a higher percentage of toothy specimens. I will be showing representative pictures as my "Fall planting" yields more examples. I can hardly wait to cross the toothies with the tubulars.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

ZM,

Your toothy flower looks really good! I hope you will post another picture of it when it fills out. You've got a near-blue flower there, too! I'm also looking to see how your crosses with the tubular flowers go, as well as those which self-pollinated....really interesting! I've had some tubular flowers in the past, but had no luck with the seeds of those germinating as you have.

Here are some flowers I have now..nothing terribly different.. two cactus blooms and some variations of Whirligigs:
. .

. . .

The light pink cactus flower is remarkable in that it is very large--about 6" in diameter. Somehow I never tire of looking at the Whirligigs and all the different kinds of flowers that are produced.

I'm glad you mentioned "Witches Broom." I had never heard of that condition in plants, although I was aware that different organisms can reprogram development in them through various means. I am going to let the one plant I have continue in the garden as I want to see how the one other bud it has will appear when it opens. It's more of a curiosity item than anything else!

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 25, 12 at 21:36

JG,

"Your toothy flower looks really good! I hope you will post another picture of it when it fills out. You've got a near-blue flower there, too!"

Actually, that near-blue thing was just an effect of the lighting when I took the picture. That day that part of the garden was in open shade, with illumination from a big blue sky overhead. That sky light put a blue cast on everything, and the pale pastel of the almost colorless opening petals picked up the blue cast. This picture of the maturing bloom today shows that its "true" color is a pale lavender with a hint of magenta. You can see that the newly opening petals are almost colorless. This photo was taken today under a grey overcast sky (we finally got some rain). That grey sky had a fairly neutral light.

Some lavender zinnias can look sky blue under shaded light conditions. But exposure to sunlight ends that illusion and the petals become lavender. I think that eventually there will be blue zinnias, but I think they will come from genetic engineering rather than a natural mutation. This photo was also taken today of a just-opening toothy zinnia, that also hints at what a cross between a tubular and a toothy might look like.

When I first saw it, I thought it might be a toothy tubular, but on closer examination I realized that, in this juvenile stage, the new petals were in a natural extreme roll configuration. So I guess this also gives a hint at what a cross between extreme-roll and toothy might look like.

I am hoping to see a few petal-roll specimens in my Fall crop of Whirligigs. I intend to self and inter-cross them as a first step toward extreme roll. I had a few Whirligigs like that last year, but failed to take advantage of them. I was working with the trumpet-petaled mutant to the exclusion of almost all of my other breeding goals. But in my experience, a small percentage of Whirligigs display the petal roll trait, and this Fall I hope to find and save seeds from some for use next year.

"I'm glad you mentioned "Witches Broom." I had never heard of that condition in plants, although I was aware that different organisms can reprogram development in them through various means."

Zinnias are susceptible to the Aster yellows disease, although it is rarely a problem. But as you can see from that Wiki article, it is a very weird disease. I was particularly intrigued by the fact that the infected leafhoppers that carry the Aster yellows phytoplasma actually benefit from the organism being in their body. I wonder if anyone has studied its effect, if any, on the human body.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

ZM,

Your toothy lavender flower is pretty, both in form and color. Wouldn't a whole bed of these be nice? Or, a mix of this form in pastels...lavender, pink, light yellow...

I have a slightly toothy zinnia, but it is showing some disc flowers! (As most of mine do).

.

There are several flowers here that have the toothiness along with the curled petals found in the whirligigs.

ToothyB Aug 30 Toothy

I'm not sure that the extreme roll trait comes exclusively from whirligig zinnias. The maternal parent of my first Extreme Roll flower was a large cactus type. But, I notice so many of the whirligigs start out with buds that show the rolled trait. It may be that the paternal parent of my flower was a whirligig, although I had the maternal flower netted while attempting to self it.

Many of the Extrreme Roll offspring have narrow petals and look like this: . Aug 30 008

Then there are variations on the roll seen:
. .

There is a new flower coming up here that is not only crinkled, but whose leaves are also crinkled:
.

Your tubular flowers are unique, and I think everyone on this thread has to agree that you should continue your breeding program with them. It looks like you have the tubular trait captured...now comes the work with colors and size! There was an interesting article in Nature...I wonder if what you are seeing may be caused by a similar event? Link: http://www.nature.com/news/gene-behind-van-gogh-s-sunflowers-pinpointed-1.10364

This summer has been the strangest summer I have ever experienced. First, we had the mild winter and very warm spring, causing early blooming on many plants, like New England aster and dill and cilantro. Then came the drought putting a halt to everything. Then, in central Indiana, we have had more rain in August than in April, May, June, and July combined! Flower beds I sowed back in May are now coming up. The zinnias have huge flowers now! I have lots of volunteer seedlings from the aster, cilantro, and dill that flowered earlier this year. Soon, we will getting what is left of Hurricane Isaac! Strangely, with the rains, the goldfinches have disappeared from my garden. As a result of the drought, there have been no Japanese beetles.

In view of the coming rain, though, I am going to collect some seeds, then get my garden tools in to where it will be dry.

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 1, 12 at 11:27

Hi JG,

Your photos are truly inspiring. I really like that crinkled one. I had a yellow cactus flowered specimen something like that a few years ago. As I recall, it came from a packet of Burpee's Burpeeana Giants. I think "crinkled" is genetic, and worthy of pursuing.

Some of your Whirligig-derived rolled-petal specimens are similar to mine. My Fall crop of Whirligigs from Tanzania are in bud now. I am going to be looking for uprolled petals in them.

"Many of the Extrreme Roll offspring have narrow petals..."

You may have hit upon something there. That may be the "secret sauce" in the extreme rolls. I think that I should grow some narrow petaled specimens and cross them with up-rolled selections from my Whirligigs. I have in the past had a few narrow petaled zinnias, and I liked the daisy-like quality that they had. I plan to start a side project to get a strain of narrow petaled zinnias that look good in their own right. This is a picture of one I had a couple of years ago.

Ironically, I think that most, if not all, of my narrow petaled zinnias have also had Whirligig origin. I had one narrow petaled zinnia whose petals curled upward, reminding me a bit of a dandelion.

If I get the opportunity, I will select toward a strain with a flowerform that looks something like that.

"This summer has been the strangest summer I have ever experienced."

Same here. Except we didn't get any significant August rain, except what we got from the remnants of hurricane Isaac yesterday and last night. For simplicity, I think of the seasons on three-month boundaries, rather than the geometry of our orbit around the Sun. So today it is Fall for me, and it looks a bit like Fall out there. We are still covered by clouds from Isaac, and a lot of leaves are falling from the trees. Some of that leaf fall could be drought related. The finches seem to be gone here as well. I gathered most of my zinnia seeds several days ago, well in advance of this rain. Now I am shucking and packaging them, until it dries off enough outside to get into the garden to do some weeding and Fall cleanup. As an experiment, I am sand-mulching the Whirligig garden.

There is a saying that the real pleasure is in the journey and not the destination. Or words to that effect. That may also apply to growing and breeding zinnias. I certainly have a lot of zinnia projects planned for next year, including my biggest plant-out of zinnias yet.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

ZM,

I agree with you that the whirligigs are good sources of unusual traits when breeding zinnias, resulting with ones such as the pretty narrow-petaled flower you have shown. I've seen toothiness, tubular petals, all kinds of unusual color combinations, narrow petals, striped petals and much more in them. I wonder what makes them so much less uniform than some of the other kinds of zinnias?

We got 2 1/2 inches of rain here in the last couple of days. I'm glad I staked some of my favorite plants as many are bending over with the water as well as with new growth. I've got a lot of seed collecting to do, and like you, I still have new plants coming up. I'm not sure how far some of these will get, but with a mild fall, there may be new blooms in the first weeks of October.

The odd mutant bloom I had with all sepals is still there, along with a new bloom that is just the same . I think this may be a genetic mutation, but a lethal one, as there is no way to reproduce (given vegetative reproduction doesn't happen).

Have you ever tried any of the organic sprays to prevent mildew? I am thinking of trying the water-based spray with baking soda, vegetable oil, and dishwashing liquid (1 TB of each to a gallon of water). There is also the recipe of water: skim milk 9:1.

Here are a few flowers in the garden today:

. . .

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Tue, Sep 4, 12 at 0:14

Hi JG,

Great pictures again. That last one is a bona fide extreme-roll. The more I see those things, the better I like them. A significant part of my breeding next year will be aimed in the direction of extreme rolls of my own. I've had some decent rolled specimens that I haven't made good use of, dating back to my gardens in Maine. From now on, I will give rolled petals special treatment. I have several hundred Whirligigs that are coming into bud now, and I am hoping that I will get at least a few rolled specimens in them.

" I wonder what makes them [Whirligigs] so much less uniform than some of the other kinds of zinnias?"

I'm going to refer to Dennis Stimart and Thomas Boyle on that one. On page 345 of the book, "Flower Breeding and Genetics" in the zinnia chapter, in the section Interspecific Crosses they say,

"Beeks (1954) traced the history of zinnia cultivars released before 1950 and concluded that several other cultivars introduced in the late 1800s and early 1900s may have been interspecific hybrids of Z. haageana and Z. violacea. "Navajo' (also known as 'Gaillardia Flowered'), 'Sombrero', and 'Whirligig' are modern-day cultivars that are likely to be hybrids of Z. haageana and Z. violacea (Weddle, 1945)."

So, it would appear that Whirligigs have the advantage of recombinations between two different species of zinnias. I plan to grow a lot of Whirligigs next year to continue "mining" their gene pool.

"The odd mutant bloom I had with all sepals is still there, along with a new bloom that is just the same . I think this may be a genetic mutation, but a lethal one, as there is no way to reproduce (given vegetative reproduction doesn't happen)."

You're probably right, it probably won't set seeds. But zinnias can do some apparently impossible stuff. I was amazed to harvest all those petal seeds from my tubular specimens a few weeks ago. I didn't do any split-tube pollination this year. I know it probably won't yield anything, but I would harvest those dried sepal heads and rip them apart to see if somehow some seeds did form in there. I know that is a long, long shot, but it would be so "cool" to find viable seeds in them.

"Have you ever tried any of the organic sprays to prevent mildew? I am thinking of trying the water-based spray with baking soda, vegetable oil, and dishwashing liquid (1 TB of each to a gallon of water). There is also the recipe of water: skim milk 9:1."

You are right to be thinking about preventing powdery mildew, as the shorter the days get and the cooler the nights, the more likely zinnias are to get powdery mildew. Remember that, although wet foliage promotes many zinnia foliage diseases, water actually inhibits powdery mildew. I kept my tubular mutant "dosed up" with Bayer All-in-One last year to protect it against everything, and that worked. Obviously that isn't organic. Be a little careful using dishwashing liquid in a spray. If it is a little too strong, it can be quite phytotoxic, bordering on herbicidal. I would use a minimum amount of original formula Dawn (there are several versions of Dawn now) needed to have the spray wet the foliage without beading up. I think that would be considerably less than one tablespoon per gallon.

The best organic spray that I have used on my zinnias is Green Cure, which is just potassium bicarbonate with a proprietary wetting agent. Potassium bicarbonate is as safe as baking powder -- in fact it is an ingredient in some baking powder brands. The disadvantage of Green Cure is that it is completely water soluble and rain, or even heavy dew, will wash it off. To be effective, it needs to be applied frequently.

I have a tentative theory about Powdery Mildew and zinnias. I think that Powdery Mildew may actually benefit the zinnia, by signalling the zinnia that a killing freeze is on the way and the zinnia should quit making leaves and start making seeds. It's kind of like "tough love", and casts Powdery Mildew in an almost symbiotic relation with the zinnia host. By stopping vegetative growth in favor of seeds, the Powdery Mildew can increase the survivability of the species. The Powdery Mildew species that infects zinnias is specific to Zinnia violacea and can't grow on other plants. Which explains the resistance of the Profusions, Zaharas, and Pinwheels to PM -- they are a different artificial species. I have a supply of GreenCure and Bayer All-in-One and I will fight Powdery Mildew on my breeders, but I hope they get the idea they should make seeds and not new growth.

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 18

ZM,

I had also read that whirligigs possibly resulted from crosses betweeen Zinnias haageana and violaceae...it's interesting to see that the Zinnia marylandicas show none of that sort of variation arising from an interspecific cross---possibly because the angustifolias are so uniform themselves.

Because I like all the butterflies that visit my garden, as well as the other creatures, I am going to stay away from a systemic mildew inhibitor that may somehow affect them. I agree that I should be careful with the detergent in a spray..I'll look and see what amount will be effective in making at least a good emulsion.

This is the earliest I've ever seen the goldfinches leave the area. I am especially surprised they left in view of all the zinnias and sunflowers I now have. Maybe the weather system with the hurricane coming was a factor in them moving on. Anyway, their departure is a benefit to me and my seed-gathering!

If I discover some tubular zinnias in my garden, I will try and keep a line going. Then you with your Extreme Rolls and I with my tubular zinnias can in the future compare our mini-parallel evolutions!

Here are some zinnias I saw today. The ones with the scabious florets are obviously hybrids, resulting from a scabious-non-scabious cross, but I thought it was interesting that they are forming a shrub-like plant in the garden. I know you've seen similar plants in past years. The others below are cactus hybrids also coming from mixed seeds of last year's garden.

Sept6 012
.

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 7, 12 at 2:38

Hi JG,

Wow, that scabious zinnia is all over the place. That looks like the shrub plant form, alright. Do save seeds from it, for the echinacea-like flowerform, and to see if that shrub plant breeds true.

"it's interesting to see that the Zinnia marylandicas show none of that sort of variation arising from an interspecific cross..."

Actually, it has to do with chromosome numbers. Z. violacea and Z. haageana have the same chromosome number, 24. So the hybrid between the two also has a chromosome number of 24, and can be fertile. Whereas the hybrid between Z. violacea (24) and Z. angustifolia (22) has an odd chromosome number of 23, and is sterile. So the commercial fertile version has a doubled chromosome number of 46. It is difficult for recombinations to occur in that case.

"Because I like all the butterflies that visit my garden, as well as the other creatures, I am going to stay away from a systemic mildew inhibitor that may somehow affect them."

That is something to consider. The Green Cure would be safe for butterflies. I have noticed that the number of butterflies is declining as we get into cooler weather. And cooler weather is when the Powdery Mildew becomes a problem, so not so many butterflies would be affected. I will probably dose my breeders with systemics as the zinnia disease season approaches. I may use nets to keep the butterflies and bees off.

"If I discover some tubular zinnias in my garden, I will try and keep a line going. Then you with your Extreme Rolls and I with my tubular zinnias can in the future compare our mini-parallel evolutions!"

I very much look forward to that. I am also looking forward to "shaking up" the tubulars to get some very significant variation in their petal shape. That "pitcher plant" variant is an example of what I am thinking of, only more so.

We have a possibility of rain later tonight and tomorrow. I gathered a bunch of zinnia seed today to get them while they are dry. This ia a recent picture of another of my "toothy" specimens.

I took that picture with my macro lens. Nikon uses the term "micro" instead of "macro". I think that toothy zinnia must have Whirligig heritage, because of the two-tone petals. I am hoping to get some "extreme toothies" next year. This is a "micro" picture taken with the same lens, only closer.

I wonder if those little hairs are single-cell or not. I am still learning to use my entry level Nikon DSLR. It has 208 pages in the User Manual, so I have lots to learn about it yet.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

Hi ZM,
Your posts always amaze me.
Realize that you probably answered this before, perhaps several times.
I want to try zinnias this year; but will focus on only one variety. I am considering:
1. Benary's Giant Dahlia or
2. Super Cactus Giant series or
3. State Fair
Any thoughts?
These will be grown for cut flowers.
I will probably start with 100 seeds and get them down to 4 plants that I will focus on.
Thanks for any comments,
Bob


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 7, 12 at 15:08

Hi Bob,

Well, Benary's Giants are bred for the florist cut flower trade. They have long, strong stems for that reason. It's a stretch to call them "giants", because their flower diameters are usually in the 4" to 5" range. To me, "giant" for a zinnia implies 6 inches or more in diameter.

State Fair are tetraploids, and don't cross with regular "diploid" zinnias, so I don't grow them for that reason. But their tetraploid nature makes their stems strong, and their flowers are 5 inches and up in size. Their petals tend to be a little "cup shaped" and are not my favorites.

Of the ones you listed, I have a personal preference for the large cactus flowered zinnias, mainly because their flower form is more informal and open. I like to grow Whirligigs for their interesting variety of bicolor and tricolor flowers. Their flowers are medium sized, in the 2.5" to 4" size range, but they can make interesting cut flowers. You would have an interesting time picking four favorite Whirligigs from a 100-seed grow-out of Whirligigs. This is a picture taken in my Whirligig patch last year.

It's interesting that in Florida you can be contemplating starting a zinnia garden this time of year. My Fall crop of zinnias are growing and some are beginning their first blooms, but it would be too late here in Kansas to plant zinnias now and expect them to have time to develop decently before a Killing Frost.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

Thanks ZM,
These will be for next spring. Although as you say I could do a fall planting, I'm sure.
Actually I just got my Geoseed Pricelist and they just added "Super Cactus Giants" in their new pricelist.
It's interesting about prices of these seeds. Whilygig are 2000 for $3; Super Cactus Giants 1000 for $3.15 and Uproar are 100 for $10.75.
The Super Cactus Giants are tetraploids. It's interesting that they just added them this year. Isn't this an old series?
Thanks for the response,
Bob


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 8, 12 at 0:00

Hi Bob,

"The Super Cactus Giants are tetraploids. It's interesting that they just added them this year. Isn't this an old series?"

I don't think so. The old tetraploid zinnia strain is State Fair, which Ferry Morse Seed Company released in the 1950s. And it is dahlia flowered. Considerably later Burpee introduced their strain of tetra zinnias, also dahlia flowered. This new item in the GeoSeed catalog is the first cactus flowered tetra zinnia that I have seen. I wonder who developed them.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

I'll ask Geoseed.
You really know your Zinnias, ZM. Your answers are always so good and I appreciate them.
You are right. I found the older Cactus Giants type on the previous page on the Geoseed pricelist.
I will try them. Also when I order I will tell you the seed producer.
Thanks again ZM!
Bob


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

Meant to say that I will try the new Super Cactus Giants. Bob


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Sun, Sep 9, 12 at 23:23

Hi Bob,

You could also try the State Fair and Burpee's Tetras and make crosses between all three and be "the first kid on your block" to have F1 hybrid tetra zinnias.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

Hi everyone!

I've been trying to get my zinnias back in order after a 3 inch rain that occurred several days back. It's hard to navigate through the garden with 4 and 5 foot plants that are sprawled out everywhere.

From earlier here, JG: "It's interesting to see that the Zinnia marylandicas show none of that sort of variation arising from an interspecific cross..."

ZM :"Actually, it has to do with chromosome numbers. Z. violacea and Z. haageana have the same chromosome number, 24. So the hybrid between the two also has a chromosome number of 24, and can be fertile. Whereas the hybrid between Z. violacea (24) and Z. angustifolia (22) has an odd chromosome number of 23, and is sterile. So the commercial fertile version has a doubled chromosome number of 46. It is difficult for recombinations to occur in that case."

I had forgotten that it is thought that the whirligigs were simply diploids arising from an interspecific cross between two more (relatively) closely related species having identical chromosome numbers, while the marylandicas are allotetraploids arising from an interspecific cross between two more distantly related species...makes sense that recombination between crossed species would be less likely in the marylandicas--- as the chromosomes contributed by each species would be less homologous.

Anyway, Bob, and ZM, you are talking about growing and crossing tetraploids. That sounds like an interesting project for you, Bob! It's possible you could get some very interesting variation! When going back to Chapter 12 of "Flower Breeding and Genetics," I saw the write-up on interspecific crosses of tetraploids which kind of piqued my interest, too. There, autotetraploid Zinnia violaceae (4N = 48) were crossed with allotetraploid Zinnia marylandica(4N = 46)and the offspring, although sterile, were said to result in different colors and larger blooms....I've got the Profusions growing now...sure wish I had some tetraploid Zinnia violaceae!

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

And in the interspecific cross of zinnia tetraploids mentioned above, the female parents were the marylandicas..

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Tue, Sep 11, 12 at 22:24

Hi JG and everyone,

"It's hard to navigate through the garden with 4 and 5 foot plants that are sprawled out everywhere."

I have the same problem. I left 3-foot wide paths in the main zinnia garden pictured in the first message of this thread. When the side branches started blooming, they reached out and closed up those paths. In my Whirligig garden I tried something new. I put in five 4-foot wide beds separated by 6-foot wide paths. Each 4-foot bed contains 4 rows of zinnias that are 16-inches apart. By the time the zinnias in the border rows reach out a foot, the bed will have expanded to 6 feet wide and path will have shrunk to 4 feet wide -- still room enough for a wheelbarrow, wheeled tractor seat, or wheeled sprayer. I plan to do all of my zinnia beds like that next year. It seems a little wasteful to allocate more space to the paths than to the beds themselves, but I am really liking the easy access in my Whirligig garden.

"I've got the Profusions growing now...sure wish I had some tetraploid Zinnia violaceae! "

If you have different colors of Profusions, cross them with each other. I don't think anyone has made their own F1 hybrid Profusions. Considering all the different Profusions, Zaharas, and Pinwheels, there are a lot of different Marylandica x Marylandica crosses that you can make. And you could self those F1s or intercross the F1s to try to get some recombinations. I got the impression somewhere that recombinations in Marylandicas are hard to do. But I don't know exactly what they meant by that. Either the F1s are sterile or the F1s kind of "breed true" when selfed. Or something weird happens in the recombinations. The chromosomes in the Marylandicas are kind of a mess.

Those Z. marylandica x tetra Z. violacea hybrids could be fascinating. I wonder if they would be resistant to Powdery Mildew. And if you could propagate them from cuttings easily;. The butterflies might be afraid of them.

I got a second-stage toothy zinnia in my Whirligig patch. I don't have a picture of it yet, but it is about as toothy as this recent toothy-from-toothies specimen, which I consider to be "second-stage toothy".

I have never gotten a second-stage toothy Whirligig until now. I'll try to get a picture of it. I suspect that bees crossed two first stage toothies in the Whirligig seed production field. This kind of confirms in my mind that Whirligigs are the primary source of toothy zinnias.

We are supposed to get some rain Thursday, so I will be trying to finish my main patch zinnia seed-saving tomorrow.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

ZM,

I like your plan of spacing zinnias. I may try the same next year. We usually don't have a rainy August, so in the past I haven't had problems getting through the rows.
This year I know I ruined some plants as I tried to move through the garden.

I've collected seeds from my Profusions several years in a row now, but I don't know if the offspring are the results of hybrization between plants. I've seen no unusual colors thus far! So here, the F1's aren't sterile, at least when selfed..

I think I will try and cross the Profusions with State Fairs next year. I'll grow them up together, and maybe even if I am not successful in crossing them manually, the garden creatures will be.

I really like that toothy purple flower. It's so full and also a good color. You are making so much progress in your breeding programs..I know I've said this before, but you are doing a great job.I love looking at the results!

I am not going to be online the next few days much as I am undergoing treatment for a detached retina :-(.. but look forward to everyone's posts..

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 15, 12 at 2:40

Hi JG,

I hope the detached retina treatment goes well. We will understand you taking it easy for a while, and following the doctor's orders.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 15, 12 at 11:46

Hi everyone,

I finally got a picture of that "second stage toothy Whirligig" yesterday, and here it is:

That is the first time I got a zinnia with that much toothiness right out of a seed packet. That was an old seed packet of Whirligigs that came from Stokes Seeds several years ago. The country of origin was Tanzania and it was packaged in Canada. I also got this "first stage" uprolled specimen.

And this next picture is my first "second stage" uprolled specimen. It also came right out of that packet of old Whirligig seeds from Stokes.

If I just had a narrow petaled zinnia in bloom now, I would cross them, for an attempt at my own "extreme rolled". For the time being I will have to settle for selfing this one to hopefully get some seeds from it. We got some rain yesterday and last night. And it is pleasantly cooler now. I am doing some of my Fall cleanup tasks.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

Zenman (and Jackie and the rest). I have always followed these threads with interest though not posted much. Just curious if you have any good Scabiosa types lately? Particularly in a good red?....


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Wed, Sep 19, 12 at 0:10

Hi WN,

I am glad you posted. I don't have a lot of scabiosa types in my fall crop, and this one is only sort of red and sort of scabious. It doesn't look scabious at first glance, but it is actually scabious.

It has a nine spotted cucumber beetle hiding in it. They are a pest for zinnias. They don't eat a lot, but they will eat small holes in most any part of a zinnia, including leaves and flower petals. The damage they due is mainly cosmetic, but I hand pick them when it is handy. This is a somewhat more true-to-type scabious recombinant, though it is not red.

Here a couple of budding scabious flowers, on the same plant.

I'm not sure what I would call that color. I took all these pictures this evening, and the light was non too good. Don't hesitate to post.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

ZM,

Things are good now...the surgery is behind me! Your scabiosa hybrids look good...but just changed enough from the typical scabiosas to make them more interesting. The last ones, in particular, almost look like chrysanthemums!

I also liked that macro photo you showed a while back.. Those close-ups are fascinating. In zinnias, the details are really fun to see.

One of my X-roll descendents has white-backed flowers, and in the photo below, you can see how white-backed petals add to the interest of a flower.
.

That flower opened up further to make a somewhat loosely rolled appearance. With red and white, the flower could be especially pretty.

The orange X-roll continues to flower. One advantage of this particular plant is that the flowers take a long time to fully open, and are also somewhat long-lived.
.

I still have lots of flowers in the garden, and no mildew. But the seeds are not forming so much now...I don't know if the cooler temperatures may be resulting in poor pollen development and setting of seeds...but it always starts happening at this time of the year.

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 21, 12 at 23:40

Hi JG,

I am so glad you are back. Those two pictures are fantastic. The white-backed petals trait is loaded with potential, and you have shown some of it here. I will be on the lookout for it in my zinnia beds, and will give it priority treatment when it appears.

That orange X-roll is sensational. Not just the unique flower form, but the whole bushy plant. And the long-lived flowers are aging so well. Long flower life is another valuable trait to be sought after in zinnias. I hope so much that we can obtain stable strains of X-roll zinnias. You have already made a lot of progress in that direction. Some of my Whirligigs are good at teasing me that they will be extreme rolls, like this recent bloom.

It will unroll to present a rather conventional narrow petaled zinnia. But I remain vigilant for some uprolled specimens that I can use as breeders to inter-cross. I hope to finish the season with the start of a seed stock for a larger growout of extreme roll candidates next Spring.

I also hope to increase my seed stock of toothy zinnias to make progress in developing that strain. I like the white teeth effect of this specimen.

I need to cross toothies with different zinnia colors, to get a complete color range in the toothies through recombinations. And I would like to get some "extreme" toothies.

"I still have lots of flowers in the garden, and no mildew."

Same here. Although I have seen traces of a foliage disease, and I have lost a few zinnias to stem rot. I think I will add some Physan 20 to a foliar feed. We have some very cool nighttime temperatures predicted for this weekend, so the tendency for mildew will increase.

"But the seeds are not forming so much now...I don't know if the cooler temperatures may be resulting in poor pollen development and setting of seeds"

Seed set probably is slowed by lower temperatures. (Grin, maybe our zinnias need some powdery mildew to scare them into setting some seeds.) I have noticed fewer bees and fewer butterflies. So insect pollination may have decreased. I am doing some pollination to compensate for that. I would like to get some seeds from my Fall crop before a killing freeze. More later. I am excited about the possibilities next year in the zinnia patch. You have obtained some amazing results this year, and they encourage and inspire me.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

ZM,

Your toothy zinnias are looking good. That last one with the frosted tips is very nice. I can imagine how great a whole range of colors in the toothed zinnias would look...especially with the frosted tips!

It seems that many of the whirligigs do start out with the tightly rolled petals...they always catch my eye in the garden. You may be right in that is where that particular extreme trait started.

I agree with you in looking forward to next year. I am still saving seeds from my "mixed batch" zinnias, because you just never know what unimaginable trait may show up! Watching those flowers start to bloom at the beginning of each season is something I really anticipate! For the most part, I just let them cross randomly.

My main garden this coming year will include the F1s of zinnias whose phenotypes were X-roll this year as well as F2s whose P1 generation were X-roll phenotypes in 2011. I have over a gallon of those seeds so it will be interesting to see what happens. And growing them in close proximity doesn't hurt to bring out the trait from random crosses.

I want to try for a line of tubular zinnias, too, so I think planting a patch of Burpeana Giants might be the route to go...I will be planting other cactus types as well, along with the Benarys, whose pure colors I like so much (not only that, but I expect they have been inbred quite a bit, so might lead to expression of some interesting traits). And, although I liked the scabious hybrids I got this year, I am going to plant more of the Candy Mix. Also, will plant the State Fairs and Profusions together as mentioned previously. And, the whirligigs..they are a crazy bunch with lots of surprises!
The 'Big Red' zinnia that Park introduced a few years back has crossed in with other zinnias in the garden, and now I have these large red zinnias like them, perhaps a little fuller, but with the silky, white-backed petals. There are only two plants in the garden this year like that, and I am hoping the seeds will give me more of the same next year, but I don't know...

I look forward to seeing your zinnias just as much as my own! It is fun to compare and contrast. I have missed more Shaggy Dogs from you this year, as well as the aster-type flowers you have shown in the past.

I have a number of plants flowering for the first time now since the rains started. Below is another X-roll plant. The immature flowers start out a salmon color, then as they become older, they become more pink, almost a fuschia.

.

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Sun, Sep 23, 12 at 13:30

Hi JG,

" I have over a gallon of those seeds... "

I assume that is a gallon of seedheads, rather than the shucked seeds themselves. I think that a gallon of actual seeds would be enough to plant a whole farm. Incidentally, I am shucking some zinnia seedheads as I do this online session.

" For the most part, I just let them cross randomly. "

I did the same thing this Summer when I was somewhat preoccupied expanding the garden infrastructure and growing other things like melons and seed sunflowers. But I started some zinnias indoors in January and I cross-pollinated them intensively, because I had the time, and indoor deskside pollination is much easier to do than outdoor in-garden pollination. I discovered that a special pair of tick-removal tweezers that I had for that purpose was capable of anther bundle manipulation, and they became my favorite zinnia pollination tool. In conjunction with a head-mounted magnifier, I used them for some really detailed pollination work, including the use of individual zinnia anthers separated from an anther bundle. With extreme pollination techniques like that, you can make a single pollen floret go a long way.

Intensive indoor zinnia pollination and cross pollination can result in some very high seed yields. During that late Winter phase, I accelerated an indoor second generation by pulling green seeds and planting them, and I carried that a step farther by extracting embryos and planting them instead of seeds.

I used those special tweezers to help with the embryo extraction.

Planting embryos instead of seeds can speed up the emergence of the next generation. Almost all of the zinnia plants that I transplanted into the garden this Spring were actually second generation zinnias and the seeds that I am shucking now are third generation. I will plant a few of them indoors to start my fourth generation this year. As my enthusiasm for zinnia breeding increases, I tend to become a little more "hard core".

"And, although I liked the scabious hybrids I got this year, I am going to plant more of the Candy Mix. Also, will plant the State Fairs and Profusions together as mentioned previously. And, the whirligigs..they are a crazy bunch with lots of surprises!"

I have some of the Candy Mix seeds left over from a couple of years ago. I plan to plant them inground next Spring, because I could use some new scabious "blood". Your side-by-side method of letting the bees be your little helpers is very efficient and it has paid off for you big time. When I am not distracted by infrastructure activities, I like to take a more "hands on" approach to cross pollination. I am just very lucky that I got a surprisingly good seed yield from my tubular plants when I neglected them this Spring. If the bees cross some of your Profusions with your State Fairs, no telling what you could get.

"The 'Big Red' zinnia that Park introduced a few years back has crossed in with other zinnias in the garden, and now I have these large red zinnias like them, perhaps a little fuller, but with the silky, white-backed petals."

Maybe I will try a few of those Big Reds myself. That white-backed petal thing is a potentially spectacular new zinnia trait.

"I have missed more Shaggy Dogs from you this year, as well as the aster-type flowers you have shown in the past. "

I don't think I planted any Shaggy Dog progeny this year. I guess I have "too many irons in the fire." I am shucking some aster flowered seeds right now that were ostensibly crossed with the original E2 tubular, but did not show tubular petals. There is a possibility that the tubular trait will reappear in a possibly modified form in some of the plants from these seeds. These were big flowers producing big seeds, so the tubulars could be significantly bigger than what we have seen so far. Next Spring I plan to plant a lot of seeds with tubular re-emergence possibilities. That "pitcher plant" specimen that I had this year gives me a lot of optimism for next year. And, yes, I will plant out the progeny from Shaggy Dog.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

OK I Know this Proberly sounds a bit Thick...

But if I bought some Cut Flower Zinnias from a Shop, Would there be any Useable Seed that'll Grow or I am I trying Pee in the Wind Again?


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

ZM,

Actually, I do have a gallon of seeds from my X-Roll plants. BUT, only about a cup of seeds of that total come from the plants that have shown the X-Roll phenotype this year. The rest of that large amount come from descendents of X-Roll plants that haven't shown the phenotype of their parents. I am keeping the whole lot going from one year to the next, and am doing some backcrossing among the plants. The number of seeds is getting larger and larger but the gene pool is somewhat restricted. I am seeing interesting variations in that population that I don't see from commercially available seeds.

Your illustrations of seed and embryo harvesting above are very well-done, and easy to understand. I still think you should write that book! It's pretty obvious that zinnias have a minimum, if any, amount of endosperm, and that the nutrition is stored in the cotyledons of the embryos. Have you run into any contamination when growing the embryos? Just wondering if the loss of the seed coat might have any negative effect.I guess a sterile growing medium is especially important there.

I have been spending a lot of time harvesting seeds today. I find that getting seeds from living flowers is much easier than from those that have died and dried up. As you have shown above, you can easily select the more viable seeds when harvesting directly from a mature but living flower. I have real problems telling the good seeds from the bad when looking through dried flowerheads. We are due a frost anytime now (almost got one last night!), so while my flowers are still alive, I am trying to get all the seeds that I can.

I cut one flower by mistake today, but I thought it was interesting, because it started out looking like a Benary zinnia, then changed its course and became a cactus. It's looking a little old and tattered and even has a bug.

.

The flower that I especially like and is probably a descendent of 'Big Red,' but is softer and a little bigger..is shown in an aged version taken today, below. This is a favorite of mine, and I should take steps to create a line. So far, I've been lucky the last three years in seeing it pop up in my general population here.

.

Ninecrow, I will answer your question based on my experience.....when you get your cut flowers from the shop, make sure they have fresh water (with one teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon sugar, several drops of bleach per pint of water)everyday, and also, cut the ends of their stems a little every day, so that each has a clean cut stem. Keep the flowers as long as you can that way, and then remove the seeds attached to the bottom-most petals. I've harvested seeds from flowers I've really liked but also wanted to use in bouquets. Let them dry on a paper towel for a week and then store them cool and dry. (See what ZM says!)..

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Sun, Sep 23, 12 at 22:11

NC,

Actually, I learned the technique of taking green seeds for dried storage from JG. I had been merely taking greenseeds for an immediate germination for a quick next generation. JG informed me that green seeds could be dried and used as any zinnia seed, and I was happy to use that technique to avoid consumption by seed-eating birds and water damage causing premature in-head germination.

I still use the old fashioned way of letting the seedheads get brown and dry before harvesting them, but merely because I frequently get overtaken by events in my multitasking garden activities.

I think JG has a lot more experience with cut flowers than I do. Instead of bleach as a sterilizer I use Physan 20, which I have handy for my indoor gardening activities.

I would add that it is OK to have a leaf or leaves on the stem as long as they are not submerged in the vase water. If they are submerged, they will promptly drown, die, and rot. And smell bad. Of course, when you buy cut flowers from a shop, you have no way of knowing in advance whether or not any of the petals have fertilized seeds attached to them. But when you pull out a few lower petals as JG suggests, you can look at the attached seeds and determine whether they are "empty" or not. Refer to my Embryo Extraction pictures above to get some idea of how to tell if a green seed is empty.

I wouldn't buy zinnias from a florist as a way to obtain seeds, but if it happens that you have some zinnias from a shop, it certainly can't hurt to try to get viable seeds from them, using the process that JG described. And the same applies to any zinnia cutflowers that you take from your own garden. Enjoying your zinnias in a vase and then saving seeds from them is a way to double your fun.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

JG,

Your Big Red descendent is certainly better than Big Red. Yours have a more informal flower form, a definite improvement over the formal dahlia flower form of Big Red. And I detect a hint of lavender or light purple at the petal bases, indicating Whirligig influences.

"Actually, I do have a gallon of seeds from my X-Roll plants."

That is a very impressive amount of zinnia seeds. But I am glad you have them. They increase your chances of stabilizing X-roll and getting some interesting variants as well.

"Have you run into any contamination when growing the embryos? Just wondering if the loss of the seed coat might have any negative effect. I guess a sterile growing medium is especially important there."

It is, at least I think it is. The naked zinnia embryos may very well be vulnerable to attack by bacteria or fungi. To "be on the safe side", I incorporated Physan 20 in the nutrient solution used on their germinating medium. I use Premier ProMix BX with added Perlite as my zinnia germinating and growing medium.

I ran some experiments to determine phytotoxic thresholds for Physan 20 on germinating zinnia seedlings, and concluded that I could safely double the 1.5 teaspoons per gallon recommended for African Violet medium sterilization. The majority of my early year indoor zinnia culture used 1 tablespoon Physan 20 per gallon. However, I should do some experiments with unprotected embryos. A germinating zinnia seed expands, exposing the embryo to the environment, so it may be that my use of Physan 20 was unnecessary.

"I still think you should write that book!"

Thanks for the encouragement, but I want to learn a lot more about zinnias before considering a project like that. If, and when, that time should come, would you consider being a co-author?

"I find that getting seeds from living flowers is much easier than from those that have died and dried up."

I agree wholeheartedly. I am stuck with a bunch of dried brown seedheads merely because I was doing other things when I should have been harvesting green seeds.

I am trying to render attention to my Fall crop of zinnias while still multitasking. We too had a near miss on a Frost last night. I am hoping for several more weeks of development for my Fall zinnias before the outdoor zinnia season ends and the indoor zinnia season begins. This Fall crop zinnia shows that petal uproll combines well with toothy petal ends.

Now I need to get more uproll and more toothiness. Incidentally, have you experienced an increase in Nine Spotted Cucumber Beetles on your zinnias? I have. I suspect that the maturing of some of my melon vines may have had something to do with that. More later.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

ZM,

I like your toothy line of flowers. The last one has such a pretty shade of lavender. I noticed at the beginning of this thread that you had, at least in the patch you showed, a predominance of pastel colors, and I see a lot of that influence in many of your flowers. Most of my flowers are shades of orange, red, and purple. I think I will bring in lighter colors...through acquiring seeds from lines like the Burpeana Giants and Candy Mix, and then specifically getting seeds for yellow and cream-colored flowers. I don't have a whole lot of them now, but here is one of the few I do have in bloom currently:

.

The last few days have been full ones for me with garden club conferences and meetings. I entered my orange X-roll in the zinnia class of a flower show, and I was happy to see it get the blue ribbon. It's so strange, I wasn't sure what the judges would make of it!

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 29, 12 at 0:06

Hi JG,

I am glad your orange X-roll took the blue ribbon, although I would have awarded it Best in Show. But I am biased toward zinnias. That white zinnia has an interesting flower form, with informal big wide petals. Maybe it has some Benary's Giant genes.

My computer is sick so I am using my wife's laptop, and I really don't like this flat keyboard. My son plans to replace the motherboard in my computer, so it will be out of commission for awhile.

This is a picture of one of my current Fall garden echinacea flowered specimens.

I mainly cross scabious specimens with other scabious specimens, but they still have a fairly high percentage of culls. I also cross toothies with other toothies. Next year, when I have a lot more specimens to work with, I will branch out and make a lot of crosses between types. I spent a couple of hours today culling my Whirligig patch. More later. I hope it doesn't take too long to get my computer back online. I don't know how people get used to these flat keyboards.

ZM



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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

ZM,

I like the echinacea-type floral form in your flower. I have let my scabious flowers cross on their own, and I still get a lot of scabious characteristics in the plants coming from the seeds. Here is an example blooming now:

.

And another:

.

I have many plants blooming for the first time since the rains began here in August/September.
This is an unusual one with the white center:

.

And a red cactus:

.

I know how you feel when adapting to a flat keyboard. I have had an iPad for about a year now, and I think it is the best gadget ever...but I really hate trying to use its keyboard!

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

ZM,

About creatures in the garden--there have been virtually no Japanese beetles here this summer, thanks to the drought. Insects have been few and far between. The only bugs I see in the zinnias now are stink bugs. Usually when I harvest the seeds, the flowers are full of all kinds of spiders, but not this year! There aren't too many butterflies either, although a wave of Monarchs passed by this past week, and I was able to tag 20. There are a number of Painted Ladies and some Cabbage whites, Red Admirals, and Mourning Cloaks, too.

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Mon, Oct 1, 12 at 1:02

Hi JG,

You have such great zinnia specimens! That second scabious one, the one with the big light colored center is great, and that white centered one just after it, are both amazing. I currently have a scabious specimen that is somewhat similar to your big scabious one.

Your white centered one could be just environmental. I have had similar ones that became more normal with age and sun exposure. If that is a genetic trait, it would be worth saving separate seeds from. I have a few scabious specimens open now that I consider to be breeders. I will post more pictures after I figure out how to get them into this laptop to process them. Some of those scabious florets can contain useable pollen. I was using some of that "concealed" pollen today.

I dissected three tubular petals today, and to my surprise, none of the three contained anther bundles. So it is still a mystery how all those tubular petals were able to get fertilized. I will keep my eyes open for clues. Most of our butterflies have moved on, but we have several species of Skippers and also several kinds of day-flying moths that visit my zinnia blooms for nectar.

Both the Skippers and the moths have long probing nectar-drinking "tendrils" that could reach down into a tubular petal if there were any nectar there to tempt them. But I don't know if the tubulars have nectar in their tubes and I haven't seen any creatures "drinking" from the tubes. There are many potentially tubular Fall specimens to bloom yet, so I should have ample opportunity to find out how the pollenization takes place. I may have to check for nocturnal insect visits.

I have hand picked a few stink bugs, and a lot more Nine Spotted Cucumber Beetles. I have never seen any Japanese Beetles here -- we must be out of their range. The JBs were terrible in Maine. I did hand pick one wooly worm today. He may have been a vanguard -- wooly worms were numerous last year in late Fall, and caused a lot of damage, despite my hand picking.

I currently have only two 20-foot rows of tubulars, one row from petal seeds and one row from floret seeds. Both rows will have a significant number of culls, but it looks like I will get some tubular blooms from both rows. I will continue looking for anther bundles in the tubular petals, and watch for any other way they could be getting pollinated, including possible nightime visits by moths.

I don't see many spiders when I harvest zinnia seeds, but when I spread the head contents out on a sheet of white typing paper, I frequently see some very small beetle moving on the paper. They are just somewhat bigger than the period at the end of this sentence. There is a whole world of micro-insects and similar micro-creatures that we usually overlook. I suspect that the tiny bugs are adults of a small zinnia-seed weevil, but I don't know for sure about that. More later.

ZM



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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Mon, Oct 1, 12 at 13:17

JG,

We have a possible freeze forecasted for this coming Sunday morning. That could spell the end of my outdoor zinnia activities for the season. More later.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

What a wonderful thread---I have just gone through the last four of them, and I have a few questions; forgive me if they are covered in the 15 or so archived threads I haven't gotten to yet:

1)Saving Seeds 101. I've looked at some of the excellent photos by ZM and I'm not sure I'm saving the right stuff. It looks like you're only supposed to save the dark-colored seeds at the base of the petals, but I also save what's underneath the cones. This leads to a lot of "chaff", and I usually just pick the seeds out by hand. This is great for 10-20 plants, but would be time consuming to ferret out 100 or so. Is there an easy, home-made tool to sift the seeds from chaff, or am I picking the wrong stuff off the head to begin with? I'll attach a photo below of what I'm ending up with.

2) Is it possible to get a head start on the growing season by greenhouse planting embryos in dirt in March? Or is it best to wait until May or so to plant the full seed?

I primarily grow ZYF's and Zahara Starlight Rose because I need hardy and long-lasting flowers that will last long in our desert-like summer heat (95-107 degrees) and attract bees for pollination of my veggie garden.

People have gone absolutely gaga over the ZYF's I've grown this year (they blow off the ZSR's as glorified Shasta Daisies) and I am thinking of growing them to sell commercially next year. I was reading a KS State U. Extension pamphlet (link attached) and in it it states:

"It is important to note that a plant being grown for a
cut flower crop has a higher nitrogen requirement than the
same plant being grown for its flower color display in the
garden. For a cut flower crop, harvesting removes the
stems, each as long as possible, and all attached foliage
as well as the flower. In addition to promoting flowering,
it is important to promote growth of new branches with
sufficient length to be commercially marketable. Traditional
recommendations for fertilizers with ratios either
balanced or favoring phosphorus and potassium over
nitrogen for flowers do not necessarily apply to commercial
cut flower production."

Is this true/does anyone have experience with this? I have the perfect soil blend right now (horse manure/straw/dirt/compost)and feel that adding nitrogen for longer stems will just result in fluffy plants and no flowers.

I ask because I have little to no flower/seed saving experience, since I primarily grow veggies. I had to use the zinnia for bees because we can't have the local apiary put a beehive in our pasture out of fear they might bother the horses.

For what it's worth, the goldfinches don't go anywhere NEAR my zinnias/seeds, even the ones smack in the middle of the veggie rows, because they love to eat the cucumber beetles on the corn a whole lot better. They like to pick them off the Swiss Chard as well. And they are not even remotely afraid of our two cats.

Thanks in advance for your replies.

--H

Here is a link that might be useful: KS St U Pamphlet


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

Oops, sorry, I forgot one more question:

Attached is a photo of a Candy Cane zinnia that is one plant. Is it normal for these zinnias to produce Solid and Candy Cane on the same plant? It has done this multiple times. It was a surprise to me, as it was a package of supposed Whirligigs from Territorial Seed, but they must have put the wrong seed in the packet because I ended up with ZERO Whirligigs and all Candy Canes, which I don't like the looks of.

This magenta specimen is the ONLY one I like, and I'm interested in saving the seed. I just don't know if it's going to produce a solid or a CCane, or a mix of both next year. Will the seed from the solid produce a solid, and the CCane a CCane? I just don't understand plant genetics very well.

Thanks, H.


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Tue, Oct 2, 12 at 1:18

Hi H,

"Is there an easy, home-made tool to sift the seeds from chaff...?"

I experimented with a small electric fan, slowly dribbling the chaff/seed mix in front of the fan, and the heavier seed would fall through the air stream fairly well and the chaff would be blown away. Do this experiment outdoors, because the chaff gets blown all over. I abandoned that approach as more trouble than it was worth. And now that I am working with high value multi-hybrid zinnia seed from unique plants, I wouldn't think of risking them to any mechanical separator.

"...or am I picking the wrong stuff off the head to begin with?"

For brown heads, you are picking the right stuff. If you use JG's technique of picking green seeds, you just pull out the lower petals one by one and keep only the ones with a fat seed attached. I save brown heads in plastic grocery bags that I label with a Sharpie pen (because they write easily on plastic grocery bags.) Then sometime later, perhaps weeks or months later, when it is raining or snowing and I can't work outside, I shuck out the seeds. I package the seeds in Snack sized Ziplock bags with a 3x5 card inside with information about those particular seeds. I package green seeds the same way, but I let them air dry for a week or so before packaging them.

"I usually just pick the seeds out by hand. This is great for 10-20 plants, but would be time consuming to ferret out 100 or so."

With a little practice you can pick out 100 seeds in 10 to 15 minutes. Put a white sheet of typing paper under a desk light to act as a sorting platform. Place a "pinch" from the seedhead on the paper, spread it out with your finger, pick out the good looking seeds and drop them in an empty coffee cup, pick up the paper and dump the chaff in a waste basket, return the paper under the lamp for another pinch of seeds to sort. With a little practice you will enjoy this "hands on" method. As JG has mentioned, it is easier to identify the "good" green seeds, but you will learn to gently pinch the brown seeds to verify that they aren't empty.

Is it possible to get a head start on the growing season by greenhouse planting embryos in dirt in March?"

I use a sterile soil-less seed starting and growing medium. But, sure, you can get a very early start using a greenhouse. I don't have a greenhouse, but I started my first generation of zinnias indoors under fluorescent lights in January. Green seeds and embryos from crosses between them were also planted as a second generation indoors in late March and early April and set out in the garden in May. My Fall crop, that is in jeopardy from an early frost, are third generation zinnias for this year.

"This magenta specimen is the ONLY one I like, and I'm interested in saving the seed. I just don't know if it's going to produce a solid or a CCane, or a mix of both next year."

They will probably look like the magenta bloom from the magenta bloom, but zinnias, like the weather, are full of surprises. Incidentally, I think horse manure contains quite a bit of nitrogen.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

ZM,
The 16 Super Castus seedlings I recently transplanted have their 2nd true leaves. I translated when the first true leaves began to show. (The seeds were planted Sept 18th.)

Prior to transplanting, I blended a very good commerical garden soil with decomposed elephant/rhino manure (from the zoo) and added 10-10-10 and ironite. I mixed the mixture lightly into the top on the garden soil. Usually I do things different but the season in rapidly coming to an end.

Question: If you transplant, how and when do you fertilize after transplanting?
Thanks,
Bob


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Tue, Oct 2, 12 at 23:51

Hi Bob,

"If you transplant, how and when do you fertilize after transplanting?"

As soon as I place the rootball from the pot into the garden soil, I water it in with a dilute solution of soluble nutrients. I use something like Miracle-Gro Tomato Food, one tablespoon in a gallon of water.

Actually, I am re-potting from a pot into the garden soil, rather than transplanting. I just drop the rootball intact into my hand and place it in a suitable hole and firm the garden soil around it. Since the rootball remains intact, the roots are not disturbed. The liquid nutrients insure that the exposed roots are not damaged and are stimulated to grow out into the garden soil.

Keep us informed about the progress of your tetraploid zinnias. If convenient for you, pictures would be welcome. I will be interested in how big your tetra cactus zinnias get.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

Thanks ZM,
If I make it to the flower phase before freezing, I will definitely post pictures. I would very much like to attempt to get crosses as well. I could be wrong on this but it looks like the developer created several "stand alone" stable varieties and included them in the mix. So crossing might produce some interesting results.
Bob


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Wed, Oct 3, 12 at 11:07

Hi Bob,

"I could be wrong on this but it looks like the developer created several "stand alone" stable varieties and included them in the mix."

You are not wrong. The developer offered seven separate colors in Europe, so what GeoSeed is offering is what they call a "formula mix", which is a mixture of the seven separate colors of seeds.

Many gardeners consider a formula mix to be preferable to a field-grown mix, because bees make random crosses in a field mix, which creates a whole spectrum of different intermediate shades.

If the frost doesn't prevent you, you will have the opportunity to make hybrids between your different tetra colors. You could get some interesting results.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

Hello all!

With respect to gathering seeds from my "special" plants, I always try to collect only the mature seeds that form following successful pollination. But I have a general zinnia garden that I am a little less careful with. The seeds are collected quickly, and any chaff or immature/undeveloped seeds that are included in that collection really don't hurt any. I can sow the seeds heavily in the spring and the chaff and undeveloped seeds act as spacers between the good seeds that will germinate.

We may very well have a frost this coming week--I see the lows that are predicted are in the mid-30s. I am going to try and keep a few plants going by covering them with sheets...hopefully the frost won't damage them. I am still hoping to gather more seeds!

I agree that the white-centered flower I saw may be a
result of environmental factors, but I will see how the seeds pan out next year!

I have already ordered a number of seeds, too. I don't really see anything too new on the market--did get seeds for the large yellow zinnia 'Sungold Hybrid,' an All-America selection. I think I have had that one before. It will serve to give me more yellows in the garden.Also got the State Fairs and Profusions and Zaharas which will go into a somewhat isolated plot...to see if I can get any crosses there.

ZM, it will be interesting to see if you find any significant differences between the tubular flowers arising from the petal and floret seeds. The pollination mystery remains a mystery (I still believe pollination by air can happen, though!).

I see some black spot on my zinnias, but the leaves are also gaining a lot of dark pigmentation on their own. We have had a lot of rain, and it is like a second spring here. Many of the zinnia leaves have holes in them and I have discovered that is the result of slugs! The hostas here have been decimated.

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Fri, Oct 5, 12 at 1:27

Hi JG,

"...it will be interesting to see if you find any significant differences between the tubular flowers arising from the petal and floret seeds. The pollination mystery remains a mystery (I still believe pollination by air can happen, though!)."

There is a noticeable difference. So far, all of the blooms from the floret seeds have been tubular. Nearly half of the blooms from the petal seeds have been non-tubular. That would tend to suggest that at least some of the petal seeds were not selfed. Perhaps all of them were not selfed. I have dissected tubular petals from several of the petal seeds tubular blooms, and so far I have not found any evidence of anther bundles. I will keep looking. How those tubular petal seeds got pollinated is still a mystery. In this picture, the tubular floret seed plants are in the right-most row, and the tubular petal seed plants are in the row immediately to the left of it.

The camera is facing East. The three rows to the left are scabious recombinants. Some of them are pretty good. This one has petaloids instead of florets.

I think the petaloids have accessible stigmas, although with the impending frost, I probably won't be able to verify that those stigmas are functional. I intend to dissect a lot more tubular petals in search of anther bundles. More later.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

I just wanted to pipe in and say that each of you is doing some amazing work/play and producing some incredible flower forms.They may not meet some peoples aesthetic standards, but I love them. If you ever need help growing out a certain population to check for stabilization or whatever, let me know. I'm sure there are others who would love to help as well.

Martha


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Fri, Oct 5, 12 at 11:18

Hi Martha,

Thank you for your kind words. We will keep you in mind. Zinnias have become an engrossing hobby for me, and despite the insect pests, uncooperative weather, and other "slings and arrows", the fun and excitement that zinnias give me continues to increase. I do like to breed for non-traditional zinnia flowerforms, like this recent scabious recombinant.

As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and different people have different esthetic preferences. I do enjoy growing zinnias you couldn't get in a commercial seed packet.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

Great topic , lots of good information , and since im still learning i find it vbery useful.

I have 2 questions tough , first i want to know if i can still transplant the zinnia in the picture , as you can see shes already starting to form her first bud.

Second is about full sun , as i live near the equator line (cape verde islands) they are taking only 4 hours of sun , because the uv here is high all year, and is also summer all the time. The climate here is hot and dry. Should i give them more sun regardless? The zinnia in the picture was sowed in September 4.
Thank you.


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Sun, Oct 7, 12 at 0:52

Hi Neoalx,

You can transplant a zinnia in bud, but try not to disturb its roots. I make a distinction between transplanting and re-potting. To me, transplanting means digging up a zinnia from its location in the garden and re-planting it at a different location. It is very difficult to dig up a zinnia without disturbing and damaging its root system. So I transplant a zinnia only in very unusual circumstances.

On the other hand, I repot zinnias frequently, from a smaller pot to a larger pot to accommodate an expanding root system. With a little care, you can repot a zinnia with minimal or no disturbance to its root system. By tapping or flexing the pot a little, you can cause the root ball to fall out into your hand, causing no disturbance to its roots.

"Should I give them more sun regardless?"

Zinnias are a Full Sun plant, and Full Sun is usually defined as 6 or more hours of direct sun each day. I would try giving them more sun -- just be sure they have enough water and nutrients. I have no direct knowledge of growing zinnias at the Equator, so keep us informed about your experiences with zinnias.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

ZM,

Your last two scabious hybrids were nice! I especially liked the yellow one with red and burgundy trim! The color combination was great! I guess there was some whirligig influence...don't know if scabious zinnias show those color combinations!

Those observations you are making with the tubular zinnias are fascinating. Have you been keeping track of how the offspring resemble the parent(s)? The plants coming from tubular florets are tubular....do they resemble the female parent in other ways?

There is a way of reproduction (APOMIXIS) that happens in a number of the members of the aster family, where the egg cell in the female flower doesn't undergo meiosis, and so can give rise to a seed containing a diploid embryo without fertilization by the male cell in pollen. This happens in dandelions. Zinnias are also a member of the aster family, but I don't know if zinnias have been shown to do this! Circumstantial evidence would be that the seed coming from a tubular flower would give rise to a plant exactly like the female parent. If apomixis happened in all of the flowers of a plant, than all of the offspring plants should be the same as each other and the female parent (essentially, clones). It may be that through your continous selection, you have actually allowed a relatively rare event to become common in these plants. And they are allowed to produce seeds without access to pollen (a survival tactic).....just pure conjecture here....;-)..

Our season is all topsy-turvy here. The plants are behaving like it is spring, but frost is due anytime now.

.

.

JR


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

Hi Martha,

It is fun to find unusual forms in zinnias. I think I am just as excited by a somewhat goofy, but different flower that I find in my garden as by a hybrid that is really pretty and developed by a seed company. I think the versatility that you can get in zinnias is almost unlimited! The only problem is that a lot of the versatility is seen in hybrids that may be difficult to reproduce (I speak for myself here!). Are you growing zinnias, too?

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

Hi Neoalx,

I envy your access to a climate where the growing season is year-round! Your zinnia garden could exist in all seasons if you are not at a higher altitude where temperatures could get cooler! I just wanted to make a comment about zinnias growing near the equator. I do have one species of zinnia that is growing in my garden that is native to Peru, near the equator, and also does quite well here in Indiana in the summer.

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

Hi ZM,
Assuming you wanted to maximize the number of generations in one season, what do you feel is the number of generations you could get in your growing season? How long is your growing season, so I can extrapolate?
Thanks,
Bob


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Sun, Oct 7, 12 at 20:52

Hi Bob,

I could probably get 5 generations per year, possibly 6 if I was just trying to maximize that. But just working at a comfortable pace, two generations outside and two generations inside. I usually start some zinnias early inside under fluorescent lights, and set them into the ground when it is safe.

This year they were third generation for this year, because I started my first generation early in January, planted embryos from them to start a second generation in March, and planted embryos from them to start third generation seedlings to set in ground in May.

Some of my zinnias bloom in 5 weeks from the seed sowing date, but 6 weeks is a more typical figure. It usually takes a week or so to get a zinnia reasonably pollinated, and 2 or 3 weeks for green seeds with viable embryos to form. For the fastest turnaround, you can remove those embryos and plant them instead of seeds. They will emerge in 2 to 4 days and the next generation has begun.

It is easy to grow zinnias outdoors in the ground, but relatively difficult to grow zinnias indoors in pots under lights. So for most people, two generations outside per year is a more attainable goal.

"How long is your growing season...?"

Normally I can set zinnias inground the first of May and grow a Fall garden as late as the end of October. However, we had a record setting killing frost last night, so I lost nearly a month off of my growing season this year. I did rescue a few breeder zinnias by bringing in cuttings before the freeze. So now I am in the indoor phase nearly a month early. Oh well...let the games begin.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

ZM,
Thanks!
That was extremely helpful. I really appreciate the detail.
That helps me with the Sept 18 planting I did, as well. Hopefully I will get some crosses to try from that recent planting for use in the spring.
Sorry to hear about the early freeze. I saw it on national news tonight.
Bob


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

Hello, JG
I grow zinnias as a nectar source for butterflies and other beneficial insects in my garden. They also end up being the longest blooming and brightest colored plants. This year, I moved to a new house, so I'm having to re-establish all my butterfly perennials. So, I filled in the spaces with a veritable ocean of Purple Prince and Uproar Rose Zinnias with some smaller varieties at their feet. Even with our horrible drought, I had the prettiest garden of my lifetime. So, I think I will be growing more Zinnias each year.

I was curious about one of the posts earlier in this thread that described a flower that was an ant magnet. I was wondering if for some reason that flower contained more nectar, or had a more fragrant nectar to the insects. For all of my butterfly gardening friends, that would be a fantastic trait to encourage. We've already recognized that the butterflies prefer the blossoms that have a "center" or flat top for landing and open access to the reproductive organs. If any of you want to try to create a "butterfly friendly" zinnia, we'd love it. I would try, but that would require hours spent in observation to see which flowers were preferred, and I just don't get to spend that much time in the garden.

Anyway, nice to chat with you all. I'll keep checking in to see what you're up to.

Martha


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

Hi Martha,

I have a dedicated perennial butterfly garden, too, with plants like liatris, cupplant, butterfly bush, turtlehead, New England aster, and many more...along with many of the plants and trees that support their larvae. But I find that the zinnia gardens I have probably attract the butterflies more than any other places I have here, mainly for the nectar! ZM on this thread has noticed that ants like particular zinnias. I don't know if he has observed if there is a class of zinnias that is more effective. I've not seen ants on my zinnias (as in the the way that ants love peony buds). But I have noticed that the butterflies go for then taller zinnias, and those that have lots of disc florets. Those are the tiny yellow flowers that appear in the center of the (composite) zinnia flowers. They are the source of the pollen and also have the nectaries at their bases. You will see bees, butterflies, moths, and hummingbirds go to these tiny flowers for the nectar. Many seed catalogs list a "giant, or large, dahlia-flowered" mix of zinnia seeds. These will grow into plants that have flowers with many disc florets that the butterflies really like! Also some of the cactus zinnia mixes are good.

Below are a close-up of the disc florets and then a spicebush swallowtail sipping nectar, both from zinnias here in my garden.

Zinnia Close-Up

Spicebush SwallowtailZ

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Tue, Oct 9, 12 at 12:31

Hi Martha,

The ants on my "ant zinnia", which was code-named "E3", seemed to be working throughout the head of the zinnia, finding what they were there for at the base of the petals. That zinnia was very double. The zinnia didn't have a lot of pollen florets, and didn't seem to have any special attraction for butterflies. I wondered if the ants might bother the butterflies, but I didn't see that happen. That zinnia was designated as a breeder for its flower size and petal formation, so I will be growing some of its progeny next year, and I will be on the lookout for ants again. It received quite a lot of pollen from my tubular petaled mutant (E2).

I haven't decided yet if ant attraction is a good thing or a bad thing. The ants were a kind of annoyance because they tended to get on my hand while I was pollinating the zinnia. I tolerated them because they didn't seem to be aphid-herding ants, and none of them stung me.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Tue, Oct 9, 12 at 13:09

Hi JG,

Thanks for bringing up the subject of apomixis. I will do some research on that. Before the freeze I brought in a sampling of tubular heads.

I will dissect those tubular petals in search of the elusive anther bundles. I have dissected a dozen or more petals from the petal seed progeny, so far with no trace of an anther bundle. More later.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

ZM,

We also got the hard freeze you got. I am going to immensely miss the time I spent everyday in the zinnia gardens...something I looked forward to each day. I am very glad I made the large collections of seeds that I did...I can look those over and think about next summer's garden. I also have a nice bouquet in here of assorted zinnias that may last us a week or so.

I'm glad you got all those flowers gathered before the frost. You really have a good start on starting the tubular line! It does look like you have a recessive gene going there. You mentioned looking for anther bundles--are you going to cross those flowers to get seeds as they mature under lights-- if you find the anthers? Or let them mature to see what happens even if you don't find the anthers? I mentioned apomixis because it would be very exciting if you could show that was what was happening with your zinnias. I don't know if that has been documented in zinnias or not. Again, I can't help but wonder how my patches of Benary zinnias have produced so many seeds with no or little apparent sources of pollen nearby. I always thought it must be wind, because the attraction to those zinnias for bees, etc. with no disc flowers would be pretty low. I never made observations as to how the offspring of each plant looked the next season.

I guess you will be maintaining cuttings of your tubular flowers through the winter. We will look forward to seeing your results.

On the side, did you get a good yield of melons this year?

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

As long as you guys don't mind, I'll keep coming here for all my Zinnia questions. I grew Zahara Starlight Rose this summer, which are a very short, primarily white blossom with a triangle of rose coloring at the center of each petal. The rose portion on each petal creates a star-shaped design in the center of each bloom. Anyway, the photos in the seed catalogues show the star part of the bloom much larger than the stars that appeared in my garden. Of course I understand that there are always variations in the appearance of various blooms. But, I'm wondering whether there is any way to maximize my chances of getting as much color as possible by providing special fertilizers or changing the amount of sunshine or water, etc. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

Martha


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Wed, Oct 10, 12 at 23:40

Hi JG,

" Again, I can't help but wonder how my patches of Benary zinnias have produced so many seeds with no or little apparent sources of pollen nearby. I always thought it must be wind, because the attraction to those zinnias for bees, etc. with no disc flowers would be pretty low."

We have a similar mystery -- me with my viable tubular petal seeds and you with your high seed yields on flower heads that produced very little, if any, pollen. When you first mentioned wind-borne zinnia pollination, my first thoughts were that zinnia pollen grains are much too large and heavy to qualify as wind-borne pollen.

True wind-borne pollen can travel for long distances: hundreds of feet, miles, or many miles. But our zinnia garden situations don't require nearly that much range. In your case, a matter of feet, and in my case, a matter of inches or even small fractions of an inch. At this point, I am not ruling out "airborne pollination" of zinnias.

This summer, when I had many hundreds of zinnia blooms open at the same time, there was a free-for-all competition for pollen and nectar among several species of butterflies and bees. I noticed that frequently a bee would land on a zinnia bloom that was presenting no pollen, briefly look for some, and then fly to another zinnia.

Apparently bees can't or don't see whether a zinnia has available pollen before they land on it. A zinnia bloom that has no pollen florets can still get many momentary visits from many bees. That could explain your fertilized Benary's Giants. It might even explain my fertilized tubular petals. More later. I love a mystery, and this one make take some time to solve.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

ZM,

I can think of one way to solve the mystery, and that is, to enclose a flower bud from the time it is totally closed to full maturity, so that there is no possibility of its contact with insects or pollen. The cover could be something transparent so that you could watch the flower grow. Hopefully, this set-up wouldn't impede the flower's development other than, possibly, seed-set. Wish my garden were still in bloom, and I would try it now!

There is a lot of clean-up to do now....I need to mow my zinnias, then if the gardens are dry, run the tiller through them once or twice. There is also a lot of weeding to do in the perennial beds. I think there may be as much work in the garden after the growing season as during! I am packaging my seeds now, and also, trying to get the garden tools cleaned up, pots put away, etc.

Martha, there's no doubt that environment can influence the way that zinnias bloom. For me, this is most apparent when the weather starts to get colder in the fall. Often colors will be more intense, or there will be more contrast in patterns. Also, some double zinnias will become single under crowded conditions. Some striped zinnias may become solid, or v.v., and that may be the influence of unstable genes associated with pigmentation, viruses, or environment. But I suspect that the Starlight you have has a small star because you have seeds of a particular line of plants. You could collect seeds of the flowers with the biggest stars and selectively breed a line for yourself over successive seasons. Or, you might call the company where you bought the seeds, and the horticulturist there might give you an explanation.....let's see what ZM thinks here!


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Fri, Oct 12, 12 at 0:28

Hi Martha,

" But, I'm wondering whether there is any way to maximize my chances of getting as much color as possible by providing special fertilizers or changing the amount of sunshine or water, etc."

I have never grown Zahara zinnias, but people in this New for 2010 message thread report that high temperatures cause Zahara Starlight Rose to be bleached out and the good rose color centers show up below 90 degrees F. So instead of special fertilizers, you need to bribe your weatherman to give you some cooler temperatures.

Incidentally, I agree with JG that cooler temperatures bring out brighter colors in zinnias in general.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

ZM,

All my zinnias still stand in the gardens, frost-bitten. Have you ever collected seeds from zinnias that have been frozen, and gotten good germination with those? Some of my flowers are bearing plenty of seeds, but they are wet and cold--just wondering if there is any viability. If they were dry, I would be hopeful(dry seeds at low temperatures do OK), but have never planted those that remain both wet and have gone through a frost.

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 18

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Fri, Oct 12, 12 at 23:06

Hi JG,

"Have you ever collected seeds from zinnias that have been frozen, and gotten good germination with those? Some of my flowers are bearing plenty of seeds, but they are wet and cold--just wondering if there is any viability."

I have not done that, so I can't say anything on the subject that is based on experience. But I have a similar situation. Lots of interesting zinnias that are still standing after three successive killing freezes in the twenties. I, too, am interested in recovering any possible seeds from these very dead zinnias.

I pulled all of my dead Whirligigs and discarded them in the trash. That garden looks almost ready for a Spring planting. I had already saved seeds and taken cuttings from the few breeder quality specimens. I noticed that their root systems were still alive. At some time in a future year I would probably tissue culture the roots of such "dead" zinnias. But I have yet to develop tissue culture proficiency with zinnias. That is something to work on this Winter.

In my other zinnia garden, I plan to gather some of the more mature soggy dead blooms and pull out the seeds to see if any seem to contain "fat" embryos. Those seeds could be spread out on a newspaper and air dried for possible future use. But first I will remove some embryos, if any seem viable, from some of those frozen blooms and try to germinate them now.

If the embryos germinate, they will become part of my indoor generation 4 for this year, and that would suggest that the dried versions might be good to plant next year. If the "frozen" embryos don't germinate, I won't waste time drying frozen green seeds. If they do germinate, then drying the frozen green seeds could be worthwhile.

"... but have never planted those that remain both wet and have gone through a frost."

Me either. This could be a good thing, with an opportunity to try some zinnia experiments that we haven't done before.

ZM


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