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It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

Posted by zenman Ottawa, KS 5b (My Page) on
Fri, Aug 20, 10 at 16:39

Greetings all,

Welcome to this ongoing message thread. Once again, the previous part of this ongoing series, It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 14, is becoming rather long and slow to load, 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 encouraged 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 one of my current recombinant hybrid zinnias. I refer to this zinnia as a "Shaggy Dog".

The two blooms shown here are on the same plant, showing that as the bloom develops, the petals grow longer and hang down, while the newer petals have a particularly twisted look. I am hoping to get seeds from this specimen, with the goal of eventually creating a strain of "shaggy dog" zinnias. The shaggier, the better. I have a lot of zinnia goals.

ZM


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

ZM,

I have to say that your "shaggy dog" flowers are just gorgeous! I hope that you can keep the plant going, as well as get a number of seeds! Now I'm wondering if you purchased one of the "kitchen" tissue culture kits, and will try to propagate many of these vegetatively, along with your usual cuttings.

I have a number of Extreme Roll plants that show the desired trait, and I will see how the petal trait carries over next year in the offspring.

We finally got a little rain, but my plants here are just past their prime, although still very colorful.

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

JG,

You have an impressive planting of zinnias. They seem to be in reasonably good shape. It looks like you have considerably more zinnia plants than I have currently. I will expand my zinnia patch next year, so that I can plant out most of the zinnia seed that I have on hand. Some of my zinnia plants are approaching five feet tall, like the one in this picture.

We have had very little rain in the last month, so I have watered my zinnias some. We had over half an inch of rain night before last, but that will be used up in a day or two and it looks like I will need to water my patch some more.

"Now I'm wondering if you purchased one of the "kitchen" tissue culture kits, and will try to propagate many of these vegetatively, along with your usual cuttings."

I have indeed purchased a kitchen tissue culture kit, and do plan to experiment with it soon in an attempt to micropropagate selected zinnias using tissue culture. My ongoing outside activities have distracted me from learning to use the kit, but I have resolved to take the time for tissue culture activities now that we are nearing the end of Summer. More later.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

ZM,

I'm amazed you have done as much as you have with your zinnias considering your spring move! And they are really nice plants.

I really look forward to your tissue culture reports, if you don't mind sharing how it is going. I know I have posted a note or two on that tissue culture site about zinnias, but got no response, so I think that few or no people are using the kit to work with zinnias. My thought is that most folks use it for perennials or woody plants, but then, I've seen some pretty neat work making mini-potato plants. No doubt there are commercial groups that use tissue culture from time to time with zinnias, as in the creation of the marylandica plants.

I have a few flowers with centers that start out white and I like the effect.

Most of my time now is spent gathering flowers for indoor bouquets, collecting seeds, and photographing some of the many kinds of butterflies that visit the zinnias (25 different kinds now and counting!). Thinking of a tissue culture kit, but am not yet committed...

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

JG,

You are right. The move did cause a slow start for me this year. Our Spring move was right in the middle of planting time and I had to till up all of the new garden space, because there was no existing garden here. My Spring planting consisted of setting out some of the potted indoor zinnias I had in the basement in Wellsville. They were in fairly bad shape. Apparently that basement was rather inhospitable to them. Fumes from the natural gas water heater seemed to affect them badly. Hopefully the propane-fired water heater here will be more zinnia friendly. And I am optimistic about having my biggest-ever zinnia garden next year.

Today we are having the first decent working weather here in months, so I plan to work on chipping and shredding a brush pile. It's an eyesore, and I can use the organic material in the garden.

"I really look forward to your tissue culture reports, if you don't mind sharing how it is going."

I actually enjoy sharing. I will be experimenting with zinnia tissue culture soon, and I will share my experiences. I think TC has the potential for adding a new dimension to my zinnia hobby. For example, it would be great to have a whole bed of Shaggy Dog clones. Tissue culture could be a powerful tool in zinnia breeding projects. The only zinnia-specific TC information I have found so far is Influence of medium formula and silver nitrate on in vitro plant regeneration of Zinnia cultivars. I have decided to use a pressure cooker/canner as an autoclave to sterilize my tissue culture mediums, and a small 10 quart model is scheduled to arrive today from Amazon. It should be sufficient to get me started, while taking up a minimum amount of space in the kitchen.

Some of my Whirligigs are still coming into bloom, and they occasionally yield a few odd little mutants, like this one.

I'll probably cross-pollinate it just for the novelty. But I have no big expectations there. Maybe if that thing were 8 inches across, I would like it better. But it's not. More later.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

ZM,

Sounds like you are planning a busy time with zinnias after the summer. It should be interesting!

The red and white striped zinnia you have reminds me of the red and white "Rembrandt" style tulips that are so pretty. With the traits you have there, you might develop a big fluffy flower that looks somewhat like the tulips. I've not seen a flower like you just shown. It might not be too difficult to get bigger flowers with the same look. But, then, having learned from my experience with July Bonnet, your striped trait might suddenly disappear! Something that remains to be tested!

The Extreme Roll F1 offspring remain to interest me. Among those, I have very quilled flowers, partly quilled flowers, and also a group of flowers with somewhat pointed petals that are very soft and silky to touch. This is one of the latter:

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

JG,

That yellow specimen is a beauty. Its pointed petal shapes give it a unique look that I like, and it seems to have some white at the base of the petals. I also like the pointed petal shapes on this recent specimen.

It reminds me a little of a waterlily. I am giving it breeder status, based on its flower form.

The pressure cooker/canner came on schedule, so now I am reading up on how to load my baby food jars with agar, nutrients, hormones, and such, in preparation for a first run in the cooker. More later.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

ZM,

Looks like you have a "dahlia-like" zinnia, too! Or, as you say, water-lily...pretty! You definitely should try working with it--lots of potential!!

I have very little to show that you haven't seen before..but I went out this AM to check things out..

I have a tulip-like flower, hardly remarkable:

and a bright red cactus, picture doesn't do it justice here:

and least, but not last, one of the joys of the zinnia garden, in the morning-- a butterfly, the dark form of a tiger swallowtail, sunning herself before collecting her nectar for the day :

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

JG,

I'm not a big fan of single zinnias, but I really like that "tulip flowered" one. I've had similar ones in the past, but yours has a nice reflex to the petals that make it look better than mine, which just pointed their petals upward. Your red fantasy flowered zinnia looks great. The fantasy flower form deserves purification and selection to create an improved strain. I'm glad you have butterflies, too. I haven't counted as many kinds as you have, but my zinnia patch has attracted a lot of butterflies. I really enjoy them. For some reason the bees here aren't nearly as numerous as they were in Maine. I also don't have anything very exciting right now, but I like the frosted tips on this Whirligig variant.

I've started some early Fall cleanup. We have had great working weather here the last few days. I'm continuing reading up on tissue culture, and assembling materials. The manual by Carol Stiff that comes with the "Kitchen Culture Kit" is very helpful, but I also have several books on the subject, so this is an activity with a lot of "room to grow in" (no pun intended). More later.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

I had no idea these threads had pictures in them. Hitting myself on the head for not opening one sooner!

Wow. Now I can't wait until next Spring to plant mine, but where I don't know! I think I'll have my husband till me a special patch for them. :)


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa, KS 5b (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 28, 10 at 10:50

Hi Oakley,

We look forward to pictures of your zinnias. I guess they won't be orange (grin). Fortunately, zinnias come in an almost endless variety of colors, color patterns, flower forms, and plant forms. They come up quickly from seeds, grow rapidly, bloom quickly, and the blooms last for a while. There are many different commercial strains, and by saving seeds from your zinnias, you can create your own personal strains. They are also easy to cross-pollinate, if you are interested in creating your own hybrids.

" I think I'll have my husband till me a special patch for them."

If you have a choice on the location, the sunnier, the better. Zinnias like full sun.

The messages in this multi-part thread are all connected by links at the first message of each part, so you can follow them back as far as you like. Over the years, quite a few zinnia pictures have been posted here. We look forward to your on-going participation here. I was born and "raised" in Oklahoma, myself.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

ZM,

Your red and white zinnia almost looks like it is a picotee....that would be something to have. I've seen some zinnias acquire that look when the flower really gets old, but it's better to have the effect from the start.

My garden is more jungle-like than ever. When I go in to collect seeds, the finches actually scold me the whole time I'm there for invading their territory. But the finches seem to be cooperating with the butterflies and bees. They pull out the petals with the seeds and leave the flower heads with yellow disc florets for the insects, as well as the hummingbirds. The spiders are in full force, too. Big garden spiders make huge webs that surprise me when I walk into them, and little spiders hide in the older flowers waiting for insects to come along, as do the assassin bugs and praying mantises. It's a wild world out there!

My zinnias are becoming spotted, and dry. We have only had 0.4 inches of rain in August, and it is really showing.
Here are three types of whirligig zinnias. The first is very simple and small:

The second is intermediate with two layers of petals:

And, the third looks like it has crossed with some Benary-type zinnias and has many rows of petals:

Hi, Oakley, what sorts of zinnias do you want to plant? They are easy and colorful--so many forms. Nice to have you here!

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa, KS 5b (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 28, 10 at 23:10

JG,

That first "very simple and small" Whirligig reminds me very much of the Zahara Starlight Rose zinnia. The second one is a "typical" Whirligig (if there is such a thing as a typical Whirligig) and the third is an interesting hybrid. There are fully double Whirligigs, but they don't look like that. I'm also not sure it is a Benary look. I think it may be a bit more refined than Benary. But your guess is as good as mine.

Thinking back on it, I think the first "toothy" zinnia I raised was a Whirligig, somewhat like this current Whirligig variant.

Whirligigs are an interesting strain to raise. I hope to raise a big bed of them next year. So far this year I haven't gotten any "pencil-petaled" or "needle-petaled" Whirligig variants. I'm a little discouraged about that for this year, although I still have some zinnias that haven't bloomed out yet. But next year I intend to get needle-petaled Whirligigs by sheer force of numbers.

I think Oakley has some Benary seeds now. Maybe we can persuade her to try some other types as well. More later.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

ZM,

I know I saved some whirligigs to get the toothy trait, but I also saved seed from some of the plants I got from scabious seeds:

The offspring weren't scabious, but did retain the toothy petals. I haven't planted many seeds I collected from the typical scabious flowers I had last year. Maybe I will put some of those in next year's garden.

I always plant seeds for commercially-produced cactus and Benary zinnias, then my own "garden mix," along with special seeds that I separate from the rest for particular traits. I may get more Whirligig seeds this year, as well as the marylandica and angustifolia seeds that I need more of because of my loss this year of those to a small flood. I do have plenty of the haageana, peruviana, and tenuiafolia to start for next year.

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa, KS 5b (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 30, 10 at 23:24

JG,

You pictured some good scabious specimens. Yes, I too have seen scabious zinnias with "toothy" petals. So far I haven't gotten that toothiness into larger zinnias, but I still like the scabious effect on zinnia florets.

A high percentage of scabious recombinants are culls, but I have planted all of my Candy Mix seeds in an attempt to get some new scabious blood into my gene pool. More later.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

ZM,

The last flower is pretty because of the unusual form and the combination of colors. It seems that there is no limit to the number of different flowers we can get with zinnias!

I noticed today that a new Extreme Roll flower appeared. Flowers in my garden are becoming smaller and smaller because of the harsh conditions out there..Now we are back to days in the nineties again! No rain for many days....

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

I am beginning to wonder why anyone bothers with commercial zinnia seeds at all. The photos above are far more interesting than any seed catalog offerings.
They distracted me from the reason I am here. I wanted to ask about height. In an area where I did not plant anything this year-in fact I got busy and totally abandoned that section of the garden, I had some volunteer zinnias where I had grown Zowie Yellow Flame last year. ZYF was the only Zinnia in that quadrant and grew to be a couple of feet tall. This year's crop is easily 7-8 feet tall. The flower form/color/size is very much ZYF. I can't see the flowers from my lowly 5'4" and have to pull the stems down to look at them.
Does anyone know other extremely tall zinnias? They would not be useful bedding plants, but they would be interesting in a garden with a giant theme, I think.
Thanks, Alana


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa, KS 5b (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 31, 10 at 23:57

Alana,

I have a few zinnias over 5 feet this year and a couple of years ago in Maine I had a recombinant zinnia top 6 feet. Years ago Park's carried an extra tall zinnia that was produced by a hobbyist. I think the world record is something like 15 feet. But it is very interesting that Zowie Yellow Flame progeny can top 7-8 feet.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

Hi!

Alana, except for the zinnias that are advertised to be short, most of my zinnias easily reach five feet ot higher by the end of the season.. I think in my garden it may be partly due to the fact that the plants are fairly crowded, so they compete for the sun.

Here is another zinnia, a sib of "Extreme Roll" --it looks like it has tubed petals, but really doesn't:

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa, KS 5b (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 3, 10 at 1:25

JG,

It looks like you have enough of those rolled petal types to do some serious inter-crossing between them. This specimen (picture taken today) has some "dinosaur zinnia" heritage.

It's a little the worse from the wear, as many of my zinnias are becoming. Its down-curved flat petals give it an almost "shaggy" look, and they are fairly long, but they don't have the extreme length of the shaggy. I used the pollen from the dino zin quite a bit, and I got some female seed from it as well. I'm hoping to see some significant results in its recombinants next year. Have an enjoyable Labor Day weekend. It looks like we are in for some great weather here. More later.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

ZM,

I love the flowers with the dinosaur genes. You seem to be very fast in getting the second generation out! The last flower has the prettiest coral color and is so full. I really like it. You have a really nice line of zinnias there!

We finally have cooler weather--this morning, it is 60 degrees outside! We're still hurting for rain though--the month of August broke all records here for dryness. The zinnias held on, but when you see them wilting, you know it is really dry!

You have a good Labor Day weekend, too!

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa, KS 5b (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 4, 10 at 11:34

JG,

It was 47 degrees early this morning here in the Kansas City area. That was the coldest since last May. Zinnias don't like cold or cool weather. I guess I need to intensify my spraying program. This zinnia looks a bit like a shaggy, but actually I think it was just beginning to wilt in our recent heat.

We have had a couple of recent rains, about an inch total. We are nearly surrounded by soybean fields, and they are looking pretty good. They are genetically modified to make them tolerant of herbicides. I wonder if zinnias could be genetically modified the same way. I was concerned when the farmers sprayed the soybeans with Roundup (or an equivalent brand). I hoped that spray drift wouldn't get my zinnias. Apparently none did, because I didn't notice any ill effects.

Today is a beautiful Fall day, and I have lots to do outside. I'm running an old brush pile through my Mackissic shredder-chipper. It produces a mix of small chips which I use as path material in the garden. More later.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

ZM,

Your flower looks as if it is a dinosaur offspring with the large stigmas--and I bet it really does have shaggy dog tendencies!

I think if there was interest out there, zinnias could be genetically engineered. I don't know about Roundup resistance, though. I think environmentalists hope that if herbicide resistance is engineered at all, that it is restricted to food crops. If zinnias were to be genetically engineered by anyone, I would guess it would happen in Holland. The Dutch are very enthusiatic about creating new flowers and are proficient in the newest technologies.

Here is one of my newer flowers:

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

Let's try that again!


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa, KS 5b (My Page) on
    Tue, Sep 7, 10 at 0:25

JG,

Chuckle. That first one's URL was to your C:\Documents and Settings\... I used to wonder why that wouldn't work and we had to use a photo hosting service, but now that I know a little (a very little) about IP addresses, servers, and such, and I think it is a good thing that the whole world can't access my computer. Actually, there may be some danger that some hackers could do that very thing, at least when my computer is on and I have an Internet connection.

Your "extreme roll" progeny are quite varied, which increases the prospects for developing them into a strain. One picture that you recently posted particularly "blew me away", and I have taken the liberty of reproducing it here in a larger slightly modified format, because I think it deserves a second look.

I can envision that picture on the cover of a seed catalog and, in a smaller format, on seed packets. Some of your extreme rolled zinnias are already, if you don't mind me saying so, "professional grade", with a new form of beauty for zinnias. More later.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

ZM,

Yes, I thought it would be far easier to post photos without going through the "middleman," ie., Photobucket or the likes, but oh, well! And, I suspect there are hackers out there, too, as I have seen on my program here that many try to access this computer, and at least, I see that those particular ones have been turned away..

Anyway, thanks for the compliments on the Extreme Roll family. Frankly, I don't think they are nearly as pretty as your Shaggy Dog series, but they have a mutation that does make them different, and I am glad to have seen that it is hereditary. I think if you can get 10 generations or so of a new trait, you can be fairly sure it will stay with the descendents for a while..

What rain we have gotten here has been in the hundredths of an inch range--it is extremely dry! I have been pouring buckets of water on some of our newer trees here, and occasionally on some of my zinnias, but then, I hope they are somewhat resistant to this kind of extreme dryness!

Mostly it is a seed collecting time--competition with the finches! My gardens are full of petal-less flowers! Oh, well, going to a good cause I guess!

How is the tissue culture coming along!

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

Hi everyone!

Wonder why my zinnia seeds are disappearing??


JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

Do you have any pics of the seed heads so I can see what I should be collecting? Thank you.

I cannot believe I have not planted these in 20 years. They are so pretty.


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

Marquest,

Zinnias are composite flowers--that is, each flower head consists of many flowers. There are ray flowers and disc flowers on the flower head. The ray flowers are usually the most numerous (although, not always). Anyway, the "petals" that you see on zinnias are essentially the ray flowers. The little bright yellow florets that many, but not all, zinnias have are the disc flowers, located in the center of the flower. If you pull one of the "petals", and that flower has been fertilized, there will be a darkened seed at the base of the petal, as in below:

The seed area must be somewhat plump and dark-colored if it is to be mature and viable. Many people wait until the floral head is completely dry to collect the seeds, then they tear the petal parts out and separate seeds from petals. I collect the seeds before the flower is totally dry, mostly because the birds will get them then if I don't! Then, I simply pull out the petals and check the seeds at the bases for maturity. Immature or unfertilized seeds will be thin and white in appearance.
I tear the seeds from the petals, then place the seeds out on paper towels or newspapers in a dry, cool area to totally dry down before storage over the winter
in a tightly lidded jar or storage container in a cool or cold, dry area. The disk florets will also often bear seeds, and they can be found when you totally tear the floral head apart. They are usually smaller and somewhat rounder than the seeds of the ray flowers.

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

Thank you for the pic example. I never cared for annuals but after throwing some seeds in the garden this Summer and the results of having flowers this late in the season has sold me on the idea of doing it every year.

They are prettier than the dahlias that I have been planting every year.


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

Marquest, dahlias are really pretty, too, but I think zinnias are easier to grow because there is no over-winter storage! And you can get so many different kinds at a fraction of the cost...and they are very attractive to butterflies and birds. They flower for a fairly long season--July, August, September and into October...if you don't experience drought as we are now...although I still have plenty of flowers, the mildew is moving in and many of the plants are so very dry..

ZM, how is the tissue culture coming? Are you propagating from cuttings, or starting from smaller pieces of plant tissue? Let us know!!

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa, KS 5b (My Page) on
    Mon, Oct 4, 10 at 19:18

JG,

"...how is the tissue culture coming?"

Well, it is coming. I have mixed up a quart of medium, and cooked up several baby food jars of medium with agar. Each jar gets only three tablespoons of medium.

I used the conventional Murashige and Skoog (MS) formula for the medium with added sugar. Benzylaminopurine (BAP) was added as a plant growth hormone to stimulate shoot formation. (The strategy is: first the shoots, and then the roots.) I also included some PPM (a proprietary Plant Preservative Mixture) to help prevent fungal and bacterial contamination. This is all standard stuff in the commercial "Kitchen Culture Kit" for amateur hobbyist tissue culture.

"Are you propagating from cuttings, or starting from smaller pieces of plant tissue?"

Those little baby food jars in the picture will get small pieces (called explants) of meristem tissue and side bud tissue from selected zinnias in my zinnia garden. They will be the size of a pea or smaller. I will also be bringing in conventional-sized zinnia cuttings in the next few days, for growth under fluorescent lights. Those cutting plants will provide an ongoing supply of explants for my continuing zinnia tissue culture experiments this Winter. There are a lot of new things I want to try.

The time is growing short for my transition to indoor zinnia gardening. We had a frost warning the last couple of nights, and I did get some light frost damage in my zinnia patch, even though the air temperature didn't go below 35 degrees and the dew point was 33 degrees. When there is no wind, radiation cooling to a clear night sky can create frost despite the air temperature. I expect a Killing Frost before Halloween.

Several interesting zinnias have bloomed out here in the last few days. This one reminds me of a sunflower.

It looks like the next week will be frost free here, but I will be busy "disinfesting" tiny pieces of zinnia for tissue cultures and bringing in zinnia cuttings for my indoor zinnia garden. Lots of busy-busy things to do and lots more to learn about zinnia tissue culture. Incidentally, thanks for "holding down the fort" while I was concentrating on learning and doing the tissue culture stuff. There is lots more to learn and do, but I plan to report in here regularly.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

ZM,

I'm glad you have started the tissue culture! I think you will be very good at working out the ideal conditions for the zinnia explants...although I know that it could be very challenging, particularly with respect to keeping contamination down. I'm looking forward to hearing of progress!

Your sunflower-like zinnia has pretty colors. I saw something similar to it in my garden yesterday.

Probably I should cut my zinnias down now as they are covered for the most part with mildew, but have been holding out some to get more seeds. Here are a couple of Extreme Roll F1 still blooming.

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa, KS 5b (My Page) on
    Thu, Oct 7, 10 at 0:35

JG,

Your end-of-season specimens look quite good. A lot of mine are blemished with a little touch of frost. However, that won't stop me from taking cuttings and explants. This recent specimen is an example of why I quit growing striped and spotted zinnias.

You never know when those stripes will emerge generations later. I don't recall putting any striped pollen on a scabiosa plant, but maybe a bee did it. More later.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

ZM,

I think you are right about the stripes being a "come and go" trait. They may be stable in the ZigZag series, but as soon as that line is crossed with a different one, there are factors that act to cancel out the stripes. Probably with different comninations of genes, presence of stripes is enabled/disabled. And even in ZigZags, there are times when whole sectors of the flowers once again take on a normal appearance. I pretty much saw that with the selfed July Bonnet offspring.

Our drought here continues. We are getting record highs and
are 6" below our annual amount of rain.

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa, KS 5b (My Page) on
    Tue, Oct 12, 10 at 2:01

JG,

It has rained here the last two days, but our drought is not exactly broken, although it is dented a little. We have had somewhere between a half inch and an inch so far. More rain is predicted for tomorrow, but probably not much accumulation. However, that is a rather moot question, since I suspect we are only days away from a killing frost here.

"They may be stable in the ZigZag series..."

I think you meant to say the Peppermint or Candy Cane or Candy Stripe series. The Zig Zags are in the Whirligig/Carousel bicolor/tricolor group of zinnias. Some of the seed catalogs add to the confusion about zinnia names. For example, Thompson & Morgan featured the Candy Mixed strain on a recent catalog cover and refer to them as "Candy Cane Mixed", apparently unaware that the name Candy Cane is already in use for a striped strain of zinnias. Oh well, no big deal.

This is a close-up picture of a couple of my tissue cultures. The appearance of those tiny explants is not very encouraging.

I'll use the remaining few days of growing season here to harvest some cuttings and some more explants for my tissue cultures. Processing those explants is something I need to learn more about. Those explants look kind of dead, although it may too early to give up on them. I may have killed them with too much "disinfesting" with 70-percent alcohol and 10-percent bleach. I intend to make one of those "clean area" hoods to help avoid contamination while working with the zinnia explants.

My late planting of Candy Mixed zinnias from Parks produced only about 15% of "on type" specimens, so I culled out the 85% of mostly single Lilliput types. However, I am very pleased with the 15 percent of "keepers" from Candy Mix and I intend to buy some more of their seeds for next year. And some of my recombinants are quite interesting, like this specimen with tubular guard petals.

I'll take cuttings and explants from it and several other good specimens. I'm pretty pumped about the possibilities for next year. And I am curious about how much I can accomplish indoors this Winter. I'll try to accomplish something, despite the limitations and problems of indoor zinnia culture. And I am encouraged that Tissue Culture will be a part of that culture. If I can only perfect my TC techniques, there are definite possibilities. I feel comfortable using a hoe in the garden, but TC is definitely something new for me. We shall see what we shall see.

ZM
(not associated with any product or vendor mentioned)


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

OK I Know it's a Poinsettia Link....

http://www.starsforeurope.com/tv_footage/index_eng.html

But I thought You might find it interesting Zenman as it's about Them using Tissue Culture...

I Also wanted to say Thank you for Sharing Your Fun with Us, I'm Really enjoying All of The Photos that You Have/Are Posting
NC


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa, KS 5b (My Page) on
    Tue, Oct 12, 10 at 14:10

NC,

Thanks for the tissue culture link. It was very interesting to see those rather dead-looking poinsettia explants that turned into good plants. I'm still very much a beginner at TC, with lots to learn, and the Internet has a wealth of information out there. I joined the Home Tissue Culture group on Yahoo, and there is a lot of info there. I just discovered that GardenWeb prohibits me from linking to them, but no matter.

This recombinant scabiosa type is somewhat "the worse for the wear", as our growing conditions here continue to decline.

However, I particularly like its larger-than-normal central florets, and one of my breeding goals is to get those florets very large, so that they form a major part, or even the entire part, of the flower. I have a ways to go on that.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

You are VERY Welcome Zenman ***Smiley***

I have found the Group and Mebership Pending
NC


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

ZM,

Yes, I called the striped zinnias "ZigZags," as my source, Rich Farms, also called their striped zinnias that! Anyway, guess you understood what I was trying to say..

I was also very pleased with the Park Candy Mix for 2009, and I see you got a really nice flower, along with others, from those seeds. Good you saved the 2009 seeds, because, at least for me, the 2010 Candy Mix was pretty much a failure as far as production of scabious zinnias went! Best to save as many seeds as you can from your good flowers this year!!

I know every surface sterilization technique is a little different, and it's a really important process at the start of your tissue culture--it could be a fine balance between killing the bacteria and the explants!

I used to surface sterilize by shaking the explant for 2 minutes in 70% ethanol, then rinsing well several times with sterile water. Then, two times, the explants were agitated in 70% Clorox (~5.25% Na hypochlorite)with 1 drop of Tween-20 (a surfactant) for 30 minutes. Finally, the explants were washed well in sterile water 3 times, before adding to medium. The clorox rinses were done under vacuum to ensure that all air bubbles were removed during the process. But the above procedure was not with zinnias.....
Do you have Chapter I.22 "Micropropagation of Zinnia" by M. A. L. Smith from Volume 40, "Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry"? (I think you do...) There it was 1 minute in 70% ethanol for 1 minute, then a 20 minute soak in 1% sodium hypochlorite with 0.1% Tween, then a rinse with sterile deionized water.

I'm enjoying TC through your efforts and hope all goes well...you have some very interesting material to propagate..

I'm still gathering seeds, believe it or not!!

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa, KS 5b (My Page) on
    Wed, Oct 13, 10 at 2:16

JG,

Wow! It sounds like you may have had some hands-on Tissue Culture experience. I think I may have "fried" those first two explants by using isopropyl alcohol, because I didn't have any ethanol at the time. Today I got some drugstore 70% ethanol and used it instead of the isopropyl, giving the explants a 15-second swirl in 70% ethanol followed by a 5-minute soak in 10% Chlorox, followed by a rinse in boiled and cooled distilled water. This time I placed several explants per baby-food jar to increase my odds of success.

The Kitchen Culture Kit manual says to not use denatured ethyl alcohol. That may be a bit of a problem, because the drugstore ethyl alcohol is denatured. In the "olden" times they added a slug of methyl alcohol (wood alcohol) to the ethyl alcohol to denature it.

Now-days they use a more sophisticated formula for denaturing the ethyl alcohol, and hopefully it is more plant friendly, or at least, less plant unfriendly. The "inactive" ingredients in my "Walgreens Ethyl Rubbing Alcohol 70% by volume" are: acetone, denatonium benzoate, methyl isobutyl ketone, and water. I never even heard of "denatonium" benzoate, which sounds a little "fake". And methyl isobutyl ketone sounds dangerously close to methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), which is a known carcinogen. At one time, the guys my son worked with referred to MEK as "methyl ethyl bad-stuff".

Hopefully the modern denaturing formula is less harmful to plant tissue. I plan to experiment with other "disinfesting" protocols, including the use of Physan 20. I suspect that there will be quite a bit of trial and error before I get a good working protocol for zinnia explants. Today I included a few zinnia leaf fragments among the explants. Tomorrow I plan to include some young stem cross-sections as well.

"I was also very pleased with the Park Candy Mix for 2009, and I see you got a really nice flower, along with others, from those seeds. Good you saved the 2009 seeds, because, at least for me, the 2010 Candy Mix was pretty much a failure as far as production of scabious zinnias went! Best to save as many seeds as you can from your good flowers this year!! "

Good advice. And I had better take cuttings from them, too, because I suspect a killing frost will come here before Halloween. Next year I will probably gamble on some 2011 Candy Mix seeds, possibly from more than one supplier. I like the many variations on the scabious flower form, and I particularly like this little specimen.

Some day I hope to get a scabious flower without guard petals, but that one above comes close by having guard petals that closely resemble the floret petaloids. This one below has a similar form.

I would like to get a whole strain of scabious types without guard petals, so that I can increase the size of the florets to get a flower composed of just giant florets. I hope to plant a lot more zinnias next year than I had this year, including a lot of scabious types.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

ZM,

The Kitchen Culture people were right---the denatured stuff has been treated essentially so that when someone buys it off the shelf they can't drink it--the added ingredients for the most part don't support life..we used to avoid using absolute ethanol because there were traces of some of those "added" chemicals to make it as high a percent ethanol (~100%)as it was. We used the laboratory 95% ethanol to make up 70% ethanol with sterile deionized water, as it was free of those additives. I wonder if you can't go to the local university and borrow some once you state your purpose? Or, maybe the Physan will work--you've gotten good results in the past! And, if the isopropanol has been recommended by the Kitchen Culture folks, they must know that it works! Did they send you some?

Anyway, don't use your good plant material until you get a method worked out, especially with the surface sterilization step!!

Another thought, too-- start some of your (surface-sterilized) seeds in sterile media in baby food jars, then try to use material from the germinated seeds to regenerate new plants--could be a challenge, but you would have sterile plant material from day 1. And seeds can handle the sterilization treatment a little better as long as they are not in there too long! I think starting with axillary buds though as suggested in Smith though gives you a head start because you have embryonic material already there!

Your fuchsia scabiosa flower are gorgeous!

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa, KS 5b (My Page) on
    Wed, Oct 13, 10 at 12:01

JG,

"We used the laboratory 95% ethanol to make up 70% ethanol with sterile deionized water, as it was free of those additives."

I will look into finding a source for laboratory grade 95% ethanol. I would dilute it to 70% using distilled water, which I get from local Walmarts for less than a dollar a gallon.

"And, if the isopropanol has been recommended by the Kitchen Culture folks, they must know that it works! Did they send you some?"

I'm not sure they recommend it for cleaning explants. They show a picture of a bottle labeled "70% ethanol" on pages 23 and 24 of the Kitchen Culture Kits manual (which is my single most helpful how-to reference), but in most places they just say "70% alcohol". There was no need for them to ship me any isopropanol because isopropyl alcohol is generally available in nearly any grocery store or drug store as an inexpensive rubbing alcohol. Isopropyl has become by far the most common rubbing alcohol, and ethyl alcohol is a considerably more expensive rubbing alcohol.

In general, it is prohibitively expensive to ship any flammable material in retail quantities. I need to do some experiments to get some idea about the toxicity to plants of the two rubbing alcohols.

The phytotoxicity of vinegar is also an issue. Vinegar has been suggested elsewhere as an "organic" herbicide, but the Kitchen Culture Manual recommends adjusting the pH of the growing medium with vinegar and baking soda. I have made up stock solutions of monopotassium phosphate, which is somewhat acidic (in lieu of phosphoric acid, which I don't have yet) and potassium bicarbonate (as a more plant-friendly base than sodium bicarbonate).

I recently obtained some commercial Muriatic Acid from a local hardware store. It is normally used to clean new concrete and masonry projects, but it is basically hydrochloric acid with impurities. I will dilute it as a plant-friendly acid, and get a purer form later.

It turns out that this was all moot this time, since my first batch of Murashige and Skoog medium happened to fall right within the target pH range of 5.6 to 5.8. But I am sure pH adjustment will become in issue in subsequent batches with different formulations.

This is one of my current 2009 Candy Mix specimens. Its guard petals are toothy, and they "go together with" the appearance of the floret petaloids.

I need to take a lot of cuttings in the next few days, to preserve some of this germplasm for ongoing use. That way I can continue to explore the Tissue Culture issues with zinnias in a more complete and leisurely way. More later.

ZM
(not associated with any product or vendor mentioned)


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

ZM,

Your last scabious zinnia is just wonderful--I love the gold color! I hope you have time to get seeds from it, but you are very good with the cuttings that you work with.

With the alcohols, just get the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) from the manufacturer (almost always can get these online; are required by the gov't) and see what all they contain. You may be able to skip the alcohol step altogether, and go to the bleach step, too. But zinnia surfaces are hairy, and I think alcohol may help get to all surfaces. But eliminating alcohol may be an option.

There are all kinds of approaches to plant tissue culture...I think that reference by Smith that I mentioned earlier is the most specific, for zinnias, that I've seen! But two books used in plant tissue culture labs as general reference are Plant Tissue Culture by Roberta H. Smith and Plant Tissue Culture Concepts and Laboratory Exercises, edited by R. Trigiano and D.J. Gray. These mention all sorts of ways that plants can be propagated through tissue culture.

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa, KS 5b (My Page) on
    Fri, Oct 15, 10 at 12:34

JG,

"I think that reference by Smith that I mentioned earlier is the most specific, for zinnias, that I've seen!"

I do indeed have a printed copy of that chapter. I have heightened interest in it now, from my present viewpoint of actually doing tissue culture of my zinnias.

"There are all kinds of approaches to plant tissue culture...I think that reference by Smith that I mentioned earlier is the most specific, for zinnias, that I've seen! But two books used in plant tissue culture labs as general reference are Plant Tissue Culture by Roberta H. Smith and Plant Tissue Culture Concepts and Laboratory Exercises, edited by R. Trigiano and D.J. Gray. These mention all sorts of ways that plants can be propagated through tissue culture. "

I have both of those books, too. I was able to save some money by getting an "international edition" of Smith from AbeBooks. I also have "Plants from Test Tubes, An Introduction to Micropropagation" third edition, by Lydiane Kyte & John Kleyn. It is a great introductory book from the standpoint of introducing the amateur to the subject, and stands as an intermediate between the "do it now in your kitchen" approach of the Kitchen Culture Kits manual and the mass of scholarly professional books. Most of the professional books aren't really touting Tissue Culture for the amateur, but Plants from Test Tubes does.

"In Vitro Plant Breeding" by Taji, Kumar, and Lakshmanan is also a readable, very accessible introduction for a student or amateur, but it doesn't go into anything very deeply. It is, after all, just an introduction in the purest sense.

I like it that TC is not limited to just micropropagation, but could lead to more advanced things like embryo rescue of interspecific hybrids, somatic embryogenesis whereby embryos are induced to form from somatic (vegetative asexual) cells. Another use of tissue culture is hybridizing (cybridizing) by fusing protoplasts (cells without cell walls). Cybridizing opens up a whole world of new possibilities that are impossible for conventional hybridizing. So Tissue Culture is opening up new ways for me to have "fun" with zinnias.

This current zinnia has a petal form (and subtle coloration) that I like.

It is a recombinant, but its petals and flowerform are similar in shape to a Whirligig specimen that I referred to above as "waterlily flowered". I'm considering both of them as breeders, and will be trying to take cuttings (and later explants) from both.

Incidentally, your suggestion to use TC disinfecting techniques on seeds started indoors seems like a good idea. I had been depending on the use of sterile germination media, and I haven't had any Damping Off problems, but seeds could have some bad seed-borne stuff that might not show up until later. I think that the M. A. L. Smith reference you mentioned described growing zinnia seeds on Tissue Culture mediums. TC definitely adds a new dimension to this hobby.

More later.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

ZM,

Your last flower has a color that reminds me a lot of certain peonies I have had. Pretty! The petals are straplike, kind of like some mums.

Guess it's good to be aware if all the possibilities of tissue culture as with time you can mix and match methodologies to get things to work for you. Hormone ratios can determine whether your tissue is undifferentiated or actually starts to develop into one or more specialized tissues, and then, into whole plants. There might be some useful ideas from the methods used for generating Zinnia marylandica, too!

Some of my flowers continue to bloom--guess this is the time I should look for mildew resistance that might exist, and take some of those seeds. Still no frost here!

Here are two cactus-flowered blooms that are somewhat unusual in that they have red centers and pink petals at the base.

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman 5b Ottawa KS (My Page) on
    Sat, Oct 16, 10 at 13:34

JG,

Those red-changing-to-pink zinnias look quite nice. They have a nice fantasy flower form, and hopefully you can get some seeds from them. Although I realize it is getting late in the season, and seeds from current blooms may not be feasible. I quit cross pollinating a couple of weeks ago for that reason. I do hope to do a lot of cross pollinating in my indoor zinnias this Winter. It's actually much easier to pollinate zinnias in pots, because you can just set their pots next to each other for convenience. And you don't have to worry about the bees getting to the pollen before you.

"There might be some useful ideas from the methods used for generating Zinnia marylandica, too!"

I totally agree. In my ongoing search for more TC information, I will also look at TC protocols for other composite ornamentals, as well. I would expect that there is quite a bit of similarity in workable TC techniques for various ornamentals. I think I will use TDZ (thidiazuron) as my shoot initiator hormone in my next batch of culture medium, since that has been used with Z. marylandica before. I have some TDZ in the freezer now.

This is one of my current scabious recombinants.

It's much larger than its scabious flowered grand-parent, and it is an F2 recombinant from a large F1 specimen that I first grew in Maine. I referred to it then as "sunflower flowered" and I think that description applies to this one as well. I still have some seeds from that original F1, and I plan to plant them all out next Spring. However, only about one in 20 of those F2s have been being "keepers".

More later.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

I have a question for you all. Do your zinnias attract butterflies. The way I understand it all they like the flat top zinnias so they can land on them better. I had some zinnias 2 years ago I think from Profusion line. Loved them and I saved seeds and none sprouted then was informed they were a hybrid and they wouldn't I wish I could get the name of them,they grew like a small bush and butterflies really liked them.


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa, KS 5b (My Page) on
    Sun, Oct 17, 10 at 21:26

finchelover,

Zinnias of all flower shapes do indeed attract butterflies. Butterflies are good at hanging onto flowers with irregular shapes, and some flowers that they like don't have any kind of platform at all. Hummingbirds also like zinnias, and also drink their nectar. Unlike butterflies, hummingbirds usually sip zinnia nectar while hovering. And of course, bees of all kinds, including honeybees, go for the zinnia nectar.

" I had some zinnias 2 years ago I think from Profusion line. Loved them and I saved seeds and none sprouted then was informed they were a hybrid and they wouldn't."

Your Profusions probably didn't get pollinated, or the seedheads didn't have time to mature. Profusions, Pinwheels, and Zaharas are all commercial strains of Z. marylandica, which is a new species of zinnia that is of hybrid origin, but the seeds that you buy are open pollinated in fields, and you can save seeds from them. Butterflies like all zinnias, so you needn't limit yourself or them to just one variety.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

Finchelover,

Zinnias are great for a butterfly garden! I have found that the zinnias most commonly grown, the Zinnia elegans, tend to attract butterflies the best of all six species found in my garden, including that species that includes the Profusions. The butterflies are looking for the nectar found mostly at the bases of the small disc flowers found near the centers of the zinnias.

I have grown Profusions. If the seeds are harvested and well-dried, then kept in a cool, dry place over the winter they easily produce plants in the next season.

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa, KS 5b (My Page) on
    Tue, Oct 19, 10 at 1:41

Hi all,

I haven't been growing Profusions or other Marylandicas because their flowers aren't large and their plants are rather short. Let's face it, the tallest ones are called "Knee Highs". However, there is plenty of opportunity for amateur breeding with them. There are all kinds of Marylandica X Marylandica crosses you could make. I just don't like to stoop over to pollinate them.

My zinnia garden is definitely winding down. We had a cool front come through today, and it is predicted to get down to 44 degrees in the early morning. That probably won't cause any frost damage, but frost can form by radiative cooling even when the air temperature is above freezing, provided there is no cloud cover or wind. My fingers are crossed pretty much every night now. I'm "life-boating" some of my better breeder zinnias by bringing in cuttings from them for culture under fluorescent lights.

I'm using my usual zinnia cuttings techniques, using Physan 20 for sterilization, powdered Mosquito Dunks to prevent fungus gnats, urea-free nutrients, a sterile rooting medium, and rooting hormone.

I will continue taking cuttings tomorrow and, if circumstances permit, in the days to come. I will also bring in a few more tissue culture explants. So far, no shoots in my zinnia tissue cultures. More later.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa, KS 5b (My Page) on
    Tue, Nov 9, 10 at 19:38

Hi all,

Still no tissue culture shoots. However, the explants aren't exactly dead and they have expanded in size considerably. I guess they are in a "zombie like" state. Perhaps it's just callus tissue. Lots more experiments to do there, starting with a stronger dose of shoot-inducing growth hormone.

I saved seeds from the "Pink Shaggy Dog" blooms, and found that they are rather unusual, being, for the most part, much skinnier than most zinnia seeds.

That isn't all of my Shaggy Dog seeds, but it is a pretty good sample. Some of those seeds are almost as thin as marigold seeds, but brown instead of black like marigold seeds are.

In past years I have saved and planted the skinny zinnia seeds because petal shape seems to correlate with seed shape, and I need long, slender petals to get "spider flowered" zinnias. However, in past years I have had very low germination success with the skinny seeds.

Perhaps tissue culture can help with this problem. I plan to experiment with the tissue culture germination of small weak zinnia seeds (not the Shaggy Dogs), in order to develop a successful germination procedure (tissue culture protocol).

If and when I get a TC germination technique that works, I will try it on some of my skinny Shaggy Dog seeds next Spring. I might try a few this Winter.

Now, when I am saving zinnia seeds, I keep some of the unlikely small weak ones to experiment with, with the idea that tissue culture might "save" them. If it works, that will be somewhat similar to the Tissue Culture "embryo rescue" application.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

ZM,

Your cuttings look wonderful! At the very last minute, I decided to try to get some cuttings to take root, too, following your protocol. By last minute, I mean it was the day before our first expected frost, my plants were covered with mildew, and the only shoots worth even trying were those with flower buds. I started six cuttings, and still have four left. I think the ones I lost were overwhelmed with moisture, and their stems in the media just died (turned brown). Although the tops were still green, I threw them out. The last four were doing OK, and I then cut off the flower buds. That may have been a mistake, as I believe the wounds set the plants back! Anyway, the cuttings don't nearly look as nice as yours, but they are surviving. If it seems they are actually starting to thrive, I will post a photo! They do have a few roots. I started them out in only Perlite as the medium, then after two weeks switched over to an organic peat/Perlite mix.

Interesting that the Shaggy Dog seeds are skinny, but then, you have a flower form that is different, so it makes sense that the seeds may be different, too. This past season, I was a little surprised with the Extreme Roll seeds. I sorted them out according to size--I didn't have many seeds coming from the flowers with the needle-like petals, about 50 to 60 (there were many more from the sibs without that phenotype). At any rate, I expected the fattest seeds would give me the best chance of germination, so I planted them all out, fat seeds first, then seeds I really didn't think would make it. These were the skinny, narrow seeds that seemed to be unfertilized or immature, but that I didn't want to discard (they made up the majority of seeds, so--just in case!). Anyway, I was surprised to find that the smaller seeds were the ones that had the highest rates of germination! We'll see what happens this coming season.

The tissue culture is really challenging, but if anyone gets it to work with zinnias, I am sure it will be you. I know the general theme of amplifying, and then regenerating, corresponds with starting with relatively high amounts of auxin to amplify the material (callus), then reducing the concentration of auxin to get root formation, then gradually continuing on with a high auxin/cytokinin ratio, followed by reducing that ratio (with higher concentration of cytokinin) to get shoot formation. You don't really need light if you have adequate medium to support the cell growth until you start trying to induce shoot formation. Often the composition of the medium is critical in getting the plant material to respond the way you want, not even considering the hormones! It looks like Smith was able to get good shoot amplication using just BAP (cytokinin), and after that, getting roots with no auxin at all under certain conditions. Probably he was trying to avoid callus formation in his case.

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa, KS 5b (My Page) on
    Wed, Nov 17, 10 at 14:13

JG,

Many of my cuttings are doing fine, but the cuttings in the first two trays that I planted starting dying after a few days. At first I was baffled, but then I examined the package of Dip 'n Grow that I was using, and discovered that it had expired years ago. I bought a fresh bottle, and the trays I used it on seem to be doing fine. Apparently the first two trays just didn't develop roots. Oh well.

Anyhow, I now have several trays of cuttings, some of which are blooming. That's pathetic. I have some Z. violacea blooms that look like Z. marylandica. I need to remove those blooms and start thinking about re-potting those cutting plants. I also plan to plant some indoor zinnia seed and expand my indoor growing capacity. I should have an ample supply of living zinnia material to use with my ongoing Tissue Culture experiments.

I got no shoots in that first batch that had "African Violet Leaf" culture medium with sugar and BAP. Some of the explant tissue expanded a lot, almost like a callus growth, but no shoots. This is a picture of what that original small brown speck explant now looks like.

It doesn't show in the picture, but there are some greenish areas in that tissue. My next batch of BAP culture medium will contain a lot higher concentration of BAP. I also have a small amount of TDZ (Thidiazuron) and Kinetin to experiment with. I am a little skeptical about the Kinetin (some people have reported that it is a weak cytokinin). But I am a little more optimistic about the TDZ. We shall see what we shall see.

I finished harvesting the last of my outdoor zinnia seed yesterday, and cleared out the last of the dead zinnia plants. We have an impending cold rain moving in today. My zinnia patch looks kind of unusual with just bare ground and zinnia cages everywhere.

"I was surprised to find that the smaller seeds were the ones that had the highest rates of germination!"

Very interesting. I have been "shucking" some of my seedheads, and every now and then I will find a very tiny seed that feels "full" in the pinch test. I think that these "micro" seeds probably wouldn't germinate, because it is hard to imagine the tiny plant that would emerge. My guess is that they may contain a small embryo but little, if any, endosperm. It recently occurred to me that I could insert these tiny seeds into some of the tissue culture medium (I still have several babyfood jars with that original batch of African Violet Leaf medium.)

So, with that in mind, and your report of success with small seeds in a normal plant out, I am now saving small seeds that I would have normally discarded. As I mentioned previously, TC may be able to perform "embryo rescue" on these tiny seeds. I am really warming up to the idea of Tissue Culture as a part of my zinnia hobby.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

ZM,

Your example of zinnia tissue culture looks pretty good! I can't see if you have any root formation, but the callus you have looks promising! The glossy globular part of the callus that is also fairly light-colored may be divided with a sharp edge like a sterile razor or scalpel and replaced into the jar, I would guess (no zinnia experience here!) It looks like you have three sections there that you could use. When the callus starts getting dark-colored, it may be starting to die, possibly because it doesn't have good access to the medium. But you would call the callus you have that is light-colored, shiny and rounded, "embryogenic." When you expose the tissue to light, then the light signals the tissue to produce chloroplasts and the plant tries to take care of itself, rather than strictly rely on the medium for nutrients. You can see small projections where the material is greenest, and those are probably potential little shoots forming. At any rate, you can see how potentially one piece of tissue may be cloned and allowed to produce three or more plants if all goes well. The little projections on the callus represent (attempted) regeneration of shoots and/or roots that hopefully with time will continue to develop..thanks so much for sharing your results!

I'm sure my cuttings aren't doing so well because I took shoots that weren't in such good shape to begin with, but I'm glad you mentioned the expiration date of the Dip'n Grow..I checked mine , and it is at the end of 2012, so it's not a good explanation for the small roots on my plants.

Anyway, I look forward to seeing how your tissue culture goes! You can use the seed material (can remove seed coat carefully with fine sandpaper, then surface sterilize and remove embryo to put on solid medium). You should get callus similar to what you have now and may be able to divide it, too...many plants from one!

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa, KS 5b (My Page) on
    Mon, Nov 22, 10 at 17:08

JG,

That particular zinnia tissue culture explant may not produce any shoots, but it isn't a total failure, because the explant apparently wasn't dead, or infested with anything. And it grew, "after a fashion."

Several of my indoor cuttings plants have bloomed, of all things, as you can see in this picture.

The indoor blooms are different looking from my outdoor zinnias, probably because the cutting plants are much smaller than the outdoor plants. I don't intend to leave the blooms on the plants, but I may use parts of them as wildly experimental explants. (I probably can't regenerate zinnia plants from a petal, but I'll try anyway.) Some of the indoor blooms have "small plant" features that are attractive.

Several of those precocious indoor blooms have an "un-zinnia-like" look that I like. It's time to re-pot those plants, and I need to improve my lighting. A couple of my fixtures went dark. I probably need to replace their fluorescent ballasts. I am using inexpensive fluorescent shoplights as my lighting sources, so their cheap ballasts don't last a long time. I have a few spare ballasts on hand, and I ordered some better replacement ballasts today. Actually, dinking around with rebuilding fluorescent light fixtures is kind of fun for me, but I wouldn't recommend it to everyone. More later.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

ZM,

Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving! We did here, although the rainy weather has turned very cold! But today, we are getting some sun again.

How refreshing your indoor flowers look! The pastel colors are such reminders of the spring that will be here in a little fewer than (four!) months!

I would not give up on a callus such as the one you showed. I hope you didn't throw it away! It probably does need to be subdivided so that different parts of it have more access to the medium, as there are no elements formed yet that can transport nutrients efficiently. With time, you may very well get the regeneration of plant parts (roots and shoots). And, of course, you may get some interesting variation in the phenotype that may or may not also be inherited! That callus material must be given some time--six weeks would not be unreasonable! Anyway, I think it shows some promise based on the observations I have had with monocot tissue culture.

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa, KS 5b (My Page) on
    Fri, Nov 26, 10 at 21:51

JG,

We did have a happy Thanksgiving, and I am glad that you and yours did as well. It has been quite cold here, 21 degrees this morning. One of the indoor blooms was of a "toothy" specimen.

I really like the way those petals are sculptured. That one apparently has some Whirligig genes.

Vesey's has discontinued their bicolor/tricolor Zig Zag strain, but I was able to purchase some of their remaining stock from this year. I did that because, three years ago in Maine, I saw some significant differences between Zig Zag and Whirligigs in the garden. Not that either was superior to the other, but just that the two together gave a wider range of variation than either did alone. I plan to grow a sizable plant-out of both Whirligig and Zig Zag next Spring.

Don't worry, I am saving that callus, because it is no problem just leaving it on the shelf. But I need to take some more explants to get more of these attempts in progress. I need to get beyond the callus stage, so I will try a higher concentration of BAP and some other cytokinins as well, like TDZ and Kinetin. More later.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

I know I'm in over my head here and my question has probably already been answered but I hope you'll indulge me here. A couple of years ago I traded for seeds of Swizzle, the orange and yellow flowers I grew looked pretty much like the pictures I found on the web and I was really happy with them.

I saved the seeds, but when I grew them out last year the seedlings varied wildly:



I've saved seeds from the white one and the pink/orange one, say I grow the white ones seperately next year, if half of those turn out white and I pluck out the others, will those Zinnias will it be the start of a new strain? Or are Zinnias just inclined to change and evolve?

Like I said before, I'm sorry if this has already been asked, but it's 15 threads, lol!

Thanks in advance,
Jeanne


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa, KS 5b (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 19, 10 at 2:07

Jeanna,

"I've saved seeds from the white one and the pink/orange one, say I grow the white ones separately next year, if half of those turn out white and I pluck out the others, will those Zinnias will it be the start of a new strain?"

That will be the start of a new strain, although you will probably see some more interesting off-type specimens along the way. Since you traded for seeds of Swizzle, the seeds you got were probably already recombinants (not Swizzle) and possibly crossed by bees with some other zinnias growing in the vicinity of the person who saved the seeds from the Swizzle. I would not have expected your white zinnia to come from Swizzle. I would expect that you will get some white zinnias from its seeds, and if you save seeds from those white zinnias you will be on your way toward creating a strain of white zinnias. It takes several generations of culling and re-selection to get a reasonably purified strain. But obviously it is possible to get purified separate colors of zinnias, because commercial strains are available.

"Or are Zinnias just inclined to change and evolve?"

Zinnias are bee-pollinated, and bees do a fair amount of accidental cross-pollination by traveling from flower to flower. For that reason, commercial separate-color zinnia strains are grown in separate fields. The bees still do a lot of cross-pollination, but it doesn't hurt because they are crossing zinnias that have the same color.

It is more difficult for home growers like you and me to grow zinnias in isolated plots, because we don't have access to widely separated fields like the commercial growers do. But we can try to do the best we can with what is available to us. It occurred to me this year that I didn't have any really good white zinnias. I had a few whites, but they were medium sized. This odd one was not pure white, but it had its leaves and branches in an unusual "plan of three".

That variation occurs occasionally and I refer to them as "threesies" and label their seeds as "3Z" (but unfortunately they don't come true from seed.) This is one that looks somewhat like your white, but mine has less dramatic petals.

That one was only about 5 inches across, and I think its color is more of an ivory than pure white. I would like to have some giant (six inches or larger) pure whites in interesting flower forms. White zinnias look good in the evening, and they make nice pastel colors when you cross them with other colors. So next year I plan to have a separate white zinnia garden. I purchased a bunch of white cactus flowered zinnia seeds, and I plan to plant them in their separate garden and cull out everything but the very best to save seeds from. And I will probably hand-pollinate and cross-pollinate some of the choicest specimens.

My white zinnia patch will be over 50 feet from my main zinnia garden, and hopefully that will cut down on the mixing of the two by the bees. To help with that, I hope to perfect my zinnia "hairnets" to work in this windy Kansas environment. When they stay on a zinnia flower, they do a good job of preventing bee access. But this year, hairnets that worked fine in Maine blew all over the place here.

Incidentally, that is an interesting set of zinnia pictures that you posted. I look forward to more pictures from you.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

ZM,

Thank you so much for the prompt reply.

Since you traded for seeds of Swizzle, the seeds you got were probably already recombinants (not Swizzle)

Correct, my trader told me these were seeds he collected from Swizzle and wasn't sure if they would come true. It's interesting that all of those 2nd generation plants I grew looked like Swizzle and all the third generation were different. I would have expected more variety from the beginning.

I feel like I'm on a mission now, I'd really like to stabilize a strain with that yellow/orange/pink combo that I love so much. I'm not reinventing the wheel here, am I? The only Zinnias I've found with that color combo appear to be hybrids.

I do wish I'd found this thread earlier in the year, I had no idea you could take cuttings from Zinnias. Are these going to planted out next spring, or are you just extending the bloom time for your (and our) enjoyment? I thought Zinnias were true annuals, are they actually tender perennials?

On an aside note, I'd like to mention that while I've never done any TC, I've done hundreds and hundreds of rose cuttings over the years. And it is possible to use too much growth hormone. When you mentioned that your cultures are callousing well but not showing signs of growth, too much hormone immediately springs to my mind. If I have cuttings in the field that look great but just sit there while their bedmates have grown enough to pot up, I'll dig those up to check out the root system. Sometimes they are just slow to get started, sometimes they rot below the soil line and get dumped into the burn pile. Occasionally I'll find something that looks like cauliflower growing from the bottom of the cutting. That's from too much hormone. If I pare 95% of that callous off and replant, it will grow on at least 50% of the time. And I'm not even sure if that relates to TC at all, but I just wanted to throw that out there for you to consider.

I look forward to more pictures from you.

I will be happy to share more pictures when I get them, I've enjoyed yours immensely. You have some really stunning specimens and I love your camera angles. Your pictures make me think to take more care when I take pictures next year. Thanks for that.

Jeanne


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa, KS 5b (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 19, 10 at 17:36

Jeanne,

"The only Zinnias I've found with that color combo appear to be hybrids. "

I have good news for you. There are commercial strains of non-hybrid bicolor and tricolor zinnias, in an almost endless number of color combinations. I am referring to Whirligigs, Carrousel, and Zig Zag zinnias. And, because they are not F1 hybrids, their seeds are relatively inexpensive. I bought a quarter pound of Whirligig from Stokes, which is currently priced at $14.60. That will plant a lot of zinnias. Those strains are relatively stable, so crosses with them are reasonably predictable and you can purify them by saving seeds from your favorites. In the past years I have had a lot fun growing Whirligigs and Zig Zags. I think Carrousel was simply a re-named Whirligig.

Until this year, Johnny's Selected Seeds carried Carrousel and mentioned that it was also known as Whirligig, but I notice they have discontinued it. Burpee did carry a "fully double" strain of Whirligig, but they discontinued it. And Zig Zag has been discontinued by Veseys Seeds, although I think you can still order it by telephone from the small amount of Zig Zag seed stock left from the 2010 season. Zinnia seeds keep relatively well, so I didn't hesitate to order some Zig Zag from Veseys a few weeks ago. Veseys is a Canadian seed company with a USA branch, but my Zig Zags came from Canada, so their was a two-week delay in the shipment while it cleared Customs. I intend to grow a whole bed of Zig Zags next Spring, and a big bed of Whirligigs as well.

I have grown Whirligigs and Zig Zag at the same time and, although there were similarities, it seemed that each strain had some specimens that the other lacked. So I like to include both Whirligigs and Zig Zags in my grow-out of commercial zinnia strains. Some Whirligig strains have "run out" to mostly single or semidouble forms in un-rogued fields. Single Whirligigs can actually look very nice, as is indicated by this description of Whirligig at Parks. Don't pay any attention to the word "hybrid" in that description -- Whirligig had a hybrid origin but all of its commercial offerings are open pollinated. You don't get F1 hybrid zinnia seeds for one or two pennies per seed.

"I feel like I'm on a mission now, I'd really like to stabilize a strain with that yellow/orange/pink combo that I love so much. I'm not reinventing the wheel here, am I?"

You might find that combination in a relativly big planting of Whirligigs or Zig Zags, but it isn't available as a separate strain. When you found it, you could self it and be well on your way to creating a strain of it. Also, you can get some really nice results by crossing Whirligigs or Zig Zags with solid-colored zinnias. And I don't hesitate to "re-invent the wheel" myself. When I was a kid, they always advised me that "practice makes perfect", so my view is that repeating the creation of a particular zinnia wouldn't necessarily be a waste of time.

I think there are a lot of good opportunities to transfer the bi-color and tricolor combinations from the Whirligigs and Zig Zags to other flower forms, like cactus flowered. This zinnia was the result of a Whirligig x Cactus zinnia cross.

It was approximately the color combination that you like. This recombinant had similar coloration, and I think it had a scabiosa flowered grand parent.

I like new flower forms in zinnias, and this is a flower form that I refer to as "aster flowered".

The aster flowered flowerform has long narrow petals. I also like "spider flowered" flowers, like this one.

Actually, for spider flowered, I am wanting something with longer thinner straighter petals that are down-rolled to form little tubes. I'll be looking for some better spider flowered breeders next Spring. I think they would look great in a bi-color. Imagine a very deep purple with white tips. In a dim light, all you would see would be the tips. Gardeners are an optimistic lot, and I am no exception. Next year's garden is always going to be the "best yet."

ZM
(not associated with any product or vendor mentioned)


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa, KS 5b (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 20, 10 at 11:39

Jeanne,

"I had no idea you could take cuttings from Zinnias. Are these going to planted out next spring, or are you just extending the bloom time for your (and our) enjoyment?"

I am extending the bloom time so that I can get more seeds from them. They were some of my favorite breeders this Fall, and I want to get as much progeny from them as possible.

"I thought Zinnias were true annuals, are they actually tender perennials?"

That's a good question. Most people would say that they (Z. violacea, formerly called Z. elegans) are annuals. But I have successfully taken cuttings from cutting plants, so I don't know how far that could be continued. If repeated generations of cuttings are successful, is a zinnia plant potentially immortal? Or will some kind of genetic programmed death mechanism kick in? I don't know. Is a rose plant considered to be immortal?

"And I'm not even sure if that relates to TC at all, but I just wanted to throw that out there for you to consider."

Thanks for your experiences with rose cuttings. My problems with zinnia tissue culture could be too much cytokinin or too little or the wrong cytokinin. I might need to use a different nutrient formula. I have a lot more experimentation to do this Winter. Fortunately I have some zinnias growing indoors to provide a source of zinnia explants for those experiments. I haven't tried TDZ (thidiazuron) yet, and I think that is what I will try next. My game plan is to try to get shoots first and then move those shoots to a medium that contains a rooting hormone to get those shoots to form roots. Shoots then roots. So my first objective is to get those shoots.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

Hello ZM, Jeanne, and everyone else who reads this thread!

Merry Christmas! and best wishes for a Happy 2011, with lots of happy gardening to anticipate! And gorgeous zinnias! Please, everyone, post your photos...I know we all enjoy viewing them!

ZM, hope your Shaggy Dog continues to thrive!
More in the coming year!!

Cheers!
JG


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Happy Christmas and Merry New Year!!!

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa, KS 5b (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 24, 10 at 15:41

Hello JG, Jeanne, and everyone else who reads this thread!

Have a happy Christmas, a merry New Year, and best wishes for a fun gardening year in 2011. I picked this picture as a "Santa Claus zinnia".

It is one of the Zig Zags that I grew in Maine back in 2008. Time flies when you are having fun. Here's to more fun in 2011!

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

ZM, JG and all,

I have never been that interested in Zinnias, but this series of posts has really sparked my interest.

I have always been interested in breeding, and these posts have been full of inspiring pictures and information.

I have a fair amount of experience in TC also, so if you have questions about that aspect, please ask. And post your results.. This is awesome!

Thanks


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa, KS 5b (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 2, 11 at 2:25

caricapapaya,

Welcome to this zinnia discussion. I hope that you will decide to experiment with zinnias. The more the merrier.

Fruit flies have historically been a subject of genetics experiments, because they breed so rapidly. To a certain extent, zinnias are like "fruit flies" of the plant kingdom, because they grow so rapidly and let you see the results of your crosses in the same year that you did the cross pollination. Based on your Zone 10, I presume that you have a long growing season that would be amenable to many zinnia experiments.

A lot of zinnia variations interest me, and tubular petals like the specimen shown above on Tue, Oct 12, 10 at 2:01 can produce interesting flower forms. This is an earlier example.

Tubular petals in zinnias are relatively rare, and Tissue Culture of such specimens could help lead to a strain of zinnias with tubular petals.

We will be asking for and welcoming your insights and opinions in Tissue Culture, because I think that TC can provide some exciting possibilities for our zinnia hobby. My near term TC objective is still the micropropagation of unique zinnia specimens. I haven't gotten that down yet, but I think my initial concentration of BAP was probably much too low. My next batch of medium will contain about ten times as much BAP. My first batch of TC medium used a formula for the micropropagation of sections from an African Violet leaf. Since African Violets can be propagated from leaf cuttings without the aid of Tissue Culture, that formula probably had a very weak dose of BAP. To my knowledge, zinnias won't propagate from leaf cuttings, although it would be nice if we could do that. Perhaps TC will make that possible.

Also, I'll be trying some TDZ as a potentially more potent alternative to BAP. Other available cytokinins (zeatin, kinetin, 2ip, PBA) could be the basis for a lot more zinnia experiments.

And there are some other exciting roles that Tissue Culture could have in the zinnia hobby. The embryo rescue of ambitious hybrids, haploid zinnias that could be converted to true-breeding diploids, and somatic hybridization could open up whole new wings of the zinnia hobby. As a kid who didn't know better, I tried unsuccessfully to cross zinnias with marigolds. Somatic hybridization (cybridization) could make that a possibility now.

More later.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

Yes, I live in southern ca, and frost is rare. We do get cold (at least I think its cold) for the winter time. Cold weather veggies can be grown pretty much year round, but I dont think zinias would like it during the winter.

But it doesnt start getting cold until october or so, and warms up pretty early too I guess. We can also have days in the 70s at any time during the year.

What are the temps that zinnias willl grow in?

I am in charge of my kids school garden, and I am thinking of planting a bunch there this year, and coordinating with the science teacher to use them in her lessons. especially about plants, genetics, etc.

Thank you everyone for the informative and inspiring posts and pictures.

As for tc, I think it has real potential here. I will do some searching and see what I can find.

Just as a shot in the dark, I would try using MS with vitamins and no hormones and see what you get. And as the starting material, use axillary buds. I will draw a picture and try to post it so you can see what I mean.

Happy breeding.


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa, KS 5b (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 2, 11 at 18:36

caricapapaya,

"What are the temps that zinnias willl grow in?"

They germinate best in the range of 75 to 85 degrees for soil temperature. If you start seeds inside, you should set them outside after any danger of frost, but the soil temperature could be a little cooler than the ideal germinating temperature. Zinnias thrive in warm sunny weather, and do less well in cool shady weather. You can google to find zinnia cultural information, in articles such as this How to Grow Zinnias. Zinnias are easy in warm sunny weather. I seem to recall that Burpee did a lot of their zinnia seed production in southern California, so you should find it relatively easy to grow zinnias in your area.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa, KS 5b (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 3, 11 at 0:08

Caricapapaya,

Well, that link for How to Grow Zinnias erroneously just linked back to this message thread. Let's try again. Here is a FloriData Zinnia elegans link. And Zinnias--If You Plant Them, Butterflies Will Come. And here is a second attempt at the How to Grow Zinnias link. I usually test links before I post them, but that link in my previous message was apparently the exception that proves the rule.

This last year I made quite a bit of progress in getting a strain of what I call "aster flowered" zinnias, like this specimen that appeared in my second generation of 2010 zinnias.

It has the long, flat petals of the aster flowered flowerform, and it also has the large stigmas of the "dinosaur" zinnia that appeared in the Fall of 2009. This Spring I'll be growing out a lot of seeds that I saved from various aster flowered specimens last year, which should give me the opportunity to select out some further improved versions. I'll need to do a lot more cross pollination to get a complete color range in the aster flowered zinnia strain. It'll be fun to see how that goes. I am always filled with anticipation when a new zinnia plant starts to open its first flower bud.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

***BUMP***

Any Updates Guy's or is it Too Soon?


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 15, 11 at 9:53

NC,

Actually, I am continuing to plant zinnias in-ground. A few of my in-ground planted zinnias are starting to bud out now, and I will probably have a few blooms on them in a week to 10 days. In an effort to match JG's fabulous "extreme roll" zinnias (see the picture I posted on
Tue, Sep 7, 10 at 0:25), I have planted a whole patch of bicolor and tricolor zinnias, including a lot of old seeds of the now-discontinued Zig Zag zinnia.

The zinnias that I have in bud now are Whirligigs from a seed grower in Tanzania that were repackaged by Stokes in Canada. I planted them close together because their seeds were three years old, but despite their age they must have germinated about 80%. I will be culling them at first bloom to make more room for "the keepers".

I have a few zinnias in bloom that I started early under fluorescent lights. This bloom has scabious influence.

Its dark center makes it stand out. I am going to start paying more attention to the centers of zinnia blooms as features worth taking into account. I am still very enthusiastic about the potential for recombining scabiosa flowered zinnias with other zinnias. I believe this is another example of scabious influence.

Things are starting to "heat up" in my zinnia patch, literally and figuratively. We have been having some weather in the 90s (Fahrenheit).

None of my zinnia tissue cultures produced shoots so far, but I plan to renew my TC experiments. I will continue successive in-ground plantings well into July.

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 15

A couple of years ago I planted seeds the orange and yellow flowers I grew looked pretty much like the pictures.I have always been interested in breeding, and these posts have been full of inspiring pictures and information...
thanks!

Here is a link that might be useful: gardening tips


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 16, 11 at 15:58

Aileen,

Your MightyGarden website is quite impressive. It must have taken a lot of time and effort on your part to bring that much information together and to format it for the Web. You would be most welcome here as a zinnia hobbyist, whether you breed them or just grow them.

Once you grow zinnias, you are sure to see a few specimens that you prefer over the others, and if you choose to save seeds from your favorites to plant next year, you have in effect become your own personal zinnia breeder.

Cross pollination is simple to do with zinnias, and you can always cross your favorites with each other to easily go on to the next level. And then comes the excitement of seeing your first hybrids bloom. Maybe you will cross some of them, and then your zinnias will show you the wonders of genetic recombination. You will be raising and enjoying new zinnias that are not available in any seed packet. I took this picture of one of my recombinants yesterday.

It combines two-color coloration from a Whirlygig ancestor, aster-style petals from a selected variation, and some center "interest" from a scabiosa flowered ancestor. I like it, and I will use it for further zinnia breeding. Its "open" flowerform does not cover up the two-color petal interest. Sometimes you will get bi-color specimens that have more conventional zinnia flowerforms, like this one, whose picture I also took yesterday.

It is pretty, but the petals tend to hide the two-color interest. I will try crossing this one with some aster-flowered zinnias to get those colors in a more open form.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by izhar Karachi 11a (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 17, 11 at 1:21

very nice... I tried the Carrousel mixed for the first time and loved the bi-colored or even tri-colored blooms...


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

Hi ZM! And all who read these posts!

It's zinnia time again (well, I guess, except for ZM and his year-round plantings!)..

ZM, your scabious and whirligig descendents look very nice!
The only zinnias that are blooming for me thus far are peruvianas and tenuifolias, and, the haageanas are just starting (I am finding the latter reseed easily from the previous season). I have some scabious flowers (Candy Mix from T&M and Park)that are just starting to open, but as of yet, they don't look too promising!

I have 52 direct descendents growing now of the "Extreme Roll" phenotype plants as well as maybe over 100 of sibs and other relatives of that line. Will see what happens..they may bloom in maybe two weeks, with luck. Hoping for some inheritance of those traits! Other seeds started include those of Sunbow, Whirligigs from Stokes and Rich, Park Pastel Cutting Blend, Burpeeanas, Benaries, angustifolias, Profusions and Zaharas. Also, lots of Cactus from HPS Seeds. Can't wait! But there is a massive amount of weeding to do! Grass and this weed called Peruvian Daisy are everywhere! I've got several rows of mixed seed from the 2010 zinnia garden, along with seeds selected from crinkled flowers, near blue flowers, flowers with strap-like petals, giant flowers, cactus with curly petals, July Bonnet F2 (I think the strange bonnet flowers are genetically unstable, but I got some pretty offspring that may have inheritable traits), and scabious zinnias (for me, this usually looks to be a pretty shabby row!). I tried planting seeds of flowers with very toothy petals, but the germination rate was way down! I'll be lucky to get 1 or 2 plants from those.

ZM, how are your "Shaggy Dog" zinnias coming along? Those were fantastic, to say the least! What all have you planted outside?

Looking forward to everyone's posts this summer!

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 18, 11 at 15:12

JG,

It's great to hear from you again. I have had possibly a dozen progeny from "Pink Shaggy Dog" (code-named as D10) bloom so far, but none has equalled the parent. I still have a lot of unplanted "skinny" seeds from D10 on hand, and I may try germinating some of them in tissue culture medium, and some in wet paper towels, Deno style.

"What all have you planted outside? "

As I mentioned above, I planted a whole separate garden of Zig Zags (from Veseys) and Whirligigs (from Stokes and Hazzards). Some of the first ones planted are in the advanced bud stage now. I will be very selective with them, keeping only my favorites. I am still in the process of planting outside, using up seeds as old as from the 2006 season. I think this will be my biggest zinnia year ever.

"Toothiness" is starting to show up better this year. This specimen is just one of my current "toothies". Notice its sharply pointed leaves.

We had a strong storm last night, with winds well in excess of 50mph and hail up to the size of a quarter. But damage to my tomatoes and zinnias was minimal. We needed the rain. I do need to deploy some more zinnia cages for my breeders. More later. I can't wait to see some pictures of your new zinnias this year. And 99 percent of my zinnias haven't bloomed yet. So the anticipation builds.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

ZM,

That toothy flower is pretty--nice and full, too. I bet it has lots of scabious genes. I noticed that the Park 2009 seeds gave rise to a few somewhat similar flowers for me; I don't think that the leaves were overly pointed, though.

Not this year, thus far, are my scabious zinnias doing so well! They are starting to bloom and both lots that I have for 2011 are looking very daisy-like. Will post any pretty ones if I get them! I also planted a number of seeds coming from the nicer 2009 scabious flowers that I had, but they are not so mature now.

We have also had a few days of heavy rain. Right now it is wet out with very dark skies for the morning. It is a perfect time for transplanting and weeding, if one uses a mosquito net and lots of insecticide!

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 20, 11 at 9:53

JG,

"I bet it has lots of scabious genes."

Yes, I think it has a lot of scabious genes. I have had a few Candy Mix that looked very much like it straight out of the seed packet. Incidentally, I bought a lot of Candy Mix seeds from GeoSeed and I plan to make a big planting of them this year. I am making some progress toward bigger central florets, but I want to expand my scabious gene pool. As you have seen, very few of the scabious are good right out of the seed packet. To compensate for that, I am going to use a "brute force" approach, with a lot of planted seeds and lots of culling.

I have a long ways to go to get the ultra-big florets that I want, but I will keep selecting in that direction. It's cool and windy this morning. We had no rain last night, so I will be preparing a new seedbed today.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

ZM,

The above flower is pretty--and I can see that there will still be more larger than usual florets on it! I hope I will get at least one true scabious flower this summer, but I don't know--it doesn't look hopeful!

We continue to get rain and hot temperatures, and some of the zinnia seeds that I have been putting in to fill empty spaces in the garden have germinated in two days under these conditions.

The Peruvian zinnias continue to bloom heavily. Interestingly, about 98% are red, and the others yellow, although last year I had about a 50-50 distribution of yellow and red. I suspect that red must be the dominant color here and that there must have been a lot of cross-breeding going on. I guess I will be able to see if that happened when observing the offspring of the 2011 plants in 2012.

My whirligigs are just starting to open now and I am seeing buds in many of the other large zinnias.

With all the butterflies my zinnias attracted last year, I decided to add plants to the garden that would support the caterpillar stage. So, now I have plants like dill, fennel, rue, spicebush, pawpaw, pipevine, and snapdragons. Nearby also are hackberry trees, several kinds of milkweed, violets, and plantain, etc. It will be interesting to see what happens!

Looking forward to seeing more of your zinnias..

JG



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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 22, 11 at 1:47

JG,

"My whirligigs are just starting to open now and I am seeing buds in many of the other large zinnias. "

My Whirligigs are beginning to open now, too. This is one whose picture I took this evening.

It's certainly not an "Extreme Roll", but it has fairly narrow petals and the petals are spaced apart so that you can "see through" the flower. It is on the verge of being "spider flowered".

"...hope I will get at least one true scabious flower this summer..."

I hope so too. I spent some time today planting Candy Mix seeds between the rows in my Whirligig-Zig Zag garden because garden space is at a premium for me. There is room in there for some more, so I will be planting more Candy Mix again tomorrow. I want to get this planting phase over as soon I can.

I think it is great that you are planting food plants for the butterfly larva. Nothing like that here, except for a few wild Milkweeds.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

ZM,

I think zinnias like the one you have just shown will definitely enrich your gene pool for traits like airiness with the narrow petals. The Whirligig flowers that are coming out for me here have the slender petals as well as variable degrees of toothiness. Some are also solid-colored, but the flowers are so bright that they are still attractive.

I finally found a scabious flower from the plants growing out from the Candy Mix seeds I bought this year. It is the first I have seen:

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 23, 11 at 1:36

JG,

"I finally found a scabious flower from the plants growing out from the Candy Mix seeds..."

That looks like a nice one. Soft pastel colors. It has potential as a breeder. I planted a bunch of Candy Mix today. I guess they won't be blooming until August. I hope I get some good ones. My Whirligigs are continuing to bloom out and I have several good ones, but no Extreme Rolls yet. More later.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 23, 11 at 11:21

JG,

Incidentally, in studying my Whirligigs (the Zig Zags were planted a bit later and haven't bloomed yet) I notice that there are various flower forms within the Whirligig clan, and that it would be possible to select out separate strains with these flower forms. I pretty much discount and discard the single Whirligigs, even though they can look very pretty. But I particularly notice the narrow petaled slightly up-rolled specimens, because when they are in the pre-opening stage they look like they could be "extreme roll". But even though they are not extreme, they are a nice "open" flower form, like this one that I photographed yesterday evening.

That really is a separate flower form from the classic double Whirligig, such as this one.

I also notice that there is another form whose petals are re-curled somewhat, such as this one.

I think it would be possible to select out several sub-strains from the Whirligigs based on flower form. I think I will try inter-crossing Whirligigs within separate flower types to see if I can make any progress in that direction. My goal would be to get a good color range within each flower type. More later. (Still hoping an Extreme Roll will appear in my zinnia patch--it could happen...)

ZM



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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 24, 11 at 0:36

JG,

Some of my first planted Zig Zags are beginning to bloom now. This is one of them, and it may be "teasing" me that it could be an example of an "Extreme Roll".

It's actually too early to tell, because this flower is just beginning to bloom. But I will be keeping a close eye on it to see how it performs.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

ZM,

Like you, I think the Whirligigs are really interesting because there is so much diversity among them. So many different characteristics and color combinations! I wonder how all of that has happened? I remember how we were saying earlier that they originated from a cross between haageana and elegans zinnias.

Anyway, some of the various forms I saw this morning include:

One that shows the toothy trait:

One that has narrow petals as well as some toothiness:

One that is starting to open looks like an "Extreme Roll":

.

And one that has small stripes in it (a virus maybe, or something that is inherited?):

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 25, 11 at 23:22

JG,

You have some nice Whirligigs. That last one with the stripes is an example of some of the "mutants" that are rather common in Whirligigs. It's not at all bad for a mutant. This is a picture of one of my recent Whirligig mutants.

There is a lady bug nearly hidden in that picture. Some of the Whirligig mutants are seriously "messed up".

Incidentally, that potential "extreme roll" that I pictured in my last message was just teasing me. It petals unfurled in a couple of days into a fairly conventional looking red zinnia. Since it is a solid color, I will probably cull it.

But I am staying on the lookout for an Extreme Roll in my zinnia patch. I still have a lot of Zig Zags that haven't bloomed yet, because I did successive plantings of them. I didn't exactly plan it that way, but I have been planting zinnias "as fast as I can", which sometimes isn't very fast. Today I tilled up another small seedbed that I will use to plant some more zinnias.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

ZM,

I like the color combination in your last whirligig--kind of a new play on Pepperstick-type zinnias. A big cactus flower with those colors could be pretty nice!

Only a small part of my zinnia garden is blooming now and consists of some peruvianas, haageanas, tenuifolias, whirligigs, and scabious zinnias. I have more of the whirligigs and scabious zinnias planted, but they have yet to bloom.

I found a few more scabious types in the Candy Mix:

Here is another example of a whirligig, with paler colors on the tips of the petals:

You can see bugs on two of those flowers!

A lot of flowers look like "Extreme Roll" when they first start to open. The "Extreme Rolls" may have a gene or genes mutated that are responsible for the opening up of the petals. I know there must be whirligig genes in those flowers when looking at the colors, but the first flowers I had with that trait came from at least 3 generations of my randomly breeding garden zinnias. I hope to see them again this year, but you never know! I think there is some inheritance there, but don't know just how it works. From last year's offspring, I'm sure it's not a (Mendelian) dominant trait!

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 27, 11 at 1:09

JG,

"A lot of flowers look like "Extreme Roll" when they first start to open."

That is true. I have been "teased" by several opening flowers. So far, no extreme roll. But I do have a few of these zinnias with up-rolled petals, and I plan to intercross them to establish them as a strain.

So far only about a third of my Whirligig/Zig Zags have bloomed, so I halfway expect to get a few more uprolls to intercross with.

"...but the first flowers I had with that trait came from at least 3 generations of my randomly breeding garden zinnias... I think there is some inheritance there, but don't know just how it works. From last year's offspring, I'm sure it's not a (Mendelian) dominant trait! "

It could be a combination of two or more recessive genes. I am going to try inter-crossing my uprolled specimens and then grow recombinants from those crosses in an attempt to find the Extreme Roll combination. I guess obtaining Extreme Rolls is not going to be as easy as just "finding them" in a large growout of Whirligigs and/or Zig Zags.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

ZM,

The fun thing about these flowers is that every season it seems we find some really interesting flowers with traits we may never had been able to predict. You have been able to get some very elegant-looking flowers, too, through your breeding program. I don't have such a breeding program--except that I try to maintain lines that I find by chance each year...I'm not sure which is more difficult!

Below is the small row of whirligigs that have started to bloom:

Here is the first of the Burpeeanas to bloom:

Before the majority of my plants start to bloom, I should be observing the leaves and buds to see if there is anything unusual.

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Tue, Jun 28, 11 at 1:46

JG,

"The fun thing about these flowers is that every season it seems we find some really interesting flowers with traits we may never had been able to predict."

You are right about that. Zinnias occur in great variety, and the more we look at them, the more little things we notice. I have noticed that zinnias differ significantly in the size and color of their center area--that area from which new petals emerge. The center area on this Whirligig is fairly wide.

The center cone can be tall or short. You tend to notice the center cone when you are shucking seeds. Stem diameter can vary a lot. Leaf shape and size can vary. Plant height can range from 3 inches to several feet. There are many petal shapes. The stigmas can range from rather small to quite large. The pollen bearing florets usually have five arms, but sometimes there are six or more arms on a floret. And scabious florets are very different.

"Before the majority of my plants start to bloom, I should be observing the leaves and buds to see if there is anything unusual."

I prefer longer, pointier leaves, but I always want to see that first bloom before I cull a zinnia plant.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

ZM,

I think the long, pointy leaves, are better, too, but I have very few plants with those! In fact, the Extreme Roll progeny have extremely "fat" leaves...flower buds are getting ready to open.

With respect to leaves, I found a "Threesie" among some of my plants today. Also, I have noticed that pigmentation of the leaves at the nodes is often a purple tint, especially when the flowers are to be red or purple.

I plant my zinnias so thickly that many rise to heighths of five feet or more!

Here is the first of my Candy Mix (2009) F1, resulting from a random cross in the garden:

The central florets, instead of being conical, are short petal-like structures.

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 29, 11 at 1:11

JG,

That Candy Mix hybrid is amazing! I think that is actually a new flower form in zinnias. I have seen a lot of zinnia flowerform variants, but none like that. Those central petaloids seem to show stigmas. I think you could apply pollen to them and get hybrid seeds from them, in addition to what you could get from the stigmas on the guard petals.

I planted my Candy Mix about two weeks ago, so they are small seedlings now. I planted quite a few of them. I am looking forward to the time when they bloom. Based on your specimen, it may be that Candy Mix can produce results that we haven't seen from crosses with the older scabiosa flowered strains. Your new flower reminds me vaguely of an orchid, partly because of the picotee effect on the tips of the petaloids. Bravo!

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

ZM,

Today is a mulching day. I finally have the areas around my zinnia rows fairly weed-free, so I am going to use some old bales of alfalfa hay as mulch--hope if there are seeds in it, they won't be too much of a problem in the future. I always have so many weeds, though, I don't think more things could come up--it would just be a matter of competition.

The first of my Extreme Roll progeny is starting to open. Will it be or won't it be? Hard to tell....

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

Hi zenman, i have been reading your threads for the past 6 months and they are rwally interesting! especially the tissue culture! So from what i undestand, is that you can take cuttings from zinnias and produce a plant from them? i did not know you could do that. I also need your help here...

I have some zinnias, about 1.5 months old, 11 of them. they are very small and have not bloomed yet:

-They are a mix of california giants and zinnia envy
-Are in full sun
-soil is constantly kept slightly moist
-They are 5-6 inches tall, with the package saying full size 18-24 inches
-they have not been fertilized until today
-They are very slightly slightly rootbound, but i planted them in their permanant containers today
-They are 1 1/2 months old, started in early-mid may
-They are short, but very very bushy and healthy, a perfect even green
-They do not have buds yet

Please help me if you can since you seem to be the expert. what can i do this year or in the future to help the grow better? I would have started them in feb., but the originals flopped over and died in april, so i had to start over in early may.


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

ZM,

We had a rain last night which really brought out a lot of flowers here (also the mosquitoes!). The bud I showed on June 30 now looks like this:

I am excited because it seems three other plants in the same F-2 group are showing similar blooms. Interesting, too, is that the F-1 group of flowers coming from the 2009 Candy Mix plants' seeds are showing a high percentage of scabious blooms (more so than the 2011 seeds I planted this year).

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 1, 11 at 14:58

JG,

I am so excited that the Extreme Roll phenotype seems to be coming true from seed. I am getting a few up-rolled specimens in my Whirligigs and Zig Zags, but no extreme rolls. That may be because they don't have the "X-factor" that your Extreme Rolls have acquired.

I hope that your Extreme Rolls can become a strain, not just because they have a charming appearance, but because they could make interesting crosses and recombinations with other zinnia types.

"Interesting, too, is that the F-1 group of flowers coming from the 2009 Candy Mix plants' seeds are showing a high percentage of scabious blooms (more so than the 2011 seeds I planted this year)."

My 2009 Candy Mix seeds from Parks Seeds performed better too. I wonder if they were from a different grower. The Candy Mix that I planted this year are all from GeoSeed, and I have no idea whether they acquired their Candy Mix seed from a "good" grower or not. Time will tell. My Candy Mix are still rather young seedlings. At least I have quite a few of them.

You definitely do get different results from different growers for the same named strain. This year I grew Whirligigs from both Stokes and Hazzards, and those two populations were distinctly different. And the Zig Zags are coming in different from either of the Whirligig groups.

Since 90% of my Zig Zags haven't bloomed yet, it is too early to generalize about them, except that I believe I am beginning to see why the Zig Zag strain has been discontinued. A high percentage of the Zig Zags are "off-type", in that they differ from the description of the strain. I think they are going to have a very high cull rate, but they are producing some interesting specimens that make me happy to grow them. The picture I posted on June 27th is of a Zig Zag, but only a very few of them are like that. However I will treat the few good ones as breeders and discard most of the rest.

This is one of the mutants that seem to be fairly common in my Stokes Whirligigs.

I took that picture yesterday. Our Kansas wind makes it difficult to get a good close-up of a flower that isn't blurred. The flowers are jumping around like basketball players. More later. Hope to see more pictures of your Extreme Rolls, and anything else in your zinnia patch.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 1, 11 at 15:56

pansyloverandgrower,

"So from what I understand, is that you can take cuttings from zinnias and produce a plant from them? I did not know you could do that."

That's not surprising. Most books on plant propagation don't list zinnias as something that you can grow from cuttings. You do need to use some Physan 20 to keep the cuttings from rotting, and of course some rooting hormone and humidity domes to keep the cuttings from wilting until they have time to strike some roots (about 10 days). So I guess you could say that it is not easy to grow zinnias from cuttings, but it can be done. I do it primarily to "rescue" good breeder zinnias from an impending killing frost. And, in the case of my "Dinosaur Zinnia", I used cuttings to provide a greater seed yield than was possible from a single plant. Zinnia cuttings propagation details and pictures were provided in earlier parts of this message series.

"...especially the tissue culture!"

Ah, yes. The tissue culture. Apparently that is considerably more difficult than growing zinnias from cuttings. I have actually successfully taken cuttings from zinnia plants that were themselves grown from cuttings. But so far my attempts at micropropagation of zinnias from tissue culture have failed. Right now I am concentrating on preparing and planting more outdoor seedbeds for my zinnias, so my tissue culture experiments are "on hold" right now. But I consider it an imperative that I learn to grow zinnias from tissue cultures.

My initial attempts used a technique that works for African Violet leaf disc explants, but apparently zinnia tissue needs stronger plant growth hormones than African Violet leaves need. That is not too surprising, because some growers propagate African Violets from leaves without using tissue culture. I plan to use stronger doses of BAP (benzylaminopurine) and also try TDZ (thidiazuron) to stimulate shoot production from zinnia callus tissue. I will report on my progress when it occurs. Tissue culture could be very helpful in creating new strains of zinnias.

"I also need your help here...I have some zinnias, about 1.5 months old, 11 of them. they are very small and have not bloomed yet: ..."

See my response to your separate message thread. I think you may be trying to grow zinnias under conditions that are more challenging than what most of us face. Actually, zinnias are considered easy to grow in most climates. But you may need some special techniques if you are living in Washington state, because zinnias need full sun. Please give us some more information about your zinnia growing situation. Your description of your plants sounds very "un-zinnia-like". If possible, could you post a picture of them?

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

ZM,

I think I'm getting similar results with the Whirligig seeds from Stokes, seeing some of the mutations like in the flower you showed on June 27. But I like the diversity in the plants that grow up from them, and also, for the large numbers of seeds you can get, the price is right.

I think that the Extreme Roll appearance may very well be due to a recessive gene, as I see some of the same phenotype coming up from the X-Roll F-2 seeds that I grew up and coming from plants that didn't have the extreme look. In the cases where those plants were selfed there is a chance that a fraction of their progeny would show the extreme flowers, if the gene is recessive.

Here, though, is another of the F-2 coming up from a plant whose parent had the Extreme Roll phenotype. Maybe the disc flowers aren't desirable, but I'm glad they are there for crossing purposes!

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

ZM,

Actually, I meant seeing mutations like in the flower you showed today...

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 15

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Sat, Jul 2, 11 at 21:01

JG,

Your Extreme Roll offspring are continuing to show encouraging signs of genetic persistence. It looks like a strain is very possible. I plan to continue selections in that direction from my Whirligigs and Zig Zags, but I may be dickering to trade some zinnia seeds with you next season. However, I am sort of requiring myself to become successful with zinnia tissue culture before growing any Extreme Rolls or any other unique zinnias. I would be kind of horrified if a blue zinnia appeared in my zinnia patch and I was incapable of tissue culturing it.

Hi everyone,

This message thread is at the 100 mark, and understandably somewhat slow to load, so I am continuing it over at It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 16 for a "fresh" start.

I look forward to seeing you all over there.

ZM


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