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It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

Posted by maineman z5a ME (My Page) on
Mon, Sep 22, 08 at 14:05

Hello all,

We are starting a new part to this ongoing discussion, for the usual reasons. The previous part, It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 7, has exceeded 100 messages and is becoming unwieldy.

The same guidelines apply here. Anything remotely related to zinnias is fine and, as a courtesy to readers with smaller monitors, try to keep the pictures posted no wider than 986 pixels.

Once again, I'll "break the ice" with a picture (at the "limit" of 986 pixels wide). One of my objectives this year was a white spider flowered zinnia, and I am sorry to say I didn't come even close to that goal. This is one of my white zinnias, and it is a breeder purely for lack of credible competition. The picture was deliberately taken under low light conditions, to keep the camera from "washing out" the details in the petals (and, grin, to avoid distractions from the raggedy zinnias in the background).

I am hoping for better luck next year. My plan is to make a big plant-out of the White Cactus flowered zinnia offering from Stokes, and to ruthlessly discard all but the best. It would be great if Burpee re-released their Burpeeanas in separate colors, including white. But I am not really expecting that in 2009. That is just a hope.

MM


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

I'm thankful to find zinnia breeders interested enough to carry this through eight threads. I already have 80 snack baggies with saved zinnia seed and still have my eye on some commercial seed packs. Where will I plant it all? I find I enjoy most, the zinnias that I have room to walk around. That's as much space required again.

I have two blooms already from seed that came from a salmon 'Magellan' that was about 9" tall. This one is pink and is only 5". My assumption that the offspring would be taller was dead wrong.
I've done a lot of crosses between my 6 foot talls with short 'Swizzles'. I like the really tall ones, but I wonder if the average gardener would be interested in zinnias that tall.


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

HC,

I had a couple of 6-foot specimens this year, well branched, almost like small trees. One of them blew over in a recent two-day windy period, and a lot of its stems were broken. It looked like the kind of damage that a large animal might do, but I didn't see any tracks.

The other is still standing with the aid of a 5-foot piece of re-bar. It's convenient to pollinate tall zinnias, because you don't have to stoop over. But I think that tall zinnias are more susceptible to wind damage. And I don't want to breed zinnias that have to be staked.

I am aiming more in the 2-foot to 3-foot range, with hopefully strong well-branched plants. I will include some of the shorter plants (6 inches to 15 inches) in my breeding merely as a means of getting more branching in the plant. I think the Magellans and their ilk are too close to the ground to get good air circulation in the plants, which makes them susceptible to soil-splashed foliage diseases.

MM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

The 5" zinnia now has 3 blooms and it's not a smidgeon taller. Usually subsequent blooms are taller than the initial one. The poor thing has stayed completely sprinkled in Sevin dust, but something still eats holes all into it. Nothing else is being eaten, so I'll assume it's because it's on the ground.

I have a yellow specimen that is about 3' tall and has 31 semi-double blooms right now. None of the blooms is touching the ground. For me, it is an ideal, so I've crossed each of my other breeders to a couple of its blooms.


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

I think it would be fun breeding taller Zinnas only if you keep the flower quality and size in. You would also have to try to breed thicker stems so they would not be so breakable. This is the same problems with dahlias and there huge blooms. i know that in high wind area like slc utah and our haphazzard weather it would be interesting to try. Josh ps how long can zinna seed stay viable


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

Hi everyone!

Wow!, HC, 31 flowers on a single plant is phenomenal! That's got to be a good set of conditions you have there! It will be interesting to see if you can get those good traits passed on to the next generations.

Many of my flowers are very tall, and for the most part they all stand up well, because they shield each other from the wind. I did have one patch that was pretty well flattened by Hurricane Ike when the last of it came through, but they have since struggled pretty much back up to form. I think another reason many of my tall zinnias are as tall as they are is because they compete with one another for the sunlight!

Here is a picture of one of the last zinnias in the main patch, also white:

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

HC,

"The 5" zinnia now has 3 blooms and it's not a smidgen taller. Usually subsequent blooms are taller than the initial one. The poor thing has stayed completely sprinkled in Sevin dust, but something still eats holes all into it. Nothing else is being eaten, so I'll assume it's because it's on the ground."

In the past, I had serious problems with pillbugs (sowbugs) eating my Thumbelina class zinnias (3 inches to 7 inches tall), both the leaves and the flowers. Since pillbugs or sowbugs aren't technically insects, it may be that Sevin is ineffective against them.

I sprinkled Pillbug/Sowbug bait liberally around and that killed the pillbugs by the thousands. The bait was based on a citrus byproduct with some killing chemical. That bait literally produced a mulch of pillbug bodies. Since the bait kept disappearing overnight, I kept sprinkling it out and the carnage continued. It was like I was "titrating" the pillbugs with the bait. I must have had a population explosion of pillbugs that year for some reason.

That was years ago in Fort Worth. Incidentally, pillbugs are a forest floor creature, and a mulch of dry sand is not at all to their liking, and they will avoid the dry sand. Their bodies are vulnerable to drying out, and their characteristic habit of rolling up into a ball may be to conserve moisture as well as to protect against some attackers.

MM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

JG,

Some of the scabiosa flowered hybrids can have a very high count of flowers per plant. Next year I plan to plant out a lot of the scabiosa flowered seed that I crossed in 2007. This year was focused more on getting more progress in the area of bi-colored and tri-colored spiderish hybrids.

"Many of my flowers are very tall, and for the most part they all stand up well, because they shield each other from the wind."

My close plantings started out that way, but at bloom time I started a rigorous culling program, as I had planned to do, and the result of that was my breeders were standing pretty much alone. I staked a lot of them with re-bar stakes for that reason, under the presumption that if they had grown with open space they would have produced better plants.

Those were disadvantages of the close planting scheme for me, but on the other hand it did allow me to look at maybe five times as many candidates. So I don't regret the method. I just hope to improve on it somewhat. Bushy plants do produce much higher seed yields because they tend to have more blooms.

Next year I hope to have some more space so I can space my zinnias out better, and yet grow more of them. Shear numbers can help you with zinnia breeding.

That is a decent looking white cactus flowered zinnia. The bloom is a little shallow at this young stage of development, but it very well may get much deeper as it puts out more petals.

We still haven't had a killing freeze yet, but I am continuing in the "end game" mode. I do still cross-pollinate in case we have a late freeze like we did last year (October 29th), but yesterday I saved a lot of seedheads in anticipation of the predicted rain for today (which is happening as I type this.) I now need to get busy shucking out the seeds from some of my dried seedheads and putting them in labeled Ziploc bags.

Your method of just shucking the seedheads into the planting row is more efficient, but I don't have room to store a large volume of seedheads. And, besides, I am curious to see what the seeds look like. Have you ever found zinnia seeds with "horns"? I have. In my own illogical way, I kind of regard the horns on seeds as a good thing. I also like three-pronged stigmas (fairly common), extra big and long stigmas, and florets with more than six "arms" (rather rare).

MM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

Josh,

"...how long can zinnia seed stay viable?"

Hill Gardens of Maine list the longevity of zinnia seeds as 5 - 6 years. I personally think that you could get at least some germination of zinnia seeds that were older than that if they were stored well.

If you have some old zinnia seed, I would at least give them a chance to germinate rather than throw them out. It is even possible that long storage could induce some mutations (cosmic rays, for example).

MM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

Josh,

Another reference to zinnia seed longevity is Seed Longevity and Testing for Viability, which lists zinnia seed longevity as "six years or more". The Master Gardeners Testing Seeds for Germination article says "Marigold seeds can last for three years, and zinnia and nasturtium seeds for up to seven years." Plant Breeding For The Home Gardener says, "Some long-lived seeds include zinnia, petunia, and lotus."

I think a lot of factors affect how long your zinnia seeds can last, but in general I think it is long enough to make breeding zinnias a worthwhile hobby.

MM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

Photobucket
All of the yellow blooms are from one plant. This morning there were 38 open blooms and 5 waiting to open. The initial bloom is starting to brown. This is my summer patch where nearly half the plants died after flooding.


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

HC,

Your yellow blooming zinnia has a very nice bushy plant and, as you say, none of its blooms are on the ground (unlike my Burpeeana specimen, which did have several blooms on or near the ground.) I think you are lucky that you got a breeder with so many of the qualities that you want. It looks like an "alpha dog" zinnia, in that it sort of dominates that zinnia grouping. Hopefully you will get a good yield of seed from it to start the year off next Spring.

MM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

Hello all,

No rain today, but it was overcast, so I took the opportunity to take a few pictures of zinnias that are still relatively fresh. (My wife's point-and-shoot has problems with direct sunlight, so the cloudy day was ideal.) This recombinant amused me because of the two "passengers" and I like its color nuances and open flower form.

As we near the end of our growing season here, foliage diseases are an increasing problem. I plan to spray my zinnia patch tomorrow because the heavy rains over the last few days have washed off any protective spray coatings, and the absence of sunlight has left the zinnias starved for photosynthates.

MM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

Hello!

HC, it's nice to see your zinnia patch. That yellow zinnia has so many flowers--I can see why you are using it for many crosses! You've got a nice variety of purples, too.

MM, that is a pretty red flower with its two complementary-colored visitors!

Over the past weekend, I mowed down my main patch, and the garden looks empty in the center. But many plants were turning brown, and they were no longer bearing seeds.

Here are several pictures I took of some remaining plants. The first is a pot of Profusions growing on our patio. They are not my favorite, but as I said before, they are remarkably free of mildew, and lend some color to the scene.

Then, here is a surviving whirligig:

and a patio-grown Zowie that shows its obvious relationship to whirligig, and v.v.:

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

JG,

I agree that Zowie has Whirligig parentage. Your two pictures make an excellent case for that. I like bicolored and tricolored zinnias. I made a Fall planting of Zig Zags, and they are coming into bloom now.

I notice that there is a small flying form of aphid in that picture. I have sprayed several individual flower heads to control aphids, and it looks like this one may be a candidate for that as well.

I am pollinating this Zig Zag and several comparable new specimens with large-flowered zinnias, including spiderish ones, just in case we have a late killing freeze like we did last year. It's a gamble, like a lot of things.

MM


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Another flying aphid

JG,

Speaking of flying aphids, I noticed this one in another picture that I also took just yesterday.

It is also a risky thing to be pollinating this one this late in the season, but it is a plan-of-three zinnia that appeared in my Burpee Hybrids, so I am crossing it with other plan-of-three zinnias. I hope that plan-of-three turns out to be genetic, but until I get a seedbed full of three-leafed zinnias, I won't have any proof of that.

MM


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Another plan-of-three zinnia

JG,

This is another plan-of-three zinnia that I am pollinating with "threesies".

I have two plan-of-three Whirligigs that are "throwing pollen", so I hope to get a decent seed yield of candidate "3-Z" seeds for next year.

MM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

Hello all,

I was looking through the pictures I took a few days ago and I noticed a detail that I didn't see at the time I took the photo. Several of us have wondered why some of our light pink zinnias develop dark pink "freckles" as they mature. I had sort of supposed it was a mild form of some foliage disease. However, I have revised my thinking after looking at this photo.

Notice that there is a "freckle" not far from the plant bug in this picture. There are also a few freckles on other parts of this rather immature bloom. I now strongly suspect that these freckles are caused by plant bugs with piercing and sucking mouth parts. There are several species that could be the villains in this situation, including the one (whatever it is) in this picture.

MM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

MM,

Your "threesie" plants are neat. Once more, it will be interesting to see if they wil give rise to similar offspring! That last pink flower is nice, too.

I have often wondered what starts the freckles on the flowers. Most often, I see them late in the season. I can see how certain insects could definitely do that, as seen in your photo. I notice a lot of different things happen as fall approaches, including the freckles. There are unusual color patterns. Flower buds may give rise to new flowers that are very much different than older flowers on the same plant. New petals start to appear above the central part of the flower where birds have already taken the seeds. Maybe tomorrow I will try to document some of these seasonal changes in the flowers of the patch I have not yet removed.

Now there are few seeds left, but the finches enjoy them anyway, as well as the seeds on the sunflowers. Guess I'll just let the remaining zinnias go until the frost as the birds are feasting away.

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

JG,

I have noticed that cool weather does cause some very noticeable changes in zinnias. Some of the color effects look good, but I doubt that they are genetic. Tomorrow night's low is predicted to be 35, but they haven't sounded a frost advisory yet. Most of our nights are very chilly now, hovering near 40. I am actually amazed that the zinnias seem to grow a little despite the near wintery conditions. Now I am concentrating mostly on gathering nearly mature seedheads.

My daughter and son-in-law are moving to Kansas for better job opportunities. We live in their "in-law suite" here, so we will be moving to Kansas as well. I expect that we will rent a separate place in Kansas. My youngest son and two grandchildren also live in Kansas.

I guess after the move I will change my "persona" to reflect our upcoming Kansas residency. I will miss the long, mild Summer days of Maine, but not the blackflies.

I plan to continue my zinnia breeding activities in Kansas. Hopefully the longer growing season will be convenient. At least I won't be expecting any late Summer frost advisories.

MM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

Hi all,

I took this picture of a Whirligig a few days ago (Sep 29th). A lot of the Whirligigs have this upcurled petal effect. Since that tends to show the bottom sides of the petals, that is not my favorite look.

About 95% of the upcurled blooms look kind of unremarkable, and do go to the compost pile. But, if the flower is reasonably double and has good coloration, it can be useful as both a cut flower and as a landscaping specimen, so I don't automatically cull these.

MM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

Kansasman (to be), I am sure it will be nice to be around more children and grandchildren. The longer season should be great for a hybridizer too. Wish you a smooth moving.


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

Dave,

Thanks for your kind wishes. The process of moving is rather hectic, but the advantages of the move should be worth it.

MM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

MM, or (KM),

Good luck with your upcoming move! It will be nice to have more family around. And gardening will be good...I bet you won't have to deal with sand anymore!

I liked that last flower you showed from 9/29. Definitely a keeper! The color and shape of petals were different yet pretty.

Here are some of the things I notice in the zinnias as fall approaches..

Some of the seeds become deeply pigmented to almost match the petals of the flower. These were dark purple.

Many flowers seem to be finished, then put out a few more petals...

Some flowers get lighter or brighter edges on the petals.

Mildew always appears in my garden as it gets dryer, and maybe the older plants have less resistance.

Some flowers do strange things like add miniature petals to the center:

Many of my flowers also get the "freckles' with aging.

Some flowers turn nearly black in the center:

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

JG,

Thanks for your encouragement about my upcoming move. I haven't seen the purple seed thing yet. That last picture is quite attractive, with the white, rose, and the purple center. That would be a great effect in a larger bloom.

I did see some mold on some dead seedheads and leaves, but I haven't seen any mildew yet. It has actually been too wet here for mildew. I am sure that mildew will be a problem in Kansas, but I will spray for it. I have a good sprayer and I rather enjoy spraying my zinnias. I also use my sprayer for foliar feeding because it is handier than my hose-end sprayer.

More later.

MM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

I am enjoying more butterflies now than at any time this year. I wonder how much pollinating they are actually doing.
Photobucket


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

HC,

"I wonder how much pollinating they are actually doing."

I don't know how much pollinating they are doing, but apparently butterflies can pollinate zinnias. That link says, "Examples of butterfly-pollinated plants include: zinnia, calendula, butterfly weed, yarrow, goldenrod, Spirea, milkweeds, honeysuckle, and daisy." I personally think that honeybees, bumblebees, and carpenter bees do most of the pollinating in my zinnia patch. However, I have seen butterflies drinking nectar right through my zinnia nets, which isn't hard for them because my nets have a rather open fabric, as you can see here. Butterflies can easily slip their drinking tubes through the openings in the net fabric.

Actually, after watching butterflies drinking nectar from zinnia florets, it isn't clear to me how a butterfly transfers pollen from a zinnia pollen floret to a zinnia stigma. Maybe it happens accidentally when the butterfly withdraws and re-coils its drinking tube.

I plan to continue using my nets because I don't think the butterflies are a serious threat to my zinnia breeding, but the bees are.

MM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

I received a new seed catalogue from T&M. I had intended to order some 'Aztec Sunsets' from them, but in the photo, it shows almost no variation at all among the flowers.


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

HC,

"I had intended to order some 'Aztec Sunsets' from them, but in the photo, it shows almost no variation at all among the flowers."

Seed catalog pictures frequently are not representative of all of the zinnias that you get in a mixture. Although Park is currently out of stock of Aztec Sunset, they probably have a more representative picture of Aztec Sunset. T&M spent 10 years re-selecting from Persian Carpets to get Aztec Sunset, so presumably it is a significantly improved strain. I plan to grow both Persian Carpets and Aztec Sunset.

MM


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A follow-up picture

Hi all,

The recombinant zinnia that I showed back on Sun, Oct 5, 08 at 0:52, which had the plant bug that probably created a "freckle", developed several nice flowers, including this one:

That zinnia had four different grandparents, and shows some characteristics of each of them, including excellent petal "substance" inherited from one grandparent. Petal substance is an often overlooked zinnia characteristic, and you have to actually feel the petals to get a good appreciation of it.

MM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

Hi again,

For the record, we finally had our killing frost this morning and, like last year, it was several weeks later than the "average" date, which was supposed to be late in September. Maybe there is something to this Global Warming. Oh well, I am packing stuff for our move to Kansas anyway.

MM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

MM, I hope your move is enjoyable and everything goes smoothly. The Kansas soil awaits you. Will the grandkids be playing in the dirt with you?


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

Hello!

HC, your purple and yellow garden with butterfly is pretty. One of the beauties of zinnias is that not only do they make a fine garden, but they attract such interesting butterflies, birds, etc. I have spent so much time in my zinnia patches this past summer just observing and taking pictures of the creatures there, no doubt as you have.. You're lucky in Georgia in that you have that longer growing season! What time are you able to plant in the spring?

I got Aztec Sunset seeds last spring from Park, and the flowers were all pretty much the same. I am convinced that they are simply a pattern of Persian Carpet that have been separated out so that they are true-breeding for color, as I also saw some Aztec Sunset-type flowers among my Persian Carpets.

MM, that last zinnia shown is a beauty. I guess you'll have some seeds from that plant, in that you had earlier blooms. We have had several frosts in the past week. None were of the true killing kind, I guess, as we still have a pretty thriving patch of Romaine lettuce going. But this is the time of year we usually get the first frosts.

I bet in your move there will be a dedicated truck just for all of your planting gear, plants and seeds! It will be a task to pack, but as HC says, there is some fine soil in Kansas that needs some pretty flowers! And that definitely is something to look forward to!

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

HC,

"I hope your move is enjoyable and everything goes smoothly."

We've had worse moves, but it seems that everything never goes smoothly. However, we are out of our two storage units in Maine, and our stuff has been moved into a two-bedroom house that we rented here in a small town here in East Kansas. We are about eight blocks from my youngest son and two grandchildren. Just today we got Internet access and tomorrow we are scheduled for dish TV access to a packet of TV channels, including a few HD channels.

"The Kansas soil awaits you. Will the grandkids be playing in the dirt with you?"

The soil here is very similar to what we referred to as "black gumbo" in Fort Worth. I have a pair of boots waiting for the mud to dry on the front porch right now, so that I can chip the stuff off.

This isn't the kind of soil you "play in" and since we are renters, we probably won't be amending it extensively. The soil looks rich, though, so I will be interested to see how zinnias grow in it. I do look forward to the presence of grandkids in the garden.

MM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

Hi all,

There aren't very many new zinnias this year (that I know of yet), but Queen Red Lime zinnia seems to be one of them. It's not to my taste, but I will probably grow a few of them just to see what happens when you cross them with various other zinnias.

MM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

MM,

It's good to see our "moderator" is starting to get settled in! The Queen Red Limes look interesting. I think I will buy a pack or two--there could be some interesting offspring. I have received 2009 catalogs thus far from T & M, Stokes, and HPS. Zinnias I don't remember seeing before are the double-petalled Profusion flowers and African Zinnias (Melampodium)offered by Stokes.

I've cut down all my zinnias now and have even plowed up the biggest plot as I've had more time than usual to get that done. And, across the yard, it's hard to believe that there is just a patch of soil where I earlier had a nice stand of Benary zinnias.

Anyway, welcome back and we will all look forward to your coming entries!

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

MM, good to know that you have moved. I agree that no moving seems to go completely smooth, but I am glad you are settled for now.

Are you going to continue to rent here, or are you going to move again? One thing that you can do if you don't want to add amendment to the rented land is to use some kind of green manure. For example, I don't know how the weather is in Kansas now, but if it still allows a month of growth, then you can grow oats on it. It will grow bulk materials and then winter will kill it. Next year you can grow on top of the oats (without tilting although you can tilt in a little if you want to).

If you do it a couple of years, it will build up some nice "soil" on top of the mud. It is certainly cheaper buying some oat seeds that buying amendment, especially if this is a temporary place. I bought my oat seeds last year from http://www.superseeds.com/

If you are interested in this, you can search for "no tilt soil improvement."

Dave


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

It's great to have everyone back online! It's also good to know that M(K)M has successfully moved.
Planning for next year's zinnia patch is fun. I noticed that Johnny's also has some zinnia specials online right now. Thanks for pointing out the red lime. I had missed that one and I'm getting an order up right now for Johnny's.
Hoping that each of you has a thankful Thanksgiving.


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

Hi all,

The former MaineMan here. Now I am ZenMan, because it sounds a bit like "zinnia man" and the Zen suggests how I enjoy just "taking in" the natural wonders of my zinnia patch.

Thanksgiving was great. Lots of family and grandchildren. Turkey meat really does make you go to sleep. We had our first "real" snow last night, but less than an inch of accumulation so far.

Even though we are renting, we have permission to till a garden and I plan to do so. We have less than half the potential gardening space on this in-town lot than we had in Maine. But still I should be able to grow several hundred zinnias outside next Spring.

Since space is limited, I plan to emphasize planting F1 hybrids this coming year. I had several good specimens this year that got a lot of cross pollination, so I should have some interesting F1 hybrid seeds to grow. This picture is an example of a Burpee's Hybrid zinnia that had very little pollen and so was a female recipient of various selected Whirligig types.

Its yellow color should allow the expression of a variety of bicolor blends. I don't know whether the darkened petal tips were cause by a bacterial infection or by a foliar spray that was a bit too strong. This was a late season bloom. More later.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

ZM,

I like your new name, as well as the photo you have posted of the yellow flower. It will be interesting to see how the offspring will look! I look forward to seeing everyone's photos next summer.

We now have about one inch of snow in Indiana, and it's very cold!...time to start getting spring catalogs....

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

JG,

Glad you approve the name. That yellow zinnia photo looked kind of "dirty", partly because it was underexposed and apparently had some noise that got magnified in my attempt to sharpen the photo. Sometime this spring I plan to buy a digital SLR camera of my own, probably a Nikon. Since the digital camera makers seem to be on a six-month cycle of new introductions, I expect that a new model will come out in that time frame. The Nikon D90 was a new introduction in this last "cycle". Photography is also a hobby and I enjoy photographing in a garden environment.

We have a "snow event" predicted for tomorrow, along with strong north winds. I requested several seed catalogs, but haven't received any yet. I always enjoy getting new seed catalogs when the weather is cold outside.

We moved several fluorescent fixtures here to Kansas, but we didn't attempt to move any fluorescent bulbs, because we didn't want to risk the mess of broken fluorescents in the move. In the next day or two I plan to shop Home Depot for some cool white bulbs, with the idea of setting up a plant stand. I would like to germinate a few of my new zinnia hybrids, and see what they look like indoors. And that will let me practice improving my indoor growing techniques.

More later,

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

JG,

We both had at least one zinnia this year that had "wavy" leaf edges and, as I recall, we both used our wavy specimen as a "breeder". I went through my picture files, and pulled up this picture of my yellow wavy specimen.

On closer inspection, it appears that the "wavy" gene(s) may also partially affect the petal form. I consider that a good thing. In past years, I have had several wavy specimens and I didn't pay any particular attention to them. I had the impression the trait was fairly common and I was quite surprised that I had only one wavy specimen this last year because, with my expanded garden and close-spaced plantout, I had maybe two or three thousand zinnias last summer, most of which hit the compost pile at first bloom. With more limited space now I will follow a somewhat less destructive strategy.

Anyway, I plan to start a few seeds from the wavy specimen indoors this Winter. If any one of those plants looks wavy and good, I may take a few cuttings from it so that this Spring I will have several wavy plants to transplant outdoors.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

ZM,

It will be interesting to see how the offspring look from your wavy-leafed zinnia. Did you self it, or cross it with another plant? The flower is a nice example. My wavy-leafed zinnia had similar leaves to yours, but the yellow flowers were unremarkable-typical Benarys. The picture below shows the leaves. Here, the first flower was just starting to open, but there was little depth of field in the photo, so the image of the flower is not well resolved. I selfed flowers of this plant, and got a good number of seeds.

I was surfing the internet a little today, and was looking for new zinnias offered by the seed companies. I noticed Burpeeanas are being offered by Burpee, and Park is offering Persian Carpets, on sale, as well as Park 'Candy Mix,' a pastel mix that has scabious -type flowers.

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

JG,

"Did you self it, or cross it with another plant?"

It didn't have a lot of pollen, but I used as much as it produced to self it. When it didn't produce pollen I used pollen from other choice Burpeeanas and bicolors. I did keep a net on it to exclude bees.

Thanks for the tip on the new offering of Candy Mix zinnias from Park. I hadn't seen that and I will get some. The Zinnia 'Magellan Persian Carpet Mix' seems to be just a re-mix of a few Magellan colors, and the use of the term "Persian Carpet" is potentially confusing. I raised a few Magellans last year, but their low plant height makes them more susceptible to rain splashing soil up on the leaves, with consequent foliage problems. I like the idea of lower zinnia plants, but not that low. I raised some Zinnitas and they had an even worse time with soil splash with their 8-inch plants. I am a big fan of the taller, branchier plants of the scabiosa flowered types.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

ZM,

Actually the Persian Carpets offered by Park that I was referring to are the ones decribed in the link shown below. I hadn't noticed the Magellan Persian Carpet Mix. The shorter zinnias that I recall ever growing are the Swizzles and the Peter Pans, along with the assorted zinnias of other species. I still prefer the taller zinnias, but I really like some of the floral color patterns as seen in the haageana species and the Swizzles.

ZM, you had quite a indoor garden going last year! I guess you will be starting from scratch after the move, but I look forward to seeing your next crop of indoor plants as I'm sure, do the rest of the readers of this thread..You've gotten some really nice flowers from your breeding program.

JG

Here is a link that might be useful: Mexican Zinnia Persian Carpet Mix


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

JG,

That is a good price on the Persian Carpets. I am troubled that the picture doesn't show the variety of colors that I usually get from a Persian Carpet mix. But I do have some Persian Carpet seed on hand, and will use them this year. I do plan to try to cross Persian Carpets with Z. violacea this year, and I will be very interested in whether any of your Persian Carpet crosses from this year were successful.

"...you had quite a indoor garden going last year! I guess you will be starting from scratch after the move, ..."

Last year I did have quite an indoor garden. I had four complete plant stands in service. Two in our breezeway and two in my multipurpose back room. It was very convenient to cross pollinate zinnias that were growing right next to my corner computer shelves, and I got some good results from that.

Indeed, I am starting from a scratch now, but I have an "approved" space for one 2-foot by 4-foot by 6-foot plant stand, with the possibility of at least another like it. We managed to move all but one of my chrome wire shelves (the movers just "missed" one in a box in our garage) so I will be assembling a plant stand in the next few days. I will need to purchase fluorescent bulbs for my plant stand (we didn't attempt to move any breakable fluorescent bulbs) and I need to find a good local garden center that has Premier Pro Mix BX (or an equivalent). Soon I will be washing plant trays and pots.

I am already having fun just making plans for my indoor zinnia growing. I will be using Plant Growth Regulators to keep the plants from getting too tall.

I made sure to get here with my PGRs by bringing them in the car rather than depend on the movers. The PGRs were rather expensive because they don't sell them in retail quantities, at least not anywhere I could find. I had no choice but to buy them as if I were a commercial greenhouse grower.

So the quantities I now have should last for several years of liberal hobby use, if they retain their potency that long. I plan to have three shelves on each of my plant stands, not counting the top shelf, so that means that, allowing for the space used by the fluorescent lights themselves, I need to keep the zinnia plants below 18 inches in height. If a zinnia starts to get taller than that, despite the use of growth regulators, I will take cuttings from it to reduce its height or discard it altogether if it doesn't merit cutting culture. But I did learn quite a bit about using plant growth regulators on my zinnia seedlings last year, by trial and error.

So, as they say at the auto race track, "Gentlemen, start your engines." I don't know what the gardening equivalent of that is.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

MM,

I'll enjoy, with the rest of the readers here, to hear about the progress of your indoor plants and the results of some of your crosses from this past summer!!

I ended up not having (at least yet!) any indoor zinnias, but I thought I'd post some photos of the creatures I spotted in my patch summer 2008.

First, the butterflies..swallowtails and a monarch, and..an admiral (not sure!)......

Then, several mantises..they change color, like chameleons...

Charlotte, the Zinnia Garden Spider and a busy bumblebee..

And, last but not least, a Japanese beetle!

JG


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

MM --> ZM (Zen Man!)..still getting used to the change

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

JG,

Thanks for sharing those pictures. That's a good layout. I didn't really try to get any butterfly pictures last Summer and now I regret that I didn't. It takes some effort and you can't really "pose" a butterfly because they flit around so frequently. Hummingbirds are even harder to photograph.

But, in keeping with my new "Zen" persona, I will be more patient this coming year and take the time and effort to capture some good photos of both flora and fauna. And, I hope to have my very own digital camera rather than the borrowed Kodak, so I should be more motivated photographically.

"Then, several mantises..they change color, like chameleons..."

I have seen a variety of mantises, but I have never seen one actually change color. Not to say that they can't, but I kind of question it. The two in your pictures seem to be two different species, because of differences in body details.

Your garden spider is a splendid specimen. I just love those things. Sadly, I never saw one in Maine. I hope we will have them here in Kansas.

I don't know how many megapixels your digital camera has, but if it has quite a few, you would have enough pixels of each insect to be able to crop the pictures for a closer view and still have enough pixels of the insect or spider to be able to produce a fairly large "portrait" of it. I assume the pictures you posted above were "downsampled" in order to produce a compact gallery. So, if you had some software like Adobe Photoshop Elements (or the "full" Photoshop) you could produce some enlarged views of the insects and spiders without even having a closeup lens.

I am going back through my photo files from last Summer and finding a few of interest that I overlooked. This is one of my scabiosa hybrids that isn't too bad. I think I saved seeds from it and even crossed it with some other scabi hybrids and other zinnias. So it should be in my gene pool. But with the vagaries of recombination, it isn't certain whether this exact form will appear again. But it could reappear even better. I am hoping for some really big disk florets in the future.

I have planted a few seeds of scabiosa hybrids in my newly assembled plant stand, but none of my newly planted zinnia seeds have emerged yet. I will be planting another tray today, and I plan to include at least one group of 8 seeds in the "scabi" category. I have been planting the seeds in groups of eight (one seed per 2" square pot) in order to get a wider diversity in my limited indoor growing space.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

ZM,

The scabiosa flower is attractive to me not only because of the large florets in the center but also because of the contrasting, almost clashing, colors. I am, for one, a fan of bright colors! I've grown scabious zinnias for a number of years now, but wasn't so interested in them until I saw what pretty flowers you were able to get from your crosses. The varying forms of those flowers is really nice, and there is a wide range of colors, too.

Probably comparing the change of the colors of a mantis to a chameleon was a poor description. Actually, my understanding is that the mantis goes through a series of moults; in moist conditions, the emerging insect is green. In dry conditions, the insect turns brown as it grows larger. But, then, I'm not sure if my two photos show insects of the same species!

I have several digital cameras; I believe the one that takes the best pictures is the 5.0 megapixel DSC F717 Sony. I also have a Canon 7.1 megapixel ELPH, that I always carry with me. I do enlarge pictures with Photoshop and other software that I have. Often the butterfles are not in such good resolution as when viewed in a smaller picture, because, as you mentioned, they don't pose well!..although, I've noticed the swallowtails are a lot less wary than the monarchs are of someone standing in the garden with a camera. Here are a couple of photos of swallowtails, enlarged..

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Garden Spiders

ZM,

One thing about garden spiders that I've always noticed...when you get very close to them with a camera, they usually don't run away, but start bouncing back and forth (while clinging onto) their web as if it were a trampoline! At first it frightened me (probably truly is an evolved scare tactic), but after awhile, I saw that that was all they do, so I just wait for them to settle down....

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

JG,

Wow! Impressive butterfly enlargments. Glad you have Photoshop. I've used it for years, although Elements has a lot of the same capability but for much less.

That is an interesting observation about the garden spiders. I'll have to check out that bouncing behavior the next time I see one. I guess the bouncing would make it hard to get a good picture, so a longer lens would be appropriate so as not to provoke the behavior.

"The scabiosa flower is attractive to me not only because of the large florets in the center but also because of the contrasting, almost clashing, colors."

Bigger florets are a passion of mine. This picture of a zinnia bud just opening gives you some of the visual effect that I think you would get with larger florets.

And, beyond this, really large florets could look like a cluster of morning-glory-like flowers. I hope to see some bigger florets in 2009. Fingers crossed.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

ZM,

The form of that flower as it unfolds is different, but reminiscent of the fused-petal flowers you showed earlier this year. Those florets remind me of exotic-looking calla lilies! The bi-color is interesting--yellow-chartreuse on the outside, hot pink inside..

I look outside now and we have a chilly, snowy yard that almost makes it hard to believe that there was once a nice patch of Benaries in one area--

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

JG,

A splendid memory of Benaries. Are those Envys over to the right?

We had a 2-degree night a couple of days ago, which raises a question in my mind as to what hardiness zone we are actually in here. I think that climate change may have altered the situation from what the classic zone maps show. But maybe not. We are in a cold spell here.

This is a picture of a classic Whirligig that appeared last Summer. It was a good female breeder.

I recall that you had a similar specimen, only the petals on yours had an interesting clockwise/counterclockwise alternation, which gave it an entirely new look. And it appeared to be a larger flower, as well. It must have been of hybrid origin.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

ZM,

That is a beautiful Whirligig, and I have to say that it is certainly not the most common type, considering all of the petals that it has! But it is a very nice example and a great selection for a breeder.

In the past, I have had some very pretty Whirligig examples, the best of which happened 2 years ago. But this past summer, the fullest ones I got were like the ones below. They, like the earlier ones, had to have a little cactus zinnia in them. They usually bear few or no seeds, unfortunately.

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

JG,

Those look unique enough to warrant intercrossing them to produce a strain. Although I have been repeatedly crossing Whirligigs and Zig Zags with cactus types, I haven't reaped the results of that and I haven't achieved anything like yours above. But, hope springs eternal, so maybe I will get something in a highly modified bicolor flower form in 2009. This is a picture of a quill-like tri-color from this year.

A lot of the Whirligigs like to have up-rolled petals (like in the picture above) rather than down-rolled colors. Of course, I prefer the down-rolled petals. There is lots of room for improvement in my zinnias. And that keeps me interested.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

ZM,

You keep coming up with new flowers! A plant full of flowers like the one you have just shown could be extremely desirable to a lot of folks...like me! The colors are rainbow-like in that one, I think.

This is a flower you seemed to have liked in the past, so I'll show it again...

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

JG,

"This is a flower you seemed to have liked in the past, so I'll show it again... "

Yes, when you first showed us that one, it kind of "knocked my socks off." I'm glad you like the tri-color. It appealed to me because its flower form is "open", in that the petals are spaced far enough apart that you can see "through" the flower. If the petals were down-rolled, I would like it better. Its up-rolled petals partially conceal its colors.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Merry Christmas and

To all who read this thread and who like to garden.....

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

JG,

That's a great holiday greeting! Very creative and ingenious. Allow me to echo your sentiments.

That tri-colored quilled flower is not extremely unusual, so I don't deserve breeder's credit for it. Those quilled flower forms show up reasonably frequently in Whirligig mixtures, so it was merely a selection from a commercial seed packet. This quilled Whirligig also came directly from a seed packet.

I think they look rather good, but I have been slow to use them as breeders because I don't want the up-rolled petals to become common in my gene pool. But they do look fairly good in groups.

I am hoping to get the same sort of flower, but down-rolled. That's not to say that the up-rolled petals don't have their advantages. For one thing, up-rolled petals make it harder for aphids to hide in them. Down-rolled petals form little "shelters" for aphids. Maybe I will start an up-rolled quilled strain next year after all.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

ZM,

Happy New Year to you and all others who read this thread!

I really don't think the up-rolled petals are so bad--the flowers are interesting. I guess one disadvantage would be that if you had a rainy season, water might collect there, although I'd think the wind and other sources of movement would fix that.

I just placed some orders from seed catalogs I've received thus far. I'll mention some of the things I have seen and/or ordered today. First, Park Seed has a sale going on, so I was able to get Bright Jewels cactus (#4968)(.95 each packet) and scabious mix seeds (#2209) ($1.50 each packet). I also got the Candy Mix scabious seeds (#51989) at $1.75 each pkt., not on sale. I'm hoping that this new introduction Candy Mix may have a higher percentage of true scabious flowers than the original scabious mix. I'll report on that this coming summer. Incidentally, Persian Carpets (#2188) were on sale at $0.75 a pkt.

Burpee offers a zinnia I haven't grown before--Esquisite (#34285A) at $3.75 a pkt. These start out as a red flower and fade to rose as they age. I also got the heirloom Cactus Flowered Mix (#37614A0 @ $2.75) and Tequila Lime (#40295A @ $2.95).

The Scabious Mixed (#1789 at $2.95) offered by T & M are out of stock.

Territorial Seed Company is selling cactus zinnias called Art Deco Mix (FL3494 @ $4.85/4 g). I also purchased a quantity of orange cactus zinnias called Inca (# FL3487 @ $5.55/4 g).

Pinetree Gardens has a Benary-type zinnia called Enchantress (#69906 @ $1.10) that is rose, with a darker rose-colored center.

I purchased Benary zinnias, cactus zinnias, and whirligigs from a number of sources. I thought the Whirlygigs I got from Rich Farm Gardens last year were interesting, so I got more this year (#4034 @ $2.50). From Stokes, I ordered Lemon Delight, a Zinnia melampodium that I haven't tried before--simple and daisy-like, but new to me, (#1474B @ $2.15).

This year I also ordered Cactus Mix Improved (#2800s @ $10.75/ 1 oz) from HPS Seeds. I liked what I got from these seeds this past summer.

I ordered the Queen Lime Red zinnia seeds from Johnny's as mentioned before.

Well, I should be receiving a lot of seeds (not all itemized here by a long shot) in the near future, and I can start dreaming of how my plots will be set up summer 2009! Would like to hear what you have ordered/are thinking of growing!

JG



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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

JG,

Happy New Year to you and all of you who are reading this! I trust you all enjoyed the holidays.

JG, you have reminded me that I want to place some seed orders as well. I have started a few flats of breeder seed under fluorescent lights. One flat is already in need of plant growth regulator, and I plan to mix up a batch and apply it tomorrow. This is a picture of a yellow Burpeeana that bloomed last Fall.

Hopefully that little fly was some kind of beneficial fly. As I recall, this Burpeeana didn't produce any pollen at all. I bagged it and you can see the net where I "parked" it in the background to expose the bloom for the picture. I used lots of bicolor and tricolor pollen on it. I hope to get some good F1 hybrids in the seed I saved from it. More later.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

ZM,

That is a beautiful flower. I look forward to seeing how the offspring will appear. The color is a nice shade of yellow! I think the appearance of an insect, if it's there when you snap the photo, adds some interest.

Below is the patch of Swizzles I had in my garden last summer. I don't like their height, but I am hoping I see a little of their color pattern in some of the crosses I made. I assume they are hybrids, and I also want to see what some of the selfed offspring look like.

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

JG,

That picture of Swizzles reminds me of how effective a mass of blooms can be, as opposed to just a single bloom. I think Swizzles are an F1 hybrid, so variability can be expected in both saved seeds and in crosses between them and other zinnias. But variability can add new characteristics and interesting surprises. I have a few Swizzle seeds, and you have inspired me to plant some of them now for my indoor zinnia project.

This specimen is a Zig Zag breeder that I crossed several things onto this last season. It had an unusual rich "old gold" yellow that overlapped the magenta base to produce a third burnt orange intermediate color.

I planted a sample of 8 seeds from it yesterday. I am mostly limiting each sample size to 8 seeds to insure a wider representation of plants in my limited indoor growing space. I plant one seed in each 2-inch square pot and repot the plants at about the second or third true-leaf stage into 3-inch square pots. It sounds a little counter intuitive, but the 3-inch square pots are considerably larger than the 2-inch pots. That is partly due to the naming of the pots. The 2-inch pots are closer to 2" and the 3-inch pots are closer to 3".

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

ZM,

This will be an interesting summer when we check out our crosses. I know we will gain some helpful insight on inherited characteristics. I bred some of my whirligigs/zigzags this summer, too. Here is one of my breeders, (not having so much orange as yours in the last post):

It sounds like your indoor garden is well underway. How big are your largest seedlings now?

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

JG,

That looks like a good tricolor breeder. I haven't had one exactly like it, although I have had several with similar color patterns. I like the longer, looser spaced petals of yours as compared with my specimen above.

"It sounds like your indoor garden is well underway. How big are your largest seedlings now?"

I took this snapshot a few minutes ago.

I have one or two with the beginnings of their fifth true leaves and one has a tiny bud barely visible between the fifth pair of leaves. I have already applied TopFlor plant growth regulator to three of my trays, and I plan to mix up a new batch of TopFlor tomorrow (technically, today.) I also have four trays of newly planted seeds, with the first few beginning to emerge now. I typically average less than 50% germination with my seeds. I plan to repot a few of my larger plants in 5-inch square pots tomorrow as well. I also plan to continue to use plant growth regulators fairly aggressively, but I have several 10-inch square pots in case I need to go that large.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

ZM,

Your plants look so perfect--green and healthy! I'm sure not many people are so successful with the indoor growing of zinnias. Those plants look they will definitely bloom within the next month. You may have mentioned this before, but how do you control/inhibit fungal growth?

I got out some of my whirligig pictures from this past summer to show. There is some interesting variation within the group.

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

JG,

Wow! That is an impressive gallery of bicolors and tricolors. That first one is such a bright combination that it almost hurts my eyes. You have a lot of singles, and that is fairly typical of some strains of Whirligigs, like those from Park's and Territorial. The singles do have a daisy-like appearance, and could be very useful as landscaping plants. However, I much prefer the doubles or semi-doubles, and usually pull out the singles at first bloom. But that is purely a matter of personal preference. You have color combinations that I haven't had yet.

"Your plants look so perfect--green and healthy! ... You may have mentioned this before, but how do you control/inhibit fungal growth?"

In my experience, young zinnias have a lot of natural resistance to foliage diseases. However, I have included a little Physan 20 in the water of my present crop (about one half teaspoon per gallon), as "insurance" because I am using a growing medium (Fafard's 52 Mix) that I am unfamiliar with.

So far I have been unable to find any of the Premier ProMix BX around here that I used in Maine. The Fafard product is used by a local nursery and seems to be OK, despite its content of pieces of wood and tree bark and not a lot of peat moss or Perlite. I have added some extra Perlite to it, although it seems to drain quite well without extra Perlite.

I have been using it to repot some of my zinnias in 5-inch pots, and the Fafard product seems to be quite practical for that purpose.

My borrowed camera's lens seems to have a noticeable amount of barrel distortion. I need to learn to correct that in software. Those shelves aren't really bent.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

I'm enjoying sitting back and soaking in all you are sharing of summer past and summer to come. I can barely focus after looking at Jackier's gallery. #14 is exhilarating!!
ZM's indoor flowers look very pristine. It looks as though you're settled in and ready to make your mark on Kansas. Any threesies yet?
I bought my first zinnia seed yesterday, Burpee's 'Pinwheel mix'. I'm thinking that's Z. angustifolia. I'll purchase more, but I want to dedicate most of my space to growing seed I've saved. Good luck everyone!!! and thanks for sharing.


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

zenman, are those normal fluorescent lights or a special grow light?


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

HC,

"I bought my first zinnia seed yesterday, Burpee's 'Pinwheel mix'. I'm thinking that's Z. angustifolia."

Burpee's Pinwheels were the first of the new species named Z. marylandica, followed by the Profusions from Sakata, and the new Zaharas from Ball. They were produced by crossing Z. violacea (24 chromosomes) with Z. angustifolia (22 chromosomes) to produce a sterile hybrid with 23 chromosomes. Those were made into a fertile new species by doubling their chromosome number to 46, using colchicine or some other technique. I doubt that Marylandicas would cross successfully with Violaceas, at least not to yield fertile offspring. But there is a possibility that crosses within Z. marylandica could be successful, since they would all have 46 chromosomes.

"Any threesies yet?"

A couple. But neither of them had a threesie mother. I have several seedlings from 3Z mothers, but none of them inherited the trait. But I will continue to treat threesies as breeders in an attempt to get a strain. However, my results to date are not encouraging, in that no threesie have produced threesie offspring for me. It appears doubtful that the trait has a simple genetic origin. But hope springs eternal.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

Token,

"...are those normal fluorescent lights or a special grow light?"

They are normal fluorescent lights. I use inexpensive (about $8) 48-inch 2-bulb T8/T12 commercial shop lights from Home Depot. I use Philips T8 6500 K bulbs, also from Home Depot, purchased in boxes of 10. In the past I have used less expensive 4100 K bulbs, but I like the whiter white of the 6500 K bulbs. I overdrive some of my fixtures for brighter light, although I have at times raised zinnias from seed to seed under non-overdriven fixtures.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

Thanks zenman. I'm wanting to get a jump start on growing some zinnias this year and I already have a light setup with shop lights. Glad to know it will work. I might have to play in some dirt tomorrow. :)


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

ZM, Thanks for the update. I'm already disappointed because I thought I had found Z. angustifolia at a good price. I saved some 'Profusion' seed from last year, so I'll try crossing the 'Pinwheels' with the F2 'Profusions'. Maybe there will be some variation in the F2's. (Has anyone already grown out F2's of 'Profusion' and can share their results?)

Good luck with your 3Z's! Another 2008 project of yours that captivated me was the wavy-edged leaves. Will you go forward with that?

Jackier had sooo many fanciful colors last year that I feel sure you will keep us delighted this year with striking photos. I sure hope so.

Good luck to all the newcomers to this thread as well.


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

Hello!

ZM, thanks for refreshing me on the fungicide. I have started a notebook including all my records of crosses, literature, as well as the technical information you have shared with us. I had put it away as the Christmas decorations were out; now I have retrieved it and recall that Worm's Way was a source of Physan 20 in our area. In a month or so, I may start some plants from seed, but just with regular seeds, not my crosses (which will be started in the garden). Regarding the Whirligigs--I also like fuller flowers, and am hoping the color traits of my daisy-like flowers will be passed on to multi-petalled flowers through last summer's crosses. I have ordered ZigZags from Veseys and now have several packs I look forward to planting in the spring, as well as whirligig-types from other sources. Postal rates for shipping seed is a killer more than ever-especially if you want to purchase just one kind of seed from one place! It's just that I don't like spending the same amount on postage as I do on seeds!

HC, I'm glad to see you back! I grew Profusions last year for the first time, in my micro-garden as well as in pots on my patio. I collected seed from these flowers, so I'll let you know what the plants from them are like this year. They do make a nice addition to the patio, I found, although I probably didn't have as much sun as they may have liked. And, as long as I have flowers, I will share pictures!

Token, I'm hoping you will share the results of your indoor zinnia garden. Welcome to the thread!

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

I'm forcing myself to wait one more week. I have some shasta and rudbeckia that I started this fall and just transplanted into individual cups. When they go out to the hoop house, I'll put the zinnias on bottom heat and see what I can get to pop up.


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

HC,

"I saved some 'Profusion' seed from last year, so I'll try crossing the 'Pinwheels' with the F2 'Profusions'. Maybe there will be some variation in the F2's. (Has anyone already grown out F2's of 'Profusion' and can share their results?)"

Actually, the Profusions, Pinwheels, and Zaharas are all open pollinated, so they all will come true from seed. In other words, they were F1s only before their chromosomes were doubled. It is a common misperception that Profusions are F1 hybrids. And no wonder that misperception is common. Seed companies label them as F1 hybrids. The seed companies are wrong. After the chromosome doubling, the Z. violacea x Z. angustifolia F1 crosses were no longer heterozygous. The seeds you saved from your Profusions weren't F2s and aren't subject to recombinant variation.

I think it should be a good zinnia adventure to intercross the various cultivars of Z. marylandica. As far as I know, no one has offered any F1 hybrids in this group of Z. marylandicas. So you would be "breaking some new ground." That 46-chromosome crowd (Profusions, Pinwheels, and Zaharas) might have some surprises for all of us.

"Another 2008 project of yours that captivated me was the wavy-edged leaves. Will you go forward with that?"

Definitely. I like that effect a lot and plan to treat my wavy-edged specimens as breeders, with the objective of creating a purely wavy strain of zinnias.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

Good morning!

I have noticed that this year, double-flowered Profusions are being offered by some companies, including J.W. Jung and Stokes. Pictures of these can be found in the Jung catalog.

Here is a picture of the Profusions I had on my patio in the late fall (October). I think there would have been many more flowers if the area would have had more sun.

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

Like Jackier, I pulled out my notes from last year and sure enough, I had made note that 'Pinwheels' are Z. marylandica. I added 'Zahara' to my notes.

I keep hoping that someone with Z. peruviana seed will attempt a cross with Z. haageana 'Aztec Sunset'. That is a project I would be passionate about. I feel sure there is a high probability of success. Anyone offering Peruvian seed this year?

Thanks ZM, for explaining about the 'Profusions' and 'Pinwheels'. I didn't realize that was part of the deal. bummer


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

HC,

"Anyone offering Peruvian seed this year?"

Zinnia tenuiflora is apparently a synonym for Z. peruviana with the common name of "Red Spider" and it is offered in Parks catalog, among others. The picture in the seed catalog does not look much like the roadside weed in Argentina. The pictures of Zinnia Peruviana are somewhat variable. Apparently Southern Exposure has both red and yellow Z. peruviana cultivars.

"I keep hoping that someone with Z. peruviana seed will attempt a cross with Z. haageana 'Aztec Sunset'."

It certainly seems worth a try. There are also possibilities for attempting to cross it with Z. violacea.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

ZM and HC,

I found Zinnia tenuifolia (Red Spider) and Zinnia peruviana to be quite different having grown both in summer of 2008.

Here is an example of Zinnia tenuifolia:

Here is Zinnia peruviana:

Both flowers are about one inch in diameter. I had ordered both yellow and red Zinnia peruviana for last summer, but I only saw the red form flower in the garden. I believe I ordered Peruvian zinnia seed from Select Seeds, but I have to check that as I don't see that type listed in this year's catalog.

JG


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

JG and ZM, Y'all are some fabulous zinnia buddies! I can't say how much I appreciate the dedication to the species.

My 'Red Spider' of 2008 matched the one in Jackier's photo except mine's flowers were consistently 13 petaled. I attempted to move some Z. violacea pollen onto the Z. tenuifolia, but their anatomies seemed so different, I couldn't really imagine any success. The Peruvian in Jackier's photo looks anatomically similar enough to Z. haageana for me to imagine success. My idea to set up that cross came from the fact that Z. peruviana, Z. haageana, and Z. violacea comprise one zinnia subgenus.

Thanks for the link to Southern Exposure. I can't say that I've ever been in a website so difficult to navigate (flowers not being alphabetized and ordering a catalogue a circular process leading nowhere). Still, I intend to order some of the Peruvians. One thing I didn't understand is that the number of seeds in 1/2 gram is very different for the red and the yellow. I would think that if the only difference were color, the number of seed per unit should be almost the same.


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

JG,

Wow! Thanks for establishing that Z. peruviana and Z. tenuifolia are different species. I guess we can't rely too much on what B & T World Seeds says about zinnias. I intend to get seeds of both Peruviana and Tenuifolia and try to intercross them with each other and other zinnia species.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

Hi all,

As an update, I did order a packet of both Z. peruviana and Z. tenuifolia from the Jefferson Monticello Yahoo Store. I think their Z. pauciflora are probably just another name for Z. tenuifolia or vice versa.

There is some question in my mind whether their picture of Z. peruviana is accurate, because it does not "agree" with their description, which itself is a little inconsistent. If the picture is correct, then Peruviana can come in three colors: red, yellow, and white.

I have never ordered from Monticello before, so I will be curious as to how well they fill my order. I think that in order to get a "second source" of these seeds I will order yellow and red Peruviana from Southern Exposure.

I hope to attempt several interspecies hybrids in the relative convenience of my indoor garden near my computer setup.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

Speaking of my indoor garden, this picture was snapped only minutes ago:

Every time I do this I am reminded that I need some software to straighten out the barrel distortion of the lens of that borrowed Point-and-Shoot camera. As you can see, those budding zinnias are starting to bloom now. I have a second and third planting coming on to replace the rejects from this initial crop. Those plants that are now beginning to bloom were planted on the 12th and 13th of December, so the time-to-bloom was just over 5 weeks. Not too shabby. And the Topflor plant growth regulator has successfully kept these full-sized zinnias down to about the height of the Magellans. There are a few details to be perfected, but this indoor gardening project is exceeding my expectations.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

I wonder if this thread is getting too long. It took 48 minutes for the most recent photo to display. Everything else was up in about 90 seconds.


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

HC,

It may be that this thread is getting too long, although we haven't hit the 100-message point yet. But there a lot of pictures here. I might add that all of the pictures are most welcome.

However, I can't imagine why that last picture took 48 minutes for you to download, because it is only 355,336 bytes in size. That would be an amazingly slow 124 bytes per second. There was probably something wrong with that connection. However, I agree with you that this Part 8 has become rather long and unwieldy.

So, we are continuing this message thread over on It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 9. See you all over there.

ZM


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RE: It can be fun to breed your own zinnias - Part 8

I now know it was the connection. On my mom's computer, everything was visible within one minute. Still, thanks for starting a new thread.


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