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flower colors

Posted by kitteh 6 ohio (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 24, 13 at 17:24

If I buy the typical mixed colors of annual flowers, can I save seed and expect it to be the color of the parent? Or do I need to breed them with another of that color, or check if they self-pollinate and if so just leave them alone / bag them ?

I know it would vary for the type of flower but there are a few that I may want to divide or keep a separate little batch of certain colors. The one I am most interested in is the black peony poppy if I get any.

(do seed companies let them all just interbreed or do they breed for color then mix it in the packets?)

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: flower colors

No seed companies do not do openpollinated flowers unless they advertize it as such and there are very few that they do.

A hybrid is bred to have certain characteristics and leaving them to the whims of mother nature would negate that.

Seed companies hand pollinate their plants. They take a bud that is not open and remove some petals. Them they take another bud and remove all the petals so the stamen is exposed. They rub the stamen over the pistols of the first flower and put a mesh bag over that flower head so nothing else can pollinate it. Then they wait for the seeds to ripen. The mesh bags are gathered and the seeds packaged. If it is a mixed seed a few seeds from each mesh bag are put in 1 package.

Now that is the gist of it but I imagine they have labor saving devices to do most of the work.

Leaving hybrid plants to be pollinated by whatever comes along will result in seeds that can be any mix of the generations that came before. The chances of getting exactly the same plants that you took the seed from is slim to none.

RE: flower colors

Good info above. The majority of annuals are hybrids so saving seed from them is a waste of time. If you want to have the same flowers with the same colors the following year you will have to buy new seeds bred under very controlled conditions as described above.

There are some exceptions in mixed seed packets in that a few of them may be open pollinated varieties (aka non-hybrids) but you'd have to sort out which is which then isolate them, hand pollinate, and bag the blooms For example: Black Peony Poppy is sold in both a hybrid and an open-pollinated form with slightly different colors. So it would depend on which seeds you got.

Otherwise even if you tried to hand pollinate them yourself it would be almost impossible to control the pollination to such a degree that they would breed true.

I should add that some folks do save hybrid seeds and grow them out just to see what they get. They like the surprises. It all depends on if you have the time, the garden space, and are willing to accept the different results.


RE: flower colors

How do you know if its hybrids from the packets ? Most don't tell.

If they say 'heirloom' but come in mixed colors, are those ones open-pollinated? I don't mind pollinating them myself but I don't know yet which require what.

RE: flower colors

If they are all the same flower in the packet, just different colors and aren't marked as open-pollinated then the odds are 99% that they are all hybrids. Unfortunately some seed companies use the term 'heirloom' to label flowers that are hybrids just old flower varieties when it should only be used on open-pollinated varieties.

But to know for sure you have to look up each variety of flower. Seeds bought from reputable seeds companies will tell you if they are hybrids or heirlooms tho you may have to go to their website to get the info.

If the packets are mixed varieties of flowers then you have to look up each flower in the packet to find out and then sort out the seeds.

If open-pollinated flowers of only certain colors are what you want then you need to be buying individual packets of those so you can save seeds, not mixed packets of unknowns.

So what kind of flowers are we talking about anyway?


RE: flower colors

Mostly I want to know in case I save seed for trades, I typically buy mixed packets because I like a little of everything. I don't need 100 black poppies, but I may like to keep them in their own area in future or trade just blacks for example if I save the seeds.

Or I'm not sure what to label seeds if I just decide to harvest them, open-pollinated or pollinated by myself. I guess a good example would be a few types of petunia I bought and would like to keep seeds from since they're not that easy to find around here - black crystal ones and striped ones - if I breed them to each other would I get those colors in my seeds ?

Most of the books I've read don't mention if they're hybrid other than veggies.

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