I have many varieties of zinnias planted, and want to save some of the seeds. Question is will they match the parent i save them from, or will they cross. They are all planted close together, and i have made no effort to isolate them. Thanks in advance for your help.
There are two basic kinds of zinnia seeds, the petal seeds at base of the zinnia petals, and the floret seeds at the base of the pollen florets (the fuzzy yellow "starfish" looking things with 5 or 6 arms). The petal seeds have a chance of being cross pollinated by bees, but the floret seeds are mostly selfed by their own pollen. When I am sorting out zinnia seeds from the chaff, I usually drop the petal seeds in one cup and the floret seeds in a separate cup, and package them separately. Petal seeds have a fairly consistent look, but floret seeds occur in several different forms. Both kinds can yield nice zinnia plants. Commercial zinnia packets make no attempt to separate petal seeds from floret seeds, and contain both kinds mixed together.
"I will save some of the seeds, and see what I get."
I found that the fancy shapes and giant sizes were the first things to be blurred out of existence.
But if I saved seed heads from yellowish parents in one bag, dark red parents in another bag, and pink-pale-purple heads in another bag, the seeds TENDED to look more like their parents than like the grand avaerage.
I've4 also started pulling out the plants I DON'T like as early as I can ttlak myself into doing it, then deadheading aggressively, THEN starting to save flowerheads for seed, so that even the cross-polinated ones were "enriched" with the yellows I liked more.
But that only seems to produce a 'tendency" s far as I can tell. And I've only been doing it for one year (year before last). No zinnias were planted last Spring.
"... fancy shapes and giant sizes were the first things to be blurred out of existence."
"... the seeds TENDED to look more like their parents than like the grand average."
... on the other hand, I appreciate the miniaturized zinnias as much as the giants, or as a lead-in to the giants or to other interesting larger flower forms and/or multicolors. But, last year, a seed from a Lilliput produced two *shrubs* five feet tall and just as wide, covered with blooms all season -- one was single, and the other double.