Digitalis interspecies - different gloves for different foxes

Göppingen, Germany(Zone 7b)

The digitalis project is still running, but I think there are some things to report in a structured style. First of all, the list of species I'm working with

Species Digitalis, that have flowered:
Digitalis purpurea: a white form, a pink form from a wild seed source, the Pam's split cultivar
Digitalis lutea flashing spires (variegated)
Digitalis grandiflora
Digitalis lanata
Digitalis feruginea
Digitalis parviflora
Digitalis micrantha
Digitalis obscura
Digitalis canariensis
Digitalis mariana

Digitalis I started but have not flowered yet due to age

Digitalis davisiana
Digitalis isabelliana
Digitalis viridiflora

Digitalis i can't bring to flower (yet?)

Digitalis sceptrum - hates my summer heat and my winter dark. Plants from Madeira are notoriuos to be difficult elsewhere.

Picture of grandiflora x lanata to set a thread picture. To follow hybrid portraits in single posts.

Thumbnail by pmmGarak
Göppingen, Germany(Zone 7b)

My first hybrid to flower was lutea x purpurea. To be honest, the two plants are weak. One of them inherited the variegation from flashing spires, flowered once, but didn't survive winter 17/18, which was like lyophilization in february and march. The other one survived, but didn't flower in 2018. for now it seems alive and strengthening, but you'll never know until winter is over. The flowers are a bit bigger than lutea and inherit traces of the purpurea spots and its rounded tips as well as the narrow lutea tube, but no sign of the often called hybrid vigor. Leaves are intermediate between parents - not as crumbled as purpurea but longer and thinner than that parent.

pictures 1-3 show the hybrid, 4 and 5 the parents

Thumbnail by pmmGarak Thumbnail by pmmGarak Thumbnail by pmmGarak Thumbnail by pmmGarak Thumbnail by pmmGarak
Göppingen, Germany(Zone 7b)

Grandiflora x lanata

This seems to be a willing combination, as I have several strong plants, flowering for 2 years now, always with a main flowering in June, and secondary later in the year. Perennial behaviour is obviosly inherited from Grandiflora. Plants seem to have inherited the best of the parents: Flower size is about 20% smaller than grandiflora, flowers are slightly more open and have a slightly longer lip than grandiflora but inherit a beautiful bronze tinge and the inner net pattern from Lanata, as well as the nearly 360° orientation of flowers (Grandiflora is facing all flowers within 90-120°). Everything about this is loveable, a very fine border plant for full sun and a beautiful cut flower.

1-3 show thy hybrid (three with grandiflora) 4 anf 5 the parents.

This message was edited Jan 2, 2019 8:33 AM

Thumbnail by pmmGarak Thumbnail by pmmGarak Thumbnail by pmmGarak Thumbnail by pmmGarak Thumbnail by pmmGarak
Göppingen, Germany(Zone 7b)

Grandiflora x micrantha

Micrantha is one of those lutea flower lookalikes (some say it's synonym of lutea ssp australis - well that one isn't even too close to lutea according to some studies), but is all in all a more robust and vigorous plant - which is inherited by this hybrid. Flowers are intermediate between grandiflora and macrantha, which helps with both size and a wider tube, in pale yellow. Leaves are almost as glossy as micrantha, but wider. I think this has thug potential, there's a fine line between vigorous and too vigorous....

1 and 2 show the hybrid, 3 and 4 the parents

Thumbnail by pmmGarak Thumbnail by pmmGarak Thumbnail by pmmGarak Thumbnail by pmmGarak
Göppingen, Germany(Zone 7b)

Lutea x ferruginea

A special combination: flowers are lutea size and shape (besides a slightly longer lower lip) but inherit the beautiful inner color from ferrugiena, and even add interest with a color fade as the flowers age. the 360° flower orientation is another fine bonus from ferruginea. Leaves are dark glossy green. very loveable, and i hope this will return perennial.

3x hybrid, 4 and 5 parents

Thumbnail by pmmGarak Thumbnail by pmmGarak Thumbnail by pmmGarak Thumbnail by pmmGarak Thumbnail by pmmGarak
Ottawa, KS(Zone 5b)

Hello Martin,

What a great way to start the New Year! I admire the scientific approach you have taken toward breeding Digitalis, and congratulate you on your many successes so far. The world would be a better place if there were more people like you. And this forum would be a more interesting place if there were more Hybridizers participants like you. And your "different gloves for different foxes" theme is entertaining and clever. Bravo!

And Namaste.


Göppingen, Germany(Zone 7b)

Hi Zen_man,

you can only call it scientific because you don't know my chaos in labeling ;-) Anyway, Digitalis is a both variable and spectacular genus, and even if i hadn't gotten any hybrids, I would have gained a lot just by learning the range of plants in it.

Ottawa, KS(Zone 5b)

Hi Martin,

Keep us informed of your progress. Chromosome numbers permitting, you might get some interesting recombinations by making crosses between your crosses.


(Zone 9b)

I love all your photos! What fun to create new hybrids. My favorite are the Lutea x ferruginea. I googled Lutea x ferruginea and up came this thread. LOL

Too bad your variegated was not strong enough. I am looking forward to seeing your ongoing efforts!

Göppingen, Germany(Zone 7b)

Hi Kell,

I'm not sure what you want to show - google personalizes search results based on your location and a few other factors. I've presented the first two hybrids already in my "global" hybridizing thread, which I think is too chaotic for talking about specific projects, that one is somewhat about the progress of getting into hybridizing at all.

Ottawa, KS(Zone 5b)

Hi Martin,

I'm sure that Kell, like me, is interested in pretty much anything that you are doing. I am currently involved in my indoor zinnia project, including cross-pollinating some of my favorites.


Göppingen, Germany(Zone 7b)

oh - that's how this was FOUND - I thought the google link was about another description of this cross. Silly me!

well, variegation always weakens a plant, maybe unless it's used to raise the sun tolerance. What's more of a surprise to me: one set of variegation genes were enough to show up in the cross. that may explain why the D lutea Flashing spires seed come with the instructions to pull non-variegated seedlings - i guess plants with variegation in both gene sets can't survive, so the selection can't be properly stabilized.

This message was edited Jan 3, 2019 5:59 PM

(Zone 9b)

LOL I should have been a bit more explanatory. This thread came up on that google search 3 down. Now it is not. Such is google.

I have followed Zen_Man hybrizing zinnias and will love to follow your efforts too.

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