I have found myself with a bit of a problem. I have been breeding some very unusual plants and I do not want to lose a single possible hybrid from my crosses until I get a chance to evaluate them. The problem I find is that I have really produced more than I ever expected in one season. I have at the moment one seed head with a estimated 10,000 to 12,500 seeds. I am currently cleaning the seeds and preparing them for planting. I am wondering what others have done is such predicaments as I am in. I have been preparing trays and putting 20 seeds to one cell out of my 122 cell trays. This may allow me to grow all of the hybrids out and it makes it much easier than having oceans of trays to work with but as the plants get larger it can be a bit of a problem separating them as well as problems with bugs and fungus at young stages. Anyone have suggestions?
12,500 seeds How would you deal?
Your small seeds will produce small seedlings at first, but they will grow and need to be re-potted in larger pots. By planting 20 seeds to one small cell, you will have to prick the individual seeds out of a very crowded growing condition, with probable damage to the roots of the tiny seedlings.
Your situation is quite a bit different from my zinnia breeding, but eventually we both have to deal with a lot of plants in separate pots. My zinnias have only 50 to 100 seeds per seedhead and the seeds are fairly large, so I plant them individually in 2½" pots, 32 pots per standard 11" x 22" tray. Zinnias grow fast, so I have to repot them to larger pots in only a few weeks. To keep them manageable indoors for a longer time, I treat them with plant growth regulators to keep their internode lengths rather short and make the plants shorter and bushier. For practical extended indoor culture, I need to keep my zinnia plants under 18 inches in height, even though they would grow to 30 inches or more if allowed to grow without regulation. I have experimented with both A-Rest and Topflor, and both seem to be very effective at controlling zinnia growth.
I begin starting canna seeds in the spring when it is beginning to get warm. I use store bought dirt and lose very few seedlings this way. I suspect some seeds are "duds" and will not sprout because they don`t have a baby plant inside. They will rot no matter what. I have cut some seeds open and saw what I thought was a infertile seed. Don`t feel like you are losing something if some don`t sprout or fail to thrive. It is natures way for the strongest and best to survive and as a gardener I want to find a balance of plants that are beautifuI and will thrive with good care.
This may not be practical for a larger operation but I plant seeds in (2 seeds to each 4 inch pot) on March 15. In our zone where we live I can let them stay out most of the time but watch the weather closely and bring them inside if it gets too cold a few days at a time. Then I plant them straight into the planting area out of the 4 inch pots after our last frost anytime after April 15 and get blooms in early August then they bloom until late November.
That would be 6000 something 4 inch pots. :)
This might be too much of a risk for your hybrids but I thought of experimenting by preparing a huge fenced in to keep critters out bed and planting the seeds in rows like corn after the last frost and letting nature run it`s course to see what would happen. I have seen canna seeds sprouting volunteer in some of my beds.
These seeds are small but grow into large plants possibly 4 to 8 feet tall with a 4 to 9 feet span. I am already begining to get worried about field trials for them. If they were more like canna seeds I would store them till spring but unfortunately these have to be planted as soon as they are removed from the flower head. I have 5 greenhouses but I am sure I will not have room for these even if they are in trays. My best luck may be putting a given number to each cell tray. I may put 10 to a single cell in a 122 cell tray. A few of the last trays may contain 20 per cell. This has been all I can think of to make enough room and make them manageable and also being able to see all the possible hybrids from the cross.
Wow, I thought you were talking about canna seeds. I just read again and see where you mentioned a single seed head with 10,000 seeds. I better guess again. :)
I saw a while back where you were sprouting elephant ear seeds. That looks like intensive work too.
Edited to add: Planting what you can safely bring to adulthood is the wisest thing to do. With my morning glory vines I know pretty much the possible variations and can get a very good chance of making a find in a grow out of 30 to 100 plants.
I`m guessing your plants have a wider possibility of gene combinations. The sky is the limit. The more the better.
This message was edited Dec 12, 2008 2:53 PM
Since we work with irises, we plant in boxes in Oct. not counting seeds as such but really don't do more than 30 per box. The boxes are placed in a trench, covered with a screen to guard against animals & put out for the winter to germinate in the spring. This a much smaller operation than you are dealing with, but we find it best to let nature weed out the weaklings.
If they was my seeds I would buy about 30 of the 288 seed trays. Ya don't have to worry abotu tangled roots. If one seed molds or has other problems it can abe pricked out easily and disposed of without infecting all the seeds in the same pot.
Doesn't tak ethat logn to transplant 288 cell trays either. you can bumb em up into 2" plug trays then or 3" . If you bump em up into 2" cells then they should hold til you can field plant in the spring.
Well these are tropical plant so unfortunatly I have to keep them on heated floors and humid. I did luck out and a friend had some 288 seed trays as well as some 512 seed trays. I figure I will fill up two of the 512 trays and put the rest in 288s maybe do one 122 tray. The problem will be that these will grow fast and need to be transplanted into something larger. I am hoping they can stay in the trays till March or April.
I will take some photos of this. Thanks
Bill. I wouldn't put them in the 51 trays I used them once and lost almost all my seedlings. they way too small and the roots grow ut the bottom and tangle and ya rip the tap troot stryign to get them back out.
There that one hort site, can't think of th ename of it off hand that pretty cheap for buyign just what trays and the size ya want an dshipping not bad either.
Brian, I`d love to see the pictures. Do you cull the baby plants or do you try to raise all of them? Just curious. I was thinking you must have a huge growing area for plants with a 4 to nine foot span. That is a 4' x 4' growing spot for each one. I don`t know how you do it. I think it is amazing. :)
I knew about the canna and also wouldn`t doubt for a second you have thousands of those seeds. I sure will not be much help to you but thanks for humoring me and letting me visit your thread and learn from you instead. :)
Now are those your ungodly gigantic elephant ear seeds?
Brian, You are getting veeery sleepy... You will tell us. You will tell us. You will tell us.
he he! (just kidding)
LOL... Karen.. I sure hope it works. I can't figure out what the seed is.
Come on, brain, you can whisper it here to us and we won't tell. : )
If it's EE's I have never seen the seeds from them before. Don't think I have ever seen one make a seed before come to think of it. Now ya go tme curious, do EE's make seed?
Oh look at the lovely canna seeds. I mainly just collect the canna species seed. I have all kinds of canna, but I never can manage to get viable seed from them. gets frustign sometimes, cuz they wil form pods and then they wil either abort on me or I open them up and they are mainly like air pods with a few dried up abort seeds inside.
Brian, You taught us a little about what you do here in 2006: It is your fault we are so curious and want to give you advice. :)
I will let you all know more once I get them growing and am positive about what they are.
As for canna seeds. I think when it comes to breeding to do what ever you think is right. It is good to learn and take notes from others or to see what others are doing. The tricky thing is to never listen to everything you hear. I have been told more times than most that some cannas are sterile and will never produce seed. Or that a such and such cross is impossible. I really hate it when someone tells me something is impossible, just hearing it makes me want to do it all the more.
Just between you and me I have been told that Canna Wyoming is sterile and will never produce seeds. The truth is I have 4 seeds from it this season that says other wise. The same goes for Canna bengal tiger I got 3 seeds off of it this season. I have also gotten seeds off of stuttgart and many others.
The truth is these plants either have a odd number of chromosomes or a high number of genes that make them very unlikely to produce seeds. Most people have tried to cross breed with them and probably have done 100 hybrid attempts with no luck at all. I have to say it usually is the 101 attempt that works. Being stubborn is usually a good thing in breeding being educated is helpful but don't let it keep you from trying something you may think is stupid or just impossible. Banana pollen on cannas may sound just dumb but how many people have actually tried it?
Amen, brother! Though I can't say a canna banana sounds very appetizing, it might look great in the yard. You'd have never accomplished the amazing things that you have and been such an inspiration to others if you'd listened to all the people who say, "No, you can't do that." Keep up the interesting work and keep talking about it.
LOl.. Thanks Karen ; ) I have red some of Brians threads, hiding on the wallpaper for some.
Now ya got me excited if that right. I just got me my real first plants from the tropical swap. Didn't know what I was buying, just got them to fill out the flats. I got Black Ruffles.
Brain.. Thanks. When spring comes, I will be out there trying again. I don't give up easily. Maybe one day I will get lucky. I love my Bengal Tiger. The one I especially working with and would love to get seeds on is Cleopatra. I hear that all the time. No way can this cross work because of this reason or that, but I still get out there doing all my weird dabbing and so called impossible crosses.
LOL.. Now ya gonna have me out there this summer. I have a giant Lotus Banana and it near the Cannas, so guess what I wil be adding to my weird impossible crosses. LOL
How long before your seeds germinate and ya can tell for sure what they are? Hope your goign to post pics of yoru new babies when they sprout.
All hybridizers hear 'you can't do that' so it is good to try'can't'. It happens in irises also.
You are so right IrisMa. They told me for years I could not breed this old southern noid short Iris with a TB. I have this ugly, I call it my dirty yellow Iris seedling and was able to get it to set pods one time. Lost em the first time around, because I didn't know at the time about embryo rescue, but figure if I could do it once wil try again and maybe can save the seed this time.
The dwarf irises crossed with TB = IB (intermediate). You can always try a different TB & get dirty, ugly whites. :)
I still squeeze all the seedpods when they are ready to harvest on my canna regardless of advertised fertility status because of your advice I found on the canna forum. I plant seeds I find regardless of sprouting ratios. After reading on here and seeing the possibilities in my own garden nothing stops me.
Now, I use the pollen and just put whatever I think is pretty together and just don`t tell anyone if I think they will think I`m a fruitcake. :)
This message was edited Dec 14, 2008 10:10 AM
I have to say some crosses are far fetched at least by standard breeding. I knew a guy who was convinced he could breed a Alocasia with a canna. I did not stop him I just told him it was a very long stretch. Now with other forms of gene manipulation something like that maybe possible but it's much different than conventional breeding. The fact he was trying it made me wonder how held back my own logic may have kept me from trying odd crosses. I have often found that in most plant groups you get these odd ball plants that are links between different genera or even families these plants can sometimes be stepping stones for breeding across genera's. I am still amazed of a old article I read on the breeding of a radish and cabbage this is a very distant cross. Here is the article on the web.