SUGARWATER A NEW APPROACH TO HYBRIDIZING

caliloo(z6/7)January 1, 2013

SUGARWATER A NEW APPROACH TO HYBRIDIZING

I began using sugar water crosses in late October of 2000. I had a mutant Dorothy Benedict seedling which was a fall bloomer. I began crossing Tardiflora and rupifraga to the mutant DB. Cold weather moved in and I was having trouble covering the scapes. A hybridizer friend, Jesses Willetts, suggested cutting the scapes and placing them in sugarwater and continuing the crosses indoors. I use his formula: 4 ounces of water / 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar.

I was amazed that the crosses took and the flowers formed seed pods. I left the scapes in the sugarwater for two months. I harvested the pods and placed them in envelopes; the same way as I do when I harvest mature seed pods from outside. These are placed on a shelf above my hotwater tank in a darkened closet. I very seldom place upright flower scapes in bags, as many seed pods fail to open on their own. I let the seed pods dry for 2-4 months until I have time to clean them. All my seed is sown outdoors in early April. Weak seedlings do not survive- so its survival of the fittest (natural culling).

I had 34 seedlings from the 2000 cross of the mutant Dorothy Benedict (Dorothy Benedict x Rippling Waves) x rupifraga and Tardiflora. Most are greens with heavy substance, some with margins, and a few gold splashes.

In the fall of 2001, I used the sugarwater again making the same crosses as listed above. I also crossed the DB mutant with pachyscapa both directions. The pachyscapa cross yielded many greens and 2 golds. One of the golds is extremely shiny with heavy substance and surpasses the gold color of Prairie Fire.

I only made 2 sugarwater crosses in 2002 due to the failing health of my mother. William Lachman splash x Azure Snow yielded a margined seedling, and Azure Snow x Flower Power yielded 4 seedlings.

In 2003 I formulated a plan to make all my crosses in sugarwater for the whole year. The following crosses were made solely in sugarwater: NOTE: FP=frozen pollen. Splashed Leather x Angel Eyes FP; Grand Slam x Blue Angel FP; pachyscapa x Bold Ruffles FP; Golden Gate x Blue Angel FP; m. praeflorens x Millenium; Dorothy Benedict mutant x Millenium; Babbling Brook x Angel Eyes FP; Mikawa no Yuki x Bold Ruffles FP; Rhapsody in Blue x Angel Eyes FP; Splashed Leather (fasciated) x Angel Eyes FP (yielded 6 pods); Millenium x Rock and Roll; DB sdlg x Millenium. NOTE: the mutant DB began flowering in late June.

Through observation I discovered that crosses failed to take when inside temperatures were above 80F. After moving the jars to cooler rooms, the crosses began taking again. The flower scapes should not be in direct sun. Crosses can be accomplished at your leisure because of the absence of wind, insects, deep, and sunlight.

My crosses are always done using whole scapes for one cross. Through repetition I find characteristics that Im striving for.

Do not harvest all the scapes from a selected hosta outside. I found out...

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