The Q&A Archives: Plant Breeding

Question: How do you hybridize pansies? I've found a unique pansy plant I'd like to try breeding with but I have no idea how. (I've done a little hybridizing of roses so I am familiar with the basic idea)<br><br>How do you:<br>1. Prepare seed parent<br>2. Collect and store pollen<br>3. Pollinate<br>4. How long does it take seeds to ripen--does time of year make a difference<br>5. collecting and storing of seeds<br><br>

Answer: Breeding plants isn't a complicated issue, but it takes some familiarity with the male and female parts of a plant. You need to remove some parts so they won't interfere with your process.<br><br>Choose the flowers you want to pollinate and isolate them so wind or insects cannot access them. A paper bag over the buds just before the flowers open is a good technique to keep the flowers pure. If the plant to be pollinated has perfect flowers (both male and female parts), remove the pollen-laden anthers as soon as flowers open. Collect pollen from the desired male flowers by brushing the stamens with an artist's camelhair paint brush. Then apply the pollen-laden brush to the stigma of the female flower. Cover the blossoms with the bag again and tie it to prevent unwanted pollen from reaching the stigma. After a few days, remove the bag. When the petals fall and the seeds have matured, collect them. Let them dry and store them in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Next spring plant yourseeds and see what develops from your cross-pollination.

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