The Q&A Archives: hybridizing

Question: I am interested in hybridizing, but I don't really know how to. I also was wondering how to collect the seeds from them afterwards. Thanks

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.

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 your seeds and see what develops from your cross-pollination.

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