The Usefulness of Creating Pedigree Charts When Hybridizing

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Posted by @beckygardener on
Ever wonder how some daylily flowers developed the "look" they are sporting? Researching back into their genetic tree can be revealing! Creating a pedigree chart can be a very useful hybridizing tool.

I started out my journey into the world of daylilies with a few seeds that an ATP member, Sandi (seedsower), shared with me in a seed trade. I grew those seeds out and had my first ever daylilies gracing my garden! I was in love! What's not to love about these beautiful ornamental plants?

Sandi had carefully marked the little ziplock seed bags with the pod and pollen parents' names or just the pod name (because she wasn't sure of the pollen parent). Being newly exposed to the world of daylily hybridizing, I didn't keep good records of those crosses, and the short-lived markers eventually disappeared after the daylilies were planted in my garden beds. When they bloomed, I naively thought they would look just like the pod parent so I could easily identify them. Instead, many of them didn't look like either known parent at all or had only a slight resemblance. I was unable to identify their parents with certainty. That really intrigued me and I started researching why.

One of the best features (in my opinion) of the Plant Database here on ATP is the option to see "Child Plants." I love to have this option when I am researching info about any daylily plants or seeds that I might want to purchase. As a home gardener and novice hybridizer, I've become very selective about what I want to use in my hybridizing program. The database is instrumental in aiding me in my choices. I am also a very visual person and wanted to see all the genetics together -- for a few generations back -- to get a better understanding of why some blooms look as they do, as well as what future possibilities could be created.

My first encounter with pedigree charts was on the Maryott's Gardens website. You can click on their seedlings and each seedling listed will have the option to view a pedigree chart. This link is an example of one of their pedigree charts:

I found this chart invaluable! I had to have it. I emailed Maryott's to inquire where they got such useful pedigree chart software, but I unfortunately never received a reply. (Perhaps it is a program that they had created specifically for their nursery.) I really wanted this option for my own hybridizing program, so I researched online but came up empty-handed. I knew there had to be a way to create my own.

It just so happens that I have a Scrapbook computer software program that I use for family and friends photos. "Scrapbook Factory Deluxe version 5" by Nova Development is a program that I use all the time. (I am not affiliated with them.) On a whim, I decided to browse through all of the pre-made scrapbook page templates to see whether there might be a family tree template. Lo and behold: In the "Photo Projects" category, there were several Family Tree templates available. This software allows you to pick any template and is fully customizable. I was thrilled!

I created several customized daylily seedling charts and saved the templates so I could modify and use them over and over again. It does take a bit of time and tweaking to import each pod/pollen parent name and photo (and whatever else I want to include) on each seedling page or pedigree chart. When I had completed this work, I saved each specific scrapbook pedigree chart and exported it into a jpeg file which I saved to each specific daylily seedling file folder on my computer. Converting it into a photo allows me to save, share, and upload it.

I've posted a few of my seedling pedigree charts on the Daylily Forum. Here are some examples of my seedling hybrid photo charts:

A seedling chart showing only its parents:
Thumb of 2015-07-18/beckygardener/476bda

An individual seedling pedigree chart:
Thumb of 2015-07-18/beckygardener/63e59f

The same seedling with its siblings included in the chart:
Thumb of 2015-07-18/beckygardener/118058

Not all of the research into the genetic tree of a seedling results in names and photos, though. I have those displayed as "no photo" where they are often listed as a "seedling" (whose parentage might be known to further add to the pedigree chart). Any information at all that I can gather is helpful to me personally. It often allows me to see what characteristics might be dominant and which ones might be a surprise. The visual effect of seeing all the blooms on one page is priceless for me in my hybridizing efforts.

Here are a few more pedigree charts of some other seedlings I am growing:

Thumb of 2015-07-18/beckygardener/4f3b3c

Thumb of 2015-07-18/beckygardener/fef54f

Thumb of 2015-07-18/beckygardener/2d893f

Thumb of 2015-07-18/beckygardener/e3655c

For those of you serious about hybridizing (any plant species), I highly recommend that you consider creating your own pedigree charts. I hope that this article inspires and encourages you with ways in which to do so.

Comments and Discussion
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Maryott's Gardens website by beckygardener Dec 30, 2019 2:34 PM 0
Hybridizing Chart by Seedsower Dec 9, 2015 6:35 AM 2
Very Nice... by GaNinFl Jul 22, 2015 2:11 PM 6

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