Ask a Question forum: how do you get seeds that come true?

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PA (Zone 6a)
Jan 26, 2017 12:56 PM CST
I don't understand something: If collecting seeds from a hybrid plant means that there is no guarantee that the resulting plant will be true (exactly like the parent plant), then how and where do seed companies get seeds to sell that DO come true?
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Butterflies Birds
Jan 26, 2017 1:17 PM CST
From cross-pollinating the parent plants. Smiling
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Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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Jan 26, 2017 1:19 PM CST
The seed companies get those seeds by creating them by cross-pollination of specific plants. They have tested their particular cross through enough trials to be confident that cross will produce the desired result from the seeds produced by that cross. But seeds from those crosses tend to revert back to one parent or the other, some sooner than later. I have saved seeds from a particular hybrid petunia and the second generation generally looks like the original; but subsequent generations look very different.
(I think this is generally correct. Does it make any sense? I'm sure someone else can give a better explanation.)
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
PA (Zone 6a)
Jan 26, 2017 1:34 PM CST
Thank you to both of you for responding--I don't need a more in-depth explanation, because I probably wouldn't understand it anyway! Smiling It's so great to be able to find out answers to things you've wondered about and didn't understand!!
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Jan 26, 2017 2:45 PM CST
If you buy seed from plants labeled 'Heirloom', that is your guarantee that saved seeds will be like the parents.

But... even those saved seeds will show slight variations from the parent. That's were genetic diversity comes in (and why none of your siblings look like you).
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost


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