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breeding flowers for colour

 
Posts: 176
Location: Alberta, zone 3
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I have never breed a plant for anything so I am totally clueless. I am wondering how tough it is to try breed a flower for different colours. I am specifically thinking Globe Flower (Trollius) as they are only available in orange, yellow and white/cream right now. Is that even possible? Do I just cross pollinate and see if I can get more flower colours from the new seeds? I would take any other colour for now
 
steward
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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Simone Gar wrote:I have never breed a plant for anything so I am totally clueless. I am wondering how tough it is to try breed a flower for different colours. I am specifically thinking Globe Flower (Trollius) as they are only available in orange, yellow and white/cream right now. Is that even possible? Do I just cross pollinate and see if I can get more flower colours from the new seeds? I would take any other colour for now



For the most part, you can only get out of a breeding project that which is within the natural variation of the variety/species... So if you start with white/yellow/orange flowered plants, I would expect that you'd get variations along the spectrum of white-yellow-orange. There might be other variations for flower size, number of flowers per plant, shape of flowers, etc that could be exploited by an observant plant breeder. Bicolor flowers might be a possibility.

I found couple of trollius photos with purple flowers:
USDA Plant Profile Tollius laxus




Trollius laxus var. albiflorus
 

So if it were my breeding project, I'd obtain seeds from some of the lavender varieties, and learn to grow them, and each year replant seeds from the most lavender.
 
Simone Gar
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Location: Alberta, zone 3
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Thanks Joseph!!!
Makes total sense and explains what I didn't understand. I'll have to see if I can find these trollius in purple!
 
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Location: Georgia
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Daylilies are great! You can do much more than breed them for color. Scape length, bloom size, eyes and edges only limited by one thing, they don't do blue. You can get lavender and purple. It takes patience, record keeping and rule following but once the pipeline is full you have a parade of never seen before blooms. It has enriched my life having that to look forward too.
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pollinator
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Location: Central Texas
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hugelkultur forest garden trees rabbit greening the desert homestead
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I've only ever bred roses... But flower breeding is a lot of fun. It's always exciting to see how the seedlings turn out.
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I'm no expert, but I think that most "odd" color changes (like the kind you would want) come from genetic accidents that alter or damage the DNA of regular plants with regular colors.  

I've read that when a very different color or appearance shows up in a bed of regular plants, the grower noticed it and saved the seed.  Then they grew the seed the next year to see if it would duplicate the "mistake".  The variation is called a "sport".

Sometimes, a few new plants show up with the new color, so the grower removes all of the new plants that have the regular old color, saving the ones with the New Color, and covers them in a group, hoping they will cross-pollinate with each other and make more of the new-color plants.

I suspect they do this for several years, continuing to weed out the old colors.  When they finally get mostly all new-color plants, they keep growing larger amounts of new seed, until they can offer them for sale.

They will usually warn that there could be some "throwbacks" to the old color.

But some mutant sports are sterile, and your breeding won't go anywhere because the new seeds (if any) won't even sprout to produce plants at all.
 
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