Signet Marigolds in the Gem series are NOT hybrids. They are open pollinated CULTIVARS. To state that most marigolds are hybrids is also incorrect. Please correct this misinformation. Thank you. https://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/askagardener/growing-marigolds-from-seed-and-cross-pollination/
Thank you so much for your input. This is an interesting observation….and you are correct. Although many varieties of marigolds are hybrids, the Gem series are open pollinated.
There are numerous marigold varieties. Many of the commonly grown marigolds are varieties of African marigolds (Tagetes erecta) and French marigolds (Tagetes patula) . Less known are the triploid hybrids and the signet marigolds.
The triploid hybrids (also known as mule marigolds because they are unable to produce viable seed) are crosses between the tall, vigorous African marigolds and the compact, free-flowering French marigolds.
Signet marigolds are quite different from most marigolds. Botanically classified as Tagetes tenuifolia, Signet marigolds are a lesser-known species of marigold belonging to the Asteraceae family. Signet marigold plants are bushy with fine, lacy foliage. The small, single flowers literally cover the plants in summer. Flower colors range from yellow to orange. They are also edible.
Marigolds in the Gem series are cultivars of Tagetes tenuifolia and these seeds are open pollinated. These marigolds have single flowers that are small, measuring a half an inch to an inch wide, in shades of yellow, red, or orange (with cultivar names like “Lemon”, “Tangerine”, “Golden” and “Paprika”) and frilly foliage. These compact plants grow to be 8 to 12 inches tall and bear flowers that are valued for their citrus scent and flavour, making them some of the best edible marigolds.
Hybrid vs open pollinated:
Open pollination: Open pollination is when pollination occurs by insect, bird or human intervention. Open pollinated plants are more genetically diverse as there are no restrictions on the flow of pollen between individuals.
Open-pollinated varieties produce seeds true to type if they are allowed to cross-pollinate only with other plants of the same variety. If they cross with other varieties of the same species, their seed will not come true.
Hybridization: A hybrid is the result of pollinating one specific variety of a class of plants with the pollen of another genetically different variety of that class. While hybridization can occur naturally through random crosses, within the seed industry hybridization is a controlled method of pollination in which the pollen of two species or varieties is crossed; where two carefully chosen “parent” plants that produce “offspring” (seeds) are crossed to create a plant with special characteristics, to breed a certain trait.
Commercially available seed packets will say if they contain “F1” hybrid seeds. If the label does not indicate “F1”, you can assume the seeds come from open-pollinated plants. original seed packet will tell you if the seeds you started with were from open-pollinated or hybrid plants.
The seed produced by F1 plants is genetically unstable and gardeners who use hybrid plant varieties must purchase new seed every year.
Plant breeding is complex, but in general terms, hybrids are created to combine the best characteristics of two different plants in one plant; while open-pollinated plants are grown to preserve the best characteristics of a single plant over time.
Again, thank you for bringing this to our attention.