Crossbreeding plants

(Question)

I was looking at your website (which is good by the way!), and I was wondering if you, one of your members, or someone else you may know of can give me some advice on cross breeding plants.

I have started to cross breed plants, and I was wondering if you have any advice about what flowers I should try to cross breed/cross pollinate, considering that I am fairly new to cross breeding plants.  I have successfully cross bred Tomatoes and unsuccessfully cross bred petunias (as the petunias turned out to be a variety that does not produce seeds, called “supertunias”).

So, do you know of any imperfect flowers that I could have fun cross breeding?  I am in zone 5.

 

(Answer)

I applaud you for your efforts and interest in wanting to cross pollinate plants.  Artificial plant breeding has been done for thousands of years.  Since the beginning of cultivating & agriculture, farmers have selectively chosen the plants they wish to continue to grow.

For the sake of those that might read this post, here’s a brief introduction to the topic.

‘Perfect’ flowers have both male and female parts.

‘Imperfect’ flowers are either only male (no pistil or stigma), or only female (no stamens or anthers).  These flowers require cross-pollination.  Cross-pollination occurs when pollen is transferred, by wind or insects, from a male flower to a female flower.  These flower types may be on the same plant (monoecious), or on different plants (dioecious).

Cucurbits (squash, melons, gourds) have separate male and female flowers (imperfect flowers) on the same plant (monoecious).  Pollen must be transferred between male and female flowers in order for fruit to be produced.

The following website has is an excellent article on Plant breeding as a hobby.  It gives you Fundamentals on Plant Reproduction, General Breeding Techniques as well as Breeding Experiments for you to try.

https://www.aces.uiuc.edu/vista/html_pubs/PLBREED/pl_breed.html

Good Luck and continued success with your cross pollinations.