Monday, June 27, 2016

2016 Intersectional Peony Hybridizing Seed Pods

Seed Pod on Peony 'Martha W.'

Well I think my Peony 'Martha W.' plants had about 20 blooms on them this spring. However, between kids, work, and the weather, I was only able to pollinate about half of them - 11 blooms. I cut off all of the other blooms that I wasn't able to pollinate so that only the 11 I intentionally hybridized would attempt to set seed. There were 6 blooms pollinated on one plant and 5 blooms pollinated on the other. So of all the pollinated flowers, only half of those actually set seed. One reason for some of the failure may have been because I left the bags that cover the cross on for too long. I didn't think it would harm them, but apparently it does. When I found out, some of them had already been left on for 3-5 days. Apparently you're only supposed to leave the bag on for 1-2 days at the most. This could be why none of my previous crosses have worked.

Peony 'Martha W.' Being Pollinating (April 2016)

1 Seed Pod and 5 Failed Seed Pods on Peony 'Martha W.' (June 2016)

These Peony 'Martha W.' plants were crossed with tree peony pollen. So I can't wait to see what grows from these seeds. Even though I have my first ever intentionally hybridized seeds growing, I don't think I'll feel the entire experiment is a success until I see some of these seeds sprout. (And then I probably won't feel I've made a successful cross until I see them bloom!) So this process will take several years before the real results are known. However, I am excited that the process has begun, and the first step has succeeded!

Seed Pod and Failed Seed Pod on Peony 'Martha W.'

It is easy to see which seed pods are successful and which seed pods failed to produce seed. The seed pods that are actually growing seeds begin to swell and continue to swell as the months progress. However, the failed seed pods will start to shrink and turn brown as the months progress. You can see the very large, swollen, bright green seed pod in the same photo as a very small, dark brown, shriveled seed pod above. Now that I know some rare seeds are coming, I will have to think of a special place to plant these seeds. Of course I will document the germination rates for these seeds next spring. When the leaves start to sprout, then at least I'll know that these truly are intersectional seedlings and will know that the second step has succeeded. I can't wait to see what pops up!

Peony 'Martha W.' Being Pollinated (April 2016)

4 Seed Pods and 1 Failed Seed Pod on Peony 'Martha W.' (June 2016)

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