Saturday, May 3, 2014

Abutilon x hybridum 'Zephyr' (Alina Chitova, 2014)
My Own Experiments

Time to tell about my abutilon cross-pollination results. Like I said before, last year, overwhelmed with seedlings, I delegated the hoard to two volunteers (about 35 to Tatiana Sergeeva and about 80 to Victoria Sokolik). This spring I only assess the photos they show me and decide which plants we could keep and breed further.
Above is one of my most successful hybrids from Tatiana's share. We called it marshmallow (it's a mallow after all! :))) or zephyr. I think the hue is very tender. Besides, the hybrid is fertile (that is why I don't know when I could get a graft).

But there are more interesting things to describe. Last summer I experimented with alcea rosea and abutilon Bella cross-pollinations. Not all abutilon hybrids were willing to cross-breed with alcea (only two, actually). So, abutilons were the parent plants, whereas the alceae were the donor plants. Now, the results are very curious. First of all, alcea added various new hues to the flower palette (the parent plant was very delicate pink), but also it added the unwanted tall and straight stem without side shoots. Even when pruned back, these abutilon-alcea plants are rather reluctant to spread shoots.

Abutilon x alcea (Alina Chitova, 2014)

However, some hybrids retained the parent plant (Bella series) growth and development pattern and remain quite compact.

Abutilon x alcea (Alina Chitova, 2014)
The greatest disappointment for me was a much expected/desired chocolate-brown abutilon (crossed with a dark-brown alcea). Initially, the first flower demonstrated some brownish hue; however, later it mutated and changed its color completely to a more common for abutilons pink color.

Initially a promising brownish abutilon x alcea (Alina Chitova, 2014)
Yes, that's the VERY plant! Abutilon x alcea (Alina Chitova, 2014)
Anyway, my experimenting with alcea and abutilons (which belong to the same Malvacea family) turned out to be successful and calls for its continuation. This summer, I would love to cross-pollinate abutilons with other plants from the same family -- any ones I could find. Cross-breeds between abutilon and hibiscus haven't been successful yet, although as a parent plant hibiscus forms seed pods, but as a donor plant -- it doesn't work (at least not yet). The problem is that hibiscus germination and growing period before blooming is excruciatingly long... But then, we are in no hurry here, aren't we?.. :)))

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