(3-7-19) We asked a variety of hybridizers the following question-
Tough question – there are far too many to choose from. The short answer is that it depends on my goal. What are the parameters for your question? Are we talking about my favorites among cultivars that are readily available to other growers? Or can I pick my own plants? If the latter then without question if I could choose only one pollen parent it would be my Frumious Bandersnatch although Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door is a close second and Number Nine is a close third. The latter two yield a wide variety of seedlings even with the same pod parent.
A favorite pod parent is harder but I’d probably choose Red Wedding. It produces a wide variety of seedlings – it takes on the characteristics of the pollen parent fairly well. I’ve gotten a remarkable diversity of seedlings out of it. But I also like Curly Fries a lot as a pod parent, when I can get it to cooperate.
I can’t pick a favorite pod or pollen parent because there are so many great plants out there, and it really depends on what your goals are. For instance, if I am going for a goal of red petioles, my first Instinct it to cross anything red with Maya Kingsnake. Maya Kingsnake is outstanding for both pod and pollen parents, it also is the earliest red to flower in my garden. My favorite crosses with Maya Kingsnake so far: Maya Kingsnake x Mr. Jack and Red Dragon x Maya Kingsnake.
For Streaked seedlings my favorite pod parent would be Fickle Blue Genes. Fickle Blue Genes has good pod set, but a high number of solid seedlings. It seems that the streaked seedlings, when you get them, have outstanding for substance, color and streaking. The thing I like the best about Fickle Blue Genes is that if I cross it with a red petiole plant it will produce red petiole seedlings, unlike most other streakers. I have had the best luck with crossing Fickle Blue Genes with Maya Kingsnake for red petioles.
My second favorite streaker is Chinese Dragon Supreme. Chinese Dragon Supreme Is my earliest flowering streaker, and the timing lines up with the flowers from all of my giant hostas, which I really like. Chinese Dragon Supreme has some really good looking seedlings.
I also like Pin Stripe Sister because it will set pods in any temp or weather. I usually get 100% pod set and it has a very high percentage of streaked seedlings. I have found it impossible to get red petioles from Pin Stripe Sister no matter the pollen parent.
I don’t have a favorite pollen parent for streakers, but for me, I look at what is flowering and what is my goal with the streaked pod parent. I can tell you for sure that I absolutely can’t resist putting Empress Wu or Skylight pollen on any streaker that is flowering.
Well they change from year to year, and for the most part I like using my own unnamed seedlings. But overall my favorite pod plant is ‘Crazy Quilt’ and pollen plant is ‘Joyride’
Louis Vissers (Belgium)
Like I said its difficult to say “favorite”.
I do seem to use Blueberry Muffin both ways every year.
I prefer to use own seedlings as a pod parent in future crosses, like my Mango Lettuce.
Depending on the type (blue,green, red pets, etc) i find First Blush for red petioles is nice, but gives also some cupping and weaker leaf.
Old Rough House I used a few times as pollen.
Kempen Saw Blade gives nice offspring as pollen donor.
And so I can continue… it is a difficult one.
I usually pick a group of different favorite pollen donors each season and work them hard so it would change every year. On pod parents it all depends on what i might be working on each year and often change them up too.
Editor’s Note – On some recent postings on the Facebook page – Hosta Seedlings – Jeff commented:
- Skylight which is one of Bev Stegeman’s plants and my all time favorite blue to work with in crosses.
- Blueberry Muffin which is one of my favorites for hybridizing.
I’m new at it just growing seeds now but when I retire next June then will both get into it my wife (Gail) likes Galaxy, I’m messing with Megababy