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Show #52/1413
Plant Propagation


Introduction
IN THIS EPISODE GARDEN SMART VISITS AN EXPERT PROPAGATOR to learn about breeding and ultimately how a plant makes it to your garden. How do plants go from concept to creation and then out into the garden center and ultimately into the garden? It's a fascinating process of how the geneticists work with plants and how new plants are developed.

Click here for more info

Cultivar
THERE IS A LOT OF CONFUSION ABOUT WHAT IS A CLONAL PLANT OR CULTIVAR and how does that differ from, say a seedling strain or variety or just a seedling. First, what is a cultivar? A cultivar, or a cultivated variety is a plant that's been selected for genetic traits and that plant is going to be genetically identical to all the other plants of that name variety.
A great example of that would be the Bradford Pear. As everyone, that lines their driveway with Bradford Pears, knows they all look the same. Leyland Cypresses, Encore Azaleas, are other similar examples. They are all genetically identical.

Click here for more info

Seedling
A SEEDLING STRAIN IS A TYPE PLANT that's been grown from seed and selected for certain variety characteristics that one would want to express. An example would be Helleborus x 'Royal Heritage' which has uniform vigor, the same leaf type, but different flowers so they're not cloned to be identical. Instead they select out certain traits. With a lot of annual production they're grown from seed because they come true or close to true from seed. This is an example of a seedling strain whereas a cultivar is cloned, and they're all genetically identical.

Click here for more info

Making a Cultivar Selection
ERIC NEXT EXPLORES HOW TO MAKE A CULTIVAR SELECTION or a seedling strain selection. There are some interesting examples of plants that have mutated a bit, and have desirable traits that one may want to propagate. An example is a seedling mutation of Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Burgundy.' Burgundy normally has just a flat green leaf with a beautiful magenta red flower. What we have here is an interesting selection with nice pure white variegation, which is quite different from anything we've seen in Gaillardia. Thus, this would be one that could be propagated and could become a new cultivar.

Click here for more info


Branch Sport
ON WOODY PLANTS AND ON PERENNIAL PLANTS OFTENTIMES ONE SEES WHAT'S CALLED A BRANCH SPORT, which is where only one branch on the plant will mutate and have different qualities. A lot of variegated plants come from this source, branch sports. An example is Weigela, My Monet which was a variegated branch sport. The foliage was normal but out of the side of the Weigela was growing one branch that had a beautiful tri-color pink on white variegation. Basically, the way one would make a whole plant out of the variegated sport would be to take a little branch cutting, root it, then the genes would be passed on into the next plant, the next plant and so forth.

Click here for more info


Pollination
THE NEXT AREA ERIC AND MATT DISCUSS IS POLLINATION. A lot of wonderful plants like Roses and Daylilies are produced through controlled crosses or hand pollination. The seeds are then collected from those and planted out. Eric and Matt work with some beautiful Hemerocallis or Daylilies and discuss the different parts of the plant. The stamen, or anthers, is where the male structure of the plant is located. The long tube is the female structure. Eric has 2 Daylilies. He wants to take the dark purple colors in one Daylily and breed it into another Daylily with a beautiful ruffled edge. Both plants are fantastic specimens. What Eric does is take the pollen from one plant and transfer it to the other plant and hope the traits of each plant transfer to the other plant. He uses a little natural bristle brush and collects the pollen from the male parts of the plant and then sprinkles that on the female portion of the other plant. It's important that the plant doesn't pollinate itself. Thus he emasculates or de-staminates the receiving plant by taking the male parts off that plant so that all remains is the pollen from the other. Oftentimes the flower will be covered with a paper bag so that a bee, wind or something else doesn't spread additional pollen from one plant to another. They will then wait until they have a nice seed head, collect the seed, plant the seed and hopefully they'll end up with a beautiful Hemerocallis with a ruffled edge and a dark purple center.

Click here for more info


New Species
WE NOW LOOK AT A NUMBER OF NEW SPECIES. The question arises - what improvements have been made for gardeners in the way of new plants. A number of new applications have made life more interesting for the garden and gardener. An example is Delosperma cooperi 'Ice Plant.' It is basically a species of Ice Plant, with a nice, chartreuse, fuchsia flower. It is an excellent plant but because of the bold color its use could be limited in the garden. Thus a new cultivar of a hybrid Delosperma has been introduced. Delosperma 'Mesa Verde' has an incredible coral orange color which is brand new for Delosperma. One of the neat things is if you've got a little bit of a warmer motif, if using reds, yellows and oranges in the garden, the fuchsia might bring in too much contrast. Whereas the nice orange will work better with that color scheme, making Delosperma available to the gardener with that color scheme. It's a nice improvement in Delosperma.

Click here for more info


New Foliage
THERE ARE EXAMPLES OF SELECTIONS THAT HAVE BEEN MADE FOR FOLIAGE TYPES. An example is Buddleia, or Butterfly Bush, which has become a popular plant for the summer garden. We view 3 different types of Buddleia. One is a variegated form, Buddleia 'Santana' which has a beautiful yellow, green look. Another, Buddleia crispa x loricata 'Silver anniversary' has a nice silver whitish color. A third, Buddleia davidii 'Pyrkeep' has a more typical green leaf. These provide an idea about different applications from a design standpoint. If one has a garden with a lot of rich blues and purples the kind of flash provided by the whitish silver would make colors pop. By contrast, with a golden color design, anything from gold to gold green, would be an excellent accent and different from the silver in Silver Anniversary. The Purple Emperor has more of a standard bloom type and standard foliage.

Click here for more info


Plants Bred for Form
SEVERAL OTHER PLANTS HAVE BEEN BRED SPECIFICALLY FOR THEIR FORM. Eric thinks some of the most exciting plants bred in the past few years have been bred primarily for form, although it does seem plants with neat foliage and flowers get a lot more attention. For example, Eric's garden is small, he doesn't have room for a Bald Cypress tree. Much work has been done in this area. One example is Taxodium distichum 'Peve Minaret.' Normally, Bald Cypress gets very large but this one will only reach 7 or 8 feet tall. It will work beautifully in a smaller space.
Ginkgo biloba 'Spring Grove' is a dwarf form of a Ginko. It will reach 3 or 4 feet tall where Ginko's typically get massive, 80 or 90 feet tall, with huge trunks. But, since this stays 3 or 4 feet tall it opens up many new areas where this plant can be utilized.

Click here for more info


Disease Resistance
ANOTHER IMPORTANT TRAIT BEING BRED INTO NEW PLANTS IS DISEASE FREE OR LOW MAINTENANCE QUALITIES. These are plants that don't get covered in powdery mildew, blight or whatever. A lot of work has taken place over the past few years in breeding disease resistance back into plants. We certainly don't want to put out more chemicals on our garden than absolutely necessary and gardeners don't want to spend time treating their plants, thus several plants are wonderful selections that have been developed for their disease resistance and low maintenance. This new work has allowed plants to be used in applications where they had not been used before. The Rosa Double Knock Out 'Radtko' is an example. It was bred specifically to be more disease resistant which for roses, in particular, is very important. Roses had been waning in popularity primarily due to how chemical intensive they were. The Knock Out has in many ways revived the popularity of roses. Roses are becoming more popular in the landscape because of the disease resistance that has been bred back into them.

Click here for more info


New and Interesting Plants
ERIC NOW SHOWS US A FEW PLANTS INTRODUCED DURING THE PAST FEW YEARS THAT ARE NEW AND INTERESTING. Hydrangea arborescens 'White Dome' is a nice white flower form of Lace Cap. It has a larger bloom, a nice lacy look, is a little flatter and is rimmed by little bracks to give it a dainty elegant look.
Gaillardia 'Oranges & Lemons' has one of the best flower forms and certainly is one of the most persistent of all Gaillardias. It is an electric orange and the plant blooms from early spring till November, in Eric's garden.
Mimosa, Albizia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate' is unique. Who would have thought several years ago that we would be planting a Mimosa in our gardens? It's a great native tree, in the past primarily viewed as a weed tree. A purple sport, they believe from Japan, started a new application. It has a nice frilly leaf and black plants are excellent for accents in the garden. It's another great addition.

Click here for more info

 

LINKS:

Garden Smart Plant List


Complete transcript of the show.

52/1413. Plant Propagation
Eric fell in love with plants as a kid and has been fascinated with how they work ever since. And plant propagation is a topic near and dear to his heart. He's been a plant propagator for over 10 years and worked on numerous tough to root woody ornamentals. Today there is much happening in the plant world. IN THIS EPISODE GARDEN SMART VISITS AN EXPERT PROPAGATOR to learn about breeding and ultimately how a plant makes it to your garden. How do plants go from concept to creation and then out into the garden center and ultimately into the garden? It's a fascinating process of how the geneticists work with plants and how new plants are developed.
Our guest host this week is Mat Seader, a fellow UGA grad and a great plant propagator. Matt will walk us through the plant propagation process, tell us what excites him about plant propagation and how the many improvements in breeding and plant propagation have brought new, wonderful horizons to gardeners today through both new and improved plants as well as new uses for those plants.
Top

CULTIVAR We start in the propagation house where we're surrounded by many wonderful examples of new plants and plant propagation. THERE IS A LOT OF CONFUSION ABOUT WHAT IS A CLONAL PLANT OR CULTIVAR and how does that differ from, say a seedling strain or variety or just a seedling. First, what is a cultivar? A cultivar, or a cultivated variety is a plant that's been selected for genetic traits and that plant is going to be genetically identical to all the other plants of that name variety.
A great example of that would be the Bradford Pear. As everyone, that lines their driveway with Bradford Pears, knows they all look the same. Leyland Cypresses, Encore Azaleas, are other similar examples. They are all genetically identical.
Top

A SEEDLING STRAIN IS A TYPE PLANT that's been grown from seed and selected for certain variety characteristics that one would want to express. An example would be Helleborus x 'Royal Heritage' which has uniform vigor, the same leaf type, but different flowers so they're not cloned to be identical. Instead they select out certain traits. With a lot of annual production they're grown from seed because they come true or close to true from seed. This is an example of a seedling strain whereas a cultivar is cloned, they're all genetically identical.
Top

ERIC NEXT EXPLORES HOW TO MAKE A CULTIVAR SELECTION or a seedling strain selection. There are some interesting examples of plants that have mutated a bit, and have desirable traits that one may want to propagate. An example is a seedling mutation of Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Burgundy.' Burgundy normally has just a flat green leaf with a beautiful magenta red flower. What we have here is an interesting selection with nice pure white variegation, which is quite different from anything we've seen in Gaillardia. Thus, this would be one that could be propagated and could become a new cultivar. If propagated it might be called - Gaillardia 'White Snow' for example. Who knows? While talking about Gaillardias, one example was a sport of Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Goblin.' It has wonderful huge yellow flowers that are unique and very different from anything we've previously seen in Gaillardias. It's a lot bigger. Thus, this would be a wonderful candidate for propagation. It provides the opportunity to come up with a brand new Gaillardia cultivar, one where all would bloom with a wonderful yellow flower. Another interesting example is a Coreopsis x with yellow on green variegation. This would be a neat plant, that once propagated could become another great Coreopsis selection.
Top

ON WOODY PLANTS AND ON PERENNIAL PLANTS OFTENTIMES ONE SEES WHAT'S CALLED A BRANCH SPORT, which is where only one branch on the plant will mutate and have different qualities. A lot of variegated plants come from this source, branch sports. An example is Weigela, My Monet which was a variegated branch sport. The foliage was normal but out of the side of the Weigela was growing one branch that had a beautiful tri-color pink on white variegation. Basically, the way one would make a whole plant out of the variegated sport would be to take a little branch cutting, root it, then the genes would be passed on into the next plant, the next plant and so forth.
A Caryopteris 'Longwood Blue' is an example of a cultivar. One might want to preserve the traits in this Caryopteris because it has a beautiful bluish green leaf, but as well it has excellent, lavender bluish flowers. If we simply collected seed from this plant these traits would not necessarily be carried on. To take this plant from plant to production, cuttings must be taken. To do that start with a small selection of this shrub and cut off that section. Always remove the flowers, if any are present, because those will cause a bit of stress to the plant while trying to root. We don't want the plant to put energy into producing flowers, instead use all its stored energy making roots. Take a section, cut below the leaf nodes because that's where the roots will form. Remove the leaves present, then dip in a rooting hormone (which is available at any garden center). Rooting hormone is basically a chemical that will help the plant root. It is naturally present in plants and causes the plant to root under stress. The plant is then placed in a potting media and then placed under a mist system. The mist is important because the plant doesn't have any roots and we don't want it to loose water before it makes roots. The mist system puts out a burst of water every 5 minutes or so, keeps the leaf wet so it doesn't expend any energy and instead puts its energy into making roots.
Top

THE NEXT AREA ERIC AND MATT DISCUSS IS POLLINATION. A lot of wonderful plants like Roses and Daylilies are produced through controlled crosses or hand pollination. The seeds are then collected from those and planted out. Eric and Matt work with some beautiful Hemerocallis or Daylilies and discuss the different parts of the plant. The stamen, or anthers, is where the male structure of the plant is located. The long tube is the female structure. Eric has 2 Daylilies. He wants to take the dark purple colors in one Daylily and breed it into another Daylily with a beautiful ruffled edge. Both plants are fantastic specimens. What Eric does is take the pollen from one plant and transfer it to the other plant and hope the traits of each plant transfers to the other plant. He uses a little natural bristle brush and collects the pollen from the male parts of the plant and then sprinkles that on the female portion of the other plant. It's important that the plant doesn't pollinate itself. Thus he emasculates or de-staminates the receiving plant by taking the male parts off that plant so that all remains is the pollen from the other. Oftentimes the flower will be covered with a paper bag so that a bee, wind or something else doesn't spread additional pollen from one plant to another. They will then wait until they have a nice seed head, collect the seed, plant the seed and hopefully they'll end up with a beautiful Hemerocallis with a ruffled edge and a dark purple center.
Top

New Species We've seen how new plants are produced and the work that goes into taking a plant from a selection to production. WE NOW LOOK AT A NUMBER OF NEW SPECIES. The question arises - what improvements have been made for gardeners in the way of new plants. A number of new applications have made life more interesting for the garden and gardener. An example is Delosperma cooperi 'Ice Plant.' It is basically a species of Ice Plant, with a nice, chartreuse, fuchsia flower. It is an excellent plant but because of the bold color its use could be limited in the garden. Thus a new cultivar of a hybrid Delosperma has been introduced. Delosperma 'Mesa Verde' has an incredible coral orange color which is brand new for Delosperma. One of the neat things is if you've got a little bit of a warmer motif, if using reds, yellows and oranges in the garden, the fuchsia might bring in too much contrast. Whereas the nice orange will work better with that color scheme, making Delosperma available to the gardener with that color scheme. It's a nice improvement in Delosperma.
Top

New Foliage We've seen examples where breeders have brought new colors to old plants and developed a whole new application for that plant. THERE ARE EXAMPLES OF SELECTIONS THAT HAVE BEEN MADE FOR FOLIAGE TYPES. An example is Buddleia, or Butterfly Bush, which has become a popular plant for the summer garden. We view 3 different types of Buddleia. One is a variegated form, Buddleia 'Santana' which has a beautiful yellow, green look. Another, Buddleia crispa x loricata 'Silver anniversary' has a nice silver whitish color. A third, Buddleia davidii 'Pyrkeep' has a more typical green leaf. These provide an idea about different applications from a design standpoint. If one has a garden with a lot of rich blues and purples the kind of flash provided by the whitish silver would make colors pop. By contrast, with a golden color design, anything from gold to gold green, would be an excellent accent and different from the silver in Silver Anniversary. The Purple Emperor has more of a standard bloom type and standard foliage.
Top

PLANTS BRED FOR FORM Another improvement that's been made with Buddleia is the wide range of diversity and all have been introduced within the last 5 or 6 years. Everything is changing rapidly and there is a lot of new stuff coming down the pipeline. The dwarf Buddleia is an example. SEVERAL OTHER PLANTS HAVE BEEN BRED SPECIFICALLY FOR THEIR FORM. Eric thinks some of the most exciting plants bred in the past few years have been bred primarily for form, although it does seem plants with neat foliage and flowers get a lot more attention. For example, Eric's garden is small, he doesn't have room for a Bald Cypress tree. Much work has been done in this area. One example is Taxodium distichum 'Peve Minaret.' Normally, Bald Cypress gets very large but this one will only reach 7 or 8 feet tall. It will work beautifully in a smaller space.
Ginkgo biloba 'Spring Grove' is a dwarf form of a Ginko. It will reach 3 or 4 feet tall where Ginko's typically get massive, 80 or 90 feet tall, with huge trunks. But, since this stays 3 or 4 feet tall it opens up many new areas where this plant can be utilized.
Japanese Black Pine, Pinus thunbergii "Thunderhead' is also bred for its form. It's super dwarf and gets to only 8 to 10 feet tall. These are wonderful for scenarios where one has a small or patio garden. They work well in containers, thus it's a totally new application. In the past no one would have thought about using this in a container because inside a year or so the root system would have outgrown the container, most likely breaking the container. Now these beautiful dwarf plants can be used in brand new applications, like patio plantings, containers or small gardens. They make a wonderful addition to the garden.
Top

Disease ANOTHER IMPORTANT TRAIT BEING BRED INTO NEW PLANTS IS DISEASE FREE OR LOW MAINTENANCE QUALITIES. These are plants that don't get covered in powdery mildew, blight or whatever. A lot of work has taken place over the past few years in breeding disease resistance back into plants. We certainly don't want to put out more chemicals on our garden than absolutely necessary and gardeners don't want to spend time treating their plants, thus several plants are wonderful selections that have been developed for their disease resistance and low maintenance. This new work has allowed plants to be used in applications where they had not been used before. The Rosa Double Knock Out 'Radtko' is an example. It was bred specifically to be more disease resistant which for roses, in particular, is very important. Roses had been waning in popularity primarily due to how chemical intensive they were. The Knock Out has in many ways revived the popularity of roses. Roses are becoming more popular in the landscape because of the disease resistance that has been bred back into them.
One of the first plants that led the charge from the standpoint of disease resistance is Phlox paniculata 'David's Lavender.' Eric notices another common garden Phlox and refers to it as an indicator plant. In other words if you've got powdery mildew in your greenhouse or garden, it will show up on this plant. Contrast it with the Phlox David which has clean leaves. Phlox in the garden was not one of the better looking plants from a foliage standpoint. Typically they would get a nice flower but then decline rapidly from a standpoint of the foliar health. It was just not attractive. Phlox David's Lavender is beautiful and disease free. It has the same great flowers but is disease resistant. It takes a lot off the gardener, not needing to keep the plants clean.
Top

NEW AND INTERESTING PLANTS We've seen many new, exciting plants, learned where these plants come from and how they go from the propagation bench out to the garden center bench but ERIC NOW SHOWS US A FEW PLANTS INTRODUCED DURING THE PAST FEW YEARS THAT ARE NEW AND INTERESTING. Hydrangea arborescens 'White Dome' is a nice white flower form of Lace Cap. It has a larger bloom, a nice lacy look, is a little flatter and is rimmed by little bracks to give it a dainty elegant look.
Gaillardia 'Oranges & Lemons' has one of the best flower forms and certainly is one of the most persistent of all Gaillardias. It is an electric orange and the plant blooms from early spring till November, in Eric's garden.
Mimosa, Albizia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate' is unique. Who would have thought several years ago that we would be planting a Mimosa in our gardens? It's a great native tree, in the past primarily viewed as a weed tree. A purple sport, they believe from Japan, started a new application. It has a nice frilly leaf and black plants are excellent for accents in the garden. It's another great addition.
The plant kingdom is an amazing thing. There is so much diversity, so much interest and always new things happening as we cross pollinate and as new sports arise. Basically most of what we do today is the result of natural diversity in the plant world. Some may confuse that with genetically modified plants which is not part of our landscape palette. These plants are a result of cross pollinations or sports and represent the natural diversity in the plant kingdom. We've seen some incredible examples of brand new flower forms, different textures, different plant forms and a lot of disease resistance that's been bred back into plants. All this opens up brand new avenues for gardeners to try plants they've never been able to try before and to experience plants in a whole new way. So gardeners, get out there, take a look at what's going on. There are many exciting new plants, a lot of stuff that's going on with breeding work, a lot of interesting colors and great ways to use plants in your garden. It's a great time to be a gardener.
Eric thanks Matt for his time. This has been a different show, a throw back to those biology classes we slept through but hopefully these ideas will resonate with us better today than in times past. Thanks Matt for the insight.
Top

LINKS:

Garden Smart Plant List


   
 
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