BREEDING AND SELECTING RHODODENDRONS AND AZALEAS
Peter E. Girard Sr
I would like to talk to you today about plant breeding. It is nothing new to many of you. Most of you have done some of it. The question is how successful we are in breeding plants. Some propagators hybridize plants just for pleasure and the possible chance that a marketable seedling will result. Some propagators are more critical and use a system for their hybridization. This, of course, is the best method.
The first step is to write down what is wanted from a cross. Do we want to gain hardiness, compactness, certain foliage color, or improved flower texture?
The next step is to find out all we can about the parent plants we intend to use. This is important. Even though the parent is attractive, recessive undesirable characteristics may appear in its offspring. Therefore, we need to know the origin of the parent plants in order to predict what we may expect from the next generation. Our breeding record is shown in Table 1.
I set out many years ago to try to develop an azalea that would withstand the occasional
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