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Hybridizing Goals

By John Curran

Seedlings will need to be evaluated carefully, and those closest to your hybridizing goals selected for potential registration and introduction, or for further use towards achieving the desired traits. 

Rather than starting with the quest for uniquely beautiful flowers, one might first consider the plant itself.  Disease-resistance is of paramount importance, as Brugmansia are susceptible to viruses. 

Then think about the structure of the plant, although this can be improved with pruning.  Does it have a tendency to form strong branches of the desired height?  Is it resistant to winds?

Does the plant show heat-tolerance?  How about cold-hardiness?   Drought-resistance?

On to the flowers!  One important goal may be the earliest possible bloom time from seed. 

Does the plant flower easily, with lots of bloom-flushes during the season?  Do the flowers each last a long time, and remain looking good all day?  Do the flowers hold up well in heat and in rain?

Some select for large flowers, but another goal may be smaller and more numerous blooms.  In any case, the leaves and the flowers should be in proportion, and the leaves should not conceal the flowers to any extent.

Flowers may be chosen for attractive shapes and forms, as well as for pleasing color.  There has been much interest in darker (and double) pinks; what other goals might one pursue that would be of value?  Perhaps improved, more floriferous double oranges…  Maybe colors closer to true reds, or even enhanced lilacs…  Bi-colors wait to be explored…

One last item to consider is fragrance.  How strongly scented do you like your Brugmansia?  And what type of floral fragrance do you enjoy, from the many variations on this theme?

Above all, try to ensure that your Brugmansia are in some way an improvement over those already in existence, rather than adding to the long list of look-alikes.  Don’t be like those who would name their new cultivar while it is still a seed!  Evaluate carefully, and select the unique!


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