... growing and hybridizing all kinds of plants in zone 6b Maryland since the 1980's.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hibiscus 'Blue River II' X Hibiscus grandiflorus

Maybe it's just because so much effort went into bringing this little guy into the world, but I'm really excited about this hybrid. I'd caged it to keep it safe from rabbits and deer and as you can see, it's grown right on through and above the cage. The foliage looks nearly identical to grandiflorus which is an encouraging confirmation of its parentage. If you haven't read the earlier posts about this cross, it required that I put a galvanized trash can over the grandiflorus pollen parent (early each evening) for weeks to shorten the photoperiod and induce it to flower early. I also had to remove all flower buds of the pod parent for weeks to keep it from setting seed and keep it making more flower buds. Between those two manipulations I was able to get the two to flower at the same time and actually got a few crosses done. This seedling is the only one I have from all that work.
I figure that if it blooms next year, it will just be a relatively boring shade of pink with a darker eye. But... it should be carrying fragrance genes even if it isn't fragant itself. I'm hoping that it'll be the progenitor of a whole new race of fragant Hibiscus hybrids.
By the way, left alone this year, 'Blue River II' is currently almost done ripening its pods for the year and grandiflorus is just showing flower buds forming.

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