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user 149187

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When I first got into flasking/breeding, I’d post crosses on the socials and occasionally someone would go, “what’s your plan/objective with this cross?” And to some degree that question kind of irked me because it often accompanied a follow up about form or award worthiness (with an air of arrogance on the side too)…like any cross needed justification.

My goal was to learn, experiment, understand the process, and then forge a direction once I saw something interesting from the outcomes I’d created—early stage linebreeding essentially. And…that hasn’t changed. I also believe familiarity can bring desire and even “ugly” plants can have an audience—look at peloric flowers, am I right? Paph gigantifolium too…has fairly ugly flowers…but it’s foliage and hybrids captivate me for some reason.

But…it’s an interesting topic…intent and reason. Sure there are the pedestrian pursuits: award worthy (flat, big, and well formed flowers), but there is a lot more to hybridizing and line breeding than just awards.

There are…
- novel colours
- high flower count
- ease of growth and tolerance to “home” conditions (low humidity, harsher water quality, warmer temps, etc)
- resilience in your conditions (whatever they may be)
- frequent blooming (multiple flowering cycles)
- little plants (teacup paphs); there’s probably a small market for big paphs too—my Phal gigantea x makes socials go bonkers and i expect in another 3 years my kolopakingii x gigantifolium will command the same interest.
- fragrance (a few paphs are)
- acclaim and registering new names (like all those Paph Wossner ________)
- perfecting species
- out crossing for new traits
- inbreeding to isolate traits
- selecting for something just completely off standard expectations — when the first dog breeder had a litter…do you think they had dreams of making a Shitzu or Pomeranian?
- mottled leaves or even novel leaf types in general (so so so much potential here with paphs)
- cross sectional hybrids (lots of weird and unexplored crosses there).
- pelorics 🤮
- and I’m sure the list goes on and on.

So uh…what’s peaks your fancy? Or if you were to breed your paphs what would you pursue? If you really like the idea of award worthy, what about it appeals to you?
 

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Generally, I dislike pelorics. I'm not a fan of "wounded" goldfish freaks originating in Japan, either (bubble eye, ryukin, and the like), but that's a matter of preference, so as far as I'm concerned, it's up the the individual to decide for himself.

That said, I believe it is wise to have a plan in breeding, rather than a willy-nilly shotgun approach. Hybridizing takes time, money and space. Unless you have an unlimited supply of all three, you're wasting them.

I've had growers say that "I only keep a few flasks", but if that's the case, you're throwing away the opportunity to see the potential unique features Dustin mentioned in some of the seedlings you didn't grow out.

Let us not forget that Bil Thoms specifically registered his cross of C. velutina x E. codigera as Epc. Never Remake This, as every flower was apparently grotesque.
 
I think this post is extremely interesting! Especially your part about dog breeding! As I used to be a dog breeder myself. I found genetics to be so endlessly fascinating.

When breeding dogs, there’s obviously a much faster turn around time! Than with Paphs! Haha. And because of this I’m finding I have to learn patience. Paphs are so slow growing that I find them not rewarding at all. My Phals show pretty much within a couple of weeks whether they’re happy or not happy. They either kind of slump or they start a new root or leaf. My Paphs are just soooooo slow. Lol

I’m interested in breeding but I’m just really trying to learn patience first!

I know everyone says Phals have been hybridized to death and it’s “boring”. But I disagree. I think because of that they’re super exciting!

Btw,. I hate pelorics too! 😂
 
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Generally, I dislike pelorics. I'm not a fan of "wounded" goldfish freaks originating in Japan, either (bubble eye, ryukin, and the like), but that's a matter of preference, so as far as I'm concerned, it's up the the individual to decide for himself.

That said, I believe it is wise to have a plan in breeding, rather than a willy-nilly shotgun approach. Hybridizing takes time, money and space. Unless you have an unlimited supply of all three, you're wasting them.

I've had growers say that "I only keep a few flasks", but if that's the case, you're throwing away the opportunity to see the potential unique features Dustin mentioned in some of the seedlings you didn't grow out.

Let us not forget that Bil Thoms specifically registered his cross of C. velutina x E. codigera as Epc. Never Remake This, as every flower was apparently grotesque.

Yeah - pelorics to me have an actively flawed trait...but I guess depending on how you look at it, that's also what alba, splash colour, and harlequins are too. Regardless, I get that there are people who like 'em, so all the power to them. They just won't ever be part of my breeding projects.

Breeding for sure takes all of those things (time/space/money); I'm seeing this myself first hand, growing dozens of crosses in an 850sqft apartment. But, there are strategies a person can apply to be more effective when it comes to conserving time & space. For example, keeping community pots into later growth or (this applies to people doing their own lab work), adjust the flask nutrient media to speed up or slow down progress of seedlings and stagger your crops. I have crosses that have flowered and I still have mother flasks of the grex; that means a person can test a small lot to evaluate the flowers without having to grow out hundreds of plants and if the outcome is worth further investing in, they can—or they can start second generation crosses with the plants that flowered. And if not...cull aggressively.

In the case of Bil's cross - that's a funny name! I would love to have seen "Never Remake This", but I couldn't find photos online. My bet would be that both species imparted weird dominant traits that resulted in a consistent outcome that was ugly. Maybe...long, leggy plants with very cupped flowers (based on the parents). But if it were my cross (and I had a vision in the first place), I'd be interested in sib-crossing the first to bloom and then select the most compact growers. Then, see if you can find one or two with flat-ish flowers. I would bet something special could be found there (if a person was willing to invest a bit of time). I could be wrong though...maybe it's just some aneuploid mess or something.
 
I think this post is extremely interesting! Especially your part about dog breeding! As I used to be a dog breeder myself. I found genetics to be so endlessly fascinating.

When breeding dogs, there’s obviously a much faster turn around time! Than with Paphs! Haha. And because of this I’m finding I have to learn patience. Paphs are so slow growing that I find them not rewarding at all. My Phals show pretty much within a couple of weeks whether they’re happy or not happy. They either kind of slump or they start a new root or leaf. My Paphs are just soooooo slow. Lol

I’m interested in breeding but I’m just really trying to learn patience first!

I know everyone says Phals have been hybridized to death and it’s “boring”. But I disagree. I think because of that they’re super exciting!

Btw,. I hate pelorics too! 😂
Dog breeding to me shows the possibilities with focus and vision. And while you're right, Paphs are INSANELY SLOW, we have something working in our favour: volume, inbreeding ("line breeding"), and selfings. With animals, I'm sure you have to tread carefully or you end up with really horrific outcomes. With plants though...you can accelerate trait selection by doing things you can't do with animals. And if they all suck...throw them out (the plants, not the dogs). We attach value to orchids because of what we invest in them, but at the end of the day they're just lettuce with good PR. Do you think twice about the wilted lettuce you toss from the crisper drawer?

Back to paph care though...I agree, a test of patience. BUT!!! Once you figure out how to grow "the type" (multiflorals vs. maudiae), then they're very predictable and consistent. That has been their saving grace for me...they do well when given consistency and the right water. I stress about my phalaenopsis all the time - they are so "squishy" (easy to kill) susceptible to all sorts of junk (virus, fungus, bacteria, wetness, dryness, heat, cold, etc). My paphs are a dream comparatively...just slow. SO, I hear you on this - the trick is just to buy more paphs so it feels like things are always changing :D
 
I mostly breed for vigor. Given two similar flowers, I always go with the best grower to breed with. They have to bloom and grow well under my sub-optimal conditions. The best breeding is worthless if it doesn't grow and bloom.

And small. For as many multiflorals as I seem to have now, I don't actually have space for them. I like small growers.
 
I'm a professional plant breeder (professional in the sense that it is my career, not that I'm any good), so here's my two cents for what's it worth.

They are your plants, so you should be able to do whatever you want with making crosses and the hell with any plan or goal. I might suggest that most people on here suggest to have a goal in mind because you'll get a lot of opportunities to make crosses and they just want to see you get the most success in your efforts.

However, I have occasionally sensed some air in authority about orchid crosses which I think stems from two factors: 1) there's a worry that your "freaks of nature " will pollute the gene pool either intentionally or by accident. Remember, these are slow growing plants, what happens when you are gone? What if they get mislabeled asking the way? 2) the assumption that the best plants that we see will produce the best progeny. There is truth in this, obviously, but I often wondered if the less vigorous plants are simply more inbred. Given a lot of paphs are outcrossing plants by nature, i would expect to see good heterosis and hybrids between two inbreds that are genetically distant.

If I were seriously thinking of breeding paphs, and more importantly, expected to have a very long life and career, I would focus on selling the best plants and trying to maximize trait differences among the inbreds. For example, focus on flower count (regardless of size) in the female and flower size (regardless of count) in the male.

This breeding strategy might benefit the consumer as well. I know I've been disappointed not being able to purchase nursery stud plants (or those nice big plants in the back of the greenhouse) and simply hope that I win the genetic lottery. If a breeder were to focus on max difference in inbred parents, the parents themselves would never win awards, but rather the progeny they produce and give to the consumer will have a high percentage of nice plants.

Anyways just my thoughts.
 
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I'm a professional plant breeder (professional in the sense that it is my career, not that I'm any good), so here's my two cents for what's it worth.

There are your plants, so you should be able to do whatever you want with making crosses and the hell with any plan or goal. I might suggest that most people on here suggest to have a goal in mind because you'll get a lot of opportunities to make crosses and they just want to see you get the most success in your efforts.

However, I have occasionally sensed some air in authority about orchid crosses which I think stems from two factors: 1) there's a worry that your "freaks of nature " will pollute the gene pool either intentionally or by accident. Remember, these are slow growing plants, what happens when you are gone? What if they get mislabeled asking the way? 2) the assumption that the best plants that we see will produce the best progeny. There is truth in this, obviously, but I often wondered if the less vigorous plants are simply more inbred. Given a lot of paphs are outcrossing plants by nature, i would expect to see good heterosis and hybrids between two inbreds that are genetically distant.

If I were seriously thinking of breeding paphs, and more importantly, expected to have a very long life and career, I would focus on selling the best plants and trying to maximize trait differences among the inbreds. For example, focus on flower count (regardless of size) in the female and flower size (regardless of count) in the male.

This breeding strategy might benefit the consumer as well. I know I've been disappointed not being able to purchase nursery stud plants (or those nice big plants in the back of the greenhouse) and simply hope that I win the genetic lottery. If a breeder were to focus on max difference in inbred parents, the parents themselves would never win awards, but rather the progeny they produce and give to the consumer will have a high percentage of nice plants.

Anyways just my thoughts.
Thanks for the thoughtful reply. It's awesome that you've turned your interest in plants into a career—I've gotten close to that edge, but never made the leap.

You bring up a lot of good points and I appreciate this the most, "do whatever you want with making crosses and the hell with any plan or goal." That's what I feel too.

What you say about "freaks of nature" is interesting too—I think somewhat oddities are expected when you start mashing together genes, BUT if you pull the next generation back toward gene familiarity, those issues can be corrected...maybe? For example, I have this paph that is an intersectional hybrid of 3 sections: Cochlopetalum, Polyantha, and Paphiopedilum - that's a lot of variation from a gene perspective. The result is kind of funky too: first flower is always a goof—the lip is crushed and the flower looks dumb, but the next flowers that open are always good. I believe it's related to too many "mixed messages" (bloom sequentially, bloom multiple flowers at once, bloom only one flower) and it results in a jam-up of the first flower. I'm 97% sure most breeders wouldn't use this plant for a "next generation"...however, it's a great plant to grow. Very compact (3" leaves), flowers 2-3 times per year, and is easy to grow. Soooo heck yes I made a cross with it using only Polyantha - My hope is that the "mixed messages" even out in the progeny, as some of the genetics re-align. One of the parents is my dark philippinense so I'm excited to see the outcome.

Anyways, I hear you about concern for others - at this point if I can maintain flowering within 3-5 years from seed sowing, then it's not that much of an investment. I don't sell plants - mostly give them to friends or cull the bad ones, and above all it's well worth the learning experience (and mental health it also provides?)
 

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