Colourful long-petalled Phrags?

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Vox

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Dear guys,
looking for a nice red or reddish long-petalled Phrag I found out that there are hardly any suitable crossings.
I only see Phrag. Super Rubies and Ruby slippers as besseae-crossings with humboldti or caudatum and Ingrid Portilla as kovachii x warszewiczianum. These three are available with Ecuagenera. In Bluenanta I realize that there are offsprings of both Rubies, but the only backcrossing seems to be Phrag. Cahaba Phyllis Bailey, which is Phrag. warszewiczianum x Super Rubies. Very few times I saw pictures here in this forum, it seems to be a quite long petalled, reddish multifloral Phrag., really nice and unique.
Strangely enough that I never saw that hybrid offered here in Germany. I asked Franz Glanz for long-petalled besseae hybrids, but he had none and seemed not to be interested.
I would think that there should be a market for colourful long-petals. I have the impression nurseries are making kovachii-crosses with everything that's not cleared out in a minute, there is also a strong tradition with besseae-hybrids. But why there are so few crossings of those with the long-petalled? Are they difficult to cross? Are there problems with growing them?
Thanks for giving me a few pointers,
Volker
 

Linus_Cello

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I think part of the issue is size. Many of the long petalled phrags species (and PK) are relatively large plants, so the extra space needed may cut in to profit margins.
 

Vox

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Thanks. Yes, maybe that's a reason. On the other hand, there are quite small humboldtii types available. Those I got from Ecuador are not huge, crossing them with besseae and them backcrossing it shall give moderate sized Phrags.
 

mrhappyrotter

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I have mostly only ever grown colorful long petaled Phrag hybrids involving besseae & dalessandroi as the micropetalum component. I'm not a big fan of the pink/purple hybrids, so I don't tend to go for the schlimii-group and kovachii long petalled hybrids. Now, there are obviously dozens and dozens, if not hundreds, of these types of hybrids, so it's important to note that many generalizations I'm going to mention won't apply to each and every one of these. But in my experience, this group tends to have some drawbacks that limit my interest in them.

For one, they have proven to be much tricker to grow and slower growing than the typical Phrag hybrid. They seem to be picky about moisture levels. They are prone to rot if you grow them too wet, but then they will show signs of vascular stress if they are allowed to get the slightest bit too dry. On top of that, many of the besseae inspired hybrids are climbers, which makes the watering situation even tricker, but also makes it harder to find room for them under lights.

In terms of the flowers, it seems like the flower quality is really hit or miss, mostly miss. For instance, if you get a flask of these, there may be a few that are really nice, but the rest are anywhere from regrettable to uninspiring. The flowers tend to have issues like asymmetrical petal twisting, petal edges curled or crinkled, floppy dorsal sepal, and a variety of other aesthetic problems. Anything with less than 50% besseae/dalessandroi tends to produce a whole lot of pink flowered individuals, with red/orange individuals being the very limited minority. Additionally, the flowering period seems to be short, since these often have only a handful of flowers at most, while at the same time, it seems like a lot of these plants take longer than a year to grow and mature before they can bloom, so you can't even count on annual bloomings.

I've also read and heard that the fertility rates and flasking success on these types of hybrids tends to be on the low side. So, if there's a tendency for low yield, slow growing / slow to mature plants, plants that tend to have drawbacks for growers that might limit demand -- that seems like it might explain why they aren't more popular. Of course, at the end of the day, like everything in this hobby, things are subject to fads. Right now colorful long petaled hybrids aren't the most common, but who knows, in a few years it could very well be the hot new thing that everybody is scrambling to get their hands on.
 

Vox

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Thanks a lot for replies and special thanks to mrhappyrotter for your explanations. You show a lot of reasons for breader's lack of interest in those crossings. Indeed the only Phrag rotted with me by to much water was a Ruby Slippers. Slowness and complications are good reasons to avoid such crossings, and poorness of flowers is even a better reason. So I'm not surprised to hear these critics about this type of crossings.
I don't like pink Phrags to much, but, out of pure interest, I now ordered an Ingrid Portilla (kovachii x warszewiczianum), although I heard that this hybrid shall be a reluctant bloomer. I saw different pictures of this crossing, some of which were aesthetic, others looked like pinkish roly-polies (hope this funny word is the right one) with long ears.

In this case I'm not sure if I should keep it as wet as I do it with besseaes or drier like I do it with warszewiczianum.
 
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