The beauty of Hybrids

Tulips

SOUTHERN CAPE NEWS  - There are gardeners all around the world who know the joy of growing beautiful bulbs.

Throughout all the continents of the globe you will find enthusiastic bulb-lovers with gardens full of gorgeous blooms.

One of the reasons so many of us can plant such a stunning array of bulbs is due to the clever use of hybridisation. Some of the most wonderful bulb varieties in the world would not succeed in our gardens if it were not for the clever production of hybrids.

Tulips and lilies are just two examples of popular bulbs that are extensively hybridised around the world. A hybrid is first created by genetically 'crossing' two different species. These two 'parent' bulbs are almost always part of the same genus. A perfect example is the lovely Lilium L.A. hybrid. This magnificent lily is produced when Lilium asiaticum is bred with Lilium longiflorum. In this case, the description 'L.A.' refers to any cross between these two species.

It is interesting to note that a hybrid is only a hybrid if two different parent types are used. If the two parent bulbs are from the same species then the offspring will be a close replica of the parent, and you will usually only see slight differences. However, if these differences are distinct from the original species then the resulting offspring is a sport and can be selected out as a variety.

Well, that is the clever science part, but what we are most interested in is the benefits hybrids bring to our garden!
Deliberate hybridisation (it can occur naturally as well) is carried out in order to produce plants with the very best characteristics for human cultivation and appreciation. Lilies, for example, used to be rare, fussy, and difficult to grow.

It was through the effort of hybridisation that we now have the dependable Lilium bulbs we love. Lilies are one of the most popular bulbs in the world and producers always strive to provide us with a lovely and expansive range of Lilium to choose from. This genetic combination certainly makes for an incredible display in your garden.

Through hybridisation we have the most wonderful array of bulbs that are both easy-to-grow and give us spectacular blooms. It is hard to overlook the beauty of hybrids!


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