By Christo Lötter
1. Better Yellows
Should you wish to breed better yellows, you will have to look for an orange plant with more than the usual amount of yellow pigment in its mesophyll. This can best be evaluated by looking at the throat of the flower. This selected plant must be used as the ovary parent. For a pollen parent, select your best yellow as far as size and shape is concerned.
The next step is to select about four of your F1 generation (usually the most vigorous). When these are in bloom, you can either do a sibling cross or you can again use your best yellow as a pollen parent. If you do the sibling cross, you will get 25% yellow seedlings; should you use a yellow as the pollen parent, you will get 50% yellow seedlings. All these yellows will have as much yellow pigment as in the original orange ovary parent.
2. Broad-leafed Yellows
As an ovary parent you may select any good broad leaf, e.g. Daruma or Belgian Hybrid. As a pollen parent it is advisable to select your best yellow as far as shape and size of the flowers are concerned. Proceed as above bearing in mind that the F1 generation should serve as ovary parents. Should you do a sibling crossing, you will get more broad leaves and less yellows (25%) but some of these yellows will have broad leaves (as broad as the original ovary parent).
If you are fortunate enough to have a variegated Daruma, follow the instructions as for breeding yellow broad leaves, but do the sibling cross only. Let me explain. When you do sibling crosses you can do them reciprocally, therefore, even if you get only 25% yellow variegated broad leaves, you will have more seed at your disposal and the broad-leafed orange plants will still be as good (even better) than the original ovary parent.
3. Variegated yellows
Always use your best variegated plant as an ovary parent. As pollen parent use your best yellow. Proceed as above, bearing in mind to use only the best variegated F1 plants as ovary parents. The pollen parent may show little variegation but may have a superior flower. Do not hesitate to use this plant!
I have a scientific background, but I have tried to explain in plain language, otherwise I will have the complaint: “Its all Greek to me!”