The first step is to pick your female parent plant,
and cut off the male parts on one of its flowers before pollen
has begun to appear. Then you’ll need a male parent plant
with lots of pollen. You can cut off the entire flower from the
male parent and simply dust it against the pistils of your chosen
mother—or you can transfer the pollen with a soft paintbrush.
Hybridists will traditionally cover the mother plant with a paper
bag to prevent any other pollen from bastardizing the flower. Bagging
the bloom also makes it easier to collect the seeds when the flower
has matured. A most important step, often neglected by amateurs,
is to label the stem of the pollinated flower with the names of
both parents. Tie-on tin or copper labels will hold up the best,
and you can use the same label to mark the flat where you grow
the resulting seeds.
Other garden flowers easy to hybridize are daylilies, true lilies,
and roses. Rayford Reddell’s book Growing Good Roses has
a very easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide to producing rose hybrids
Will fame and fortune follow? Just keep in mind that professional
rose growers often do 100,000 crosses before they wind up with a
hybrid worth offering for sale.