Buddy Pollinates..... by Buddy Short

Paul Buddy Short is an experienced hibiscus grower, an active member of the National American Hibiscus Society and the local Mike Bernard Acadiana Hibiscus Chapter.  This section is compliments of Buddy Short

(Click on any photo to see an enlarged version)

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1....determine what will bloom today and what combinations are desirable. (Special note should be taken that experience will teach you which flowers are better on either or both sides of the hybridizing process.)
2...selecting a combination that is desirable.
3...spreading the pollen on those stigma pads.
4...the pollination was successful and has created a pod. Note the label that is attached the stem.
5...the matured pod. Normally with some heat a pod should mature in 45 - 60 days.
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6...the pod is harvested and the fresh seeds are exposed.
7...samples of Seed Starter mix and Vermiculite
8...those fresh seeds were immediately planted in seed starter mix at a depth of 1/4 inch and covered with Vermiculite. The spray mist bottle is now used to gently water in those seeds.
9...in this case these seeds germinated in about 5 days. The small pots sit in indirect sunlight and are warmed by the morning sun. Some heat is essential.
10....once they have reached aproximately 1 to 2 inches they are moved to individual 4 inch pots. At this stage I am using a 1/2 strength application of water soluble fertilizer.
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11...at approximately 4 inches they are repotted to 1 gallons and moved outside to gradually take advantage of the days sunshine. The key word is "gradually."
12...they start to mature. At this point I am treating them like any other plant and they are receiving my normal fertilizing and other maintemance procedures.
13...the plant is now mature enough to produce buds. This could take 6 to 9 months in warmer climates or much longer in areas where temperatures are harder to predict.
14...the excitement of your first bloom. Don't call the newspaper yet.
15...your first bloom fully opens and the wait has all been worthwhile. She's a keeper. Congratulations! Now, you can call the newspaper.
One final comment to remember......every beautiful hibiscus you see and desire started exactly this way. Maybe through your own hybridizing efforts you might be the one who creates the next Hibiscus of the Year.  You never know for sure!