I decided to switch to English in this breeding subsection of our website because there is little interest towards rhododendron and rose hybridization in Finland. However, there are a few relatively active amateur rhododendron
hybridizers within the Finnish Rhododendron Society, see here for more information.
In the previous post I listed most of the crosses
I have done in the past five years. This year I largely skipped pollinations altogether due to the large number of seedlings from previous year's sowings and limited space and time. I did only one hand pollination, Mauritz x R. thomsonii. I visited Copenhagen
botanic garden in May and a few anthers from this stunning fiery red-flowered species R. thomsonii slipped into my pocket. I decided to use the pollen on the Finnish hybrid Mauritz, a red-flowered low growing clone from the cross R. brachycarpum var. tigerstedtii
x R. forrestii, or similar. I got a good crop of seeds and sowed them today. Other seeds that I sowed today, from my own older crosses or gotten as presents from elsewhere:
R. planetum OP (from CPH botanic garden)
R. mucronulatum 'Cheiju' OP (from CPH botanic garden)
R. brachycarpum var tigerstedtii x R. auriculatum SELF (from Bengt Carlsson, Sweden)
Mikkeli x Katherine Dalton (cross by OW)
Mikkeli x May Moonlight (cross by OW)
P.M.A. Tigerstedt x R. sinogrande (pollen from Rhododendron Species Foundation)
R. planetum was unkown to me but it's striking glaucous foliage and huge seed pods caught my attention. The bvt x auriculatum seeds I have sown in many batches in the past few years. Germination is always good but the seedling fail to thrive. Only
a few seedlings from each batch have survived the first summer. Then the surviving ones have proven very susceptible to fungal disease during wintering in my basement, where I keep most rhododendron seedlings over their first two winters without problem. Maybe
self pollination is the reason for lack of vigour? The R. sinogrande cross I have sown previously and I have 3 or 4 good seedlings about 15 cm in height. Judging from the proportionally very large leaves they are true hybrids. It will be very interesting
to follow their development.