Understanding plant seeds: F1 hybrids vs open-pollinated varieties

Collection of T&M seed packets

Picture: T&M

Most gardeners take large satisfaction in elevating fruit, greens, vegetation and flowers from seed. On this planet of horticulture, two foremost sorts are sometimes mentioned: F1 hybrid seeds and open-pollinated seeds. That can assist you make a totally knowledgeable alternative, we requested allotmenteer Rob Smith to clarify the distinction. Right here’s what he stated…

Within the meantime, when you’re on the lookout for new concepts to strive, browse our full vary of seeds for inspiration.

F1 hybrid seeds: precision and uniformity

Closeup of red pink and orange geraniums

Bred to be climate tolerant and vigorous, this pelargonium flowers all summer season
Picture: Geranium ‘Jackpot Combined’ F1 Hybrid from Thompson & Morgan

F1 hybrid seeds are the results of managed cross-pollination between two totally different guardian vegetation which were fastidiously chosen for his or her fascinating traits. This course of, carried out by skilled breeders, goals to supply offspring that exhibit a mix of the mother and father’ greatest traits. The ensuing F1 hybrids are identified for his or her superior vigour, uniformity, and infrequently, enhanced resistance to illnesses and pests.

The time period ‘F1’ stands for ‘first filial technology’, indicating the primary technology of vegetation produced from the parental cross. These seeds have a tendency to supply vegetation which can be extra uniform in look and efficiency than these grown from open-pollinated seeds. They’re particularly bred to enhance yield, dimension, and typically, the plant’s skill to face up to transport and dealing with, making them a preferred alternative for industrial growers and people searching for consistency of their backyard.

Nonetheless, F1 hybrid seeds have one notable downside: they don’t produce seeds that reliably “come true to kind.” Which means that, when you save seeds from an F1 hybrid plant, the subsequent technology of vegetation will seemingly exhibit a variety of traits, typically not resembling the guardian plant.

Open-pollinated seeds: range and sustainability

Closeup of broad bean with red flowers

This heritage bean has gorgeous flowers and a scrumptious flavour
Picture: Broad Bean ‘Crimson Flowered’ seeds from Thompson & Morgan

Open-pollinated (OP) seeds come from vegetation which can be pollinated naturally, by means of wind, bugs, birds, or different pure mechanisms. Not like F1 hybrids, open-pollinated vegetation are extra genetically various, offering a better variation in traits reminiscent of dimension, color and style. This range will be helpful, because it permits vegetation to adapt to native rising situations and challenges over time.

One of the vital important benefits of open-pollinated seeds is that they “come true to kind” when saved and replanted. This implies gardeners can save seeds from their greatest vegetation annually, step by step growing varieties which can be uniquely suited to their particular micro-environment. This is a superb approach to help biodiversity, resilience and sustainability in gardening and farming.

Open-pollinated varieties are sometimes heirlooms, with seeds which were handed down for generations. These varieties are cherished for his or her distinctive flavours, colors and histories, providing a particular connection to the previous and a counterpoint to the uniformity of business agriculture.

The selection is yours

T&M retail stand with seed packets

There are such a lot of seeds from which to decide on
Picture: T&M

Each F1 hybrid and open-pollinated seeds have their locations in fashionable gardening and agriculture.

F1 hybrids provide consistency, vigour, and infrequently, larger yields, making them appropriate for gardeners and farmers who prioritise these traits. Alternatively, open-pollinated seeds provide genetic range, adaptability, and the chance for seed saving and sharing, interesting to those that worth sustainability and heirloom varieties.

When selecting seeds from Thompson & Morgan, do not forget that F1 hybrid seeds are clearly labelled as such on every seed packet, whereas these not marked as ‘F1’ are sometimes open-pollinated. This could assist you to make knowledgeable selections and fill your seed tins with the suitable varieties in your allotment or backyard.

We hope Rob’s rationalization has been useful. In case you’re on the lookout for extra info, our seed sowing information covers all the things from germination recommendation by means of to hardening off and planting out. We additionally publish a full listing of precisely which seeds to sow now to be sure to benefit from each alternative to get sowing!

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