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Why Cross Anthuriums? And what it means to hybridize for desirable characteristics

Updated: Feb 23

The short answer to this is : "It's fun!" But also because you literally never know what you're going to get, and sometimes, just sometimes, you get exactly what you wanted.

Frequently it's just an adventure, and I am hoping for mutations, weirdos, cool variegation, etc. Other times I am really hoping to get the most desirable traits, for my personal taste, and needs. For example I am a huge fan of dark velvety anthurium leaves and I love big lobes. Good examples of this are my Ace Of Spades, see its' beautiful dark blade in full sun below, and my Papillilaminum, possibly my favorite lobes in the entire collection.

Ace Of Spades Dark Form (Tezula) bought from Bill Rotolante

Anthurium Papillilaminum, about two years old

Crossing these two has produced many stunning seedlings but my favorite ones are super dark and have large bunny-ear lobes. Again that is a personal preference. And I should note that my Ace has pretty handsome lobes too!

All three of the above photos are Papillilaminum x Ace of Spades from the same batch. Second and third photo are of the same plant. A good number of seedlings looks a lot more like my Ace but these are my favorites!

Similarly I have a preference for anthuriums with shorter petioles. Now in this case it's not esthetics, rather I am thinking of my customers who are space constrained, and grow their plants in Ikea type cabinets, smaller tents and similar. Good example of this is my Anthurium Doc Block F2, one of my favorite plants. It has incredible red emergents, very large and dark blades, beautiful contrasting veins on a fully hardened off leaf and is incredibly vigorous and pest resistant. In fact for the last year it's sort of been fending for itself, and the only thing that seems to "bother" it once in a while is a weedwacker. My only "complaint" about it is that it's massive. ironically that's also what I love the most about it. And yes it's a mature plant with a huge rootball, but in addition to very large blades it has rather long petioles. So you see, if you were growing in a small tent or a cabinet this could be an issue. This is why I enjoyed crossing this beast with Luxurians for example. My Lux grows beautifully large leaves but has lovely, frilly, and most importantly short petioles. Resulting seedlings have bullate texture of Lux, some more then others, and about 90% of them have "perfect length" petioles. Emerging blades are uniformly red, as per both parents. Hardened off leaves shift to significantly darker than Luxurians and closer to Doc Block but with a lovely oil slick blue sheen. Literally all of the seedlings are robust, and pest resistant, they outgrew their 2" pots very quickly.

Anthurium Doc Block F2

Anthurium Luxurians

Dock Block F2 x Luxurians Seedlings

My hope is that above may explain, in rather simple terms, what growers mean by "hybridizing or breeding for desirable characteristics" or why would one even wish to do so.

xx M


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