Can You Save Seeds From Hybrid Crops? – Tiny Backyard Behavior

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So that you determined you wished to attempt saving seeds. You adopted all of the steps, saved the seeds correctly, and planted them within the backyard come springtime. 

However, when your saved seeds lastly reached maturity, the vegetation appeared nothing just like the vegetation you grew final yr. What occurred? Effectively, you in all probability saved seeds from a hybrid plant.

Sure, it can save you seeds from hybrid vegetation. However, seemingly, they received’t develop true to sort within the subsequent season leaving you with a plant that you simply in all probability weren’t anticipating.

Understanding plant breeding and hybridization could be a bit complicated as a result of it’s so advanced. However don’t fear! This text will break it down for you in order that it’s a lot simpler to grasp. 

What are hybrid vegetation?

Hybrid vegetation are these which were bred for particular traits by means of the cross-pollination of various varieties. Hybrids have a tendency to provide greater yields and be extra disease-resistant.

Nearly all backyard crops have hybrid varieties obtainable. You’ve in all probability seen in your seed packets or in seed catalogs the image F1. This tells you that these seeds are hybrids. F1 merely means “first technology”.

You could be questioning the place this primary technology comes from. Effectively, seed breeders will oftentimes create hybrid seeds in isolation or within a greenhouse. This helps to forestall any likelihood of cross-pollination from different, non-desired varieties. 

Right here’s a primary instance of how an F1 seed can be developed:

Within the greenhouse, one number of pepper with fascinating traits can be used to pollinate one other pepper selection with fascinating traits. The now cross-pollinated second pepper selection would produce seeds that carry the fascinating traits from each varieties.

The ensuing seeds are the primary technology of this hybridization. Thus, you’ve your F1 seeds.

Heirloom vegetation

The alternate options to hybrid vegetation are heirloom vegetation. An heirloom plant has not modified for a lot of generations and has remained true to sort all through the years. Heirloom varieties will be tons of of years outdated!

When you’re a newbie at seed saving, these are the vegetation you’ll need to save seeds from. That method you understand what to anticipate if you plant them within the subsequent season. Listed below are some articles to assist get you began in your seed-saving journey. 

Are you able to save seeds from hybrid vegetation?

The brief reply is sure, it can save you seeds from hybrid vegetation. However don’t be stunned if these seeds develop into one thing you weren’t anticipating. Crops grown from saved hybrid seeds are inclined to not develop true to sort. 

Which means seeds saved from hybrid vegetation might seem like any mixture of the earlier three vegetation, the 2 cross-pollinated mother and father and the hybrid offspring. 

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That being stated, in case you had been to save lots of seeds out of your hybrid plant yearly for a few years and stored replanting the subsequent technology, the hybrid would ultimately stabilize and turn into an heirloom selection. 

Though, it might probably take tons of of generations for a hybrid to stabilize so there’s a very good likelihood it might not even occur in your lifetime. 

Some hybrid vegetation are even bred to be seedless (suppose seedless watermelon or seedless grapes). Whereas these fruits usually are not fully seedless, the very tiny and undeveloped seeds inside are seemingly not viable and wouldn’t develop in any respect. 

Creating your personal hybrid seeds

Hybridization is one thing that may additionally happen naturally in your backyard attributable to cross-pollination amongst your vegetation. When you’re rising totally different styles of the identical crop close to one another, there’s a very good likelihood that they are going to cross-pollinate with the assistance of pollinators and the wind. 

When you suppose cross-pollination has occurred in your backyard, it is likely to be enjoyable to save lots of the seeds and plant them within the subsequent yr to see what they created. 

I had some summer time squash that I believed had crossed with a few of my winter squash and I made a decision to save lots of the seeds anyway. I planted them the subsequent yr and ended up with not-so-edible winter squash. 

I couldn’t let you know what two varieties crossed to create this hybrid as a result of I wasn’t paying that shut of consideration to the pollination occurring. However, I ended up utilizing this squash as a decorative on my porch within the fall and grew to love it. 

All of this to say, it may be thrilling to fiddle with cross-pollinating totally different varieties in your backyard to see what you find yourself with the subsequent season.

Professionals and cons of rising hybrid seeds

As I discussed earlier than, hybrids are created to pick out for sure fascinating traits. Excessive yields and illness resistance are simply two of these traits. 

Different fascinating traits embrace:

  • Insect resistance
  • Coloration choice
  • Bigger fruit or leaf sizes
  • Fast maturation

However, it’s additionally vital to say the drawbacks of hybrids as properly. Hybrid seeds are usually dearer due to how a lot work goes into creating these varieties. 

Taste high quality may also be misplaced in hybridization. I’m positive we’re all aware of how way more flavorful an heirloom tomato is than a non-heirloom selection. The distinction is critical. In fact, this doesn’t imply that meals from hybrid crops isn’t scrumptious. The flavour profile is simply totally different. 

When you can, I like to recommend rising each heirloom and hybrid vegetation in your backyard so you’ll be able to resolve what your preferences are and what grows the perfect in your area. 

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What vegetation develop higher as hybrids?

Whereas I develop loads of heirloom vegetation in my backyard, there are some veggies that I simply want to develop as hybrids to make my life simpler. Listed below are a few of them:


Rising tomatoes will be tough as a result of they require numerous consideration and take a very long time to develop and produce fruit. 

Lots of people need to develop heirloom tomatoes as a result of they’re much extra flavorful than hybrid tomatoes. However, heirloom tomatoes can rapidly be misplaced to ailments like tomato blight. 

Rising a hybrid selection like Cherokee Carbon is my resolution to this concern. This selection is a cross between two heirloom varieties, Cherokee Purple and Carbon. It nonetheless has that heirloom look and taste however can be way more resilient than its particular person heirloom varieties. 


Most corn in the marketplace lately are hybrid varieties. By rising hybrid corn in my backyard, I get a lot greater yields than I’d from rising heirloom selection corn. 

Some hybrid corn varieties are additionally bred to have stronger stalks, making them much less prone to fall over attributable to robust winds. Varieties like Enchanted or Packout have been favorites in my backyard. 

Summer season squash

Summer season squash is already a high-yielding plant however you’ll be able to by no means have sufficient I say. I particularly like rising hybrid summer time squash varieties as a result of they have a tendency to have resistance to frequent squash ailments like powdery mildew and mosaic virus. 

Some hybrid squash varieties are additionally bred to be extra compact and take up much less area in your backyard which makes them simpler for harvesting. Varieties that I’ve grown embrace Spineless Perfection, Pantheon, and Zephyr.


An issue that individuals typically run into when rising spinach is how rapidly it bolts. Spinach shouldn’t be warmth tolerant and can begin to bolt as quickly because the climate will get too heat. As soon as the spinach has bolted, it tastes very bitter. 

A number of hybrid spinach varieties are bred to be gradual bolting, providing you with extra time to reap. Some varieties that I’ve had success with are Flamingo, Emperor, and Lizard.

Why is seed saving vital?

To me, seed saving is step one in direction of self-sufficiency and helps to construct a resilient meals system inside communities. It’s one thing I’m very obsessed with and need extra individuals would do. 

A number of locations in my space have arrange native seed banks the place individuals can donate their very own saved seeds for others to make use of of their gardens. It’s an superior system that has confirmed to be a great way for individuals to share their abundance with others. 

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Seed saving additionally saves you cash. When you do it proper, you received’t have to purchase new seeds yearly. This is the reason it’s vital to develop a mixture of hybrid and heirloom varieties in your backyard. That method you’ve some vegetation to save lots of seeds from and a few which can be simply on your rising pleasure. 


Hopefully, this text helped you in understanding slightly about how hybrid seeds work. Understanding the complexities of seed breeding could be a problem, however on the finish of the day, there’s no hurt in saving seeds from hybrid vegetation in case you’re inquisitive about what they might develop into within the subsequent season. 

Simply don’t depend upon these seeds in case you’re in search of them to develop into one thing very particular.

Whereas creating your personal new varieties will be enjoyable, I like to depart that as much as skilled plant breeders. However hey, perhaps you’re extra adventurous than me. In any case, gardening is only one huge science experiment.

Take a look at these must-have gardening merchandise

You don’t want a lot to begin gardening, however some instruments and merchandise will make a distinction in how snug and efficient gardening will be for you. Listed below are my favorites:

  • Backyard Trowel. A great backyard trowel will final you a few years. I really like how sturdy this hand trowel from WOLF-Garten is, the steel doesn’t bend and it has a pleasant grip.
  • Trimming Scissors. I exploit them for delicate pruning and harvesting all summer time lengthy, and so they’re tremendous helpful. These Teflon Trimming Scissors are further good as a result of they don’t rust as simply.
  • Dutch Hoe. Dutch hoes could appear old school, however there’s nothing like a fast sweep by means of the topsoil to do away with small weeds – no bending required. I really like WOLF-Garten’s choice: this dutch hoe coupled with their common deal with.
  • Develop Lights. These develop lights from Mars Hydro are tremendous robust, but dimmable, so that they match each stage of development. They don’t put out an excessive amount of warmth and are very economical.
  • Seedling Trays. There’s an artwork to selecting the perfect measurement for seedling trays in order that it holds the proper quantity of water and provides the roots sufficient room to develop. These germination plugs are excellent when coupled with 1020 backside trays. 
  • Liquid Fertilizer. You’ll have to feed your vegetation from the seedling stage, all the way in which to fruiting. This natural fish & seaweed mix is a really versatile choice. Use it half-strength for younger vegetation and full-strength for established vegetation.

Browse our checklist of instruments, fertilizers & pesticides, indoor rising merchandise and seed store suggestions – we hope you discover our choice helpful and it saves you a while!