Short notes on breeding using botanical species to produce innovative ornamental products

F. Sapia
In nature, each species has to successfully grow in its ecosystem. Taken into account the possible ornamental value and the environment in which a species must survive, it is sometimes possible to improve an existing ornamental product or to create a new one through the use of wild species. In this short note, we will disclose the story of some breeding programs carried out at our company with the use of botanical species. In the case of potted Dianthus, the use of Dianthus alpinus in the breeding program produced new cultivars with good shooting, faster growth, and resistance to water stress and frost. In the genus Iberis, the breeding between Iberis sempervirens and Iberis saxatilis generated a pot plant suitable for winter flowering with good resistance to pests and cold. Both these species are common in the Alps between 1200 and 1800 m a.s.l.; to be competitive in their ecosystem, these species must grow at low temperatures and have a huge flowering to get enough seeds for reproduction. The flower size and the number of flowers per stem were improved through breeding to have an ornamental impact and to elongate the flowering period. Lastly, we will consider a genus that is typical of several regions of Italy and other seaside Mediterranean countries, the Helichrysum. Its silvery leaves, fast growth, and drought resistance were used in a breeding program to develop garden cultivars suitable for landscaping and borders.
Sapia, F. (2023). Short notes on breeding using botanical species to produce innovative ornamental products. Acta Hortic. 1383, 27-36
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2023.1383.4
breeding, interspecific, Dianthus, Iberis, Helichrysum

Acta Horticulturae