Hybridizing stone fruits

That is a good question, and I really don’t know the answer? I crossed Indian Free as the tree is not self fertile, so that made it easier to supply pollen to the IF ovaries. No chance of self pollination. I also crossed an red and yellow raspberry together, and choose the yellow for no particular reason to receive the pollen.

Yeah this is going to be fun! This year the birds dropped lot’s of my bramble seed all over the garden and I have volunteers all over. I’m saving a few as they might result in a better raspberry, blackberry, or raspberry-blackberry hybrid. Some look rather strange, curious as to what turns out.
Flavor King is an awesome fruit, crossed with a cherry would be something superb! I need a dark sweet cherry!

So far most of my efforts have been on apples, though I have some berry seedlings growing (black currant and what looks like a purple raspberry seedling planted by birds.

Mixing cherry with others sounds like a great idea. Is it possible to cross it with euro plums?

We may have to do a lot of crosses and hope one takes, and that seeds are not sterile. Chances are slim really for either cross, but I’m trying anyway. With a euro plums sounds interesting too!


You probably have to make a bridge cross in order to cross them with cherries. A bridge cross consists of crossing an European plum with a Japanese cross, then crossing the J x E hybrid with a cherry. Then if you want to have a plum x cherry hybrid with more European traits, you have to cross the plum x cherry hybrid back to an European plum.

Next year, I will cross my Mariposa plum x Myrobalan plum hybrid with a Raineer cherry. Then I will re-cross the plumerry with a burgundy Plum.

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That sounds like an excellent idea. You have got all the good traits there. Good luck.


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Speaking of Flavor King pluot, I believe it also includes peach in its parentage. According to DWN, Geo Pride pluot is a plum x apricot x peach cross. And according to both patents, Flavor King and Geo Pride pluots both share the same parents. So that’s what makes Flavor King pluot so delicious, it’s peach parentage?

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For those cherry enthusiasts, what would be the best cherry variety to hybridize it with a plum?


Have any of your hybrids produced fruit?

My peacharine, plumcot, and Chocolate Jewel plum produced a few fruit this year, but a late frost wiped them all.

Next year, they will be in full bloom.

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Hope they all do well net season. You have me excited to see your results/fruit.


For what it’s worth, European plums are Prunus domestica and are hexaploid, 6x chromosomes. Asian plums Prunus salicina, and myrobalan plums, Prunus cerasifera, are diploid, with 2x chromosomes. Prunus domestica is thought to be a hybrid of Prunus spinosa, 4x, with Prunus cerasifera, 2x. Such a hybrid between plants with different chromosomal numbers is less common than plants with compatible chromosome numbers.

So, it’s a long shot to get a hybrid between hexaploid European plums, and diploid Asian plums. I’m assuming *P. simonii,*and P.americana are also diploid since hybridization among these and P. salicina appears relatively straightforward.

I am not expert on this and welcome correction and further information. I will look for some info on other stone fruit, but first guess is most are diploid 2x.


After this reply I found an article stating sweet cherries, P. avium, are diploid 2x, while sour cherries, P. cerasus, are tetraploid 4x. Duke cherries are hybrid between sweet and sour cherries, created from a doubling of the sweet cherry contribution to 4x before hybridization with the sour cherry. So, a hybrid like Nadia would be possible because both the plum and cherry contributions are diploid. A sour cherry would be harder to create a hybrid with an Asian plum.


Excellent info thanks! What about peach trees? Also what about self fertile sweet cherries? They must be tetraploid! As the self fertile gene is from sour cherries. Yet they can pollinate non-self fertile cherries, so maybe not? Of course pollinating and producing viable offspring are two different things! The seeds maybe sterile.
OK, I guess I’m going to use Nadia to pollinate Indian Free, and maybe White Gold. I would rather use a dark sweet cherry, but I don’t have one! Peach must be diploid too as some crosses exist by Zaiger of Asian plum and peach.
Of course using Carmine Jewel a sour cherry would probably not work, although it is not a pure tart cherry. it is crossed with a Mongolian cherry. Chances are it is still tetraploid.

Thanks much for this info!

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If they turn out to be great tasting varieties, I might release them to the members.

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So it seams like we have a few experts here on hybridizing fruits. I have no clue how it’s done but would someone care to give us a quick and dirty general explanation of how you actually hybridize a fruit? Do you cross pollinate two fruits and then grow seedlings from the resultant fruit? Seems like that would take a long time.

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Yes, yes, and yes. Why I’m more interested in brambles.It’s a lot quicker!
Although I like Arctic Glo and I like Indian Free. So a hybrid of them that could possibly ripen in-between them would be perfect for me. So I pollinated Indian Free this year with Arctic Glo pollen. Results should be a peach. If I grow it out and pollinate again with Arctic Glo i could get a nectarine.
Seeds are now planted outside, I decided to let mother nature handle stratification.
I’m naming it Indian Glo peach. I’ll show results in a few years.


Drew thanks for the comment. Plants tolerate changes of ploidy (chromosome number) better than animals. Most of the bearded irises we grow now are tetraploid, and a lot of daylilies. For those, changing from diploid (2n) to tetraploid (2n) is done artificially with a chemical (colchicine) that originates from a plant (Autumn crocus, what my grandfather called “squill”) and is used in humans to treat gout. Colchicine causes a change in the chromosome separate in the plant, which makes the chromosomes stick together in reproduction, so the end result is 4N. There’s an art and science to converting plants to tetrapoloid, and I don’t know how to do it.

I would love to see someone cross more plums with peaches to make the peaches resist leaf curl disease that destroys the trees here in PNW. Or a late blooming plum with Apricots to create apricot trees that don’t bloom early and get killed by the late frosts here. I am curious about whether Neils Hansen accomplished that in the early 1900s with crossing Asian plums or apricot-plums with American plum species to create Hanska, Ember, and other hybrid plums. Crossing a Prunus cerasifera plum with a peach could give a beautiful tree and a burgundy peach plum that has a zingy flavor. Unfortunately, the Dave Wilson / Zaiger PeachPlum “Tri-lite” was a susceptible to leaf curl as any of their peaches and I finally culled it.

Here is a nice brief article about ploidy in prunus species, from USDA. I would say that reading about plum ploidy pleases me, but I won’t. The article states "Prunus is a large, diverse genus with a basic chromosome number x = 8" and relevant to this topic, " from the genetic improvement perspective, the subgenus Amygdalus,to which peaches and almonds belong, and the subgenus Prunus, which includes section Prunophora comprised of diploid Japanese plums and hexaploid European plums and section Armeniacacontaining apricots, are considered to be a single gene pool (Watkins, 1976). The subgenus Cerasus, comprising diploid sweet cherry and tetraploid tart cherry constitutes a distinct group distantly related to the other two subgenera… breeding barriers exist among taxa possessing different ploidy levels, even within the same section, but hybrids are generally successful when both parents have the same ploidy level (Okie and Weinberger, 1996). " So the best bet is to use species with the same number of chromosomes, and that appears to be the case for most, except Euro plums and sour cherries.

Weatherman, I hope I’m not hijacking your topic. It’s interesting to me and maybe this info is helpful. You seem to be the new pioneer on creating prunus hybrids, very impressive.

Drew, I think the self fertile sweet cherries are still diploid, or they wouldn’t pollinate the non-self fertile ones. I could be and often am wrong, however.

Zaigers remove the anthers from their flowers before pollinating them with pollen from other types, to ensure not self pollinating, but if you use changes in leaf color or shape to select progeny, I think that is reassuring the cross pollination occured, like Weatherman has with red leaf progeny on his baby trees. Especially your Indian Free that can’t pollinate itself. I think you are right about peaches being diploid.

Speedster, as an amateur I would use a small paintbrush to collect pollen from one type, and brush the pollen onto the stigma of the other. Such as, brushing on pollen from a red leaf plum, onto a non-red leaf plum or other Prunus. Then you can plant the seeds, and keep only the ones with red leaves. Or, if your female fruit is a peach and you pollinize with a plum, you can select only the seedlings with a wide short leaf - plum - like, that came from the peach. I have genetic dwarf peaches that I used to pollinize “normal” peaches. One seedling looks like a genetic dwarf. We’ll see how it grows out.


So on your Indian Glo seedling would it be possible to top the seedling and graft the wood onto an established tree to speed up the process?

How does pollen parent vs recipient effect the hybridized fruit? You said you pollinated Indian Free with Arctic Glow Pollen. What if you used Indian Free Pollen on Arctic glow. Would you expect a much different seedling?

With crosses like a Nectaplum or a Pluerry how does this work? How can Nectarine Pollen pollinate a plum flower? Considering that often times certain species of plum can’t even pollinate other plum species how can we ever expect a nectarine to pollinate a plum?

Confusing stuff. My mind is melting right now.

Yeah I don’t know? You mentioned Colchicine. I have heard of that. I have a very old book about growing pot that mentions using it. Photos of very strange looking marijuana plants from using the chemical are in that book. Yes you could use it to cross plants for sure.

Yes I do that with brambles. It’s not that hard to do. It needs to be done on closed flowers before they open. If open, pollination may have already taken place. I use a razor blade to remove petals and anthers. Then I bag the flowers with Organza Drawstring Pouches to prevent any unwanted pollen from entering flower.

Also just a note Spice Zee Nectaplum is a peach-plum cross. I have one too.


With a certain amount of luck. Zaiger does thousands of crosses, and most probably do not work!

I don’t always use a paint brush. I sometimes use the flower itself.

Yes, but I expect every seed to be different as each plant contributes half of their DNA, so an infinite amount of combinations are possible. Technically it should matter little who is the pollen parent. Each seed no doubt will be different from each other. I use Indian Free ovaries as the plant is not self fertile, and Arctic Glo is. If I don’t emasculate the flower of Glo, I could just have a self crossed seedling. I know with Indian Free it has to be a hybrid. Makes it easier and emasculation is not needed.

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Drew, very informative.

I think some, but not all, of the hybrid plums are also not self pollinizing. Asian-American plum crosses are that way, it seems like several have nonviable pollen. So chances are, if you pollinize the seed parent of a non-self-pollinizing interspecific-plum-cross with something else, it will be a hybrid of the two types.

The organza sounds excellent, probably doesn’t weight down the bud.