So a while back, someone suggested that one of the things I could write about w/r/t Anthurium breeding was that I'm selecting for plants that thrive in my specific conditions, and I was like, yeah, yeah, I know, I'm trying not to run out of things I can say about them, I'll get to it eventually.
But it started me thinking about whether or not this was even true, and . . . I'm not sure it is. Or it might be true, but not in the usual way.
The whole reason I'm breeding Anthuriums and Schlumbergeras in the first place, rather than, for example, Saintpaulia, is that they do pretty well for me in the house, so I've come to have a lot of them. (Saintpaulia not so much: they can't dry out as much or as often as I ask them to, and consequently don't stick around long enough for breeding to happen.) So breeding a plant that already thrives in my conditions to thrive in my conditions doesn't really make sense.1
However. There is one narrow way in which I absolutely am breeding the plants to thrive in my conditions, which is that "thrive" is coming to mean not only staying alive and relatively pest-free, growing leaves, and blooming, but also being fertile enough to convey those traits to a new generation. Which varies tremendously from parent variety to parent variety around here, and along several different axes.
• Some varieties bloom all the time (NOID red, 'Gemini,' 'White Gemini,' 'Joli,' NOID pink-&-green), while others rarely or never bloom (NOID red-purple, 'Krypton,' 'Peppermint Gemini,' NOID dark red, 'Red Hot').
• Some varieties can be pollinated pretty easily ('Gemini,' 'White Gemini,' 'Pandola,' NOID red, NOID purple), while I have to try a lot harder and more often with some of the others ('Krypton,' 'Red Hot,' 'Orange Hot,' 'Joli').
• Some varieties produce copious amounts of pollen when they bloom (NOID red, NOID pink, 'Orange Hot'); others have, as far as I can tell, never produced any pollen even though they bloom all the time ('Gemini,' 'White Gemini,' 'Joli').
• Finally, some varieties produce a seed or two from every single pollinated flower on the spadix, and the berries always wind up being fully ripe at some point (NOID red, 'Gemini,' 'White Gemini,' 'Pandola'), while other varieties can be pollinated, but then often drop the bloom before the berries are mature enough to get seeds from, or develop to a certain point and then just stop, or produce seeds that don't germinate well ('Red Hot,' 'Joli,' NOID purple).
I assume all of those traits -- bloom frequency, fertility, pollen production, berry development, seed germination -- are under genetic control to some degree or another, so over time, yes, the genes of the plants that are the best at making more plants will probably wind up all over the later generations, and I'll probably wind up finding it easier and easier to cross the seedlings as time goes by.2 So insofar as "thriving" means "producing offspring," yeah, I'm probably breeding plants to thrive in my conditions. It's just not deliberate, and except for the number-of-blooms part, it's not likely to make a difference in the commercial viability of the seedling.3
(If I did want to breed a plant specifically for doing better in my home conditions, I'd be better off to pick something that only barely grows for me now, where there's clear room for improvement. The problem with that is, most of the plants that I'd want to make better suited to my conditions would never bloom without much better conditions. I can think of all kinds of plants I'd like to play with for one reason or another, but the only ones that actually seem plausible are the gesneriads, specifically Saintpaulia, Episcia, Aeschynanthus, and Nematanthus, and I have actually tried to pollinate all of them at some point or another, with no luck.)
Anyway. So let's check out the seedling du jour:
Josie was a division from 0288 "Cookie Buffet," whom she resembles so strongly that I feel pretty certain Josie is a full clone of Cookie, not just a sibling.
Both plants have broad, flat leaves, though Josie's photographed a little better:
And both plants have long internodes and a floppy, tangle-prone habit.
I may keep one or the other, I suppose, but I don't see any reason to keep both
. Cookie's definitely been exposed to scale, whereas I don't know about Josie for sure, so I suppose Josie'd be the one to hold on to.