Leaf-styles of the rich and famous

Why are certain types of flowers and veggies so expensive?

Plants are either propagated from seeds or vegetatively (by rooting cuttings). Vegetatively-propagated plants are generally more expensive than seed-grown varieties due to the extra labor involved in harvesting the cuttings, overnight shipping from their country of origin (most are grown in tropical areas), and labor cost to unpackage and stick the cuttings into media (mostly still done by hand).

Both seed-grown and vegetatively-propagated plants come in two flavors: 1) Open­ pollinated/non-hybrid varieties, and 2) Hybrid varieties created by cross-pollination. Hybrid varieties usually have added perks (like disease-resistance or larger fruit or flowers), but generally require human-intervention to create, making them more expensive to produce. Many hybrid varieties are perpetuated through vegetative propagation (which is more expensive to carry out) to ensure the genetics are identical from one plant to the next.

Some annuals are almost always vegetatively-propagated these days, such as sweet potato vine, verbena, lantana, scaevola, calibrachoa, and many petunias. Canna and New Guinea impatiens used to be produced entirely through vegetative propagation, but in the last few years, seed-grown varieties have become available, making them much cheaper to produce!

Big Spenders

Here are some of the most expensive types of annual flower seeds:

  • New Guinea Impatiens $0.14/seed
  • Ornamental Pepper $0.25/seed
  • Ornamental Millet $0.28/seed
  • Angelonia $0.28/seed
  • Canna $0.69/seed
  • Petunia $0.28-0.69/seed
  • Osteospermum $0.69/seed
  • Fuseables (a multi-variety pellet) $0.69/seed

How do you grow a seedless watermelon?

Seedless WatermelonSeedless watermelons are incredibly popular in the United States, making up 92% of watermelon sales. Watermelons have 22 chromosomes (this is called the diploid number). When you cross a diploid watermelon with a 44 chromosome watermelon (called a tetraploid, created through mutation) the resulting fruit will have seeds that are triploid (having 33 chromosomes). Watermelons grown from triploid seeds are sterile and will not form viable seeds. The process of creating the tetraploid seed is expensive, which is why seedless watermelon seed is so expensive. 

  • Personal-size, open-pollinated, with seeds: Sugar Baby, $0.16/seed
  • Personal-size, hybrid, with seeds: Mini Love $0.56/seed
  • Personal-size, hybrid, seedless: Ocelot $0.62/seed

 

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