When hybridizing two orchids, what will the progeny & siblings look like? A Case Study of Phal Kingfisher Lemon Drop

In Breeding, Flasking & Invitro Propagation
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A single seed pod can produce anywhere from 20 up to 4,000,000 seeds! So, it really makes ya wonder, when you hybridize two different orchids, what would all of those *new* hybrid flowers look like? Would they look like a blend of both parents? Would they look more like one parent than the other? Maybe they won’t even look like either parent? These are the questions that make breeding orchids exciting and why many people buy flasks and grow out dozens of seedlings.

I wanted to know what type of range the siblings of a single cross might have, but I couldn’t find any good examples online; so, I decided to do an experiment and see for myself! Below are the photos of every single flower I’ve bloomed from a single flask of Phalaenopsis siblings. There are also few extra photos of the siblings from the breeder, Pat Van Adrichem of Kingfisher Orchids. Pat has graciously given me permission to post his photos from the flowers he bloomed (and those too are from the same batch of seedlings as the ones I flowered).

Backstory: this flask was purchased September of 2017 and the seedlings took about 20 months to grow up and start blooming (you can check out the whole deflasking project here). The first flower bloomed on May 27, 2019, and others followed, but many of the seedlings are still maturing so I will continue to add new photos as more plants flower. Check back to see how the remaining 33+ plants look!

Parents of the Hybrid

Phal Kingfisher Lemon Drop

(Lyndon Bullions x Zheng Min Muscadine)


Photos of the Offspring / Progeny
(All siblings from the same flask)

My Flowers
#1 #2 #3 #4
#5 #6 Phalaenopsis Kingfisher Lemon Drop - bloom #7#7 Phalaenopsis Kingfisher Lemon Drop - bloom #8

#9 (2020)



#12 – 6cm

Pat’s Flowers (Kingfisher Orchids)

Kingfishers first bloom


Comparing the difference in sibling flower colors

(by reordering the progeny)

Summary / Outcome – Orchid Sibling Variation

This gives you a pretty good idea of the distribution of flower outcomes from a single cross, right? You kind of end up with a blended range of outcomes; some look similar to the parents and a bunch look quite different.

I love the white and green flowers the most but I expect as future seedlings bloom I’ll continue to see more variation.

If you’re curious, the flowers are also fragrant; they smell very similar to Phalaenopsis bellina, with a bright lemon smell that is reminiscent of fruitloops or even cleaning detergent.