Sunday, January 5, 2020

Substantial Princess

Substantial Princess
(Sdlg# NPSE11)


2020 - Reeder - Diploid - 
Navajo Princess x Substantial Evidence - 
28" scape - 4.5" flower - 3 branches - 11 buds - early-midseason - Rebloom - Dormant 

Strong rebloom, very flat flower of light pink with dark pink eye above wide, bright green throat.

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Truly a Substantial Princess, and descended from two royal lines, this stunning flower is pure magic! With the look of the mother and the form of the father, the flower is even more striking than either parent. Yet, the stunning flower isn't all this diva has to offer. Below the breathtaking flower is a stunning plant that is, in my opinion, a major breakthrough for the combination of a host of excellent plant traits into one plant. As I list the many good traits, you are going to think I am exaggerating, but I am not. This one is just magic!


Substantial Princess is from my 2011 breeding season and is a full sibling to Barbie's Dream Flower. A select breeder from the first flower, as time went on I came to realize what an amazing plant is under that stunning flower.

First flower baby picture from 2013

The flower is stunning, with the lighter pink petals and the dark pink eye above the big green throat. The form is great, with a very open and flat flower. This flower was what I had in mind when I made the cross, but it exceeded my expectation to get it in the first generation.


The flowers of Substantial Princess start the day out with deeper, richer colored petals that lighten as the day goes on, but the flower doesn't melt and shows excellent sun and rain resistance. The substance of the flower is thick and it holds up very well. It also shows extremely high resistant to thrips, so the flowers consistently look good, even on the first round of scapes in the early-midseason.

End of day 8:45 pm photo from 102 degree F day

On very hot days the flower will fade out more, but even on extremely hot and sunny days the throat retains a lot of green coloring (picture above). On days of less extreme heat, the green throat can hold completely, while the petals will still lighten during the day to a soft, baby pink (picture below).

End of day 8:30 pm photo from a day in the mid-80s

On cloudy or cooler days, the throat holds completely and the petals remain darker (picture below).

End of day 8:40 pm photo from cloudy day with heavy rain that morning

The flower of Substantial Princess is so stunning that you just want to focus on it, but a glance further down and the great plant comes into focus. The foliage is low growing, dark green and attractive. The foliage is also very dormant, but has never shown summer dormancy. The foliage dies back in the late fall after strong freezes, forms a resting bud and doesn't emerge until late in the spring. Once the foliage emerges, it shows good resistance to late spring freezes. The foliage also shows extremely high resistance to rust, being rated A+ for resistance in all five years of my rust resistance screening program. The plant shows excellent increase and recovers quickly and well from being divided.

Here you can see the attractive, low growing plant with its nice, healthy, dark green foliage

In addition to the great foliage traits and resistance to rust, Substantial Princess is also a strong rebloomer, showing both instant rebloom and late summer to fall rebloom. I have seen it rebloom every year here and some years there are two rounds of scapes on the late season rebloom. While the branching and bud count is not off-the-charts, the high level of rebloom means that there are a lot of flowers throughout the season.

In the picture above, from 2018, you can see the first round of scapes starting to flower and a second round of instant rebloom scapes down in the foliage. This picture is nice because there were extremely severe late spring freezes in spring of 2018 and you can see that the foliage still looks good, even though there is some mild damage on the tips of the older leaves, and the branching and bud count is reduced. The important point though is that the plant still looks good and is still blooming, producing two rounds of scapes. I had many plants that didn't even bloom in the early part of the season that year! This makes Substantial Princess a great garden plant, in addition to being an advanced flower of interest to collectors and breeders.

A stunning flower, with a beautiful, hardy plant and rebloom makes for a wonderful display, but Substantial Princess also has much to offer breeding programs for many traits

In addition to all the traits I have mentioned above, Substantial Princess is also an amazing breeder, passing its many good traits easily to its seedlings, and even producing seedlings with the combination of many good traits that it displays. First of all, Substantial Princess is extremely fertile both ways and will easily set pods on almost every flower you pollinate. It sets equally well from the first scapes through the last scapes in early fall, allowing you to use it in a wide range of the overall season. 

Second, the breeding value for the flower traits is very high, and I have produced many seedlings that build upon and advance the fine flower traits seen in Substantial Princess. In addition, the high resistance to thrips shows excellent breeding value and so many of the seedlings have shown high resistance to thrips. The sun and rain resistance also shows excellent breeding value, as does the heavy substance of the flower and the flat, open form. I have produced a range of flower sizes from Substantial Princess. Even though the flowers are small, I have produced large flowers and I have also produce mini flowers, so Substantial Princess is useful in breeding a wide range of flower sizes. Below are three seedlings from Substantial Princess, each different but showing the look of Substantial Princess taken into different, interesting and even more extreme directions. 






Third, Substantial Princess has high breeding value for its many fine plant traits. It has proven to have excellent breeding value for rust resistance and has produced an exceptionally large number of seedlings in my program that have shown high levels of this trait. The fine plant appearance is passed to many seedlings and you see the low foliage and dark green coloring in many of its offspring. The nice dormancy with late spring reemergence and good resistance to late spring freezes shows up in many of its seedlings when it is crossed to other dormant types. When bred to evergreen or semi-evergreen plants, you will see evergreen and semi-evergreen foliage types, though if the partner is heterozygous for any dormancy traits, you can see those types, as well. This makes it useful from breeding in both warm-winter and cold-winter programs. Finally, the strong rebloom has shown up in many of its seedlings, especially when crossed to other rebloomers or plants carrying the rebloom genes. I can't stress enough what an amazing breeder, and for a wide range of desirable traits, Substantial Princess has been here for me. Royalty, indeed!



I don't know how far north Substantial Princess may be hardy. Her mother, Navajo Princess, can be tender and touchy in the cold winters of the far north. I have only tested Substantial Princess into zone 5, in a fairly protected area, where she has flourished, but I don't know how much further north she will flourish or if she will flourish in a more exposed setting in zone 5. In spite of the "hard" dormancy though, Substantial Princess is flourishing in zone 8. I don't know how it would do in hotter climates, but I know it is good in most gardens in zones 6-8 (and at least protected areas in zone 5), which is a nice range and suggests it may do well even further in both directions. If you are further north, Substantial Princess might be worth growing in a greenhouse just to get its many good genes all combined in one plant. If you are further south, it might be worth growing Substantial Princess to use the pollen on your evergreen plants to incorporate the many fine genes into your program. I just can't say enough good things about Substantial Princess. I think she is one of my best introductions so far.


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