Lychee seeds are poisonous to dogs

F1 hybrid seeds

February - the first rays of sunshine shine on your face and most people are starting to panic when it comes to growing plants for the home garden. So quickly drove to the hardware store and bought a few more seeds - or why not just get the seeds from the cucumber or peppers from the supermarket? We explain the notorious phenomenon of the F1 hybrids and what you should be aware of when sourcing seeds.

[Short tip]

The article by horticultural entrepreneur Johannes Böttner from 1899 is recommended to all gardening enthusiasts who want to deal more with the topic of “producing their own seeds or breeding seeds”. Here he describes the advantages and disadvantages of owning seeds. A very read article:

[Short version]

- When we sow purchased F1 hybrid seeds, the plants grow normally and the fruits of the plant are as promised in the picture of the seed package. F1 hybrids are also not toxic or genetically modified. (Genetically modified seeds are (still) banned in Germany.)

- However, if we want to extract seeds from the plants from the F1 seeds and sow them in the next year, it can happen that completely different plants emerge, as in the picture of the seed package, because F1 seeds are not true-to-variety. For example, we then no longer get a large yellow zucchini (like the one on the seed package), but a small green one.

- Anyone who wants to buy new seeds every year is well advised to choose F1 hybrids. However, if you want to grow your own seeds and sow your own plants without buying seeds, you shouldn't buy F1 hybrids but look around for authentic, old varieties. Article: Buy seeds online

- You should also avoid obtaining seeds from the supermarket and sowing them, because most of the time, the fruit and vegetable supermarket are also F1 hybrids. In addition, some foods are still irradiated to kill germs, which means that the seeds are also damaged accordingly. Spontaneously I think of plants made from lychee seeds that grow for a while and then simply die off at the end. "Officially" only dried herbs and spices may be irradiated in Germany so far, but who knows what things are practiced abroad ...

[Long version]

What do you mean by F1 hybrids?

An F1 hybrid is not a bad thing in principle. The addition F1 only reveals that the seeds bought are a cross of 2 different varieties of plants.

The following example should explain the facts "simply". It is deliberately kept "simple" and various scientific factors such as dominance or recessivity are dispensed with for the sake of simplicity.


We want to "create" a new type of tomato that is red and tastes like mandarin. In many experiments we have found 2 true parent varieties that we can cross with each other to get exactly this type of tomato.

In this example we are crossing a red tomato with a sweet taste with a yellow tomato with a mandarin taste. The tomato seeds that are now produced can be collected and sowed in the next year.

After we have sown these seeds, we will have plants that will grow and flourish magnificently. In late summer, we then carry out the first taste tests and discover that we have succeeded in creating a red tomato with a tangerine flavor. So this is our F1 hybrid now. We call the new tomato variety Mandarina.

Just as we inherited our noses from our father or our mother's ears, for example, it is also the case with plants. Each parent plant passes on certain characteristics to its offspring. In our case, the characteristic for the red color passed from the mother, and the characteristic from the tangerine taste from the father to the new children's tomato mandarina.

Now further in the text:

Now we have our "new" tomato variety Mandarina in the F1 generation. Since we would like to have this variety again next year, we will gain seeds from our new variety in autumn. Now we are sowing the newly gained seeds of "Mandarina". The plants that are now awakening are the F2 generation. But suddenly, when the tomatoes are ripe, the rude awakening: We no longer have a red tomato with a tangerine flavor. According to Mendel's rules, the individuals in the F2 generation split up again. So our new variety is not varietal. If we now carry out meticulous selection and then cross the offspring over and over again, we can succeed in producing a true-seed variety that will always produce the same tomatoes. So we're stabilizing the seeds. However, seed manufacturers are not interested in genuine seed varieties. Often two different inbred lines are crossed for the F1 hybrids in order to use the heterosis effect (higher yield, better growth and health, etc.).


If we buy F1 hybrid seeds and sow them, the plant will surely be as described in the picture. However, it happens in the next generation that our plants split up again. (According to Mendel's rule number 2). It is therefore very unlikely to reproduce a true variety from F1 hybrid seeds.

There are so many senders of old, stable seeds on the internet.

A tip at the end: Inquire with you locally and regionally which varieties the "old people" still grow. You will be surprised - sometimes someone still grows the varieties that the great-great-grandfather planted on this land. Such varieties are then usually adapted to the regional climate, which can also vary widely within Germany (coasts, mountains, floodplains, etc.)