What Does F1 Hybrid Mean?
An F1 hybrid is the first-generation offspring from two dissimilar parent plants. The majority of
vegetable seeds sold on the market today are F1 hybrids, although heirloom
varieties are becoming more popular.
Hybrid plants are developed for a number of reasons, including to enhance yields, shorten time to harvest, to better resist drought conditions, and more.
Maximum Yield Explains F1 Hybrid
The first generation of a successful pairing of two different plants is called an F1 hybrid, or filial 1 hybrid.
Hybrid plants can grow very well, and are often specially adapted for specific purposes. For instance, crossing two different types of tomatoes can yield a plant that fruits with characteristics of both parent plants. The possible benefits include larger fruit, more meat in each tomato, and so on. It’s also true that hybrid plants generally require less fertilizer than non-hybrid plants, and are more resistant to pests.
However, F1 hybrid plants cannot be replanted from saved seeds. For instance, if an F1 hybrid tomato plant was grown and harvested, the seeds could be saved and planted again the next year. However, the plants that grow from those seeds would be one of the two parent plants, rather than the F1 hybrid that was grown the preceding year. Some hybrid plants are actually sterile, and will not produce seeds at all.
Note that hybrids differ significantly from open-pollinated and non-hybrid varieties. Open-pollinated and non-hybrid plants will breed true in successive generations, whereas hybrids will not. It is also important to note that, while rare, F1 hybrids can develop naturally in the wild. For example, peppermint was the natural F1 hybrid of two other mint varieties.