What do the Terms F1 and F2 Mean

You may come across the terms F1 and F2 in relation to plant seed or seed grown plants and wondered what they mean.

Well, basically, F1 will be the best quality plants with F2 slightly less good and a plant which is neither F1 or F2 will be even less good. Good here is defined as being stronger with more flower and longer lasting flowers (in terms of flower season). But for a more complete explanation read on.

I have a friend who shows and breeds pedigree dogs. She's good at it and wins a number of medals each year. When she sets out to breed some puppies, she starts with a show winning male and a show winning female. The offspring will have the best chance of being like their parents. You can consider this first generation as being like F1 seed: a first generation child of a pure bred parent.

If she wanted to produce a larger number of puppies at lower costs, then there may not be enough prize winning dogs around, so she would have to start breeding these first generation puppies to make a second generation of dogs. Now, not all of the generation one puppies would be prize winning dogs. Some would be, others wouldn't make the grade, but each one would be better than a random bred mongrel. So the second generation pups may not inherit all the good qualities of their prize winning grandparents. You can think of this second generation as being like an F2 plant. Still better than the average plant, but not as good as an F1.

And finally we have the random interbreedings of two dogs: a bog standard mongrel. A lovely family pet and still a great animal but it's not going to win any prizes. This is what you get with a plant which is neither and F1 or F2. Not necessarily a bad plant, but not a prize winner either.


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