By Zac B. Sarian

If you are a Hoya lover, Rey Pimentel’s new crosses will surely excite you. His initial crossing of Hoya cumingiana, an indigenous species originally collected from Mindoro, with Hoya archboldiana from Papua New Guinea and Australia, has generated more than a hundred plants that have produced flowers of various hues. The bad news is that they are not yet ready for release because they have to undergo further evaluation and selection. At any rate, we are going to show you some beautiful pictures of the progenies.

Of course, many lovers of flowering plants know Reynold Pimentel as the original breeder of the Hibiscus series while he was with UP Los Baños. He is now retired, but he has been taken by a multinational company to work on hybrid papaya and pineapple. However, he is free to pursue his personal breeding of his favorite flowering ornamentals. His latest obsession is to produce Hoya cultivars by crossing the many native and endemic Philippine Hoya species with other varieties with desirable traits.

He crossed H. cumingiana as female parent (pod bearer) with H. archboldiana in September 2016. Three months later, he harvested the pod, from which he was able to germinate more than a hundred seedlings. He said that H. cumingiana has small, but very colorful flowers. It has a semi-pendent growth habit. On the other hand, H. archboldiana has a viney growth habit and has bigger flowers. By late 2017, the first progeny started to flower. The others flowered later. There are some that are flowering only in 2019.

ReyP (that’s what friends call him) said that his goal in breeding is to generate Hoya cultivars using as parents the many indigenous and endemic Philippine species. He pointed out that there are 116 endemic species in the country. These generally have small flowers but are more colorful than many foreign cultivars.

What are the characters that ReyP is looking for in his hybrids? They should be regular bloomers, the flowers should have good form. Color and size are also very important. The flowers should stay fresh longer on the plant.

He observes that flowers of many species drop after only three days. He is excited about his crosses because he has observed that some have flowers that stay fresh on the plant for 7 to 15 days.

What’s next for ReyP? Always keep abreast of his moves. He is now going to use a newly discovered species from Biliran Island as one of the parents. This is the Hoya kutis porselana.

This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s October 2019 issue.