Plant breeding is evolution conducted by mankind. In ornamental crops breeding by hybridization has resulted in hundreds of new cultivars each year. Breeding and breeding research have contributed to the strong growth of the Dutch horticultural industry, but present sexual breeding has its limitations. New techniques such as in vitro fertilization and methods to overcome crossing barriers, micropropagation and the use of molecular markers directly supply the convential breeding techniques. The first results with genetic modification of ornamental crops are described. It is expected that the introduction of alien genes will attribute strongly to resistance breeding in the future. For brussels sprouts, outdoor tomatoes and strawberries the importance of breeding and selection on mechanisation is demonstrated. In most ornamental crops this selection seems to happen in a indirect way. The relation between mechanisation and breeding of ornamentals is discussed.