Daylily Hybridizing: My First Attempt

I am a self-professed plant propagation nut and therefore I find plant propagation in all it's forms very interesting. It was inevitable that I'd try my hand at hybridizing and what better place to start than daylilies? Daylilies have easy to find and manipulate reproductive parts (stamens and pistols). The stamen is the male part that contains the pollen and the pistol is where the seeds are formed.

The first step to pollination is to select the flowers to hybridize. In this case I picked an orange daylily and a red one. I chose the red daylily to be the parent plant that will form the seeds, which means I needed to take a stamen from the orange daylily. The stamens are very easy to find, there are about six of them around a single pistol. I picked one stamen and brought it to the red daylily then coated its pistol with pollen from the orange daylily's stamen. If pollination was successful I'll have a seed pod forming that will be ready in a few weeks. If the pod cracks open on its own or with a little pressure on its side then it is ready.

When the pods are cracked open the look like this.

These seeds are really a cross between and orange daylily and a yellow 'Stella D'Oro' that I crossed a few weeks ago. There may be a few open pollinated seeds mixed in with the hybridized ones. I'm not trying to make the next best daylily for the nursery market, I'm just experimenting! In the future I'll keep better records just in case I come up with a good one but I need to collect a better variety of daylilies to hybridize. After opening these seeds I put them in flats outside to grow as they can. Hopefully in a few weeks I'll start to see some germination although it may be too hot for anything to happen. In some cases people recommend keeping the seeds refrigerated until fall then planting them. That gives the seeds a couple months of growing time before winter weather sets. The daylily seeds that I planted may remain dormant until the weather is better for them. We'll see!

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