Creating Daylily seeds is very simple regardless of your gardening experience.
Simply take the pollen from one flower and dab it onto the pistil of another bloom.
One important part in attempting to make croses is the ploidy, diploid daylilies
cannot be crossed successfully with tetraploid daylilies.
The easiest way to begin is to remove a stamen, the male part of the flower. At the
end of the stamen is the anther which holds the pollen. Hold the stamen and just
brush it's pollen onto the pistil, the female part, of another flower.
Recording the cross and keeping good records is important. A common method
is to use the white paper "string tags" that are generally used for marking prices.
They are available at office supply stores or in the office supply department of
places like Target and Walmart. The lettering must be able to withstand the
elements, I have found that a number 2 pencil works the best.
Write the cross on the tag, and then loop it around the bloom you have pollinated
just below the flower. The flower will drop off in a few days, and if the pollination
was successful, a small green seed pod will be at the base where the bloom was.
It will slowly grow larger and your seeds will be ready to harvest in 6 to 8 weeks.
A mature seed pod will brown and split open, keep a close watch so that your
pod doesn't open and spill it's contents. As soon as the pods start to crack,
you can harvest the glossy black seeds.
When I gather seeds, I fill my pockets with sandwich size zip-loc bags. I remove
the pod along with it's tag and put both inside one bag. Once in the house,
I split open the pods to dry the seeds for 24 hours.
I find that round coffee filters work and save a lot of counter space. Simply get a
big bowl and put a coffee filter in it put the seeds along with their tag
on top of the filter, add another filter on top of that one for the next cross
and keep layering. You do have to use a bit of caution when removing each filter
after drying. There are lots of different drying methods, some ideas are
paper egg cartons, paper plates, paper cups, napkins .... the idea is to use
something that will absorb moisture. 24 hours of drying is sufficient, but if you
don't get to them, there's no harm done if they sit longer.
After your seeds have dried, it's time to package them for storage. Some things
you can use are envelopes, those brown coin envelopes, sandwich bags, or those
small zip-loc bags sold in craft supply stores. The main thing is to have the cross
clearly marked, you don't want to loose the parentage after all your work.
I prefer the small zip-loc bags from the craft store, they are inexpensive and I like
to be able to see the seeds. I either write the cross on the outside of the bag with
a permanent marker or write it on a piece of paper and put it inside the bag with
the seeds. Either way, it's a good idea to add a small piece of paper to the bags to
absorb extra moisture. A tiny piece of paper towel is sufficient but this is not
I put all the little bags inside a large zip-loc bag and stick the bag in the fridge.
It's common practice to refrigerate seeds for at least 3 weeks before starting
them (they can stay in the fridge for over a year and still be viable).
Refrigeration increases germination rates especially if the parent plants have
some degree of dormancy.
If you want more detailed information there is a great article on
"How to Hybridize", by Paul Owen, in the Summer 2009 Journal on page 50.
~ Happy Daylily Dreams,