Lilies forum: Pollen/pollination

Page 1 of 2 • 1 2
Views: 2078, Replies: 36 » Jump to the end
Name: Joe
Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Lilies Region: New York Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Joebass
Jan 6, 2014 6:11 PM CST
How do you guys store your pollen? Do you take the anthers off and put them in a plastic bag and freeze? If so how long is pollen viable frozen or unfrozen?

When hybridyzing is there a best time to pollinate and do you cap the stigma?

In the past I've just taken anthers off and just thoroughly rubbed it on a stigma that didn't look "dirty". No cap or anything. Now that I am getting serious about this I'd like to do it right! I'm also assuming that saving your pollen lets you try crosses with the flowers that don't simultaneously open as well.
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
Image
Roosterlorn
Jan 6, 2014 9:09 PM CST
Hi Joe: To answer part of your question, yes, you can freeze and store pollen. This is necessary when you want to pollenate an early bloomer with a late bloomer. Exactly how long frozen lilium pollen stays viable is somewhat debatable; some say up to 20 years has been done. I have kept pollen for 5 years and it was still good, however, since then have gone down to 2 years because I can usually get new and 5 years accumulation takes up too much room in the freezer. Prior to freezing, dry the pollen on something non porous like a small saucer plate, etc. for a few days. Pollen looses it's viability quickly after about 3 to 4 weeks at room temperature. The containers used to store pollen is a matter of personal choice, I think. Small paper envelopes, small plastic bags and small glass or plastic test tubes work ok. If you store frozen pollen in a freezer that's also used for food stuffs, it's a good idea to enclose your pollen containers in another larger freezer bag. Below are some pictures of what I use. I'll let someone else explain the pollen collecting, etc.
Thumb of 2014-01-07/Roosterlorn/b51fcf


Thumb of 2014-01-07/Roosterlorn/f919f6


Thumb of 2014-01-07/Roosterlorn/a65ba7


Thumb of 2014-01-07/Roosterlorn/97fdce
the plastic caps shown below are optional; I use pieces of a cotton ball to cap the tube, just in case some moisture is still present, and this allows for any extra to escape. Below is a picture of frozen pollen and seeds in one of my freezers. Always a mess Rolling on the floor laughing


Thumb of 2014-01-07/Roosterlorn/cd8cb0

[Last edited by Roosterlorn - Jan 6, 2014 9:38 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #535018 (2)
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
Image
Roosterlorn
Jan 6, 2014 9:13 PM CST
OOPS--forgot to upload a picture of 'the mess'
Thumb of 2014-01-07/Roosterlorn/df9921

Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
Image
Leftwood
Jan 6, 2014 11:01 PM CST
To be honest, I haven't really stored pollen, other than in the fridge for a few days. But I do read about it, and have sent out dried pollen to a person who instructed me how to do it: pick stamens with ripe anthers and dry inside for 3-5 days, fold in paper or place in small paper envelope, send (in the mail).

I gather that it is even more important not to allow pollen to go through freeze/thaw cycles. Some say once it is frozen and thawed, it should not be refrozen. So if you have a self-defrosting freezer, you may need to take precautions.

Generally speaking for lilies, the stigma is most receptive on the second day of bloom. This is not to say that pollinating on the first day (or sometime after the second day) won't work. It usually does. Lilies are not very finicky in this respect, but do wait until you can detect some stigmatic fluid. If the stigma isn't sticky, the pollen won't adhere well, and the stigma isn't receptive anyway. There are other plants that are very particular, and some I find I need to pollinate at least once a day during the duration to get good seed set. Weather plays an important role in the success of pollination.

I always cover the stigma before and after hand pollination. Otherwise, you can't really say what the pollen parent is. The whole point of hand pollination is control. For me at least, that's important. Sometimes I may used a mixed pollen, but I still know what is in the mix. Anthers are removed or stamens snapped off of pod parent flower, unless I need the pollen for something else. Otherwise it is just too easy to accidentally self pollinate a flower or get pollen stained fingers that can contaminate other pollinations. (While self polliation won't actually occur with most lilies, other negative outcomes are possible.)

For myself, I do clean pollinations and dirty pollinations. Clean pollinations are when I am usually out in the garden early in the morning (around 5am) in the first hour of light. Most lily flowers are opening then, and you can be sure to cap off the immature pistils before bees and other insects get to them. The object here is to prevent any contamination with unwanted pollens. I'll leave the pistils capped until the next day, if weather cooperates, then pollinate, and recap.

I have a system for this method. My pollen caps begin as tin foil squares.
Thumb of 2014-01-07/Leftwood/1b4af6

Capped but unpollinated pistils have tin foil that is merely folded over the stigma once. This also makes them easy to remove without causing any damage to the sex organs.
Thumb of 2014-01-07/Leftwood/1b3cef

Stigmas recapped after pollination are fold back over and folded more to make them permanent. And this way I can easily see if a flower has already been pollinated, or if it still needs to be pollinated.
Thumb of 2014-01-07/Leftwood/03725a

I deal a lot more with species lilies that tend to have more delicate parts than hybrids. So pre-shaping caps, over a pencil for instance, that works fine for larger hybrids just doesn't work for most species.
Thumb of 2014-01-07/Leftwood/edf723 Thumb of 2014-01-07/Leftwood/e7f7b6

Dirty pollinations are when I get out in the garden late (say after 6am) to cap. Insect are already quite busy then, and often I can see unwanted pollen already deposited on the stigmas. So I only go to the trouble of pollinating stigmas that seem clean, but still label them "dirty" because there is possible contamination. And yes, I have found by growing out these dirty crosses, that these dirty pollinations usually ARE contaminated.

Of course, timing is relative: if a flower doesn't begin opening until midday, well, there you go....
And there is also the variable of insects themselves. I can tell you that compare to when I moved into my present house 20 years ago, I now have at least 10 times as many insects, and 20 times the diversity. (and I love it!)

[Last edited by Leftwood - Jan 6, 2014 11:09 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #535065 (4)
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
Image
Roosterlorn
Jan 7, 2014 9:12 AM CST
When it comes to applying pollen, Rick uses a small soft bristle brush like a small non expensive artist type brush and I use Q-Tips. Both work. You'll find that pollen is smeary by nature--that's normal, so if you use Q-Tips, use a 'fresh' end with each pass. I use a gentle rolling motion of the Q-Tip over the stigma.

Once you feel you've done a good job, cap with foil and tag the pedicel with ID label. In a couple weeks the pedicel and pod will turn skyward, indicating successful pollination. The cap can then be removed.

This point is optional but it's a practice I do here. Once I've made a pollination, I promptly cut the remaining flowerhead off. I make that cut two pedicels above my pollenated flower and snip the buds on the remaining two. This allows full energy for the seed pod and bulb. Blooming is stressful to a plant and growing seeds is very energy consuming that usually results in a weaker, smaller size bulb. But, some people want to see it flower all the way; that's ok, too--just be aware of the consequences. In either case, do not pollenate the same plant two years in a row, always give it another year to recover.

The tagging of pedicels and materials used is very important because tag failure is a common problem. I'll prepare a list and pictures of what I use and post later today. Meantime, others can post what they use and maybe fill in the blanks on any oversights Rick and I forgot to mention.



Name: Joe
Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Lilies Region: New York Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Joebass
Jan 7, 2014 9:32 AM CST
Great stuff so far guys. Last year, I cut out a bunch of labels out of a medium thickness white plastic sheet and punched holes in one end. I wrote on it with a permanent marker but due to sun bleaching and the elements, I ended with no ID white tags.
[Last edited by Joebass - Jan 7, 2014 10:00 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #535192 (6)
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
Image
Roosterlorn
Jan 7, 2014 12:36 PM CST
Yep--they're prone to failure from the elements and experienced recommendations are so valuable here. Label techniques and materials used vary amongst users. I'll show you what I use but this is an area where you can pick and choose a method that suits you. You don't have to do as I do, but this does work very well.

Paint Pen: UNI PAINT oil base paint marker, made by Mitsubishi Pencil for Stanford Corp. Oak Brook, IL. You can find these on EBay. I've had used labels hanging on a garden post for three years now with no loss of adhesion or fading. Just make sure the surface your writing on is good and clean.
Thumb of 2014-01-07/Roosterlorn/ee17fb

For label stock I use cut pieces of plastic mini blinds from left over odds and ends from when I cut my garden markers. I punch a hole on one end and use a Twist-em from bread bags that I accumulate to fasten to pedicel. Never use rubber bands as they disintegrate in the sun and fall off. And the mini blind stock I got from somebody who was throwing them out, but you can also get odds and ends from big box stores most times for free making this portion a low cost operation.



Thumb of 2014-01-07/Roosterlorn/877bd1

Other Materials: #1 (28#) Kraft Paper coin envelopes for seed or pollen. Quality Park Products, stock # 50162. These you can find on EBay pretty reasonable. Small plastic bags of about same size can also be found on EBay.



Thumb of 2014-01-07/Roosterlorn/e154da


Thumb of 2014-01-07/Roosterlorn/0b570e



Thumb of 2014-01-07/Roosterlorn/a4c27f

Now, these are the things I use. Others on here use different materials, like plastic label tape they print to and so on. Let's see what others have to say--and then you can pick and choose. They all work. The pen is the fussy part.



Name: della
hobart, tasmania
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2015
Image
dellac
Jan 7, 2014 6:33 PM CST
When it comes to labelling and pens that are still legible, I never found a pen that didn't fade. At the Botanical Gardens the only reliable identification method involved inscribing names into soft metal tags or etching them onto hard ones. So after many years of other methods failing I finally began to improvise my own for metal tag system for lily breeding. Now I save those soft metal tops off coffee tins and the like - even the foil from spreads and dips - and scrawl away with any old ballpoint pen I like. It doesn't matter as long as it makes an impression:

Thumb of 2014-01-08/dellac/f1ac05
Thumb of 2014-01-08/dellac/c59447
Thumb of 2014-01-08/dellac/695709 Thumb of 2014-01-08/dellac/c3bc5b

I just stopped dating crosses this year. The date goes in my record book anyway, and as I also use these tags as planting labels when the seeds go in, I'd rather add the planting date when the time comes.

I can also reuse tags from failed crosses - just rub the impression flat and start again. It doesn't disappear entirely but the intended inscription is much deeper so I don't get too confused... Blinking



Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
Image
Leftwood
Jan 7, 2014 10:13 PM CST
I do use an assortment of soft hair or bristled paint brushes to perform the actual pollination. Many species lilies (and most hybrids) are copious pollen producers, but some species, not so much. Little pollen, little brush. You'll want to use every pollen grain possible.
Thumb of 2014-01-08/Leftwood/4e5cc8

If you use coin envelopes for pollen, make sure the pollen can't escape at the corners where the flap folds, and make sure also that the other two corners are sealed. These envelopes were not made for something as tiny as pollen, and are not manufactured to such specifications. I use glassine envelopes for such applications, and make a different fold to close the flap and insure no escapees. The lower envelope has the original manufacturer's fold. The upper one has mine.
Thumb of 2014-01-08/Leftwood/6e4d0c

The little ziplock plastic bags can be found at craft stores, too, and even Walmart.

I never thought about paint pens being oil based or otherwise, so I had to look at mine.... my pen says "xylene" based. Confused
My testing has gone three years also, and it is holding up as well as my old standby: pencil graphite.
My pollination tags are ready made, twisty and all. They are the type one usually sees at the food stores where you get grains, etc. in bulk. They easily hold up to outside conditions for the one growing season.
Thumb of 2014-01-08/Leftwood/ac5617

Della, it never would have occurred to me that using such a thin piece of tinfoil would be a viable option. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention!

I am not completely sold on the notion that seed production necessarily reduces bulb size or reduces the ensuing year's productivity. In my opinion, although this is the safe generalization to stand by, this may or may not be true, depending on many variables (i.e. inherent vigor, amenable growing conditions, plant age, climate, seasonal conditions, etc.). I am not aware of any studies done with lilies, but there are several that prove that more ephemeral species bulbs, like tulips, fritillaria and daffodils, actually grow larger bulbs if allowed to produce seed. This is because when these species produce seed, they stay green longer through the summer (and produce more food) than ones that do not produce seed. Tulips and fritillaria are both in the same family as Lilies (Liliaceae), and Fritillaria is closely related to Lilium.
---- Though I have not investigated bulb growth, I do find this to be the case with my moisture loving species (Lilium michiganense and L. canadense). Since no part of my gardens is conducive to their moisture wants, unpollinated plants usually senesce in late summer, while pollinated plants with seed pods stay green into the fall.

Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
Image
Roosterlorn
Jan 8, 2014 9:35 AM CST
Glassine envelopes for pollen--great idea! I learned something new. Available on EBay too, if they can't be found locally.

Name: Joe
Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Lilies Region: New York Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Joebass
Jan 8, 2014 12:58 PM CST
This is an excellent thread! I vote for it to be stickied!
Name: della
hobart, tasmania
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2015
Image
dellac
Jan 10, 2014 12:52 AM CST
Rick, with the thinner foil I fold over the corner where I puncture a hole for the string and knot the string snugly around the puncture so that there's no play for the wind to take advantage of. I haven't lost any tags due to foil tearing. Sometimes I get sloppy tying around the pedicel and there's enough slack for the wind to lift it off over the capsule. Then there's the sparrows!

...I used to just bury the foil tag down the side of the pot or styrofoam box , with the string attached and visible so I could easily find the tag when I needed... convenient for me; convenient for young avian families looking to build a home. Frayed jute string looks like just the thing! And only metres from the old window awning; so close to home! Grumbling

I just started using glassine envelopes for pollen this year - very impressed.
Name: Joe
Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Lilies Region: New York Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Joebass
Jul 31, 2014 7:57 PM CST
Just reviewing this post and realizing how much good stuff is in here. Due to some recent interest from new members, I request this to be stickied. @pardalinum @magnolialover just a request feel free to say no! Sticking tongue out
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
Image
Leftwood
Jul 31, 2014 8:53 PM CST
Well, one more sticky on the Lily forum and I'll have to scroll down each time to see if anything is new, rather than just opening the page. Good info, yes, as are a lot of threads, but not sticky material, in my opinion.
Thumb of 2014-08-01/Leftwood/f75949

Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Region: Pacific Northwest Lilies Sempervivums Sedums
Pollen collector I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
Image
pardalinum
Jul 31, 2014 9:04 PM CST

Moderator

I agree, we don't want too many stickies. The last time I added a new sticky I unstuck something else (the lighting thread). For other posts that members would like to keep track of, you can click on the star then go to your profile to edit in a title that you feel will help identify the contents of that post for later reference.

Image
BUGGYCRAZY
Aug 3, 2014 10:58 PM CST
I dry my pollen and anthers in small paper cups, it is very dry in the summer in the west. Then I pour it into plastic vials direct from the cup for freezing. Labeling the plastic vials is hard, I use first aid tape, long enough to stick to itself and then write on it. I used to use film containers for the larger stuff but those are not easy to find anymore so glassine envelopes would probably be the best bet for storage now.
I use paper matchsticks for pollination, they are disposable and can quickly be changed to a fresh one for each pollination. they are also biodegradable and will add a bit of sulfur to you soil so can be dropped.
I find that first thing in the AM is fin, pull off the anthers before they open, put them in a cut, label and they can be stacked in the tray when out in the field. As long as you are not collecting huge amounts they will dry in the paper cup just fine if you are dry and hot.
Brite mark pens do not fade, I used to sell them after testing every permanent marker I came across. Sharpie laundry markers will usually last the summer OK. Flagging ribbon is cheap and easy to use for marking crosses, do not get red, it will not last the summer. It is easily carried and ripped off for labeling and if you are doing several dif crosses on one plant you can color code if you get different colors.
Pollination caps can be made of foil by winding a 1.5-2inch wide piece of foil around a pencil and cutting sections off with scissors, this creates one open end and one closed end and it easy to put on the stigma after pollination. Just slide it down off the pencil end about 1 inch and cut, repeat. I stored the caps in a box to keep them from being crushed when in the field. I did all my pollination first thing in the AM and even before the flower opened, the pollen will still be viable for a couple of days after it is placed, longer probably when protected from the sun by the pollen cap.
I never had any problems with freezing and thawing pollen, but let it come to ambient temp before opening it, otherwise it may suck in moisture if it is humid (where I was it was humid at dawn). A frost-free fridge only seems to thaw on the bottom above the heat coils so I kept my pollen vials in jars in the door.
My method evolved from combining different methods from other plant breeders I knew or worked for so do what works for you and your conditions. The other thing you may try if your stigma is old and dirty is cutting off the end and apply the pollen to the style tube.

Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
Image
Roosterlorn
Aug 4, 2014 5:33 PM CST
Has anyone tried to germinate pollen using a 10, 15, or 20% sucrose solution?
Name: Joe
Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Lilies Region: New York Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Joebass
Aug 4, 2014 5:50 PM CST
Lorn, could you please explain the "germinate pollen" remark? I'm not super great with plant biology but I thought germinate references seeds and embryos. How would pollen germinate and what would be the point?

@buggycrazy or anyone else, I was reading my "Lilies" by Ed Mcrae (which is a great book btw) and he states that hot temperatures really help with wide crosses and goes on to state that there is a method to simulate the hot temperatures by submerging the stigma in 120 degree water for 5 minutes or so before pollination. He also says that this may cause more embryos to be triploid (as well as hot greenhouses) but does help pod fertility in wide crosses. Anyone ever try this?
Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Region: Pacific Northwest Lilies Sempervivums Sedums
Pollen collector I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
Image
pardalinum
Aug 4, 2014 7:15 PM CST

Moderator

@Roosterlorn Lorn, I haven't tried this-- Judith gave me a recipe sometime back... boric acid comes to mind. Anyway I forgot the recipe! Joe, I think Lorn is talking about germinating the pollen to view the growth of pollen tubes under a microscope. It is an indication of whether the pollen is good or not and also can give information on the length of the pollen tubes... too short then it won't reach its destination!
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
Image
Roosterlorn
Aug 4, 2014 7:18 PM CST
Joe, I'll try to explain it in my own words. I'll probably leave out a step or two but others can add into this as it is just for starters on the topic. Here goes: In an ideal pollination situation, the pollen grains lodge on the stigma usually aided and held there by the presence of a liquid called stigmatic fluid . The stigmatic fluid then promotes the formation of a pollen tube on each grain of pollen ( a process called pollen germination). The pollen tubes enter through the stigma and grow down the style close to the ovary where the male genes are released in packets of little tubes, one for each grain of pollen, for example.

But when the entry pathways on the stigma are too small or the pollen tubes are too large to enter or the style is simply too long a travel, cut style or in-vitro methods are often used. The pollen must be germinated first with a sucrose solution to form those little pollen tubes.

As far as temperature goes, I've always found that warm mornings after very warm nights are best for pollination.
[Last edited by Roosterlorn - Aug 4, 2014 7:20 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #673825 (20)

Page 1 of 2 • 1 2

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Lilies forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by Baja_Costero and is called "Agave"