Daylilies forum: I am having problems crossing daylilies

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Name: Jon Whitinger
Jacksonville, TX (Zone 8a)
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jon
Jun 20, 2014 8:53 AM CST

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Recently when I have been crossing daylilies, the flower will fall off in 2-3 days after I cross them. I recently crossed 18 strawberry candy daylilies with Victorian lace, and they all fell off after the flower wilted. Does this happen to any of you? And what would you suggest that I do about it?
[Last edited by jon - Jun 20, 2014 8:54 AM (+)]
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Name: James
South Bend, IN (Zone 5b)
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JWWC
Jun 20, 2014 9:00 AM CST
Was the pollen fresh?

This sounds like you had a batch of pollen that is no longer viable or the particular bloom had sterile pollen. If either of these are the case, you would need new pollen (if you were using frozen) or another bloom. Some plants will take a while to give you a bloom with nice fluffy orange colored pollen.

It could also be a number of other things - heat for example - but I am sure others will chime in. If it was too hot, you could, if possible, move the plants into an area that stays shaded and will keep the temp down, or do your pollinating early in the morning.
Name: Jon Whitinger
Jacksonville, TX (Zone 8a)
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jon
Jun 20, 2014 9:10 AM CST

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I always cross the daylilies at around 5-6 in the evening, so that the pollen is not to fresh. I also use the pollen from that days flowers, so that it is not old.
Name: Lisa Klette
Dayton, KY (Zone 6a)
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Lilydaydreamer
Jun 20, 2014 9:30 AM CST
Jon, If the temp is above 90 F. The pollen is most likely no good. Most of us have trouble getting seeds to set when it is hot.

Try collecting the pollen ( and hybridizing if possible) in the morning. Hybridizing in the morning gives the pollen time to activate before it gets too hot. If you collect the pollen in the morning and keep in cool dry place till evening when you hybridize, you may get the pods to set.

FYI, even doing this, I still have many crosses that just will not take. KEEP trying! nodding
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Name: Jon Whitinger
Jacksonville, TX (Zone 8a)
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jon
Jun 20, 2014 9:39 AM CST

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Thank you, I will try that.
Name: Juli
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daylily
Jun 20, 2014 11:48 AM CST
Jon, here are some tips I have learned from various hybridizers over the years...

Up here in Ohio, I try to get all my pollenating done by no later than 10 in the morning. 11 for plants that are in filtered shade. A few people have luck later in the day, but most have better luck early in the day. Usually, by 9 a.m. today's pollen is fluffed and viable. Before then, I use pollen from the day before or from the freezer.

I have the best luck using today's pollen on flowers pollinated mid morning in filtered shade.

My understanding is..... There is fluid inside the tube inside the pistle. You want your pollen to be on the tip of the outside of the pistle already when the heat of the day startes to dry the fluid inside the pistle. That drying is what carries the pollen down the tube. If you are waiting until 5 p.m., the fluid is probably already dry. That means there is no way for your pollen to travel down the tube. How hot, humid, and even if it is overcast will affect pollination success.

After 10-11 a.m., I collect pollen to use the next morning. Keep it inside, in air conditioning if possible. Don't keep all the anthers in a clump, make sure they are spread out enough so they can get air and dry out a bit. I like to use disposable contact lens cases that I buy from my eye doctor to put pollen in. That way, if I don't use it fresh, it is ready to pop in the freezer, after it sits a day to dry. I keep just the anthers, not the whole stamen, then I use hemastat tweezers to grasp the anther and apply the pollen.

Another trick, if you want to use today's pollen but it is in the morning, and the pollen is not open and fluffy yet... Go ahead and pick the anthers, put them in a little dish or contact lens cup, and put them under the light of a desk lamp. They need to be close enough to the light so they get a touch of warmth from the light. It takes a combination of the warmth and light to peed up the ripening of the pollen. It won't take long... Maybe a half hour... And the pollen should open up and be ready to use that morning.

After I am done collecting pollen, the next thing I do is use scissors to cut the blooms off that I pollinated the day before. Leave an inch or so of the base of the flower on the scape where the pod forms. Cut right at the base of the flower, but leave the little "stalk" the flower attaches to the scape with. The reason you do this is so that the heavy, old bloom won't pull off a small pod that is forming. Sometimes those old blooms, especially if they are from really large or really full blooms, will get heavy with rain or from watering, or even just the "goo" when they wilt... And they become like glue and are really heavy! If this is confusing, I should have a few blooms open in a couple days, and I can take a photo of how and where to cut for you.
Name: Michele
Cantonment, FL zone 8b
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tink3472
Jun 20, 2014 2:07 PM CST
what the others said

Pollinating at 5-6 in the evening is way too late IMHO to pollinate. If you have nocturnal daylilies then it may be ok but as was said the fluid has already dried up by 5 or 6 especially in the heat. I'm not sure what your temps are like right now but even if it's in the high 80s and your "feels like" is higher then it could cause things not to set. I have some daylilies this year that haven't set a thing and they usually set pods really well. I do find that for whatever reason pods set better on rebloom scapes for me, if they do set on first scapes they usually abort.

If you can try and pollinate early in the morning. When I was able to get to the garden before 7 am I would have my pollinating done by 8 am usually but no later than 9:30. What I would do is pollinate everything and then go back and tag the blooms. I use the same pollen for everything (different pollen but same pollen for all spiders, same pollen for all teeth, same pollen for all patterns, etc.) so it is easy for me to go back later and tag if I have other things to do.

And just keep in mind that not all pollen will be good even if it looks good and not all plants will set pods. Some plants may set a few while others set on every bloom and then some don't ever set pods.
[url=www.pensacoladaylilyclub.com]www.pensacoladaylilyclub.com[/url]

m3lv1n
Jun 20, 2014 3:08 PM CST
This is my pollen routine collect Daylily flower midday to use tomorrow morning place it in small bowl were the sepals and pedals want touch water in bowl, but bottom of flower will, if pollen is ready place in Refrigerator, if flower picked before pollen ready place in house were light comes in widow, when pollen ready place in Refrigerator over night. Day break go out and pollenate, with your flower and bowl, pistols will be ready to take pollen, mark your crosses, ( if you are going to use a number of flowers us a cup cake pan) after threw, by 9:00 pm go back cut off yesterday's pollenate flower about 1" from it's connection to scape, this keeps old flower weight from breaking new forming seed pod off. This is my best result to hybridize and set seed pods here in southeast Texas, were it gets 90's, windy, 90 percent humidity, and dry
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Polymerous
Jun 20, 2014 4:18 PM CST
If the top of the pistil is dry, try removing the pistil off another plant and squeeze the sticky liquid from that onto the top of the pistil you are trying to cross on, and then pollinate. (I read about this in the Daylily Journal some long time back, and I think that it has helped me set some pods.)

That said, evening is definitely too late to expect much success, and in my (limited) experience even by late morning you are pushing your luck (though you might luck out and set a couple of seeds).

Also, with some daylilies you may be unable to set pods, period, for no discernible reason: long pistils, kinked, blunted, or otherwise malformed pistils, hot daytime temperature, too cold of a nighttime temperature, whatever else you can reasonably think of. (Years ago I kept trying on ADRIENNE'S SURPRISE, with no good luck. It would seem like a pod would take, but uniformly around two weeks from making the cross, the "pod" would shrivel up and die.)
The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Glen Ingram
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Gleni
Jun 20, 2014 5:17 PM CST
Just a thought, can you pollinate the same flower with its own pollen? Can you pollinate flowers on the same fan? And others on the clump?
Name: Michele
Cantonment, FL zone 8b
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tink3472
Jun 20, 2014 5:44 PM CST
Gleni said:Just a thought, can you pollinate the same flower with its own pollen? Can you pollinate flowers on the same fan? And others on the clump?


Yes you can, it's called selfing. It is done to try and bring out recessive genes. AHS link http://www.daylilies.org/ahs_dictionary/selfing.html

We sometimes do it around here on a seedling to see if it is pollen and pod fertile. It may be a young seedling that we may not be using at the time but want to make sure it is fertile.
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Name: Glen Ingram
Macleay Is, Qld, Australia (Zone 12a)
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Region: Australia Annuals Canning and food preservation Herbs Tropicals Foliage Fan
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Gleni
Jun 20, 2014 7:06 PM CST
Many thanks Michelle. I tip my hat to you.
Name: Tina
Where the desert meets the sea (Zone 9b)
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chalyse
Jun 20, 2014 9:33 PM CST
I'll tag on to Polymerous' note and add that when I am a bit late in the morning, and it has become a bit too warm (80 degrees and it may take me too long to get it all done), sometimes I find a dry pistil, but see that it helps to gently tap the end of it with the pollen anther (or something soft) a number of times. Especially for pistils that are oriented horizontally, that seems to bring the stigmatic fluid to the top again. If that happens, you suddenly see the pollen sticking, where it did not stick very well before, after 3-10 gentle taps or so.

Also, I am wondering if people have advice about the order in which pollination is done. I normally collect pollen from all blooms first, to help ensure that there is no possible self-pollination to them, and then go back to them all to dab pollen next. But, I've noticed that after removing the pollen stamens the remaining cut stalks begin to leak fluid (the ants love it and gather quickly up them to drink it). I worry if that is depleting the flower of the fluids it needs for successful pollination, or stresses it too much just when I'm hoping that pollination will occur. Any thoughts?
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Name: Juli
(Zone 5b)
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daylily
Jun 20, 2014 10:21 PM CST
chalyse said:I normally collect pollen from all blooms first, to help ensure that there is no possible self-pollination to them, and then go back to them all to dab pollen next. But, I've noticed that after removing the pollen stamens......

I have never done this, or heard of anyone else removing all the stamens before pollenating. In the gardens of the large hybridizers, if they did this, there would not be time to pollenate the hundreds and hundreds of blooms they pollenate each morning.

Now, back to Jon's question...

Jon, as you can see most people pollenate in the morning. I think if you move the hours that you are pollenating to early morning, you should see an increase in pod set. Occasionally, I hear of someone who pollenated after they got home from work and they have some success, but it is the exception more than the rule.

Still, like others said, weather, and the individual plants fertility play a roll in getting a pod to set at all.

Another thought... Make sure the plants you are trying to set pods on are receiving adequate water. When we have dry summers, if we don't supplement water, pods won't form, or they abort.
Name: Tina
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chalyse
Jun 20, 2014 10:37 PM CST
Thumbs up Yes, I'd never heard of taking flowers off the scape in order to gather pollen by keeping the stamens in the bloom, either. A huge difference in how large commercial operations may find it easiest to work and how garden hybridizers may approach things when many fewer blooms may create a desire to keep all flowers intact on-scape. At most, I may have 15 out of 200 cultivars to dab with pollen each day during peak flowering season, so its really easy to stroll by the flower beds, see what's bloomed, figure out which matches I really want to make specifically for each bloom, and then at most I am back to just enjoying the garden within the hour. I also agree about the watering... I take extra care to see how the blooming plants are doing and get them hydrated if needed. Group hug
Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of old; seek what those of old sought. — Basho

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[Last edited by chalyse - Jun 20, 2014 10:43 PM (+)]
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Polymerous
Jun 20, 2014 11:29 PM CST
Pollinating and tagging is enough work to do, even in my small garden, without collecting all of the pollen on all of the daylilies first. Blinking I might collect pollen prior to making crosses sometimes for a special daylily (usually a new plant or a seedling), but that is because I am going to save the pollen in gel capsules in the fridge.

Most mornings, it is a race to get the pollen anyway before the honeybees and carpenter bees get it all. Frequently they beat me to the blooms, or else are trying to get to the anthers and pollen on a bloom while I am trying to pollinate it! Rolling my eyes. I don't doubt that sometimes, when I am forced to use their "leavings" for pollen for making my crosses, that there might be some "foreign" pollen mixed in there.

Oh well... it keeps the seedling patch interesting... Hilarious!
The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Tina
Where the desert meets the sea (Zone 9b)
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chalyse
Jun 20, 2014 11:44 PM CST
Yeah, I think the hybridizer on some of my seedlings is A. Ant! Rolling on the floor laughing They are quick Blinking

I just use large, long tweezers on those 15 volunteer bloomers over here ... one swipe and the anthers are all in its grasp. A gentle turn of the wrist and they are all detached and quickly into a plastic pill box ready for the fridge.

But A. Ant, my in-garden mentor, is hinting that maybe I will get more pods to set by dabbing first and tweezering second (preserve the fluids until pollination has taken hold - about 20 minutes after dabbing) .... Shrug!
Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of old; seek what those of old sought. — Basho

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[Last edited by chalyse - Jun 21, 2014 6:44 AM (+)]
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Name: Ed Burton
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EdBurton
Jun 21, 2014 12:16 AM CST
I agree with everyone who suggested pollinating in the morning.
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Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
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Hemlady
Jun 21, 2014 5:51 AM CST
I always pollinate in the morning too before it gets too hot.
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beckygardener
Jun 22, 2014 12:02 AM CST
It gets quite hot here by 9 am, so I try to get outside and hand-pollinate before then. You can actually see the gooey liquid in the pistil sticking to the pollen. I, personally, like to use an artist's fine paint brush when I do my hand-pollinating. I like to gently stab the pollen down into the pistil. I must be doing something right because I get pods to set on almost all of my daylily blooms. I use the same pollen on the brush or use multiple brushes if I am using the pollen from various plants. I wash the brushes with soap and water after the daily use and set them out to thoroughly dry before the next day's hybridizing.

Another thing, too ... dips and tets aren't usually compatible for hybridizing, correct? So you have to make sure your hybridizing with compatible daylily plants as well.

Good luck, Jon!
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[Last edited by beckygardener - Jun 22, 2014 12:04 AM (+)]
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