Daylilies forum: Number of Seeds in Tets

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Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Aug 24, 2016 6:25 PM CST
I am just curious how many seeds you all collect from a tet pod on average. This is the first year I am doing some hybridizing. All of my tet pods produce about 5--7 seeds a pod. There is one exception in which one pod yields 15 seeds so far this season. That is alot less than what my dip pods produce. How many pods do you allow to mature on an established daylily clump? Do you get less flowers next year if too many pods are set on the plant?
Name: David McCausland
Horseheads, NY (Zone 5a)
Daylilies Region: New York Plant and/or Seed Trader Hybridizer
Bedmaker
Aug 24, 2016 6:38 PM CST
I just had this conversation with Ed Zahler of I CAN'T BELIEVE IT IS A DIP. I have known this for years as it has been my experience that the dip pods produce more seeds that tet pods. It really depends on the parents. The most I have gotten out of a tet pod is around 15 seeds. With the dips, that is the minimum number of seeds. I tend not to load up a plant with seed pods for several reasons: I have heard that it can stress a plant and you will have fewer flowers the next year. I really don't know it this is true, because a friend of mine in York, PA, loads his plants with seed pods every year and the following year there are plenty of blooms waiting to be pollinated. The other reason I don't set a lot of pods is I don't have all the room in the world to plant seeds. I will be curious to hear what other people have to say about seed pods on a clump.
Name: Ashton & Terry
Jones, OK (Zone 7a)
Windswept Farm & Gardens
Hostas Lilies Hybridizer Keeps Sheep Pollen collector Irises
Hummingbirder Region: United States of America Daylilies Region: Oklahoma Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kidfishing
Aug 24, 2016 8:47 PM CST
Tet pods will produce less seeds but it depends on the daylily. I have seen many tet pods in the 8 years of our hybridizing to have only 2 or 3 seeds. This year we had some tets that produced pods with 15-20 seeds. Recently I picked a pod off of dip Mirror Shades that had 41 seeds.
We are guilty of loading up some of our dayliles with pods. I have a dip seedling that produced 46 pods this year. I have set more than that on some. It most likely does affect the plant but it depends on some factors of conditions and nutrients and water. I have been careful not to set many pods on some newly acquired plants in the past, but a couple of lessons have changed my thinking a little. For example I bought some hybridizing plants one spring that I prized for future parents. I did not set pods on them them the first year to make sure they were established and doing well. I did use their pollen. Two prized parents died over the first winter in spite of special care. I should have crossed them with each other and got some pods.
We have lots of room to plant seedlings so we make lots of seeds but try to take care of the plants. This year has been more difficult due to very dry conditions. We have 800-900 registered daylilies and 5000 seedlings so keeping them fed and watered without natural cooperation is very difficult. Still it has been our best year ever for daylilies. We have had no rain for almost a month and still several are reblooming.
Average tet pods have about 5-6 and dips 12-14
I have changed my process this season. We have found many seeds starting to sprout in the pods. At the beginning, we tried drying the seeds for 24-48 hours before refrigeration. We were finding so many good looking seeds dead after a day or two drying after harvest. We started direct sowing or putting them directly in moist vermiculite. We have a few thousand planted in pots and cups. Also the extra fridge is packed full of bagged seeds. I need a month off work to garden.
Kidfishing
Name: Ed Burton
NE Wisconsin
Hybridizing, Lily Auction seed sell
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Seed Starter Pollen collector Peonies Hybridizer
Hummingbirder Hostas Butterflies Birds Region: Wisconsin Daylilies
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EdBurton
Aug 25, 2016 7:04 AM CST
I get on average 5 to 10 seeds in a pod, I only breed tetraploids.
I think it has something to do with Murphy's Law, the better the cross the less seeds in a pod.

I have seen small pods with a lot of seeds, and hens egg size pods with 3 seeds.
After breeding daylilies for 20 some odd years, I learned that making several repeat crosses is my best option of getting enough seeds for planting and selling.

Saying that, 2016 I have set pods with ease on some plants that never set a pod for me going back 5 years of attempts.
No matter how long I will be doing this I will never understand the how and why of pod creation.

Super pod setter, middle of the road hit or miss pod setter, the no chance in hell pod setter, the only after you tried for several years but lets set a bee pod pod setter.
I grow them all.

F-71 (Sandi Jacques x Angelique Fringes) my best new seedling from 2016
Thumb of 2016-08-25/EdBurton/75befa

Ed Burton

seed seller "gramps"
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Aug 25, 2016 7:53 AM CST
Thank you all for your responses. The majority of my tet pods have 4 or 5 viable seeds. There was one pod that was huge but when the pod opened, there were only 5 seeds! I was not sure whether that was normal. Compared to dips which I get on the average of over 20, tets produce 3-4 times less seeeds than dips. Also, it seems easier to set pods on dips than tets. I just wonder if there are techniques out there that you can set tet pods successfully at every try.
Name: Ken
East S.F. Bay Area (Zone 9a)
Region: California
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CaliFlowers
Aug 25, 2016 7:17 PM CST
kousa said:I just wonder if there are techniques out there that you can set tet pods successfully at every try.


If you have a special plant that you absolutely must get pods on, there are some tricks. Usually, if you give it plenty of water, some shade, and back off the fertilizer, you'll get pods. In extreme cases, try this.

If you put your pod parents in pots, you'll be able to give them full sun until they start to bloom, then you can move them under shade. Also, hitting a tetraploid with diploid pollen for the first few blooms seems to get them into a "pod-setting frame of mind".
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Aug 26, 2016 10:29 AM CST
Thanks Ken! I will try some of those techniques out. So strange that shade plays such a significant role in pollination and pod formation.

I have gotten some strange cases with tets. I dabbed the pollen and a pod formed but the pod became misshapen. Like instead of having 3 compartments of the seed cavities developed, only one was plump and the other two just flattened. When this pod opened, the one plump compartment had only one seed and the other two had no seeds. Does anyone know why this happens? Does this mean the pollen or the pistil were bad to begin with?
Name: Ken
East S.F. Bay Area (Zone 9a)
Region: California
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CaliFlowers
Aug 26, 2016 11:31 AM CST
kousa said:Thanks Ken! I will try some of those techniques out. So strange that shade plays such a significant role in pollination and pod formation.


One theory would be that anything that makes the plant more relaxed and comfortable overall frees up energy for reproduction. You see this in many organisms. What I think is interesting is how on one hand, comfort can encourage seed-setting, but stress, in the form of aggressive division, can also enhance it. I always thought of seed production as a response to a hostile situation, such as dandelions in a lawn which flower copiously on 2" stems as a response to mowing.
I might have been looking at shade all wrong. It could be that a daylily senses a shady situation as one which is ultimately fatal, (shade in nature means tree roots, less water, weaker growth) and it produces seed in an attempt to make its way to better light, in steps of 24"-30" which might take several years each.

I have gotten some strange cases with tets. I dabbed the pollen and a pod formed but the pod became misshapen. Like instead of having 3 compartments of the seed cavities developed, only one was plump and the other two just flattened. When this pod opened, the one plump compartment had only one seed and the other two had no seeds.


I get quite a few of these too. I always chalked them up to chance, but I also feel lucky that one seed managed to hang in there. I think a one-seed pod has a good chance to abort completely, much like a scape with only one pod will tend to dry up before the pod can mature. This is more common with certain cultivars.
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Aug 26, 2016 7:48 PM CST
Sorry, there are no techniques that will guarantee setting pods on every try on diploids or tetraploids. The proportion of hand-pollinations that are successful will depend on the pod parent, the pollen parent, the temperature, the wind, the number of pods already set, the number of flowers yet to open, the humidity, the size of the fan/plant, the soil fertility and probably many more factors.

If you have a plant that does not set pods well in the sun but does in the shade it is probably temperature, humidity and/or wind that are the factors that are different and causing the difference in fertility (as long as the same pollen was used).

I have read the idea that setting pods on a tetraploid with diploid pollen will affect the tetraploid's ability to set pods later. I am very skeptical that there is any positive effect. A plant's goal is to set pods. Basically, once it has set some pods, the remainder of the flowers become less important. So, setting a pod, meaning the plant has now been successful and it must now use resources to develop the pod and its seeds, should cause the plant to be less likely to set later pods rather than more likely. I imagine any effect that is seen when this has been tried is caused by what appears to be a lower probability of setting pods on the first flowers that open rather than later flowers. If there is such an effect it could be caused by the weather. In any case the necessary test for the effect of diploid pollen on pod setting rates of a tetraploid requires that some flowers are pollinated by diploid pollen and on the same cultivar and the same day some flowers are pollinated by the tetraploid pollen in question. Then later the pod setting rates can be compared day to day. Since the weather changes from day to day and in a predictable manner (more or less) throughout the flowering season any comparison that does not check the effect of diploid pollinations versus tetraploid pollinations on the same days is not accounting for the effects of weather.

The pod of a daylily is like the fruit of other plants. The development of fruit is often affected by the development of the seeds inside the fruit. That is, the seeds produce compounds that affect the development of the fruit. Chambers that do not have seeds developing inside of them will not develop as well as chambers that have seeds. Pods with more seeds must become bigger, develop more, than pods with less seeds.

Most daylily hybridizers slather large amounts of pollen on the stigma when hand-pollinating, Presumably, if few seeds have developed then either most of the ovules had died or most of the pollen was not viable or most of the seeds started to develop but because of incompatibilities the embryos died and the developing seeds were aborted. In some cases it may be possible that the plant was not healthy enough to mature a full pod of seeds.
Maurice
Name: Daniel Erdy
Catawba SC (Zone 7b)
Permaculture Sempervivums Hybridizer Xeriscape Plant and/or Seed Trader Organic Gardener
Bee Lover Daylilies Region: South Carolina Garden Ideas: Level 2 Herbs Region: United States of America
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ediblelandscapingsc
Aug 26, 2016 8:49 PM CST
CaliFlowers said:

One theory would be that anything that makes the plant more relaxed and comfortable overall frees up energy for reproduction. You see this in many organisms.


That's funny because some other plants produce seed better when stressed. a rootbound fig tree is a great example of this. It's like the plant is saying okay I don't have much time here left on this earth so I need to reproduce.

I found with daylilies the earlier you can get out and do your crosses the better. If I wait until after lunch to do my crosses the chances of setting a pod are not as good as say 9am -10am which for me seems to be the sweet spot. If you get out there too early there won't be many pollen grains on your anthers and if you get out there too late the grains are no longer as fluffy. That's just from what I've noticed since I started crossing daylilies. Of course that's only been since spring of this year but I've gotten many pods to set this way and missed a few pods from doing my crosses too late.
Another thing I found is fresh pollen works a lot better than pollen that is stored even if it's only stored for less than 24hrs, the fresh pollen seems to always do better for me. I know many hybridizers swear by it and don't get me wrong I have gotten a few pods with pollen that was in the fridge overnight but I got way less pods that way vs using the pollen fresh. I know your selection is more limited on a day to day breeding program but whatever works best seems to be the route I usually take.
As far as seed count goes I've noticed most of my tet pods had on average 7-10 seeds per pod a few only had 1 or 2 seeds per pod and I had one with 16 seeds in 1 pod but most hovered around the 7-10 mark. Some of the plants with the highest seed count for me have been Forbidden Fantasy, and Forestlake Ragamuffin. Both are very fertile both ways and make up the majority of the genes in my crosses this year. As a matter of fact the seed pod with 16 seeds was Forbidden Fantasy X Forestlake Ragamuffin.
It's great when fertility notes are added to the database, this will give you a great idea on what to expect out of your daylilies when hybridizing, although with most daylilies this info isn't mentioned. I can tell you that Forestlake Ragamuffin has some Super Pollen it's what I got a pod on a dip with and almost every cross I made with it took, It also sets pods very well. Forbidden Fantasy pod setting capabilities are out of this world and it has good pollen also. Others talk highly about Dragonfly Dawn being highly fertile both ways much like Forestlake Ragamuffin and so it too will be added to my breeding program next year.
Here are a few others I have used and my thoughts on them. Grams Dream has decent pollen but doesn't set pods well and I'd go as far to say it's no good at setting pods. Kabuki Drama is fertile both ways but it's pollen is slightly better than it's pod setting capability. I would not rank it up there with Forbidden Fantasy, and Forestlake Ragamuffin as far as fertility. Collaboration sets good pods but it's pollen isn't the best in the world either. Double Cupcake is not a breeders daylily I haven't gotten a pod on it yet and it's one of the few dips I grow. Francis of Assisi is the same way, I got pods but they aborted and no pods where set with it's pollen. Jo Barbre is another one of the few dips I grow and is fertile both ways but isn't the one of the best breeding daylily out either. Avante Garde will set pods but not easily also it's pollen isn't the best in the world. Restless Heart will set pods but I can't say how fertile the pollen is because I haven't used it as a pollen parent. In my garden the trend seems to be the more fertile the parent plants are the more seeds per pod but this is just an observation in my garden from just 1 year of hybridizing.
As far as your question of can setting too many pods cause less blooms the next year I can say this much, all my plants are 1 year or less and I set or attempted to set pods on every flower that formed. I haven't gotten any increases from my daylilies that had pods this year and I suspect this is the reason. my single and double fans plants are all still single or double fan plants with the exception of Green Arrow, Double Cupcake, and Francis of Assisi which didn't have pods or whose pods aborted. So I'd be tempted to say it does indeed take strength away from the plant. Maybe clumps wouldn't have been affected as much but I think I pushed my plants as far as they could go for 1 year old plants and will be heading into 2017 with the same number of fans I had spring 2016 because of it unless they'll send up more fans come spring.
I look at every flower as a chance for a new daylily and even though I haven't noticed any increases I'll have a bunch of seedlings next year because of me pushing them as hard as I did. All my new plants next year will be pushed the same way. I've heard way too many stories of people loosing new dayliles so my new theory is " use them before you loose them" Thumbs up

­čî┐A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered­čî┐
Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
Daylilies Hybridizer Peonies Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Organic Gardener
Composter Container Gardener Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I helped beta test the first seed swap
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bxncbx
Aug 27, 2016 7:44 AM CST
Daniel, I forgot to tell you that I FINALLY got a pod to set on Francis of Assisi. It isn't ripe yet but I don't think it will abort. The pod has gotten much bigger and looks very healthy whereas the aborted pods don't. Or should I say didn't.

I agree that you should try and use flowers from new plants just in case they die but I wouldn't try on every flower. I find new plants have a harder time than established ones. This year I got Gold Helmet to set 2 pods but last year I got none (first year blooming). I suspect it will be even better next year.

I also find that the larger the flower the smaller the number of seeds. In my garden it tends to hold for both dips and tets. My larger flowered tets give me 5-7 seeds on average. The smaller flowered ones go closer to double digits.

And some cultivars are just dynamos. This year Alice Faye bloomed like crazy! It had never done that before so I set a ton of pods on it. I did that because I knew it was a cultivar that sets pods even when the pollen isn't so great. And it didn't disappoint! With good pollen I can get around 15+ seeds on average. With bad pollen, 5-8 seeds. So even though Alice Faye is small-flowered and not fancy I'll always keep it in my garden for its pod producing capabilities.
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Aug 27, 2016 9:17 AM CST
Thank you Maurice for explaining how various factors affect pollination and pod setting.

Thank you Daniel and Elena for sharing your experiences and observations. I too have tried to set pod on Francis of Assissi but all aborted. I don't have enough knowledge and experience to share at this time. I am still experimenting and doing by trial and error.

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