Daylilies forum: Who is getting eager to start germination? Me, me, me...

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Name: Sue Petruske
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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petruske
Jan 5, 2020 4:53 PM CST
I'm a very small time hybridizer. Just in my own backyard which is overflowing already.

No matter...I'm still going ahead with germination. Whistling D'Oh! Not for another month at least but I'm looking over all my seeds (and seeds from others). Still have some that are older and I'll see what comes from them.

I just ordered some trays and capillary mats for underneath the seed pots. Has anyone ever used that method for daylily seeds?
Name: Marcie
Sun Prairie, WI (Zone 5a)
mljohnson19
Jan 5, 2020 5:17 PM CST
I started stratifying a few seeds in the fridge before the holidays so that I'd hopefully have some ready to plant and watch sprout in the doldrums of January and February here in Wisconsin. It was very cheery seeing all my little seedlings sprouting on my windowsill late last winter, and I'm looking forward to it again this winter. I'm trying to tell myself to wait another month for the rest of my seeds, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to cave and start another batch this week.

I will be curious what other people say about their methods for growing daylily seeds indoors. I've read lots of different perspectives on this forum, and it seems like lots of different methods work for different people. Interestingly last year, none of the seeds that I planted in cups sprouted, but almost all of the seeds I planted in individual seedling trays sprouted. The only thing I can figure is that I must not have given them the right amount of water. I'd love to keep learning from experts here on this forum what works best for them.

I'm a new very small time hybridizer, too; I just keep digging up more grass in my back yard when I realize I ordered too many daylilies (or seeds) to fit in the garden space I already have.
Name: Sue Petruske
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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petruske
Jan 5, 2020 5:24 PM CST
I generally germinate the seeds in baggies on paper towels. Then when I see a white root and some green appear I get them planted into a seedling tray. Anxious to try the capillary mat this year to see if it helps out with watering.

Best of luck Marcie!! Hope you have lots of sprouting happen. Thumbs up
Name: Mike
Hazel Crest, IL (Zone 5b)
"Have no patience for bare ground"
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Hazelcrestmikeb
Jan 5, 2020 7:23 PM CST
I am going to start meddling with mine next month. I didn't start any the last two years. Gotta make up for that Green Grin! I did mine on shelves in the basement under florescent lights and a heat mat
Thumb of 2020-01-06/Hazelcrestmikeb/626ff8
One of those seedling.
robinseeds.com
"Life as short as it is, is amazing, isn't it. MichaelBurton
"Be your best you". "Mikedon" on the LA.
Name: Jayce Kaldunski
California (Zone 9a)
Houseplants Tropicals
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Jayce_KalFUNski13
Jan 5, 2020 7:44 PM CST
I am in Northern California and wish to get more into daylilies. Where is the best place to buy? Is it okay to buy seeds online? Is there anyone who would be willing to trade for other plants?
If a plant is sad, do other plants photosympathise with it???
Name: Celeste
central New Hampshire (Zone 4b)
Region: New Hampshire Daylilies Hybridizer Birds Cat Lover Butterflies
Seller of Garden Stuff Roses
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celestialrose
Jan 5, 2020 8:07 PM CST
Hi Marcie,
I read your comment and wanted to warn you that more seeds are coming your way. Whistling I mailed them out Friday so be on the lookout. I will also warn you that my seeds are eager beavers and I have over 500 seedlings already started and growing in my house because they sprouted in the fridge! I had just put them in a couple weeks ago to stratify, figuring I'd plant them late January. I didn't want to start them this soon but they had other ideas. So make sure to check the first batch of seeds I sent you, especially if you have them stratifying. You won't have to fuss with these new ones since they'll probably already be growing by the time they reach you. Hilarious!
[Last edited by celestialrose - Jan 5, 2020 8:12 PM (+)]
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Name: Robin
Southern Michigan (Zone 6a)
Region: Michigan Seller of Garden Stuff Seed Starter Cat Lover Daylilies Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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RobinSeeds
Jan 5, 2020 9:36 PM CST
Eager beaver right here, I've got loads of seeds moist cold stratifying (in baggies with vermiculite) in the fridge (most of them from Celeste...thank-you Celeste)! Mine didn't germinate in the fridge because they froze at the back of the fridge. D'Oh!

If my seeds stratify correctly, I'll germinate the seeds in baggies with vermiculite on a heat mat (late January) and grow on under lights till just hours after the last frost. Rolling on the floor laughing
God blessed me with dirt.
('Mipii' on The LA)
Name: Sue Petruske
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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petruske
Jan 5, 2020 10:11 PM CST
I think I may not have explained very well what I'm going to do this year. It's the actual tending the seedlings once they get into the soil. Here is the set up that I'm going to try this year.

Just wondering if anyone has tried it or something similar.

Anyone foresee negative issues doing it this way?

The sheet you see under the dome and seedling tray is the capillary mat. The ends of the mat fold down into the water reservoir and sucks up the water to keep the seedlings watered.
Thumb of 2020-01-06/petruske/a24ab6

Name: Robin
Southern Michigan (Zone 6a)
Region: Michigan Seller of Garden Stuff Seed Starter Cat Lover Daylilies Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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RobinSeeds
Jan 5, 2020 10:21 PM CST
Sue, I have tried my own DIY capillary mat via an old towel. I was hoping the method would wick up needed moisture from the towel to the plant root, therefore I could keep the towel relatively moist. I had to throw out the towels after the plants got potted up due to the amount of algae growing on the towels.

Hopefully, your method of using a product specifically designed for the purpose would discourage algae buildup.
God blessed me with dirt.
('Mipii' on The LA)
Name: Sue Petruske
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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petruske
Jan 5, 2020 11:42 PM CST
Algae was my concern. I too am hoping that the mat that I purchased is designed to resist that. I always water with water that I have added hydrogen peroxide to (3/4 cup to a gallon of water). At the first sign of any algae I will abort the mats and go back to the old way of doing it.
I also plan to grow them in the basement this time. Last year I did them in the garage. The first year I did it in the house which worked out great...but now I have 4 cats in the house and I don't trust that I could rig up anything that would keep them away from the seedlings. In the basement I'll be close to a water source (that isn't softened) and any spills will be on a cement floor.
[Last edited by petruske - Jan 5, 2020 11:43 PM (+)]
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Name: Robin
Southern Michigan (Zone 6a)
Region: Michigan Seller of Garden Stuff Seed Starter Cat Lover Daylilies Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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RobinSeeds
Jan 5, 2020 11:59 PM CST
I built shelving for my 1020 trays with lights in my unheated basement with cement floors. The winter temps down there seem to suit them fine. My 4 cats don't even bother with my seedlings (thank God). I've seen them snap off the odd pod on scapes in the garden, I learned they dance in the breezes. This year I'm going for taller scapes Hilarious! Crossing Fingers!

My water is whole house softened, so I use water that's filtered from a kitchen spigot...or rainwater when it's not frozen.

Edited to add; you could also try an algaecide, I'm sure they use them for hydroponics.
God blessed me with dirt.
('Mipii' on The LA)
[Last edited by RobinSeeds - Jan 6, 2020 12:00 AM (+)]
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Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Daylilies Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Region: Alabama
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Seedfork
Jan 6, 2020 7:17 AM CST
I am trying something new (again this year). The past few years I have started my seeds indoors, but not this year. I just planted my last batch of seeds for this season outdoors in the four little protected raised beds I made.Normally I would start the seeds in cups indoors then move them out into the beds in the spring. This will be my first year to actually start all my seeds outside. I planted the last ones just a few days ago and noticed already from those that now I have three cups with new seedlings already showing. This is the warmest Dec. and Jan. I can remember so this might not work every year, might not even work this year if we suddenly get very low freezing temps. I am wondering just how much cold a very young seedling can take, but that might not even get tested this year.
I am thinking that by being started outdoors with real sun and real rain that the seedlings will be almost double in size by late spring,
compared to what they would have been if started indoors.
My earlier batches of seeds for this year have already been removed from the cups and planted directly in the garden. They are currently so far ahead of where they would be normally.
Name: Greg
central North Carolina (Zone 7b)
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gregnc
Jan 6, 2020 9:33 AM CST
I was also looking a my seeds this weekend, checking for mold and deciding which ones I'll sow first. I'm a backyard hybridizer and planting space is always in short supply. In 2019, I produced enough seed to last for at least three years, so I have to prioritize which I'll plant first. I keep mine in their plastic zip bags until I sow them (usually in February, under lights @ 72-77 F, ambient temp, not soil temp). I generally use a combination of fluorescent and incandescent to achieve the full photosynthetic light range. I think fluorescent tubes sold as "grow lights" have a broader light spectrum than regular fluorescent bulbs but haven't actually looked at manufacture's specs to see if that's the case. I'm not certain the far red light from the incandescent bulbs makes a big difference...I know that daylily seed will germinate and grow just fine under plain fluorescent bulbs. (And incandescent bulbs are getting difficult to find).

I never stratify, just sow them directly from the fridge. The first couple of years that I planted daylily seed I did stratify in moist paper towels because I was breeding with dormants, and I thought dormants would need this treatment. I would check them several times each week for mold, and I didn't want the roots to get too long before transplanting. Now however, it seems that there are very few daylilies that are true hard dormants (and it's unlikely that I cross hard dormant X hard dormant) so I don't stratify anymore. I'd like to say that it hasn't made any difference with germination of my seeds but I haven't really tested that theory by sowing batches of stratified and non-stratified seeds from the same cross. And since I've been happy with the germination results I get, I just continue with the same germination method.

I plant in 3.5" square pots filled with moistened germination mix. I like germination mix because it doesn't dry out quickly, and stays evenly moist. Eighteen of these pots will fit in a standard nursery flat. I spread the seeds out evenly then push them down below the surface with my index finger, going down almost to my first knuckle, which is just less than one inch, then smooth over the soil surface to make sure all the seeds are covered. I water again thoroughly, then place clear plastic domes over the flats. This helps keep moisture in, and actually increases the temp a little beneath the dome. I'll usually see germination within 7-10 days. I have used capillary mats in the past for other types of seedlings but have not tried them with daylilies. I agree with Sue and Robin that they are difficult to keep clean; I don't use them anymore. And actually, a dense substrate like germination mix might stay too wet with capillary mats. Some have mentioned using heating mats or cables, and that is a great idea for raising the temp directly around the seed flats.

Happy Growing Everyone!
Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
Daylilies Spiders! Plant and/or Seed Trader Winter Sowing Hybridizer Peonies
Garden Procrastinator Container Gardener Composter Organic Gardener Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
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bxncbx
Jan 6, 2020 9:37 AM CST
@petruske I've used that method for daylilies and it works great. Only problem is they tend to outgrow it really quickly so you'll need to transplant sooner rather than later. I use that system for pretty much everything I grow indoors under lights. Been using it for well over a decade. It's great for me because I'm really busy and would forget to water during the week. With those I can water once a week. Just makes life easier.
Name: Sue Petruske
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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petruske
Jan 6, 2020 3:29 PM CST
Great input everyone. Hurray!

Robin: I'll surely keep the algaecide in mind and watch for algae.

Larry: I love hearing about all your experiments. I hope your mild winter continues and you have a bumper crop of seedlings. I can't wait to see (in bloom) pics of all the seedling beds you have. Smiling

Greg: I always start seeds in the paper towels. I think this year I will do up one tray by sowing directly from the frig and see how it goes. It would save a lot of time messing with the baggies. But honestly, I rather enjoy watching for the little root to show its face. Of course I don't do this on a large scale. If I did, I'd probably direct sow for sure.

Elena: When you say "they tend to outgrow it really quickly so you'll need to transplant sooner rather than later", do you mean they grow faster with the mat?
Perhaps because they are getting 'more consistent' moisture? Thinking
Or do the roots eventually want to plant themselves into the mat? I wondered about that and figured I'd just remove the mats if that happens.
Name: Marcie
Sun Prairie, WI (Zone 5a)
mljohnson19
Jan 6, 2020 5:43 PM CST
Celeste, thanks for sending more seeds! I can't wait to get them in the mail and see what you sent. None of your seeds have started sprouting in my fridge yet, but I will keep an eye on them.

Sue, I have a very old cat who is uninterested in my seedlings so I do plan to grow some on my window sills. But last winter I was kitten-sitting, and the kitten jumped up onto the windowsill and knocked over two seedling trays. I replanted them and almost all survived, but now of course I have no idea which seedling is which.
Name: Sue Petruske
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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petruske
Jan 6, 2020 5:51 PM CST
I KNOW I couldn't trust my 4 kitties. They would be eating the seedlings and rolling in the dirt. Oh boy would they have fun!!! The first year I grew seedlings I had an old cat and just had to put a plastic fence around the bottom of the shelving unit which kept her out just fine. Wouldn't work with these youngsters. They are a couple years old and are full of energy.
Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Irises Roses Peonies Butterflies Birds
Bee Lover Region: Canadian Ponds Garden Art Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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touchofsky
Jan 6, 2020 6:43 PM CST
My cat loves to eat the daylily seedlings. I have to have the light stand well covered!
Touch_of_sky on the LA
Name: Celeste
central New Hampshire (Zone 4b)
Region: New Hampshire Daylilies Hybridizer Birds Cat Lover Butterflies
Seller of Garden Stuff Roses
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celestialrose
Jan 7, 2020 9:41 AM CST
This is what I have to do to outsmart my four-legged villains. I have four of these mini greenhouses for seed starting. If I leave the room for even a second with the greenhouse flap open, I will find a furry kitty butt sticking out. Grumbling I have to be very quick and clever to outsmart them. Even though I grow them their own kitty grass, the 'grass' is always greener inside the forbidden zone. Smiling

Thumb of 2020-01-07/celestialrose/5cb11d

Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
Daylilies Spiders! Plant and/or Seed Trader Winter Sowing Hybridizer Peonies
Garden Procrastinator Container Gardener Composter Organic Gardener Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Image
bxncbx
Jan 7, 2020 11:13 AM CST
@petruske I meant that compared to other seedlings daylilies grow really fast under lights and will outgrow the flats pretty quickly. And yes, the roots will grow into the mat if you don't raise up the flat from the mat every other day or so (also good way to check to see if it is time to transplant). I've definitely had roots grow into the mat and they are murder to get out but it can be done. No need to remove the mats, just transplant to a pot.

I haven't had any issues with algae growing on the mats. In my house in the winter the humidity is around 10%. No way is algae going to grow no matter how wet the mat stays. If I was living someplace with mild winters I could see how it might be a problem though.

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