I've looked at descriptions of hundreds of daylilies in the Daylily Database and so often see "Will not come true from seed." Can someone explain just what this means, i.e., if the seed were to germinate and flower in however many years it might take, what might the flower look like? I have to admit that I get a brain freeze when math or science is the subject and I most likely won't understand a very detailed explanation of genetics, but I'm just really curious. Thanks. Nancy
The phrase "Will not come true from seed" means that the resulting plants will (probably) not look like the plant that made the seeds. Since two sets of genes are needed to make daylily seeds, the seeds will produce flowers that have traits of both "parents" or a blend of the two in some way. Sometimes they resemble one parent very strongly. Additionally, as a daylily can be self-fertile (the pollen from a flower can fertilize that self same flower), the seedlings will be very much like the parent. They still won't be identical- they will not come true.
We have "parent" threads on here somewhere. Dragonfly Dawn comes to mind as a daylily that many of us have crossed and have posted parent and child photos. I can't find that post...
I'm no expert by any means. But I dabble for fun with cross pollination of daylilies. I look at them JUST like you look at any family. The babies could look similar to mom or dad. Or one in a bunch may turn out looking a little like grandma or grandpa or even cousins. Even if they happen to look like mom or dad they are NOT genetically identical. The only way to propagate daylilies is by the fans multiplying in the clump or by proliferations.
Here are a few samples of some crosses I have made.
Seedlings (children) from above cross^
You have to dig up the plant, pull the roots apart/separate the fans and then plant those divisions. So you could dig up a really large clump and pull them apart and then plant them in a row of 8 or 10 plants, or however many divisions you made depending on how large you want the new little clump to be. When you buy a daylily through mail order they come with no dirt, and the roots are washed off nice and clean and it is customary to receive 2 fans (often times it's more). Then you just plant them, I never put soil or allow soil to wash over the crown which is the area where the roots transition into the area where the leaves start growing out. If soil goes over that spot it can rot the crown and the plant dies.