Daylilies forum: Question for those who start daylilies from seed

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PA (Zone 6a)
pinkruffles
Aug 7, 2020 4:49 PM CST
Will you please tell me how many of you wait for 2 or 3 years before deciding whether to keep a seedling? I don't want to get rid of one that may end up looking great in 2 or 3 years, but space is at a premium in my garden. Thanks for your input!!
Name: Tim
West Chicago, IL (Zone 5a)
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Lyshack
Aug 7, 2020 5:47 PM CST
Oh! Me!

My test bed is set up for a three year rotation. One third is dedicated to first year seedlings, I don't get blooms with those.

A 2nd third is dedicated to second year seedlings, where I get my first peek.

And the rest is dedicated to third year seedlings, and I pay more attention to plant habit, scape height, bloom count and occasionally rebloom and/or season extenders. Late in August, I'll look though the pictures and stats to pick 10-12 keepers (out of 80 to 120), and recycle or find homes for my other third year seedlings to make room for next spring's seedlings. If I don't do it in the fall, by April I clean out the bed that held the third year plants, add mushroom compost, alfalfa meal or pellets, and maybe a little 10-10-10, and wait for the seedlings I planted in February to be ready to transplant. That's when my third year part of the bed rotates and becomes my first year seedling bed.

I don't like removing plants that I haven't seen twice, but sometimes it happens if a seedling doesn't bloom in year two. If I had more room (or more time to tend to it) I would add one more year to the bed and make it four years. But right now, it's challenging enough with what I have.

Tim

SunnyinMichigan
Aug 8, 2020 5:00 AM CST
Tim, have you noticed that precocious bloomers tend to be heavy bloomers as adults?
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
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Seedfork
Aug 8, 2020 7:54 AM CST
I don't think a bloom changes that much form one year to another, but bud count and branching do. I have beds for 2018, 2019 seedlings. Just dug up all my 2017 seedlings a few months ago and just started planting my 2020 seeds.
Sorry to say I did not get but one keeper and it at best would be considered a bridge plant (plus I just really wanted at least one keeper). I never saw much promising from the very start except for the one plant, it stood out above the rest from the beginning. So I could have dug all my 2017 seedlings after the first year and missed nothing. But, that is because that was my first year to really have enough seeds planted to hope for any results, and the longer someone does this and gets experience and knowledge the better the chances of having better crosses. The more knowledge you get from experience the better parents you tend to buy and have a much better chance of having good crosses. So as a beginner my need to keep plants for the full three years would not be as necessary as someone who is more advanced. Even now I have much better hopes for my 2019 seedlings, but still out of the hand full that have bloomed I don't see much promising. Just wait till next year though!
I would love to hear from some experienced hybridizers about plants they were ready to toss and decided to keep for the full three years or maybe even more before the plant really showed itself to be worth of registration.
[Last edited by Seedfork - Aug 8, 2020 10:41 AM (+)]
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PA (Zone 6a)
pinkruffles
Aug 8, 2020 9:53 AM CST
I am really interested to hear if other seedling growers agree with Larry that the blooms don't change much from one year to another. In other words, if I don't like the color or form of a seedling when it first blooms, how likely is it that it's going to be any prettier in the next year or two?
Name: pam
gainesville fl (Zone 8b)
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gardenglory
Aug 8, 2020 9:59 AM CST
They change more from the first bloom to the second, than year to year, or so I find. I am always afraid tho, I will throw a good budder or brancher away, but you have to just decide and toss. Maybe you will get more teeth from year to year but I think your talking about overall look.
Name: Dave
Wood Co TX & Huron Co MI
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SunriseSide
Aug 8, 2020 10:02 AM CST
I have had some that improved blooms over 2 or more years, especially if year one blooms are malformed, bizarre or just weird 👽due to weather, insects or the all encompassing "other". Sometimes they get worse or the fan dies after giving it all in 1st blooms. I don't think the colors overall will change much.
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[Last edited by SunriseSide - Aug 8, 2020 10:04 AM (+)]
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Name: Tim
West Chicago, IL (Zone 5a)
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Lyshack
Aug 8, 2020 12:20 PM CST
SunnyinMichigan said:Tim, have you noticed that precocious bloomers tend to be heavy bloomers as adults?


Seedfork said:I don't think a bloom changes that much form one year to another, but bud count and branching do.


I've never seen a seedling with great bud count in year three develop poor bud counts in later years, yet, but I haven't been doing this all that long. ...stressful situations aside, like drought or pesky deer or bugs.

I'm in line with Larry on this question for the most part. I have seen blooms open like crap the first year because they were probably just barely mature enough to put up a small scape, but get better at opening as they mature. And in those cases, the color may not change much, but it seems like a huge improvement because it seems like a bigger bloom and you can see it all.

Also, your question reminded me of some advice I read here once, and sadly I can't remember who said it to give them credit. They said "once a runt, always a runt". I'm sure there are exceptions, but it makes me feel better about removing 3rd year seedlings if I choose to believe this. If a seedling has more buds in year two and year three than its siblings, I believe it's probably always going to have a better bud count than its siblings.
Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
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blue23rose
Aug 8, 2020 1:18 PM CST
Just today, I dug out 15 seedlings that I had grown for 4 years. Should have done it last year. These 15 had low bud count and branching and faded terribly by noon. Anyway, I was told that the fading would not be something that would change no matter how many years I waited. So it really felt good to get that space back in my garden.
Vickie
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
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Seedfork
Aug 8, 2020 3:43 PM CST
I would love some comments from others, maybe even lists of traits that you watch over a three or four year period and another list of traits that you believe don't tend to improve over the years and would allow a plant to normally be culled by the second year ( assuming that there were not other traits that were so good it made the plant worth keeping as a bridge plant).
To me if the bloom is bad, that is a pretty clear reason by the second year to cull the plant (I am sure there are some exceptions but I don't know of any). If the plant is a runt (using Tim's description) I think most plants could be culled by the second year. If the plant shows signs of being prone to disease like rust, and leaf streak, etc. I think it could be culled by the second year (any one have any plants that grew out of being prone to diseases?)
I think things like drought tolerance would be harder for me to judge because my plants are never intentionally allowed to endure that type of climatic challenge, but many of them are now just because I can't get around to watering all of them yet . Love to hear from others on the problems you look for that will and will not grow out of over a period of years. How long does it take fragrance to appear?
McLean, VA (Zone 6b)
daylilly99
Aug 8, 2020 5:17 PM CST
When I started I kept far too much. I've become much more ruthless each year.

If the flower doesn't have a chance of being appealing (muddy, unclear color or bad form) it's out immediately. If it's only somewhat appealing but has great branching and bud count from the start I will keep it if I think I can use it in breeding. If I see rebloom the first year on a just okay plant I may keep it for a while to use with other rebloomers.

That being said,when starting on a new line of exploration, I may keep things just because I as yet have little to fit the bill. For example, I'm interested in trying to do miniatures, so am keeping things under 3", of which there are still few in my garden.

I'll keep things for several years if they still interest me and I find I'm still going to them to breed. I think that may be a clue ... does it still intrigue or interest you? If you are ignoring it maybe it's time for it to go.





Name: Daniel Erdy
Catawba SC (Zone 7b)
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ediblelandscapingsc
Aug 8, 2020 7:01 PM CST
Things that I've seen improve with time are pod fertility, scape height, bud count, branching, ease of opening, and sometimes bloom size.
Some things that don't improve in my garden without futher breeding are rust resistance and muddy colors
Patterns sometime improve over time but it's been hit or miss for me with patterns.
Sometimes splotchy flowers improve with time also but sometimes they don't. These are some things I've personally experienced in my garden.
I would imagine hardiness incresses with age, I know this is true with most of the tender plants I grow but here in zone 7b daylily hardiness is not an issue.
🌿A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered🌿
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
Aug 8, 2020 7:54 PM CST
@ediblelandscapingsc
I had not given any thought to pod and pollen fertility changing with age? Have you noticed the same with pollen fertility as with pod fertility?
Name: Daniel Erdy
Catawba SC (Zone 7b)
Pollen collector Fruit Growers Permaculture Hybridizer Plant and/or Seed Trader Organic Gardener
Daylilies Region: South Carolina Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Photography Herbs Region: United States of America
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ediblelandscapingsc
Aug 8, 2020 8:57 PM CST
For me if the pollen is no good to start with it doesn't imrpove with age. In some cases first year bloomers can have deformed anthers, or other things going on like the flower not opening properly that affect the ability to make good pollen but those are just first year hiccups and nothing really to do with fertility.
Pollen that isn't fertile is rare in my garden. Pod infertility or difficult pod setters are way more common for me, especially with spiders.
🌿A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered🌿

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