Daylilies forum: For how long can I store daylily seeds?

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Name: Sabrina
Italy, Brescia (Zone 8b)
Love daylilies and making candles!
Daylilies Cat Lover Region: Europe Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Level 1
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cybersix
Dec 26, 2015 12:55 PM CST
Hello everyone!
After all the talking about stratifying seeds there's a question in my mind!
How do I store seeds for long time? And how much it can be a long time?

Many thanks!
Sabrina, North Italy
My blog: http://hemerocallisblog.com
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Dec 26, 2015 2:12 PM CST
I also have questions about storing seeds. Moved this post from Starting Daylily Seeds Thread. Thank you for your help.

How do you store your seeds? How do the sellers on LA keep the seeds so nice plump until they ship them? I don't know what I am doing wrong but some of the seeds that I received a month or two ago are looking rather shriveled. I keep them in the original bags that they come in and place all the seed bags in a gallon ziploc bag and store them on the refrigerator door rack.
Name: Greg Bogard
Winston-Salem, NC (Zone 7a)
Sscape
Dec 26, 2015 2:48 PM CST
Refrigeration tends to dry things out over time. The longer the seeds are in the refrigerator--the more they dry. Eventually, even the shiniest, roundest, smoothest, etc. seeds will get some wrinkles in them. It is the length of time from harvest to planting that effects germination. I have kept seeds for over two years---and they germinated. However, the germination rate was down to around 30%.
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
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beckygardener
Dec 26, 2015 11:13 PM CST
Is there an alternative storing choice for them to stay viable longer? Is it the drying out that eventually kills the seeds?
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
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sooby
Dec 27, 2015 7:50 AM CST
Scroll down to "Storage and Lifespan of Seeds" in this AHS article:

http://www.daylilies.org/AHSarchives/Griesbach_1957.pdf
Name: Greg Bogard
Winston-Salem, NC (Zone 7a)
Sscape
Dec 27, 2015 11:18 AM CST
Drying out helps to maintain viability---to a point. I think it is a combination of things that conspire to bring down germination rates ultimately to zero. I think the most important factors are temperature, moisture, and length of time since harvest---in that order. The moisture factor, I think, is multi-faceted. I put my seeds in Lowes Foods plastic snack bags with a piece of high grade typing paper approximately 1 3/4" by 3" that has the name of the cross written on it. I then place the bags in PAPER lunch bags in the refrigerator (preferably the crisper drawer). If I put more than ten seeds in a bag, or the seeds are too wet to begin with, the seeds do not do well. (This can be especially problematic if the seeds are harvested during a long rainy period). Too much moisture causes premature germination which can be seen by the seed coat splitting---sometimes with a root emerging. Once that occurs, the seed needs to be planted---or it will quickly go downhill and die. Sometimes this can happen without the seed coat splitting---enough moisture to start the process, but not enough to swell the seed to the point of splitting. I think that could reduce the ability of the seed to last a long time. The process of germination is pretty much an all-at-once thing---intended to take advantage of the right conditions in the Spring to maximize the chances of the resulting plant to survive. Another factor is contamination. Bacteria and/or fungus need moisture to thrive. The more the moisture---the more these things conspire against the seed. I always check the seeds a couple weeks after refrigeration. If there is visible moisture in the bag, I take the seeds out, air dry them---then rebag them with a new label, in a new plastic baggie. The purpose of the label is twofold. First--it sops up any extra moisture on the seeds immediately. Second, the high grade typing paper that I use is very white from bleaching--a minute amount of which stays with the paper. The bleach in the paper helps keep bacterial infection down. That, and dryness helps the seeds to last longer. It has an additional effect as well: The tiny, non-visible amount of moisture that it sops up, keeps the seeds in better shape for a longer time---than if they are stored in complete dryness. Refrigeration is drying. Even though they are in a plastic baggie--moisture is lost through the imperfect seal--and also through the plastic itself. I used to place the bags of seeds in another plastic bag for storage. That resulted in too much moisture problems. Placing them in a Paper bag slows the drying down---but at a more even rate than if they were not in a storage bag at all. Keeping the seeds this way has increased germination rates on two year old seeds dramatically. A few years ago I purposefully kept some seeds for three years. I transferred them to the new paper bags with the present year's crop each year---to see how they would do. The fourth year I planted them---and 28% germinated. Now, to be honest, this was seeds from a cross that reliably gave 100% germination if planted the first year. However, 28% after three full years of refrigeration I think is pretty great. I do think that there are differences in germination rates that depend on the cross made---and the pod parent. I have a beautiful pink that was made by Stoeri, but never registered, that I was gifted from a friend who knew him. I produces seeds that have VERY soft, wrinkly, outer shells. These seeds have a extremely high germination rate--if planted soon after harvest. If treated in the method described previously---they shrivel down to tiny wrinkled balls---if they do not rot first. Germination plummets from 100% down to 15% in one year. That is the extreme---but it makes the point that there are individual differences that can influence seed longevity. I am sure that there are many factors involved with seed storage. I have solved only some of them---and not for all seed. Good luck with your seeds this year!
Name: Sabrina
Italy, Brescia (Zone 8b)
Love daylilies and making candles!
Daylilies Cat Lover Region: Europe Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Level 1
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cybersix
Dec 27, 2015 12:11 PM CST
Thanks a lot!
So, the experiment in the article says glass jars were used; Greg, if I understand well, advices the use of paper bags; ohers say to use ziplock bags with a piece of paper inside.
I guess the fridge makes the difference, also.
I don't know how many seeds I will get (I'm waiting for seeds from the AHS and their program for non-US residents), if they are enough I may try different methods. I'm planning to plant some right away, but unless I riarrange the garden quickly or find good big pots I won't be able to plant them all together.
Sabrina, North Italy
My blog: http://hemerocallisblog.com
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Dec 27, 2015 1:20 PM CST
Greg - Very interesting experiment. I have some seeds that are 2 years old. I am going to see what germination rate they have. I honestly thought that being a fairly hard seed coat that they would last longer.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
[Last edited by beckygardener - Dec 27, 2015 1:20 PM (+)]
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Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Dec 31, 2015 9:40 AM CST
Thought I would post an update concerning my stored seeds viability rate.

I am finding this VERY interesting! I have numerous baggies of seeds that have been stored in my refrigerator crisper bin for 2+ years now. I took a number of the baggies out and added H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide & Spring water) to each baggie to speed the germination process. I am growing ALL the seeds of these that I have left over. So far, my observations have been:

2 seeds of Man in the Moon x Rainbow Maker (obtained seeds in Fall 2013) - Both sprouted roots and have been planted in a cup. These 2 seeds were all that I had left.

2 seeds of Cindy's Tie Dye x Bluegrass Music (Obtained seeds in Fall 2013) - Both sprouted roots and have been planted in a cup. These 2 seeds were all that I had left.

I have other seeds that are less than 2 years old and many more that are less than 1 year old. Only some of those are sprouting so far. Some of the newer ones have shown seed rot in the baggies with water, so they either weren't viable or had other germination issues which I would guess happened during their time with the hybridizer/seller .... I say that because I refrigerate the seeds I receive immediately upon arrival. I usually get at least an 85 - 90% germination rate and typically higher unless the seeds are not viable or have some other issue that happened with who I obtained them from.

After reading that the seeds might not be viable after 2 years, I was surprised to see both sets of the seed crosses above sprout roots! I have more seeds that have not sprouted yet. In fact, most all of my seeds have been soaking in H2O2 water for a week now and only a few crosses have actually sprouted including the 4 above. Those 4 seeds are some of the oldest seeds. All others sprouting are newer seeds. Some I am not sure what their age is. Most of the seeds float, but not all of them. Both floating and non-floating seeds are sprouting.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
[Last edited by beckygardener - Dec 31, 2015 9:50 AM (+)]
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Dec 31, 2015 9:58 AM CST
What is your ratio of peroxide:water, Becky? (I assume this soaking is at room temperature?)
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
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beckygardener
Dec 31, 2015 10:18 AM CST
I've been using 1 tablespoon per cup of water. 3% h2o2. Using bottled Spring water which I am sure is treated with chlorine during processing. Good germination rate on viable seeds so far.

I was surprised that these 4 older seeds sprouted. They were probably collected in summer 2013, bagged, refrigerated, and then I bought them on the LA in the Fall 2013.

And yes they are soaking at room temp 76 degrees. The A/C is running all this time since I am still waiting on Winter temps to arrive in central FL. So it is dry and comfortable inside my home.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Dec 31, 2015 10:24 AM CST
The seller for Man in the Moon x Rainbow Maker was "cottosnag" (LA seller name) and Cindy's Tie Dye x Bluegrass Music was "considerthelilies" (LA seller name). I don't know off-hand what zone they live in.

Perhaps their zone had something to do with the viability of these seeds?
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
[Last edited by beckygardener - Dec 31, 2015 10:25 AM (+)]
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Dec 31, 2015 10:39 AM CST
It looks like one tablespoon peroxide to a cup of water is 1:16 if I'm calculating correctly, which is a little on the weak side. When I tested peroxide soaks the weaker the solution the slower the germination. The usual strength used for daylily seeds would be 1:9. I can't remember off the top of my head how much difference it made, I'll need to check the notes on my laptop.
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Dec 31, 2015 10:39 AM CST
I have to say that I am VERY excited that Cindy's Tie Dye x Bluegrass Music seeds sprouted. One of my very favorite (first time ever bloomer this past season) was from a seed from this cross that I received from considerthelilies. I germinated that one in early Winter 2014 and it took almost 1 1/2 years to bloom.

Here is a photo of the bloom taken this past season:

Thumb of 2015-12-31/beckygardener/04a9b6

Pedigree:

Thumb of 2015-12-31/beckygardener/bb429a
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
[Last edited by beckygardener - Dec 31, 2015 10:44 AM (+)]
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Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Dec 31, 2015 10:41 AM CST
Sue - So the amount of H2O2 makes a difference? So I need to add another tablespoon to a cup of water?
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Dec 31, 2015 11:04 AM CST
Yes it does. The notes from my test:

Seeds collected August 2007. Removed from pods within two or three days. Experiment started on 5th August to test varying strengths of H2O2 soak at room temperature.

By 23rd August:

100% H2O2 soak.... = 13 germ 12 not germ
1:3.... 19 germ 6 not germ
1:5.... 13 germ 12 not germ
1:7.... 10 germ 15 not germ
1:9.... 10 germ 15 not germ
1:11..... 10 germ 15 not germ
1:13 .... 9 germ 16 not germ
1:15 .... 11 germ 14 not germ*
Plain water.... 2 germ 23 not germ*
Damp vermiculite
at room temp .... 1 germ 24 not germ*

Solutions for all changed for first time on 23rd August when counted.

Sept 3rd (4 weeks from start)

100% H2O2 soak.... = 22 germ 3 not germ
1:3 .... 25 germ 0 not germ
1:5 .... 25 germ 0 not germ
1:7 .... 20 germ 5 not germ
1:9 .... 22 germ 3 not germ
1:11 .... 23 germ 2 not germ
1:13 .... 20 germ 5 not germ
1:15.... 18 germ 7 not germ
Plain water.... 4 germ 21 not germ
Damp vermiculite .... 7 germ 18 not germ
at room temp

Weaker H2O2, water and vermiculite seedlings fewer but more advanced. H2O2 seems to enhance germination but inhibit growth.

Edited to try and fix formatting from the cutting and pasting from the original Word doc, not totally successful!
[Last edited by sooby - Dec 31, 2015 11:09 AM (+)]
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Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Dec 31, 2015 11:25 AM CST
So what you are saying is that using H2O2 they germinated faster, but it inhibits growth of seedlings?

What specifically do you mean when you say "inhibit growth"?
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Dec 31, 2015 12:19 PM CST
In the stronger solutions (note that I included 100% as well) they germinated faster and more germinated but they didn't grow as fast as the few that germinated in the weaker solutions, plain water, and media (all were unstratified). But I didn't plant any of them afterwards to see if that effect was temporary. I also left them in the solution for the duration of the experiment and didn't remove them as they germinated. That's why although germination was higher and faster in the stronger solutions, I'd still suggest 1:9 as a compromise. That's also the ratio I've seen suggested most often by people who routinely germinate in H2O2, so one might assume if it caused problems they wouldn't keep doing it that way.

As you can see from the above, soaking in plain water was actually worse than planting straight into media.
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Dec 31, 2015 1:42 PM CST
Thanks for sharing your experiment results!

I typically just plant the seeds in potting medium in cups in my south window. But with so many older seeds, decided to try the H2O2 beforehand to see how many of the older seeds germinate.

I always hold back a few seeds when sowing them just in case, so those (now older seeds) are the left overs from that. I had no idea that daylily seeds didn't last that long which is why I chose to always hold some back. I need to start using those after germinating their siblings so the seeds don't go to waste.

This was an informative thread. Thanks for all the information.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Mayo
The Netherlands, Europe (Zone 9a)
Region: Europe Cat Lover Daylilies Irises Dog Lover Hellebores
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Mayo62
Dec 31, 2015 2:28 PM CST
I've been reading along with you and appreciate all the info Thank You!

I myself used a very weak solution (1 tablespoon on 1 liter water) with my seeds this Summer/Fall,
and added just a spoonfull or 2 of this solution in each baggy with perlite and the seeds.

Germination rate was great, with just some seeds that didn't sprout Thumbs down
Most of those rotted in their baggy later on, so I suppose they were not viable Sad

I will try the stronger solution this Spring, see what happens Thumbs up


By the way: VĂ©ry nice flower there, Becky!!! Lovey dubby

Mayo
a DL flower a day keeps the doctor away

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