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Jan 20, 2016 12:02 PM CST
Thread OP
Name: Pat
Near McIntosh, Florida (Zone 9a)
Always great to see the latest intros and what other hybridizers are doing.

But what if you can't afford the newest stuff, can a hybridizing program still compete?
Jan 20, 2016 1:04 PM CST
Name: Peter
Allentown PA (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Pollen collector Region: Pennsylvania Hybridizer
Greenhouse Daylilies Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Of course!!!!!!!!

Look, you set your goals, you buy the thing you want or can afford, and then you have fun making great plants.

You will surely come up with some amazing plants along the way.
Jan 20, 2016 2:25 PM CST
Name: Steve Todd
Illinois (Zone 5b)
Daylilies Region: Illinois Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters
My first question would be:

What is the competition?

If it is to create beautiful cultivars, then buy or trade for some proven winners, and have at it.

If it is to create something new and pushes the plant forward, then invest in a few plants and see where it leads you. Be prepared to work hard. I think Bob Faulkner has told the story of starting with a vision, which did not include spending a lot of money.

I think over the years it has been proven that small hybridizers can carve out their own path. James and Peter alone keep them in

If by competing you mean make a lot of money.....well, then I have no idea. I sell seeds to pay for Christmas and grandkid stuff, so I would be the wrong one to ask.
Jan 20, 2016 3:20 PM CST
Name: Stan
Florida Panhandle (Defuniak Sp (Zone 8b)
Photo Contest Winner 2020 Photo Contest Winner 2019 Region: Florida Region: Gulf Coast Enjoys or suffers hot summers Garden Photography
Keeps Horses Daylilies Lilies Hummingbirder Dog Lover Butterflies
Goodness knows my budget isn't designed around collecting the newest either. And, being a rookie with daylily's and the whole hybridizing quest, I guess my question would be as was ask above. What competition?

My thoughts are that even with new CVs, when crossing one with another you are never guaranteed a final product. Sure some of the pod and pollen parents characteristics will follow thru, but I don't think that there are guarantees with any of it. I have read here and there, that lots of the hybridizers discard hundreds of their crosses because it isn't what was hoped for. Who knows what combination is going to give you and just perhaps it will be the next big thing if that's what you're after...

Again, I'm no expert by any means and have but a few crosses. My thought going in was that I can't wait to see what their smiling faces reveal. I crossed them only out of curiosity and perhaps it will be like none other that could be shared.

Good luck with hybridizing goal if you choose too...
I tip my hat to you.
(Georgia Native in Florida)
Jan 20, 2016 4:12 PM CST
Name: Larry
Augusta, GA area (Zone 8a)
Daylilies Region: Georgia Hybridizer Enjoys or suffers hot summers
I think Steve said it well . . . it all depend on how the individual defines “compete.” Consider these options of what compete might mean. Can a “Backyard Hybridizer” bring out 5 to 10 cultivars every year and afford to publicize them through a professional-looking web site? Probably not. Can a backyard hybridizer, even one who has made a name for him/herself in their locale, sell an introduction for $200 per double fan? Probably not. On the other hand, can a backyard hybridizer grow seedlings (some of which he/she may choose to register) that other daylily fanatics like ourselves think are every bit as good as those from well known commercial hybridizers? Yes he/she can! And can a backyard hybridizer grow a seedling that actually exceeds the quality and performance of many commercially introduced cultivars? Yes he/she can do that too. If we disregard the fact that many commercial hybridizers have genetics available to them that the backyard hybridizer does not, the odds of growing a spectacular daylily seedling is the same for commercial hybridizers as it is for us in our backyards. The problem is if the odds happen to be one spectacular seedling for every 1,000 seeds planted, the commercial hybridizer who plants 5,000 seeds per year could see five spectacular per year while the backyard hybridizer who plants 250 seeds per year might only see one spectacular seedling every four years. However, while there might be only that one truly spectacular daylily in four years, where will also be several very nice daylilies that will look as good as many cultivars, and you will know that your grew them and no one else has one just like them.
If the only measure of success one wishes to use is making money, I think the backyard hybridizer will lose out every time. We pay retail for fertilizer, soil amendments, etc., while commercial growers by at wholesale prices. We by daylilies at prices which are generally higher than they do. In fact, some commercial hybridizers trade certain plants with their peers and/or get them to test how the latest seedlings grow in other climates.
Do you choose to compete against the top five hybridizers of the particular size and form of flower you like best? Do you choose to compete against the best hybridizer in your region? Or do you go to a local daylily show and see how your flowers compare with those grown by local backyard hybridizers? Be specific about your target when you compete, and then decide if that is even reasonable.
Perhaps the most difficult comparison comes when you look at what you are growing versus the vision in your mind's eye of what you want to be able to grow. It may take years of work to attain what you want, but persistence will get you there. And remember, every now and then, something totally unexpected happens, and you can be the beneficiary.
Larry W
Jan 20, 2016 4:24 PM CST
Name: Joe Hawkins
Ontario , Canada (Zone 5b)
Region: Canadian Daylilies Pollen collector
Start of slow and buy a few plant. See where your own plants lead you. If you have focus and goals you will be surprised what you see in your own seedling bed. No need to compete with the big guys. It took them years to get where they are now. Have fun with it.

Go to the daylily meetings and talk to the hybridizers. Take it all in. Then do what works best for you.
Jan 20, 2016 4:30 PM CST
Name: Fred Manning
Lillian Alabama

Charter ATP Member Region: Gulf Coast I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Amaryllis Region: United States of America Garden Ideas: Level 2
Ponds Hummingbirder Dog Lover Daylilies Container Gardener Butterflies
There are lots of small hybridizers doing great things with daylilies without spending a lot money. You just need to decide what form or forms you want to work with. You can't do them all and be successful, I tried that when I first started and ended up with mostly junk each year after planting, and trying to evaluate 10,000 seedlings each year. Focus on one or two things that YOU really like and not what the latest fad may be. Buy a few of the best you can afford to begin with and before long you will be working with your own stuff. As far as competing, I never looked at it that way, just do my thing and hopefully someone other than myself will like it.
Jan 20, 2016 8:26 PM CST
Name: Glen Ingram
Macleay Is, Qld, Australia (Zone 12a)
(Lee Reinke X Rose F Kennedy) X Unk
Amaryllis Hybridizer Canning and food preservation Lilies Native Plants and Wildflowers Orchids
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Pollen collector Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Plays in the sandbox Sedums Seed Starter
Well over here in OZ it is mostly not a choice to use the latest expensive mind-blowers from the US. By the time they reach here - which they usually don't - everyone is chasing something else.

So potter, potter, potter. I have had strict guidelines and goals this years ( well mostly, sort of, nearly often).
The problem is that when you are young your life it is ruined by your parents. When you are older it is ruined by your children.
Jan 20, 2016 9:02 PM CST
Name: James
South Bend, IN (Zone 5b)
Annuals Region: United States of America Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Indiana Hostas
Dog Lover Daylilies Container Gardener Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters
I would say absolutely yes. A few wise purchases can make a huge difference. That and buying seed would likely be useful in the beginning. Depending on what you're looking for, that can be a good way to really expand a gene pool.
Jan 20, 2016 9:14 PM CST
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Wish there is a book on daylily hybridizing. How do you go about narrowing your goals? There are so many desirable characteristics.
Jan 21, 2016 4:58 AM CST
Thread OP
Name: Pat
Near McIntosh, Florida (Zone 9a)
kousa said:Wish there is a book on daylily hybridizing. How do you go about narrowing your goals? There are so many desirable characteristics.

A.B. Stout's book "Daylilies" has much background information.
Setting goals may be a easy as listing what you like on a sheet of paper and then rating your list.

For me it was fairly easy: after getting hit by rust and finding it so repulsive,
I decided to hybridize primarily for rust resistance
here in Florida and maybe throw on some teeth if that was an option.

Of course, many are not yet affected by rust so this may not be an important sales point.

And I like plant foliage to double as "border grass" so foliage that remains attractive 365 days a year
(except for freeze/frost/dormancy) is another must have.

Plus, I like plants that are tough and don't need tender greenhouse type care;
plants that grab hold & boogie and bloom readily; plants that don't die from crown rot;
plants that don't need constant watering.
Someone once called daylilies "pretty weeds" and that is a desirable characteristic imo.

When I purchase a plant, I check it against my goals.
I don't expect my program to ever produce an award winner based primarily on flower uniqueness,
but it should provide strong plants that just about anyone could grow & enjoy.
Jan 21, 2016 7:12 AM CST
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Thank you for that Pat! You don't know how much you have helped me see with the above explanation. I take it that I need to focus on things that are most important to me. Daylilies that had impressed me the most were those with extended reblooming, vibrant clear colors, and those that open well. I also like toothy edges. Although some flowers did not open well, the daylily Wonder of It All had an impressive extended blooming and reblooming of all the daylilies that I have. It was one of the first to bloom and rebloom way into early Sept. last year!
Jan 21, 2016 7:18 AM CST
Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
Daylilies Hybridizer Irises Butterflies Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Birds Region: Michigan Vegetable Grower Hummingbirder Heucheras Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
I have had Wonder of it All for 2 years now and it hasn't done much of anything in my climate. I hope this year it will finally settle in and bloom nicely. Sometimes it takes 3 years here for a daylily to really strut its stuff.
Lighthouse Gardens
Jan 21, 2016 7:30 AM CST
Name: Steve Todd
Illinois (Zone 5b)
Daylilies Region: Illinois Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters

I think it has to be a book that you write, because it needs to begin with your individual tastes. And it is a book that you continue to write.

I am a very small hybridizer. When I think back on my personal journey, it is more about people than anything else. I have been blessed with great mentors (John Rice, Curt Hanson, Judy Davisson) who have been so generous with their knowledge and experience. You need a mentor!

Secondly, as I look back at my beginnings, I can see that there have been enthusiasts who have gone on this small path with me. Daylily nuts who were starting at the same time, sharing their wild excitement of first seedlings to bloom, what crosses to try, what crosses not to These folks (Brent Bryson, Paul James, Ronie Johnston, Sally Marcum, Robin Nichols, Sandy Ellis, Marri Kelly Banks, Deb Carriker, Greg Zapel, Robert Rioux, and James and Peter right here) are also important for this that they help give this pursuit a sense of "what did ya get" excitement! You need a

Get ready to enjoy the ride, Karen!
Jan 21, 2016 8:06 AM CST
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Hilarious! Steve! I think my "posse" of daylily enthusiasts are the members of this forum! I already have so much fun on this ride and I am only just started. Say goodbye to those long boring winter days! The daylily seeds, their germination, and the growth of the seedlings are making every day of this winter very exciting! It is so nice to have a forum like this where everyone all over the world can come together to share knowledge and experience. Thanks to Pat, I think my goal is to hybridize for plants with instant and extended rebloom. Add to it a pretty face with clear vibrant colors, a toothy edge, good foliage and i get an ideal daylily. Not asking too much! Hilarious!

Cynthia, WoIA performance does suffer a bit in colder climate, but it is a vigorous plant and a fast increaser. The flowers don't open well in cool weather, but when the temps are right, the flowers are very nice.
Jan 21, 2016 11:37 AM CST
Name: Ashton & Terry
Oklahoma (Zone 7a)
Windswept Farm & Gardens
Butterflies Keeps Sheep Pollen collector Region: Oklahoma Lilies Irises
Hybridizer Hummingbirder Hostas Daylilies Region: United States of America Celebrating Gardening: 2015
There is always the unusual case like us. (Terry and Ashton). Ashton is my 15 year old son and he got us started when he was 9 years old by constantly bugging me during growing season about the daylilies. My dad lives next door and has always grown DL's as his favorite plants and Ashton hung out with grandpa in the garden everyday. His DL's were not the latest or most modern, but DL's that were collected by my grandfather and additions from club and local garden sales. Ashton looked at the latest hybridizers websites and took me there time and time again asking how they were created. So, I told him if he was that interested we would learn. There are no hybridizers in our area and I work so much on the job and have a farm so we don't get to go to the daylily events except our local club. We are just out here doing something that is unusual for our part of the country without any mentor. Our goals are not that narrow for color or size or shape but instead we are hybridizing for great garden plants. High bud counts, long bloom season or at least a great show for the booming time (early, mid or late).

We registered our first daylilies in 2015 and have a lots of possibilities for the future. We compete with ourselves and each other. We grow 500 registered DL's and we have our seedlings compete with all of these hybridizers plants for beauty, bud count, re-bloom, extended bloom and vigor. The past couple of years our seedlings are the stars of of our garden for putting on the show in bloom season. We cannot afford the latest and greatest but do add some plants each year to work with. We also buy a few seeds to get new genetics. We use our own seedlings and we do some unusual crosses and collect DL's to use that are not in most modern hybfidizers gardens (I like some of the older cultivars to cross with the modern.)
You can do your own thing and you don't have to follow anyone, but if you find a mentor or a direction that you like and someone is already going that direction, it may be helpful.
No rich folks around here, no fancy gardens with great landscapes, (but I would like to have a show garden), no daylily bed full of the latest and most expensive cultivars, just an old farm with seedlings growing everywhere with too much grass and weeds in the beds and an environment that can be tough on plants.

You just have to like what you are doing and if you are always anticipating the next bloom season and what possibilities the new seedlings may show then you are doing just fine with the daylilies.

Gardening is such a universal activity that you can join and learn and have your own type of success and enjoyment.
Jan 21, 2016 11:50 AM CST
Name: Alex
Warren, VT- Green Mtns. (Zone 4b)
Daylilies Region: Vermont Garden Ideas: Level 1 Dog Lover Birds Vegetable Grower
Seed Starter Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Dahlias Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
I agree with all the comments that members have stated above. I don't think competition is the right word here. For me growing and expanding my gene pool is a passionate hobby. My answers come every time I see a new seedling bloom from my sdlg. garden. How can I improve that sdlg. i.e. health, sturdiness, bud count, height, dormancy, and color. Rust is a secondary thought for me, as it really does not Winter over here in New England ( however, I try and stay away from rust buckets). I think James made a good point when he stated, the least expensive way to increase your gene pool is to buy 'seeds'. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and very subjective. Look into buying seeds that meet your criteria, your plan for establishing a unique garden. You can find a myriad of the newest intros through seeds offered on the LA. And many times, I am surprised to see the newest intros crossed with older daylily's that I already have in my garden. Make a plan, and keep it simple. One thing for sure, its going to take time. Patience and sometime a little bit of Irish luck will give you a bloom that is sensational.

Cyndy...One of my favorite older daylilies in my garden is 'Rings of Wonder'. It grows well here in my Vt. garden. Sometimes, I have found that when I introduce new plants to my garden it can take a year, and sometimes longer for that plant to establish itself in my zone 4b garden. Hang in there. It's a lovely plant. You'll see. Hurray!
Jan 21, 2016 12:25 PM CST
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Oh Terry, I so envy you! It would be very nice indeed to have a budding buddy hybridizer doing it with you! Even better if it is one of your children. You are truly blessed. I don't think I am going to have that family support from mine. Neither DH nor DS has any interest in gardening. Sad

I think Ashton is going to make a name for himself someday! He sounds like a child prodigy in daylilies hybridizing. By working with and being around daylilies all his life, I think he will develop some sort of a 6th sense or advanced understanding of the nature and behavior of the plants.
Avatar for Davi
Jan 21, 2016 1:08 PM CST
Name: Davi (Judy) Davisson
Sherrills Ford, NC (Zone 7a)
I started my hybridizing career with three $10 seedlings that I purchased from Howard Hite, and a half dozen seedlings purchased from Al Goldner for $6 each. A few years later, I added several Curt Hanson seedlings (free). So don't have to be rich!!!! But it helps to have a goal that makes your daylilies different than any others that are currently on the market.

Judy Davisson
I'm very rich in friends!!!
Jan 21, 2016 3:34 PM CST
Name: Julie Hyde
Ocean Springs, MS (coastal) (Zone 8b)
Birds Butterflies Cactus and Succulents Daylilies Frogs and Toads Hibiscus
Hummingbirder Region: Mississippi Roses
Thank you all for the wonderful advice. I have wanted to try my hand at hybridizing daylilies, but the past two years my health has kept me indoors. I have daylilies in pots that need to be planted into my garden (all named). My sons have promised to help me get them planted this year. I've also acquired seeds from a friend and will be planting them out this spring. My goal is to produce a few gems to name after my parents and other loved ones who have passed on, even if they never get registered! I can mark them in my garden and be happy with that. Of course, I'd name them according to their bloom characteristics. For example, my Dad's nickname was Frog. I have some seeds 'Frog's Song x Seedling', so I'd probably name that one after my Dad. I'm just in it for the pleasure of growing something beautiful and new!

Happy Hybridizing! Julie I tip my hat to you.
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding . In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

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