Daylilies forum: Storing daylily pollen

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Ontario, Canada (Zone 5a)
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gargoyl52
Mar 6, 2016 9:24 AM CST
What is the best way to store daylily pollen and bring it out of storage without ruining it?
Name: Ken
East S.F. Bay Area (Zone 9a)
Region: California
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CaliFlowers
Mar 6, 2016 3:10 PM CST
The enemy of pollen is moisture; contained in the atmosphere, as well as the tissues of anthers and pollen sacs, and which can condense during freezing and thawing.

I've read a lot of stories outlining extremely tedious storage methods involving gelatin capsules, cotton balls and paint brushes or Q-Tips, but have had very good luck with a very simple method.

I used 35mm film containers, which are always handled and stored upside down, so that the lid functions as the pollen tray, and the body acts as a cap.

I place pollen sacs on sheets of paper to dry for a day, then label the film canister with the name of the pollen. The film canister lid and body are placed in the freezer, and left opened to chill and simultaneously dry. (The air inside a modern freezer is quite dry)

After 5-10 minutes, I put the dry pollen sacs inside the lid of the canister, then close the freezer door So that they will quickly freeze. After another 5 minutes, I crack open the freezer, and quickly put the body of the canister over the lid, and snap it closed. This helps to ensure that warm moist air isn't trapped inside the canister.

When it's time to use the pollen, I take the canister out of the freezer, let it reach room temperature, then open it. The pollen sacs are easily reached, and easy to handle with small hemostats. I've used the pollen a year later, and it is as fertile as if it were fresh.

Since film canisters aren't readily available anymore, a similar small container would need to be found.
Name: James
South Bend, IN (Zone 5b)
Hostas Enjoys or suffers cold winters Birds Seed Starter Annuals Region: Indiana
Region: United States of America Dog Lover Daylilies Container Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader
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JWWC
Mar 6, 2016 7:14 PM CST
Here are a few other threads on this subject.

The thread "Storing and freezing pollen questions ???" in Daylilies forum

The thread "Storing pollen?" in Daylilies forum

Here are a couple pics of my storage solution:

Thumb of 2016-03-07/JWWC/03badf
I use green labels for tets and orange for dips. A quick, obvious way to discern between the two.


Thumb of 2016-03-07/JWWC/236e83
I will say, I much much prefer the tubes on the left. They are 2 mL tubes which have a much rounder/wider bottom.

[Last edited by JWWC - Mar 6, 2016 7:22 PM (+)]
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Name: Dnd
SE Michigan (Zone 6a)
Dog Lover Daylilies Organic Gardener Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1
I helped beta test the first seed swap
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DogsNDaylilies
Mar 24, 2016 8:05 AM CST
My solution is purchasing tiny plastic jars, typically used for makeup, to store the pollen and I simply write in permanent marker on the lid. You can buy these little jars on Amazon inexpensively and they are so tiny (and have flat bottoms) that I just stick them in the shelf of my freezer drawer under my bags of frozen fruits and vegetables.


Thumb of 2016-03-24/DogsNDaylilies/075e94
[Last edited by DogsNDaylilies - Mar 24, 2016 8:06 AM (+)]
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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
Mar 24, 2016 8:40 AM CST
I tried to collect ad freeze some pollen the past year, I used a tiny plastic jar, then when the moment to use it has come I took it out of the fridge, let it thaw for 15 minutes then tried to pollinate a DL but it didn't work. It looked very humid. How do you use frozen pollen?
Sabrina, North Italy
My blog: http://hemerocallisblog.com
Name: Dnd
SE Michigan (Zone 6a)
Dog Lover Daylilies Organic Gardener Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1
I helped beta test the first seed swap
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DogsNDaylilies
Mar 24, 2016 10:30 AM CST
Sabrina, I'm not an expert, but I have read a lot about this and there can be multiple things that caused your pollen to not work:

1) Is the pollen from a daylily known to be pollen fertile? If not, the pollen might have been infertile to start.

2) Try letting your pollen dry for a short while (maybe twenty minutes up to an hour) in your air conditioned home, especially if it is a humid day, before putting in the freezer.

3) Don't use pollen that has been rained on. (May apply if you had heavy morning dew and your daylily is an early opener, or "EMO", too.)

4) If you open your freezer repeatedly and your pollen is at the front/top where it is exposed to room temp air more readily, the repeayed freezing/thawing process might affect it, especially if you see signs of condensate (moisture).

5) Exposure to high heat (especially temperatures in excess of 80-90° F) can cause pollen fertility to deteriorate. As can time.

6) Make sure to pull off the stem-it has a lot of moisture-and only keep the anther head. (Or even just brush off the pollen into your container?)

Good luck with future pollen freezing. I used frozen pollen successfully last year, but this will be my first year carrying frozen pollen over from a previous season in order to try to pollinate my early bloomers with it.

I'm also really excited about a microscope I just recently purchased that allows me to see Daylily pollen. ..I need to do research to find out if I'll be able to use it to identify 'bad pollen' that is no longer viable. It probably isn't strong enough, but I'm hoping it is. It's possible that's a way you could we'd out infertile pollen in the future, though.
Name: Karen
Butler County (Zone 6a)
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taylordaylily
Mar 24, 2016 4:14 PM CST
DND, Jamie Gossard used to have pictures of good and bad pollen on his website. http://www.heavenlygardens.com He has some interesting information on ploidity as well. Jamie Gossard might even talk to you about pollen if you call him. He's a real nice guy and very knowledgeable.
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
Mar 25, 2016 2:19 AM CST
DND, thanks so much for advices! I knew the plant was pollen fertile, sure it was some mistake I made.
I won't try again this year because I have so many seeds I don't know where to plant them, but I'm taking notes of everything.
Good thing your microscope it would be nice to look at pollen through it!
Sabrina, North Italy
My blog: http://hemerocallisblog.com
Name: Sandi
Franklin, WI (Zone 5a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Daylilies
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Seedsower
Mar 25, 2016 6:17 AM CST
I've never been able to get frozen pollen to work. I had mentioned this to Nan Ripley when I met her last year and she told me to use matchboxes. I guess they have something that helps with the moisture thing. Kind of makes sense, I'm going to give it a try this year!
Name: Dnd
SE Michigan (Zone 6a)
Dog Lover Daylilies Organic Gardener Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1
I helped beta test the first seed swap
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DogsNDaylilies
Mar 25, 2016 6:18 AM CST
taylordaylily said:DND, Jamie Gossard used to have pictures of good and bad pollen on his website. http://www.heavenlygardens.com He has some interesting information on ploidity as well. Jamie Gossard might even talk to you about pollen if you call him. He's a real nice guy and very knowledgeable.


Karen, thank you for saying that! I was racking my brain (and the Internet) trying to remember where I had seen that last year. Now it makes sense why I didn't find it as easily, because he has updated his site.

I really would love to talk to him about it, although I'm not big on talking to people on the phone, usually. I might try bumping into him at a daylily meeting sometime and seeing what I can learn (which I'm sure is a LOT). Or, better yet, I might just make a visit to his daylily gardens. Gossard is one of two daylily hybridizers that I really identify with on some level (based on what little I know about him, anyway), so I would really like to visit his gardens sometime anyway.

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