Daylilies forum: Thoughts - Of the seeds that germinate from a cross how many are good?

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Sydney, Australia (Zone 10b)
Protoavis
Feb 3, 2017 2:09 AM CST
It's a loaded question I know just trying to get peoples thoughts as my experience with crossing and growing with daylilies is a bit lacking.

So just looking for thoughts/experiences on the following things

So I've read that:
- germination rates for seed are high?
- tetraploids don't produce many seeds?
- that tetraploids crossed with diploid often doesn't work? (just questioning since it's less of an issue with various other plants...sure the triploid fertility is generally extremely low to non-existent but producing the triploids are fairly easy with other plants)
- On average how many "meh" daylilies are produced for a single good one (with say roses or iris people often say you can plant 1000 and only end up less than 10 that are good)

What are you thoughts on any of the above? thank you
Anyone with oryzalin (aka Surflan, Embargo), am looking for a small amount rather than 5litres from manufacturer (min size in Australia....)
Name: Fred Manning
Lillian Alabama

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spunky1
Feb 3, 2017 5:14 AM CST
This is my experience with the following.
75-80% will germinate.
Most tets produce less seed than dips, most tet seed are larger than dips.
There are very few Tets and Dips that can be crossed.
With daylilies you get a lot of pretty flowers but very few worth registering
when you look at the whole plant. 1-5 per 1000.

Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Feb 3, 2017 7:33 AM CST
Protoavis said:

So just looking for thoughts/experiences on the following things

So I've read that:
- germination rates for seed are high?



One thing to consider when comparing germination rates is the timing. Whether the seeds have been stratified (damp chilled, not just put dry in a fridge for a while) makes a difference to the speed and uniformity of daylily seed germination. Say you take a given batch of daylily seeds and damp chill them in the fridge for four weeks or so, then start them at room temperature - assuming all are viable they should pretty much all have germinated within two weeks or so, the germnation rate could be 90% or more. The same batch not damp chilled before starting may germinate at 20% by one week 50% by one month, 75% by two months or maybe even 90% by three months. Those latter are just arbitrary numbers not actually tested ones just to give an example. In other words when comparing germination rate you need to know a.what is the cut off date, do you mean how many have germinated by two weeks, one month, two months or six months, and (b) whether the seeds were stratified (damp chilled )or not before starting.

I know there will be those that say they don't do the damp chilling thing and still get high germination within two or three weeks of starting but that could be because they do not have a high rate of seed dormancy in their daylily seeds. This is something that may vary for various possible reasons.


Name: Ashton & Terry
Jones, OK (Zone 7a)
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kidfishing
Feb 3, 2017 7:49 AM CST
We don't have long term experience as we started crossing daylilies and growing from seeds in 2009. We do have lots of experience (quantity) since we now make 7000 - 10,000 seeds per year. Not all seeds are equal and not all growing processes produce the same results.
With seeds sprouted in water and Peroxide or in moist vermiculite in the fridge, we get near 100% to sprout. (not all survive after planting). Seeds that are directly planted in pots or in the garden will sprout at a lower % more like 60 - 70%.
My best year result was over 95% of seeds resulted in daylilies planted in the garden.
My worst year result was 30% of seeds resulted in daylilies planted in the garden. (damping off and moulded seeds grown indoors overwinter was the problem.)
This year our seeds started in bags of moist vermiculite in the fridge are producing near 100% sprouted seeds.

The results depend on many factors from what your parent daylilies are, to what you are trying to acomplish, to how particular you are about the results. Since there are so many registered daylilies, there are probably only a small percentage that should find there way to named registered cultivars. No matter how pretty the flower, you are not doing gardeners any good by registering a poor performing or poor flowering daylily. The entire plant should be evaluated for quality and performance but your particular goals and opinions come into play. (still no assurance that it will do well for someone else).

There are also methods to different peoples hybridizing. For example you may collect a special parent plant to use because you are sure it will make something special. Maybe you then take the pollen all over your garden and get hundreds or more babies with that parent so you can evaluate and select your favorites.
Perhaps you are more into matching parents to get lots of genetic variety in your babies and then select your favorites.
Just have fun with what interests you. It is possible to make a few selected crosses and get somethings nice. You don't have to be like anyone else or follow anyone. You can probably find someone doing something where you like the results if you need to research.
Kidfishing
Name: Marilyn, aka "Poly"
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
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Polymerous
Feb 3, 2017 10:06 AM CST
My experience as a "backyard pollen dabber" (somewhere around 20 years now):

Even with stratification in the fridge (I agree with Sue that the stratification does give rise to fairly uniform germination within a week or two), and planting only pre-sprouted seeds (my personal preference, so as to not waste space), not all of these seeds will produce a seedling, and some number of the seedlings will be less vigorous than their litter-mates. If you are working with diploids, certain crosses will produce albino seedlings (a death sentence), so there is more attrition there. (I don't think that I have ever encountered an albino tet seedling, although theoretically it should be possible.) I don't keep percentages, but starting with X seeds, you will end up planting out fewer than X seedlings.

Don't plant out the runts (you want vigorous plants), and you may wish to consider further culling the herd as the seedlings grow (even before maiden bloom) to get rid of obviously undesirable traits (susceptibility to rust or leaf streak, ugly upright foliage that doesn't arch nicely, and so on).

I pretty much agree with Fred on his points.

I get far fewer seeds from a tet pod than I do from a dip pod. My best tet pods have (rarely) given me around 6-8 or so seeds; more usually it is the case that I get 3-4 seeds, and often only 1 or 2. With dips, I routinely get 10 or more seeds. (I have rarely worked with dips for the past several years, so I can't remember with accuracy. I do think I have gotten 20 seeds in a pod a few times.)

Unless you have very good reason to do so (you are hoping that a particular dip with some outstanding/rare trait(s) might produce unreduced gametes and you can get viable offspring from crossing it with a tet), I would not bother. (If you did succeed, you might get viable offspring, but it might be a triploid...) Even so, your chance of success is very, very small. You can better expend your efforts elsewhere.

It may be easy to get a pretty flower (I have gotten some, but with most of my chosen parents, not usually), but it does seem easy to have the plant lacking in any number of ways (rust resistance, resistance to other diseases (leaf streak, rot), bud count, rebloom, scape height, flower size, overall plant vigor, lack of uniformity in the blooms (sometimes pretty and symmetric, but not dependably), blooms that can't handle (open well) our cool nights/mornings, blooms that splotch or are muddy or are thrip magnets, blooms with poor substance). More rarely, I have had plants with good (or at least, acceptable) plant habits/traits, but which had uninspiring flowers.

Fred's estimation of 1-5 plants per 1000 being registration worthy is depressing, but also sounds about right. I have some older seedlings with some traits that I like, but which I will probably never register, because they have one problem or another. (Specific examples: a large flowered, fragrant, polymerous diploid which runs about 66% poly but which has disproportionately short scapes and a fairly low bud count; a small flowered lemon daylily which is an emo (maybe a cmo) and has good rust resistance, but also has a low bud count and does not rebloom; an orchid-lavender flowered tet with beautiful color and nice blue-green foliage (just a little rusty under very high rust pressure), but whose flower edges are too thin.) You can't just fall in love with the flower - or at least, you can, but you shouldn't register a seedling solely on the basis of a beautiful face. You have to look at the whole plant, with a jaundiced eye.

My final comment on all of this, is in agreement with kidfishing. It takes a lot of time and effort to make seeds, and go from those seeds to maiden bloom, and then to evaluate the plants for a couple of years. If you are going to put in the work, then do it because something has engaged your interest with a passion, because you want to see a daylily with a particular set of traits. Just because "everyone else" is working on triple edges or eyes-with-matching-edges or what-have-you, doesn't mean that you have to (or should) do the same. Find something that grabs you, and go off in that direction. And if that direction is a tough row to hoe, then find something else interesting to also work on in parallel.

(This last is in opposition to the largely excellent advice of Oscie Whatley and other hybridizers, who advised not to "dilute your efforts". However, I have found my personal goal of a nice tet polymerous daylily a tough one to pursue, so I also make a few other crosses each season, just to see what happens, and to keep me interested and motivated. If I did not have some small successes wrt these other crosses, I strongly suspect that I would just give the whole effort up. And even the failures in these other crosses have been educational, so in that vein the effort has not been wasted.)

Good luck to you, if you decide to go ahead!
It's daylily season!
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
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Seedfork
Feb 3, 2017 11:22 AM CST
@Polymerous, I really like that last suggestion, Not just for hybridizing but with other things in life, a few little successes go a long way in keeping a person motivated.
Name: Debra
Nashville, TN (Zone 7a)
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shive1
Feb 3, 2017 12:02 PM CST
I get between 80-100 percent germination. But keeping the seedlings alive is my problem. I lose a lot every year to damp off and fungus gnats. And I lose a larger percentage than I would like that don't overwinter in pots.

I only plant a few seeds per year - 40-60. Of the seedlings that do survive, I've gotten a surprising number of keepers. Some are just shy of registration worthy stats, so I will continue to enjoy them in my garden and hybridize with them. Two I've registered, and I have a dozen more I'm evaluating for registration.
Name: Marilyn, aka "Poly"
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
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Polymerous
Feb 3, 2017 1:00 PM CST
Debra, @CaliFlowers kindly recommended ProMix to me (in regard to gnat problems). I bought this version of it from Amazon https://www.amazon.com/gp/prod.... I started my first round of seeds with it a little over 2 weeks ago, and NO GNATS YET! Thumbs up

Various people on the forum here (my apologies, I don't remember who) have recommended watering the baby seedlings with hydrogen peroxide added to the water. I did that last year (and thus far this year) and no damp off. (I have also now added hydrogen peroxide to the bit of water that I use for stratifying the seeds in the fridge.) I forget what ratio was recommended... I just pour in about a tbl or so (unmeasured) into a 16-20 oz plastic bottle and then fill that with water. (I find that bottle easier to use for watering the seedlings (which are under lights) than a watering can.)

If you try these, that might cut down on some of your losses. (I know how frustrating seedling losses can be; I've had my share of them, including from damp off, gnats, drought, rot, and garden critters of all kinds. After some years of absolutely horrendous losses of young seedlings outdoors, I have now reverted back to starting my seedlings indoors under lights, because that's the only way I can have some control and protect them until they are big enough to transplant out.)
It's daylily season!
Name: Marilyn, aka "Poly"
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
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Polymerous
Feb 3, 2017 3:43 PM CST
@Seedfork .... Having maiden bloom on the other crosses to look forward to (as well as the poly crosses) helps to keep life interesting. If I keep cranking out the seedlings, there should always be something "new and interesting" (to quote a former co-worker) to look forward to each season. (And unlike with the poly crosses, the "success" level (very loosely defined Hilarious! ) is higher. It is, as you say, motivating. And even the failures are educational, so the effort is not really wasted.)
It's daylily season!
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Feb 3, 2017 11:49 PM CST
Tetraploids crossed with diploids (in either direction) nearly never works to produce seedlings. If any seedlings are produced they will nearly all be triploids. In one instance where counts were kept, 1,607 pollinations produced 29 seedlings (approximately 2 seedlings per 100 pollinations) and all of them were triploid. Twelve of those seedlings were produced by removing the immature embryos from the seeds and growing them on artificial culture medium (embryo rescue).

In other research embryos were removed from seeds between 10 and 12 days after pollination and grown on tissue culture medium. Those produced 31 triploid plants and the researchers indicated that the best embryo rescue rate was 3.17%.
Maurice
Name: Marilyn, aka "Poly"
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
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Polymerous
Feb 5, 2017 10:13 PM CST
I know that I said that I don't keep statistics (and in general, I do not), but I do have some information from one recently started cross to share (only because it is currently and obsessively being watched Hilarious! ), which may give you some idea of what percentage of seedlings (from seeds) you might expect to plant out.

This, of course, says nothing about whether or not said seedlings will ultimately be "good", however you define good, but it may still be useful information.

The cross was between two pink diploids. The 36 seeds were stratified in the fridge, sometime in November or December. (These were hectic months for me, and I did not record when exactly I did this, sorry.)

The seeds were planted out over the last 2 weeks. All but 2 of the 36 seeds were "pre-sprouted", for lack of a better term. (By my definition, this means that at the very least the white root tip has broken through the seed case and is pushing out. Some of the seedlings had longer roots, and a few may have been pushing up foliage. I don't make notations to this detail - either the seed is "pre-sprouted" or it isn't. I generally prefer to plant out only pre-sprouted seeds, but since there were only 2 unsprouted seeds left from this cross, I threw them into the last pot as there was room for them, so I could be done with planting the cross.)

Of the 36 seeds:

30 seeds produced foliage; 6 did not emerge (these 6 included the 2 unsprouted seeds). From past experience, I am confident that these 30 seedlings are all that I am going to get from this cross, so there is 1/6 (or 16.7%) attrition right there.

5 of the seedlings are albino (a death sentence, but in my experience this is not that unusual for crosses involving pink diploids). 5/36 is roughly half of the 25% of the cross that might be expected to be albino (when diploid albinos occur), but that 25% pertains to large populations, and some of the seeds which never produced foliage may have also been albinos (apart from whatever other problems they had).

(As I previously mentioned, while it is theoretically possible to produce albino tetraploid seedlings, I don't recall ever having seen such, and the percentage of the cross affected would depend on the genetics of the parents, but I would not expect it to exceed 25%.)

4 of the seedlings already look to be considerably weaker and punier than their siblings. In all probability, when it comes time to plant out the seedlings, these will be culled. (So many crosses, so little room, no point in coddling the weaklings.)

Total seedlings:......................................30 / 36 or 83.3%
Viable (non-albino) seedlings:...............25 / 36 or 69.4%
Strong and viable seedlings:.................21 / 36 or 58.3%


I may ultimately end up culling more than 4 seedlings at planting time, for relative lack of vigor. I'll have to see how the cross does, and then how much room I have for the (best of the) seedlings from the cross.

Hopefully this information will be interesting and maybe of some use to someone (in planning how many seeds to produce).
It's daylily season!
Sydney, Australia (Zone 10b)
Protoavis
Feb 6, 2017 12:44 AM CST
Polymerous said:
(As I previously mentioned, while it is theoretically possible to produce albino tetraploid seedlings, I don't recall ever having seen such, and the percentage of the cross affected would depend on the genetics of the parents, but I would not expect it to exceed 25%.)


Correct.

If we assume albinism requires 4 copies of the gene show in a tetraploid. Then at minimum both parents would need to carry two copies, this means a 1/16 (6.25%) chance for the offspring to get 4 copies. If the parents both carry 3 genes for albinism then it becomes a 1/4 (so 25%) chance.
Anyone with oryzalin (aka Surflan, Embargo), am looking for a small amount rather than 5litres from manufacturer (min size in Australia....)
Name: Christie
43016 (Zone 6b)
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cwhitt
Feb 6, 2017 10:18 AM CST
This is fascinating stuff, I have been following all of you carefully. I crossed 2 Amaryllis. I think they are both tetraploids, but how do I find out? Almost ALL of the seeds sprouted, so I farmed some of them out to about 10 friends.
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Name: Marilyn, aka "Poly"
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
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Polymerous
Feb 6, 2017 1:01 PM CST
@Protoavis -

For a cross between tetraploids, looking at only a single gene, my understanding is that a 6 x 6 Punnett square would be required.

I am assuming that as long as there is at least one functioning copy of the gene for photosynthesis, the plant will not be an albino. Thus Aaaa, AAaa, and AAAa are all genotypes that will not produce albino plants (a= albino). (I'd have to wonder if the Aaaa plants would have pale green foliage, and perhaps be slow growing, maybe even sickly?)

Presuming a cross between two tetraploid plants with recessive albino genes, the possible genotype crosses are:

Aaaa x Aaaa 1/4 or 25% albino
Aaaa x AAaa 3/36 or 8.3% albino
Aaaa x AAAa 0 albinos
AAaa x AAaa 1/36 or 2.8% albino
AAaa x AAAa 0 albinos
AAAa x AAAa 0 albinos


So, the largest percentage of seedlings that could be albino would be 25%, but there might be some crosses with lower percentages of albinos. If the Aaaa plants are indeed somewhat weak plants, I would expect them not to be used for hybridizing, and so possibly the most likely case we might encounter with tets is the AAaa x AAaa situation. If only short crosses were made, at only a 2.8% expected albino outcome, you might not see any albino offspring.

This is my Punnett square for such a cross (clickee):

Thumb of 2017-02-06/Polymerous/75fff6

It's daylily season!
Name: Debra
Nashville, TN (Zone 7a)
Daylilies Cat Lover Butterflies Region: Tennessee Seed Starter
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shive1
Feb 7, 2017 3:29 PM CST
Polymerous - Those are good tips. I've already started some seeds for this year, but I will look into the Promix. I've also tried cinnamon, and watering with both hydrogen peroxide and chamomile, but I still have problems with damp off. Maybe it's the seed starting medium I'm using.
Name: Debra
Nashville, TN (Zone 7a)
Daylilies Cat Lover Butterflies Region: Tennessee Seed Starter
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shive1
Feb 7, 2017 3:32 PM CST
Polymerous - Those are good tips. I've already started some seeds for this year, but I will look into the Promix. I've also tried cinnamon, and watering with both hydrogen peroxide and chamomile, but I still have problems with damp off. Maybe it's the seed starting medium I'm using. I also nuke my seed starting mix in an effort to kill the fungus gnat larva. I have far fewer fungus gnats that I used to, but I still have a few make it through all my precautions.
[Last edited by shive1 - Feb 7, 2017 9:24 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1366761 (16)
Name: Marilyn, aka "Poly"
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
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Polymerous
Feb 7, 2017 8:35 PM CST
DH suggested (in the past few years, when we were being deluged with gnats and he was hard put to it to keep thinking up new gnat puns Hilarious! ) that I either nuke the mix or bake it in the oven. I don't know - I just didn't like the thought of that. I was afraid that either place would end up getting contaminated with soil bacteria and/or smelling like the seed starting mix!

I did try the boiling-water-poured-through-the-mix suggestion that someone posted, but while it very nicely wetted the mix and prepared it for planting, I still ended up with gnats galore.

One thing that I did to try to cope with the swarm, was to post those yellow sticky whitefly traps around the seedlings, one at either end of each shelf. They caught a LOT of gnats, and also a few other bugs (including one wasp?! Blinking ). Ultimately, though, peace did not return (and the gnat puns did not cease) until the seedlings were all moved outside.
It's daylily season!
Name: Debra
Nashville, TN (Zone 7a)
Daylilies Cat Lover Butterflies Region: Tennessee Seed Starter
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shive1
Feb 7, 2017 9:39 PM CST
Poly - I sympathize. What were some of your gnat puns? I have used the yellow sticky traps in the past too. They were very effective at catching the gnats. They love the color yellow.
Name: Marilyn, aka "Poly"
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Polymerous
Feb 7, 2017 10:04 PM CST
They weren't MY puns, but DH's. Rolling my eyes.

On occasions like finding gnats crawling on the rim of his drinking glass, or floating dead in his precious sous vide machine (basically a water bath for temperature-controlled cooking; the thing is resident on our kitchen counter, hogging space, Glare and he leaves the water in there until the next time, with the lid off):

"This is GNAT a good thing..."

"GNAT again?!"

"I'm GNAT happy...."

Pretty much all of the puns substituted the word GNAT for NOT.

And yes, a nearby container of water will also trap some of the gnats... not nearly enough to keep the population in check, though.

I've got Crossing Fingers! that the Pro-Mix will continue to be gnat free. It came in a really big bag, though (I got the smallest amount that I could find), and I had to put the rest of the bag out into my shed. So I'm also Crossing Fingers! that any stray gnats out there don't find their way into the bag! (I scooped maybe 4-5 gallons into an XL Ziploc bag for quick and easy access indoors, but I'm sure I'm going to have to refill that bag before I get done planting however many seeds I will start this spring.)
It's daylily season!
Name: Christie
43016 (Zone 6b)
Plays in the water.
Amaryllis Roses Annuals Composter Hybridizer Cat Lover
Garden Ideas: Master Level
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cwhitt
Feb 8, 2017 8:49 AM CST
Last time I had a gnat problem I got out my vacuum sweeper and used the hose attachment - caught them all midair - it worked exceedingly well. I had to do it every day though for about 10 days - as new gnats hatched. The only problem I had was that I had to be very careful not to also vacuum up the seedling. Sticking tongue out But that is the best way I have found to deal with the problem so far.
Plant Dreams. Pull Weeds. Grow A Happy Life.

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