Daylilies forum: Questions About Pollinating

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Yorkshire, UK (Zone 8a)
Scatterbrain
Jul 11, 2017 4:09 AM CST
Can anyone tell me how best to pollinate daylilies. Have tried putting pollen on a few this year but don't know if they have taken and as I don't really know what I am doing I could do with some advice.

How long does it take after you have put the pollen on before you know if it has been successful? I left the flower on the ones I tried pollinating, is that right?

Also how do you freeze pollen? I read somewhere that you can put the pollen in silver foil and put it in the freezer- is that right?

Also can you collect and dry off pollen if you have a numbers of very wet days in succession?

And my final question- I have noticed some of my daylilies seem to have lots of fluffy yellow pollen whereas others seem to have very little pollen which looks quite dry and hard--does that mean it is infertile? Honky Tonk Blues for example never seems to get what I call proper fluffy pollen.

I would love to learn how to do it properly--
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Jul 11, 2017 4:41 AM CST
THose are great questions, Scatterbrain. I am very interested to the answers to them too.
Name: Ashton & Terry
Jones, OK (Zone 7a)
Windswept Farm & Gardens
Hostas Lilies Hybridizer Keeps Sheep Pollen collector Irises
Hummingbirder Region: United States of America Daylilies Region: Oklahoma Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kidfishing
Jul 11, 2017 7:16 AM CST
Scatterbrain said:Can anyone tell me how best to pollinate daylilies. Have tried putting pollen on a few this year but don't know if they have taken and as I don't really know what I am doing I could do with some advice.

How long does it take after you have put the pollen on before you know if it has been successful? I left the flower on the ones I tried pollinating, is that right?

Also how do you freeze pollen? I read somewhere that you can put the pollen in silver foil and put it in the freezer- is that right?

Also can you collect and dry off pollen if you have a numbers of very wet days in succession?

And my final question- I have noticed some of my daylilies seem to have lots of fluffy yellow pollen whereas others seem to have very little pollen which looks quite dry and hard--does that mean it is infertile? Honky Tonk Blues for example never seems to get what I call proper fluffy pollen.

I would love to learn how to do it properly--


While there are no scientific experts at my place to answer, we have been pollen dabbing since 2009 and have 10,000+ seedlings to show for it.


Q&A
First, know the ploidy of your daylilies. (Tetraploid or Diploid) Only cross like with like.
Here is pic from a slide Ashton has used in 4H power point contests. His is animated but you put the good pollen on the pistil.
Thumb of 2017-07-11/kidfishing/619e69
Not all daylilies are pod and pollen fertile. The only real way to know about pod fertility is to dab good pollen and see. Pollen fertility is much easier to know. That light yellow hard pollen is not good. In fact if it is not golden and fluffy is may be bad or not very fertile.
Pollinating early in the day will ensure you beat the bees etc. to get your pollen on the flower. Also temp make a difference. We have difficulty setting tet seeds in warm 85+ temps. Diploids are easier and more temp forgiving, however it totally depends on the flowers you are using.
After 2 days you can usually know if you have a seed. May take a little regular observation but most spent blooms with no seed will easily drop off and pollinated spent blooms will want to hang on. Either way when starting out. Mark your pollinated blooms and just leave them on until they drop. You will see the tiny pod in a few days.
I have been using frozen pollen successfully and my method is very simple and cheap.
I use the small matchboxes. 10 for $1 cost. Dump the matches. Matchboxes are made to keep the matches dry and that is why they work well for pollen. I collect the pollen tips and discard the anther stem.
Matchboxes are more forgiving of some plant material than other pollen holding containers. I set them on a table with the box open in a darker area. (no sunlight) Let it dry for a day, mark the parent name on the box and put it in the freezer. It will dry when you need it within 10 minutes.
The hybridizers way for ensuring they have the pollen they want early in the morning is:
Either pick a flower you are sure will open the next day and keep it inside overnight and it is open and ready to use in a dry environment the next morning -- or pick a flower early in the day that is open outside with dry good pollen and place in the fridge for the following day or 2. It will be fine for a couple of days and some flowers for longer.
Honky Tonk Blues does not have good pollen. I grow it. It is pod fertile and I have already harvested 3 pods off of it this summer.
Hope these answers help.
Happy hybridizing.
Terry
Kidfishing
Name: Ashton & Terry
Jones, OK (Zone 7a)
Windswept Farm & Gardens
Hostas Lilies Hybridizer Keeps Sheep Pollen collector Irises
Hummingbirder Region: United States of America Daylilies Region: Oklahoma Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kidfishing
Jul 11, 2017 9:37 AM CST
I found a picture to show pollen freezing.

Thumb of 2017-07-11/kidfishing/581bf7

Get tweezers or the locking forceps to pick one of the anthers from the box and take it to the garden.

Thumb of 2017-07-11/kidfishing/d0db70

You can think about what pollen you want for next spring and freeze it now. You will then have a choice of what to use no matter what is in bloom.
I prefer using fresh pollen but I do have seeds from using frozen pollen from Coffee to Go (for example). I collected the pollen from another garden since I don't grow it. I think I got a seed on every flower I tried with that frozen pollen. I also think that I could use my method in the matchbox and send it anywhere in country that could receive it in 3 or 4 days and you could have good pollen ready to use or freeze from any flower for postage.
Florida hybridizers (Pete Harry and Dan Trimmer) offered pollen to Ashton from any flower they grow when we went there last year. They said to bring a small matchbox and collect the pollen and it would be good for 4 days to be used or get it in the freezer and it would be good for future years. Bill Waldrop in Georgia demonstrated this method for Ashton. He had a freezer with bags of matchboxes holding frozen pollen. He just took the matchbox and opened it over all the anthers on a flower and closed the box over them. Then just held the closed end and pulled it away breaking off the tips of all pollen anthers in the box. Leaving the parts shown in my picture above. He regularly used his frozen pollen very successfully.
I tried the plastic tubes and more sophisticated methods but this works better and is easier and I end up with better pollen. This is the method many of the known hybridizers use. I wish I would have tried this first since in past years I had fewer choices of parent plants for pollen when only collecting it from fresh blooms.
Now there is always something to try with thousands of seedlings and 8 or 9 hundred registered daylilies. And I also have larger freezer bags filled with matchboxes holding frozen pollen.
Maybe this will help someone.
Kidfishing
Yorkshire, UK (Zone 8a)
Scatterbrain
Jul 11, 2017 10:16 AM CST
Thank you so much, Terry,

That's brilliant info and a great help.

Do you happen to have a picture of a pod forming by any chance so that I can see what it looks like as it is developing?

I have mainly dips. here as some of the very elaborate tets don't like the British climate and either refuse to flower or don't open properly, esp. teethy/heavily ruffled ones. Although I do have some TETS.

I was wondering if it might be more successful mid-morning in Britain as the pollen can stay damp for quite some time here, will try at different times with the same cultivars and see if it makes any difference.

Thank you for the info on Honky Tonk Blues pollen, I did think that it looked a bit rubbish compared to the nice fluffy stuff on others I have! What did you cross with Honky Tonk Blues?

Name: pam
gainesville fl (Zone 8b)
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gardenglory
Jul 11, 2017 10:28 AM CST
I use matchboxes as well. Got that tip at a daylily meeting many years ago, works well. My problem is, I seem to never use it. Always something new the next year. Whistling
Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
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bxncbx
Jul 11, 2017 12:53 PM CST
I'll have to try freezing pollen but I can't think of any cross that I really want to do that the flowers don't bloom at the same time. I have so much overlap between early, midseason and mid-late bloomers that I can usually cross pretty much everything with fresh pollen. I did just buy more late cultivars so maybe I can try frozen pollen on them. I just hope I remember to use it!

I'm doing more later in the day crosses here to see if they work better. I typically cross around 8 am but all the pollen isn't really good at that time. I'm hoping to see that the later crosses give me a higher percentage of seeds. If so then I'll definitely have to start freezing pollen since I'd only be able to do crosses on the weekends.
Name: Betty
Bakersfield, CA
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Birds The WITWIT Badge Region: United States of America Roses
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Betja
Jul 11, 2017 1:03 PM CST
Scatter, when trying to determine what crosses to make I have found our wonderful database here to be quite helpful, especially with older varieties. In fact, I now look up daylilies I'm interested in purchasing for hybridizing (pretty much all of them, I'm afraid!) in the database before purchase just to check on fertility if possible. If you scroll down in an entry for a particular daylily, hopefully someone will have entered whether it is pod and/or pollen fertile -- but a sure give-away will be if there are any child plants listed. And if you click on the child plants it will give you a listing of all child plants and the parentage of each one, and you can see if the daylily you're interested in was used as the pod parent (first one listed) or the pollen parent. If that plant is always or mostly listed as the pollen parent, I won't be as persistent in trying to set pods on that plant I'm interested in.

And if you're interested in a new or recent introduction, hopefully the hybridizer will indicate fertility in his/her description.

Needless to say, this database has become invaluable to me for planning purposes in my hybridizing hobby!

Betty
Name: Char
Vermont (Zone 4b)
Daylilies Forum moderator Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Region: Vermont
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Char
Jul 11, 2017 3:36 PM CST

Moderator

I split these 8 posts from the July 2017 Seedling thread and created this new thread. The information being posted will be easier to find for those looking for info on pollinating. Great info posted so far I tip my hat to you.
Name: Amber
Missouri (Zone 6a)
Daylilies Region: Missouri Garden Photography
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amberjewel
Jul 11, 2017 4:09 PM CST


I was wondering if it might be more successful mid-morning in Britain as the pollen can stay damp for quite some time here, will try at different times with the same cultivars and see if it makes any difference.



I was told that once pollen is wet, it is no good...even if it dries out later in the day. I think if you have frequent rainy periods, the freezing method described might work nicely for you because you can wait and use the frozen pollen once the flowers have dried. I have also read of those who will go out very early and collect the anthers before they open and the pollen is exposed to the wet on rainy days, they bring the anthers inside and let them open at room temp and get good, fluffy, useable pollen for later in the day when the rain stops or for the next couple of days. Pollen should stay viable at room temperature for a few days...one person said they have used it with some success for up to two weeks!
Amber
Daylily Novice
Name: Ashton & Terry
Jones, OK (Zone 7a)
Windswept Farm & Gardens
Hostas Lilies Hybridizer Keeps Sheep Pollen collector Irises
Hummingbirder Region: United States of America Daylilies Region: Oklahoma Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kidfishing
Jul 11, 2017 6:27 PM CST
This photo shows potential of 4 pods.
Thumb of 2017-07-11/kidfishing/9b0549

1. Week old pod.
2. Today's bloom pollinated.
3. Yesterday's bloom pollinated.
4. 3 or 4 day pod.

In #3 the base of the spent bloom will begin to swell even by the second day.
In #4 you can just leave the spent bloom and let it drop normally but at this point you know there is a seed pod so it can be removed.

Maturing seeds with our marking system of colored paper clips and colored beads.
We do it this way since we use so many pollen parents and don't use the written hang tags.
We re-use the same tags for years.
We keep our legend. (sample)
Diploids
Blue = Blue Buzz
White = Little Mucha Minto
Yellow = 15-101 seedling
Blue/Green Bead = Regency Charade
etc.
We can also use identical colors on tets so we keep the tet and dip legend
Tetraploids
Blue = Mythical Art
White = Wispy Rays
Yellow = Stenciled Infusion
Blue/Green Bead = seedling 14-05

Thumb of 2017-07-11/kidfishing/dd7c88
Open this picture to see tomorrows bud.
Thumb of 2017-07-11/kidfishing/0024a7
Notice the pistil is visible this evening but the bloom will open tomorrow. I have lots of daylilies that expose the pistil the day before the bloom opens. You will have the most success if you put pollen on it now. By the way, Honky Tonk Blues shows the pistil the day before the flower opens. Lots of my mini's do and I am out the evening before and even by flashlight pollinating them with lots of pods setting. Some I found would not set a pod if I waited until the next day. The one in the picture -Baby Boomer is that way for me here. If you look close you can see the pistil on the high and low buds. Both can be pollinated now before they open.
You ask what seeds I set on Honky Tonk Blues and I think they would be with Colorado Blues, Metro blues, and some seedlings. Maybe Jelly Basket as well.

Amber is correct that wet pollen is not good. If it is just a normal morning with no rain, you just need to wait on the pollen to dry which some days can take a while. You look early in the morning and it may appear there is no pollen but a few hours later it has dried and is ready to use. Also true that the pollen can last for days at room temp or in the fridge. So even if there are only certain days to collect pollen you can still have it to use anytime you have a few hours without rain.

This is the easy part of starting new daylily creations. It is very little effort to dab some pollen. All the other steps to get the new flowers take more effort.

Don't intend to bore you with all this but who knows if someone just starting out needs lots of details.
We did not have a mentor or anyone to teach us so we just made our way and then learned that others did similar or the same.
Kidfishing
Name: Amber
Missouri (Zone 6a)
Daylilies Region: Missouri Garden Photography
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amberjewel
Jul 11, 2017 10:47 PM CST
@kidfishing

I had wondered about pollinating the night before when the pistol shows. Thanks for that great info!!!

I have also wondered if pollinating the day after bloom for those blooms where the pistol is still exposed, would be a viable option. There are some days where my work schedule just doesn't allow me to hybridize, but I could get the current and day old blooms the next day. Have you tried that?
Amber
Daylily Novice
NW Indiana (Zone 5b)
josieskid
Jul 12, 2017 5:00 AM CST
Such great information here. I just got up out of a dead sleep to go out and take Rose F Kennedy's pollen. There are little bees that go after the pollen, and my question is - do they not mix up the pollen when the fly from plant to plant, crawling all over the pollen?

I really want to know who my parents are, and go to a great deal of trouble to insure that. Any pod that doesn't have a wire gets snapped off.

Kidfishing, love the idea about the bead! Thank you for all the instructions. I have a few plants that hang that proboscis out the night before!
NW Indiana (Zone 5b)
josieskid
Jul 12, 2017 5:06 AM CST
Oh, another question. Are they all so easily broken off? Twice now, I've tried very gently removing some of the dying flower mess off of the bloom next to it. Both times the tiny forming bud came right off!
Name: Amber
Missouri (Zone 6a)
Daylilies Region: Missouri Garden Photography
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amberjewel
Jul 12, 2017 6:34 AM CST
@josieskids

I have found that if a seed pod has been fertilized it is not easily broken off, but it can happen. What I have started doing, based on an amazing tip shared here or on one of the FB groups, is snipping off the spent bud about 24 hours after it is fertilized. You snip right at the top of the perianth tube. This helps make the garden look nicer and prevents spent blooms from keeping others closed or knocking others off. And I haven't seen a decrease in pods setting because of it.
Amber
Daylily Novice
NW Indiana (Zone 5b)
josieskid
Jul 12, 2017 7:49 AM CST
Amber, thank you so much. That is excellent advice!

I went to http://www.daylilies.org/ahs_d... to see where to make that cut, and it looks like a good idea, even leaving enough of a "hook" for the wire to hang on.
Name: pam
gainesville fl (Zone 8b)
Bee Lover Birds The WITWIT Badge Butterflies Daylilies Enjoys or suffers hot summers
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gardenglory
Jul 12, 2017 8:17 AM CST
Larry Grace, that who told me about the matchboxes. Of course itmatters to no one, but it has been driving me stark raving mad since I posted it. D'Oh!

I usually slip my buds off, every now and then I have to cut a thicker flower. The hotter it kets, the mre likely I am just to tear off the end of the bud, I feel it helps protect from sun, which is totally baseless...just me. Now what gets me, is when you never take flower off or it doesnt slip off, and the flower absolutely glues itself to bud, Blinking
Yorkshire, UK (Zone 8a)
Scatterbrain
Jul 12, 2017 8:19 AM CST
Thank you everyone for your advice-it is really helpful, and Terry @kidfishing , please don't ever think that giving so much advice is boring--it is brilliant! There are so few sources of advice in Britain!
Have saved this thread.

I'm have been having a practise at pollinating and keeping fingers crossed that something happens---I am not sure but there MIGHT be a pod forming on Honky Tonk Blues X Star Child but I'm not positive and my phone has such a rubbish camera I can't get a decent photo.

But thank you all again, very much appreciated! Thank You! Thank You!
Yorkshire, UK (Zone 8a)
Scatterbrain
Jul 17, 2017 8:19 AM CST
Hi guys,

This may be a really stupid question but have you ever come across a daylily registered as TET but turned out to be DIP?

I am asking because in my garden I have one called Courtney Anne. I was doing some pollen dabbing and put some on a dip. by mistake thinking Courtney was a dip. After I checked the registration I put her pollen on a TET and TET pollen on her. None of those crosses did anything but the dip. cross has a little pod.

I am wondering if either the registration is wrong or I have got the wrong plant (but the pics and stats correspond with the plant I have) or something else has happened.

Any ideas guys?
[Last edited by Scatterbrain - Jul 17, 2017 9:59 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1504371 (19)
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Jul 17, 2017 12:08 PM CST
Unfortunately, dip pollen at least partially works on tetraploids and tet pollen at least partially works on diploids. It is not very complicated to get pollen to produce its pollen tube and grow down the style. Usually it just needs a bit of sugar, liquid, etc. The result is that diploid pollen will grow down a tetraploid's style and tet pollen will grow down a diploid's style. That seems to be the signal to the parent to start to produce a pod. A pod starts to grow quite often when a known (verified) diploid's pollen is put on a known (verified) tetraploid or a when a known verified tetraploid's pollen is put on a known verified diploid.
Usually when the two ploidies do not match the pod starts to develop but is aborted in one to two weeks. But sometimes a pod can stay alive for the full amount of time. Then one has to check to see if there are mature looking seeds in the pod. Unfortunately that still may not be enough because it is possible that good looking seeds are formed but that the seeds are not able to germinate.
Lastly, sometimes the diploid pollen works with the tetraploid and produces a triploid plant. There is no way for the backyard gardener to know if that has happened.
Courtney Anne (Holton, 2002) is registered as height 18 in.(46 cm), bloom 3.5 in.(9 cm), season EM, Rebloom, Evergreen, Tetraploid, Fragrant, 20 buds, 4 branches, Buttercup yellow with raspberry red eye and edge above green throat. (sdlg × Percivile James)
It is known that there are some incorrect ploidies registered in the daylily database.
Maurice

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