Daylilies forum: What are the odds...hybridizing question?

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Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Region: Alabama
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Seedfork
Aug 3, 2018 9:05 PM CST
I am growing a lot of seeds this year from crosses I made. I will not have room for all of them when they get large enough to remove from the cups they are presently planted in. There may not be an answer to this but I was wondering, What would be the best chance of getting nice keeper plants...to plant as many seeds of just a few crosses as I have room for , or to plant maybe only a few seeds of a lot of crosses? I prefer the planting of a lot of different crosses and just a few seeds of each, just more interesting to me. Also I have noticed that a lot of times if a hybridizer hits on a good cross he will register several plants from that cross, it's like finding a good set of parents is way more productive in turning out keeper plants. The method of planting more crosses with fewer plants also lets you see the result of what you might expect so you could further pursue some of the more interesting crosses later on.
Thoughts, opinions, studies, statistics?
Name: Fred Manning
Lillian Alabama

Charter ATP Member Region: Gulf Coast I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Seller of Garden Stuff Dog Lover Region: United States of America
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spunky1
Aug 4, 2018 5:06 AM CST
I know you have heard this before, FOCUS, FOCUS, AND FOCUS on one or two things you really like and plant those seed. Make and plant only the seed from the best parents you have from the two things your FOCUSED on. Your also wanting to produce something better than the parents your using so when making your cross's you want have the urge to make seed on everything in the yard. You will find in time you can get more keepers with a lot less work and space.
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Region: Alabama
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Seedfork
Aug 4, 2018 6:31 AM CST
So for example if I want to focus on growing sculpted relief blooms I should focus on that. But I might want tall plants, large blooms, lots of blooms, lots of scapes, rust resistance, dark foliage, heat tolerant, pest resistant...it can just go on and on and still my main goal to be focused on would be sculpted relief blooms. So by the time I select and cross for all those traits while still being focused on sculpted relief blooms I will have created more crosses and more seeds than I will have room for in the end. So my question remains, would I have a better chance of getting keepers by planting many seeds of a few crosses, or fewer seeds of many crosses while hoping to find plants with all the traits wanted while still being focused on sculpted relief?
I guess it is pretty obvious that the more seeds and the more crosses made the better the chance of getting more of the traits a hybridizer wants if those crosses are focused on fewer traits and a more targeted goal. Still there are limits to time and space for everyone, some way more limited than others.
Too, I think I have realized now that because I am not growing plants for sale, my approach will be different no matter what the answer to the original question is. I want to enjoy growing dayliles and to me it is more enjoyable to grow a few of many crosses than a lot of plants from a single cross. I think I can do that and still have a goal to focus on, yet not be totally tied to that goal.

Maybe I would be more productive to experiment with a lot of crosses in the first few years, and then as plants are discovered that provide sought after traits lower the number of crosses and focus on larger numbers of the same crosses that are selected for a narrower range of traits. It does seem to take a number of years for any hybridizer to establish the "lines" they use for their crosses. I think sometimes I get too focused on thinking about traits, and I should be more focused on thinking about just having fun and enjoying growing daylilies.
[Last edited by Seedfork - Sep 1, 2018 6:49 AM (+)]
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Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
Daylilies Spiders! Plant and/or Seed Trader Winter Sowing Hybridizer Peonies
Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Organic Gardener Composter Container Gardener Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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bxncbx
Aug 4, 2018 6:45 AM CST
As a backyard hybridized whose goal is to produce plants that are hardy in my (micro)climate I've found in a short time that planting lots of crosses is best for me. I've lost every seedling from a cross in one year!

I've realized I can't predict which parent plant will give me hardy seedlings. Some very marginal plants in my garden produce hardy seedlings and some hardy plants produce wimps.

By planting a few seeds of a wider variety of crosses I'm better able to tell which plants are better parents and which crosses will have the potential of giving me a higher number of hardy seedlings.
Name: Davi (Judy) Davisson
Sherrills Ford, NC (Zone 7a)
Davi
Aug 4, 2018 7:04 AM CST
I do the FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS goal as well, picking line bred parents crossed with one another first. ...then desirable outcrosses using known great parents from my line crossed with a distant cousin from someone else's line. I will plant all the seeds that I have of those. Then if I still have room, I'll plant a few off the wall ideas. (those RARELY turn out well). But if I STILL have too many after all that is done (mostly from having lost focus) I will follow a tip I heard from Pat Stamile long ago....pick the three biggest seeds in the pod and plant those and throw the rest away. Or if the seeds have been planted already and are now seedlings, pick the three biggest ones to plant and throw the rest away. You only need a small sample for experimental crosses that don't use your line to find the good parents.
Name: Sue Petruske
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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petruske
Aug 4, 2018 8:46 AM CST
The first year I pollenated a pretty face with a pretty face. Even after all the sage advise I got here not to do that, my heart or was it my curiosity took over...wonder what these two would look like. On and on and on. What I found is that I got a lot of plants that looked like one parent or the other. Sometimes a surprise but not worth the trouble and space IMO. I did find that I personally now like to get seeds from others here on garden.org. Yes, still I am getting plants that look like the parents. But if I don't have that parent plant I'm happy with the new plant. To some it may seem like a lot of work just to get that (why not just buy that parent plant?). For me I think it's just the excitement of seeing that first bloom. Excited or disappointed with the bloom doesn't matter. HOWEVER, that being said, after a whopping TWO years of creating the seedlings *Blush* I do agree with FOCUS, FOCUS, and FOCUS. I'm just not sure what my focus is. I like so many different things. This years planted seedlings have more spiders (which I like) as well as quite a few from seeds I got from others. So...I guess I didn't answer your question but simply gave you my own feelings. Shrug! Crossing Fingers! Thumbs up
Name: Daniel Erdy
Catawba SC (Zone 7b)
Fruit Growers Permaculture Hybridizer Plant and/or Seed Trader Organic Gardener Daylilies
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ediblelandscapingsc
Aug 4, 2018 9:52 AM CST
Many different crosses have been the way to go here. I still focus on goals but dont put all my eggs in one basket.
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Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Region: Alabama
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Seedfork
Aug 4, 2018 10:10 AM CST
petruske,
Feelings are very important too, no matter what the best way is ,it would be no fun if we just did that and never ventured out and discovered that there was actually a better way than the current best way. I agree with others on here who have said focus is important, but staying interested and being persistent is necessary also in order to stay focused, even though doing interesting crosses may distract from laser like focus. I guess that is the great thing about this being a hobby for me and not a business. I have run a business and it is "work", even though there is a lot of labor involved my hobby seldom feels like "work".
[Last edited by Seedfork - Sep 1, 2018 6:45 AM (+)]
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Name: Sue Petruske
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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petruske
Aug 4, 2018 10:53 AM CST
I agree
Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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touchofsky
Aug 4, 2018 10:56 AM CST
This is a very interesting thread! I am enjoying and learning from everyone's responses.

I joined this forum in the summer of 2015 during daylily season. I quickly became fascinated and, frankly, blown away by the amazing seedlings being produced. I decided then that I wanted to grow some seedlings. It was too late in the season to do any crosses of my own, and Cindy (Hemlady) very kindly offered seeds from her crosses. It was a definite learning process that first winter, learning how to stratify, germinate and grow seedlings! I planted out my first group of seedlings in June of 2016, and have had some bloom on them this summer. My first seedling bed was not optimally located. Since then, we have done some clearing on our property and subsequent seedling beds have full sun locations. I have found that seedlings planted in full sun locations can come into bloom in one season, rather than the two that it took in the beds that received more shade.
One of the most promising of Cindy's seedling crosses was this one:
Jester's Collar x Gudrid
Thumb of 2018-08-04/touchofsky/2e3caa
The following summer (2016) I did my own crosses. I hadn't started buying plants with hybridizing in mind, and just started by crossing plants that I had that were good performers with other good performers. Some of the crosses were just done purely for curiosity to see what would happen. When I crossed Jocelyn's Oddity which is a super performer here, and has an interesting shape, with Pony, which is a great little bi-tone for me, I wanted to see if I could get an interesting shape like Jocelyn's Oddity, but have it be a bi-tone like Pony. That actually may have worked Hilarious! I am hoping subsequent blooms get more of the shape of JO.
Jocelyn's Oddity x Pony
Thumb of 2018-08-04/touchofsky/02d889
The first year of hybridizing I had no focus, I was just experimenting. Over the following year, I started thinking about what I wanted to achieve in my crosses and have started to focus on winter hardy eye zones, both patterned and blues, and in particular to try and get some winter hardy, interesting eye zone miniatures which are hard to find here. My focus now is both, larger flowered, and miniatures, very winter hardy daylilies with interesting and blue eye zones.

It took a few years for me to figure out where I wanted to go, but it has been so interesting and fun! Plus, I have "met" so many great people who have offered me seeds, inspiration and help. Thank You!
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Region: Alabama
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Seedfork
Aug 4, 2018 11:07 AM CST
touchofsky
I have also found that being in the shade will prolong the amount of time it takes for seedlings to bloom. But, I am thinking that the number of pods set in my dappled shaded beds will be a much higher percentage than the pods I can set in my full sun beds. Plus, it will be much more comfortable for me, so I will probably spend more time there, and thus set more pods also. I do love to work in the shade.
Name: Daniel Erdy
Catawba SC (Zone 7b)
Fruit Growers Permaculture Hybridizer Plant and/or Seed Trader Organic Gardener Daylilies
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ediblelandscapingsc
Aug 4, 2018 11:57 AM CST
I agree web of intrigue produced more pods before it was moved to full sun. Up North it may be different.
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Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Irises Roses Peonies Butterflies Birds
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touchofsky
Aug 4, 2018 1:48 PM CST
I wonder if that will make a difference. Most of my beds prior to having cleared an area, received some shade. These are my first beds with pretty much full sun. Time will tell! I wonder if our lower temperatures, even when it is hot here, will make a difference.
Name: Ken
East S.F. Bay Area (Zone 9a)
Region: California
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CaliFlowers
Aug 4, 2018 1:58 PM CST
I sow seed in 3.5" pots, usually 12 or less to a pot, and they can get pretty big and crowded before lining out, to the point where the pots are bulging and I have to keep them in saucers, constantly wet. When I'm separating them, even if I have 30 from the same cross, I'll pick the 10 most robust of the bunch to line out. Usually there's a pretty distinct point of size and vigor drop-off. This depends on how much room you have and how many seedlings you can reasonably care for. If I had summer rainfall and a big field, I'd plant more.

I've seen a lot of very good things come from difficult, 1-seed crosses from powerful parents, particularly tet. conversions, so I think 10 seedlings is enough. Even 5 should give you a pretty good idea of the potential. If I have 30 seedlings from a cross I have a good feeling about, I'll still discard the runts, but hold the strongest of the remaining seedlings in the shade in a 1-gallon pot until the lined-out sibs bloom. Then, depending on how the ones in the field looked, I'll discard them or line them out for the next season. I don't know about selecting based on seed size, I'm not sure that's an indicator of plant size or vigor.

In this climate, I've had the best results hybridizing with plants that do well for me. They're not always the fanciest flowers, but in the end, I'm looking for performance; mostly along the lines of substance and consistent opening ability. An old maxim that I try to follow is "never cross two flowers with the same fault". I'll still use new, first-year, "unproven here" plants, and hybridize by their catalog picture, but optimally, the plant should show me something, or possess a compelling trait which I want to see in the offspring. Reports from other growers and 'real-world' pictures from the database here help a lot in that case.

When using new introductions there's always faith involved. This spring I received a small single fan of 'Heavenly Pink Lady' from Gossard. It put up a 10" scape with 3 buds, but the flower was so nice I used it without prejudice. That little thing even set two pods from Victoria Josephine which should ripen in a couple of weeks. I've seen some very nice Vicky Jo kids, and those are some of my most anticipated seeds. It's also fun to plant some wild & weird crosses, I probably do more of those than I should.

Most seedlings are going to resemble one parent or the other, but that shouldn't be seen as a problem. Daylily hybridizing is a long-term process. Occasionally you'll get that 'lightning-strike' from two named cultivars, but incremental results are how you build a solid program and flowers with a unique look.

No matter how much you analyze and plan, it still boils down to luck, but, just as with most things, 'luck' can be steered. Many years ago Bryant Millikan told me that it's not so much hybridization skills that make a good hybridizer, it's seedling selection. I've seen this play out in the programs of several hybridizers. If you want better branching in your lines, select plants and seedlings which have good branching. Sometimes those choices are hard, but flower attractiveness seems to be more easily manipulated than plant vigor and habit. EMO and substance are, by geographical necessity, "my thing", so I try to prioritize those traits. In the 90s, Pat Stamile decided that he didn't like the way most daylilies looked in the morning, so he selected based on opening ability, and in a couple of generations many of his flowers were nocturnal-extended or EMO, while still having wide, round form, substance, ruffling and other contemporary traits. The seedlings I've grown from those plants tend to follow suit. Moldovan's plants were always known for color and branching. If you're able to visit a hybridizer's garden to buy seedlings, pay attention to pedigree and the characteristics which are important to you, because everyone sees daylilies from a different perspective. I've obtained some real gems that way.
[Last edited by CaliFlowers - Aug 5, 2018 1:21 AM (+)]
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Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Region: Alabama
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Seedfork
Aug 4, 2018 2:34 PM CST
Thanks for that post so much Ken, I just feel so energized after reading a post like that ! I guess I really liked the part about picking the 10 most robust, that's about how many plants each of my rows will hold. I was hoping I could grow about 10-12 of each cross take a look at them and then decide which direction to take with them after that. It just seemed to come natural for me to pick the most robust seeds and plants, getting easier for me to toss the runts. I am not sure about seed selection by size either, but I do it and it does seem a stronger seed should make a stronger plant, but who knows for sure? I would think if Davi does it based on info from Pat Stamile then it is good enough for me. I think I pick more of his plants as ones I like than about any one. Of course he seems to have introduced a lot of plants! The fact that even 5 could be enough to get a rough idea about a cross really is a boost to my plans.
Name: Ron (Bootch) Hill
Flemingsburg, Ky (Zone 6a)
Bootch
Aug 4, 2018 2:40 PM CST
Touchofsky
I to got started hybridizing due to Cindy's free seeds. This year my best Cindy cross was Suzanne's jewel
By Print Maker. Since this thread consists of just focusing upon your type of hybridizing I am going to
Request some help. This is the second year of my attempts to hybridizing. I like patterns and have 7
Cultivars I use. 4 are Entering Warp Speed,
Get Jiggy, Through the looking glass and Aztec Headdress. The dips are Faulkner seedling, Emerald Toucanet and Malachite Sunbird. I would appreciate
Any suggestions for reliable pattern makers in both
Categories so that I can limit the cost and number of plants to buy. Any help from the contributors of this thread would greatly help. I tip my hat to you. I tip my hat to you. I tip my hat to you.
Name: Diana
Lincoln, NE (Zone 5b)
Daylilies Region: Nebraska Organic Gardener Dog Lover Bookworm
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ShakespearesGarden
Aug 4, 2018 9:49 PM CST
Lots to learn from this thread! FOCUS- yeah, working on it... Maybe like others, there are a number of traits I am breeding for, so I do many crosses with at least one of those traits in mind. Since I really like veining but I'd like a larger and more open flower form on a taller scape I did a bunch of crosses on spiders or larger blooms that were on taller scaped plants. Since I also like the speckles, I set pods using lighter colored selfs. And as I want a large spidery, UF (with teeth), in a dark brown/red, I used my limited stock of toothy parents on dark spidery flowers. I do crosses for the fun of it, too. I try to give those seeds a chance for the students who get into my school's gardening club.

Space is not a concern for me with 1.5 acres of full sun, and the summer time commitment is also not a big deal. I guess right now I have the time, room and energy to start as many seeds as I can. Perhaps I'll become more picky as I develop my lines and I see whatever traits pop up in the seedlings of last year's and this year's seedlings/seeds/

...And I have a good sized mulch pit for all of those who deserve a one way trip... Hilarious!
Scout's motto: Be Prepared...
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Aug 5, 2018 6:34 AM CST
Seedfork said:So for example if I want to focus on growing sculpted relief blooms I should focus on that. But I might want tall plants, large blooms, lots of blooms, lots of scapes, rust resistance, dark foliage, heat tolerant, pest resistant...it can just go on and on and still my main goal to be focused on would be sculpted relief blooms.

I think anyone hybridizing daylilies needs to know why they are hybridizing.
I am going to use an interest in growing sculpted relief blooms as an example.
If one checks the AHS database and selects sculpted relief for display there are 234 registered cultivars. If one adds that the bud count must be more than 20 then the number is reduced to 53 cultivars and if one changes that to more than 30 buds then there are only 11 cultivars. A search for scape heights of at least 30 inches and bud counts of at least 25 produces a listing of 14 cultivars.
A next question might be, are there cultivars already available that meet the requirements?
In the list of sculpted relief cultivars with more than 30 buds there are 11 cultivars listed with these flower colours - yellow gold (2), apricot sorbet, baby pink, yellow-orange-pink, honey and lime gold, gray purple, yellow cream, light purple, cream, purple blend. So if I was interested in growing a red flowered sculpted relief with at least 30 buds I would need to produce it myself. But if I was interested in purple flowered sculpted relief I might only need to purchase one of the registered cultivars and then determine if it was rust resistant, heat tolerant, etc.
If I wanted a red flowered sculpted relief with at least 30 buds then I have a decision to make about the red parent. Do I choose a sculpted relief with less than 30 buds or do I choose a cultivar with more than 30 buds but not sculpted relief? Do I choose several different unrelated red daylilies? If so, how many?
Lets say I choose to use a red sculpted relief but find that there is only one that matches what I am looking for in the colour but it has only 18 buds. No matter which of the cultivars with 30 buds I choose to use with this red the seedlings can be expected to average 24 buds. There will be seedlings with more than 24 buds and there will be seedlings with less than 24 buds. But the number of seedlings with at least 30 buds will only be a fraction of all the seedlings. And that assumes that the 30 bud parent breeds as if it is genetically 30 buds and the 18 bud parent breeds as if it is genetically 18 buds. They may breed as less (or they may breed as more). So the more seedlings I grow from the cross the better the chance that I find a seedling with at least 30 buds, sculpted relief and red-flowered. I do not need to produce all the seedlings in one year. I can make the cross in as many years that I want until I find a seedling that I like.

If one is hybridizing because one has definite, specific goals then depending on how extreme those goals are in comparison to what is currently available will shape how many seedlings need to be grown and often how many different crosses need to be made.

On the other hand, if one is hybridizing for enjoyment "to see what happens" and the goals are not fixed then the number of seedlings and the number of different crosses is not so important.

Daylilies are outcrossing so they do not generally breed "true". That makes it more difficult to choose parents. In general one should probably choose to make crosses with several different parents rather than just one cross. At least initially trying more parents and a smaller number of seedlings from each cross allows one to see if a particular cross is more effective at producing seedlings that may match the goals. One can then concentrate on such crosses and produce more seedlings from them in later years.
Maurice
Name: Daniel Erdy
Catawba SC (Zone 7b)
Fruit Growers Permaculture Hybridizer Plant and/or Seed Trader Organic Gardener Daylilies
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ediblelandscapingsc
Aug 5, 2018 7:51 AM CST
admmad said:
Daylilies are outcrossing so they do not generally breed "true". That makes it more difficult to choose parents. In general one should probably choose to make crosses with several different parents rather than just one cross. At least initially trying more parents and a smaller number of seedlings from each cross allows one to see if a particular cross is more effective at producing seedlings that may match the goals. One can then concentrate on such crosses and produce more seedlings from them in later years.


I agree With just 10 seedlings from 1 cross it will give you a "General" idea of what any future kids of that cross will look like but there will be variations. With the results you gather you can choose to do more of that cross later or move on to something else. I'd much rather have rows of 10 seedlings each from 100 crosses than rows of 100 seedlings each from 10 crosses.
If you over did it on 1 particular cross and ended up with more seeds than you can use, your goals changed, or you got a bonus from the LA you are not going to use you can always trade for something else. Trading is a good way to keep genetic diversity in your garden and help others add some new genes to theirs. DogsNDaylilies' seed swap this Fall will have several members including myself that will be sharing daylily seeds along with many other things. Last year I acquired daylily, canna, and hardy hibiscus seeds among other things and I can guarantee when you see what all is being offered daylily seeds won't be the only thing you walk out of there with. Lovey dubby I encourage anyone with extra seeds that is interested to check it out. You may have questions about how it works and how to use the seed swap feature on garden.org I know I did Sticking tongue out but DogsNDaylilies, myself, and others will be happy to walk everybody through it. Last year we had something like 25 or 30 members join and the more the word gets out the better the trade will be.
🌿A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered🌿
Name: Nikki
Yorkshire, UK (Zone 8a)
LA name-Maelstrom
Dog Lover Cat Lover Rabbit Keeper Container Gardener
Scatterbrain
Aug 7, 2018 8:39 AM CST
I jus do crosses for fun and my aim is simply to make small and pretty daylilies preferably in purple for my own garden simply because it is so hard to get hold of daylilies here in Britain. I wll probably never register anything and will definitely never sell anything but it is fun to look for crosses I think I mkght like (esp. on LA! 🤣)

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