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

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Name: Char
Vermont (Zone 4b)
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Char
Aug 9, 2018 6:21 AM CST

Moderator

The only statistics I've heard was years ago when I first got started in daylilies. While listening to Pat Stamile speak at a club meeting he said that you will get 90% of your keepers from 10% of your crosses. Don't know if that comes anywhere near to figuring correctly for every hybridizer or every program.

As has been said so well Focus and Seedling Selection would be two areas that will help the odds. The tighter your focus and better your sdlg selection the faster you will see the results you want. When I started with the relief forms 14 years ago I quickly learned that not all relief parents will produce relief in the kids even when crossing 2 reliefs together. For that reason, so as not to put all my eggs in one basket, plus I have a hardy issue to think of, the majority of my crosses over the years have been short crosses - less than 20 seeds. Now that I have my own lines working and studied how the lines work alone and together I can better predict what crosses to make and have started making longer crosses. Depending on how serious you want to be with your hybridizing there are learning curves with every step, as with everything in life. Other tidbits to toss out there related to bettering the odds.....

Learn as much as you can about what you are interested in producing with your crosses.
Use the databases to research, study websites/intros/sdlgs from hybridizers that work in your area of interest. Ask to visit with hybridizers and see their sdlgs during bloom if possible.
Learn the definitions that apply to registration, form, pattern, etc. It is a hybridizers responsibility to know what they are registering.
Find what parents others have used to get the results you would like to see. Test parents in your garden and decide if they really have something to contribute to your goals.
What advances have been made recently in your chosen goal (this may require knowing history), then find areas that others may not be focusing on - bloom size, color, rust resistance, hardiness etc.
Develop a friendship, if possible, with a hybridizer or join a group that is interested in the same things you are.
Develop an eye for detail if you do not already have one. The smallest "something" different in a seedling could go unnoticed.
If a seedling speaks to you and says keep me and you are not sure why.....keep it another year. Once tossed it's gone. Note - Curt is always telling me I keep way to many sdlgs. He's right most of the time Smiling and eventually many will get tossed. But, only once have I regretted not keeping a sdlg I should have.
Keep good sdlg records. Parents, multiple images, registration info, anything and everything you think may help you later.
One thing I've noticed is I seem to always set pods on the same sdlgs during a season and some will never get used. This makes me ask myself why doesn't that sdlg get used? Most often the answer tends to be it is not something my eye and mind register as furthering my goal. (it may also be something else like a fertility problem resulting in no tags...or I'm just not sure what to do with it for a cross parent)
Make more crosses than you think you need. The season will end and if you didn't make that special cross because you already had to many tags... pods fail, seeds don't sprout etc....well you are out of luck until next year. This will set your program back. After seeds are gathered, before planting you can select the best seeds/crosses from what you made.

Be careful not to follow what others are doing as they will always be ahead of you. Once you have sdlgs with your goals, even if not perfect or registration worthy (bridge plants), USE them! They can take you in other directions. Sometimes you will need to explore where your sdlgs want to take you, even if you aren't sure where they are going. They may lead you down a dead end or take you for a wild and thrilling ride.
Remember to have fun and make some crazy crosses or have a small not as focused area of crossing. Unless you have the time, resources, land etc. selling should be near or at the end of your list of goals. As you gain experience and develop plants worthy of registering, selling will most likely happen. Selling brings a complete set of other things to think about. Not worrying about selling will give you more time to have fun, be creative, select for what you like not the market and give you the freedom to learn and explore with your crosses.


I'm sure I could think of more tidbits if I sit here longer.. but while out doing morning chores I spotted a seedling that must get a keep tag!!!!
Name: Daniel Erdy
Catawba SC (Zone 7b)
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ediblelandscapingsc
Aug 9, 2018 7:03 AM CST
Char you said
Ask to visit with hybridizers and see their sdlgs during bloom if possible and Develop a friendship, if possible, with a hybridizer or join a group that is interested in the same things you are.

That's what garden.org and the seedling forms are for Thumbs up

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Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
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Seedfork
Aug 9, 2018 7:05 AM CST
Well, after reading all the above posts I think an answer has emerged. Do a lot of short crosses in the early stages, develop plants that will contribute toward your goals, then do longer crosses as you zero in on your targeted specific results.That fits my timeline perfectly.
Name: Mary
Crown Point, Indiana (Zone 5b)
josieskid
Aug 9, 2018 9:19 AM CST
Char, thank you for taking the time to put all that down for us! Endlessly fascinating!
Name: Ken
East S.F. Bay Area (Zone 9a)
Region: California
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CaliFlowers
Aug 31, 2018 10:05 AM CST
Thank you for the thoughtful and inspiring post, Char.

It's interesting how available space (plus time & energy) changes perception, I always thought 20 seedlings *was* a long cross. Blinking A grower might have to make 40 or more seed to end up with 20 strong seedlings to line out, especially when winter hardiness is factored in.
I feel like five seedlings is OK, but if I feel good about the cross, I prefer to have 10 to look at, if I'm going to get a good idea of the possibilities.
Sometimes limited fertility gets in the way, especially when working with a dodgy conversion, but they also tend to stamp the kids with their "look", so maybe it balances out.
I've seen some pretty nice results from 1-seed crosses. I've also bloomed some very nice things from Rich Howard's unbloomed seedling auctions, which, in essence, is like making a one or two seed cross. (Statisticians might argue this point.)
Sydney, Australia (Zone 10b)
Protoavis
Sep 1, 2018 2:54 AM CST
In general probably a lot of crosses and a few seed.

*note I'm in Australia so my options are often far more limited due to quarantine laws....especially now that even seeds (except in specific circumstances) are illegal to import now*

This may change a bit if you're looking for specific traits though, for example I'm attempting very fragrant tetraploids...my options are almost non existent, New Paradigm is the main one with a scent that can be smelled without putting your nose right into the flower. Every other recommendation seems to not exist in Australia (or is a diploid) so crossing with other super fragrant isn't an option. So I just crossed it with everything. A lot of crosses with a few seed but far more targeted than plain curiosity. From those I just pick the best looking/healthiest/highest bud count, no obvious super fragrant offspring (seems to be recessive) and then either cross the best with the best (half siblings) and get a lot of seed from a few crosses (if it's recessive and based on just 1 gene needed on 4 chromosomes and both parents have only 2 copies of it....that's 1 in 36 chance of getting offspring with 4 copies...so big seed numbers from a small number of crosses) OR cross New Paradigm to all it's (acceptable looking/healthy/bud count) children for a large number crosses by small seed lots (for a 1 in 6 chance...but on average everything looking a lot like New Paradigm)
Anyone with oryzalin (aka Surflan, Embargo), am looking for a small amount rather than 5litres from manufacturer (min size in Australia....)
Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
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bxncbx
Sep 1, 2018 9:09 AM CST
Protoavis I have no idea what cultivars are available in AU. But if they have Gold Helmet (older Wild tet from 1981) you should get it. Definitely fragrant and the one child registered is fragrant also. I had a seedling bloom from it & it was also fragrant so the trait is heritable.

GH is plain gold and was crossed with a lavender & plum kid to give a orange flower with darker edge & eye. I crossed it with South Seas & while the color hasn't stabilized (first bloom year) it seems to be getting a red blush on a tan base with a red eye.

Thumb of 2018-09-01/bxncbx/64983e

Okay the picture makes it look more orange than it is.
Name: Mary
Crown Point, Indiana (Zone 5b)
josieskid
Sep 1, 2018 9:27 AM CST
Elena, it's very pretty.
(Zone 8b)
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pinkiris
Sep 16, 2018 1:03 PM CST
very interesting to read and learn different experiences in all the above... Im not sure if this is where I need to be posting this, and please forgive me if this is out of order or in the wrong location - but found this to be very interesting ...

here is a photo (photo taken today) from one of the crosses I did this year ... notice that one of the 'leaves' is almost pure white, while a few others are 'creamy' and then the others are green ... also possible variegation Im noticing on another siblings 'leaves' - Im fairy certain that this is not from lack of sun nor too much sun, nor the lack of water/overwatering. Neither cross was from any variegated form of daylily, nor is there any variegated form of daylily in my gardens ... This is what is so unique about this to me.

would be very interested in hearing anyones thoughts ...notice that is also a little smaller compared to its siblings that are growing. Note: there are a total of 8 seedlings growing.

Thumb of 2018-09-16/pinkiris/baf613

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
Sep 16, 2018 1:22 PM CST
An Albino daylily will just die shortly.
I had a daylily seedling from hemlady earlier in the year that showed variegation on the leaves. Those leaves finally just died off, but other leaves replaced them, but had no variegation
(Zone 8b)
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pinkiris
Sep 16, 2018 2:32 PM CST
interesting ... do you know why they just die off like that?
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
Sep 16, 2018 6:26 PM CST
Well the white albinos don't have chlorophyll needed to feed the plant. I can't really say why the variegated leaves all died off, but I would assume it was a related issue.
(Zone 8b)
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pinkiris
Sep 16, 2018 7:14 PM CST
Ill keep you updated seedfork, thank you very much for your help Thumbs up

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