Breeding daylilies is a hobby that allows you to experiment with different flowers and see what their offspring look like. Part of the process is the care, but the other part is pollinating them, or crossing them. The pollen from one plant attaches to the pistil of another, and they create seeds that become the next generation of daylilies.
Things You’ll Need
- Artist’s paintbrush
- Flat tweezers
- Aluminum foil
- Plastic bags
- Decide which of your daylily plants to cross. For a beginner, the best policy is to experiment with plants that you like. Be aware that there is no guarantee that the best traits of both flowers come out in the offspring; it may look completely different. Not even self-pollinating the plant guarantees a particular feature or trait.
- Clean an artist’s paintbrush with soap and water. Find the stamens on one of the flowers you want to cross. There are six of them sticking out of the center of the bloom, and they have the pollen on the end. The pistil, by contrast, does not have pollen. In the morning, just after the flowers have opened, apply the paintbrush to the pollen on the stamens.
- Hold the pistil of the plant you want to pollinate with a pair of tweezers. Rub the paintbrush on the pistil and wrap a cap of aluminum foil over the pistil. Leave it there until a seed pod begins to form at the base of the bloom. If the cross is not successful, the bloom just falls off with no seed pod.
- Remove the seed pod after six weeks, when it has ripened, dried and cracked open at the top. Place it in a plastic bag. You can store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to plant it.
Tips & Warnings
Try pollinating several different plants. Not all crosses are successful, maybe because of the heat or humidity levels, or maybe because one is a diploid and the other a tetraploid with different numbers of genes.
You can freeze pollen in contact lens containers for up to nine years or store it in the refrigerator for up to a week, if the plant you want to cross is not blooming at the same time as the one whose pollen you collected.
If you self-pollinate your daylilies, you risk breeding undesirable traits from the parent into future generations of plants. For the strongest crosses, pollinate from different plants.