How to Hybridize a Daylily

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Most gardeners are creators by nature. The idea of making their very own flower is extremely appealing. Hybridizing a daylily, or crossing the pollen, is a great place to start.

Difficulty:
Moderately Easy

Instructions

Things You’ll Need
  • Daylily diagram
  • Ribbon
  • Note book
  • Pencil

Make the Cross

  1. Search to find a diagram of the parts of the daylily. The parts you need to know are the stamen and the pistil. There are six stamens that carry the deep yellow, powder substance known as pollen and only one pistil which is usually a little taller and has a sticky end for placing the pollen.
  2. Find two daylilies to hybridize. Look for two that you simply like or that have attributes that you want to see combined.
  3. Make sure the flowers are the same Chromosome family if you can (tetraploid or diploid). The two families will not cross. Older varieties are typically of the diploid family.
  4. Break off one of the stamens from one of the flowers you have chosen. Make sure to do it early in the morning, but after the sun has opened the pollen (it should come off easily when you touch it).
  5. Take the stamen over to the second flower. Rub it up against the pistil to release the pollen (you will see the pollen sticking). You have completed your first daylily hybridization.
  6. Mark the flower with a ribbon so you don’t accidentally pick the flower or break off the growing seed pod.
  7. Record the cross in your notebook. The flower that you broke off the stamen from is the daddy. The one where you placed the pollen is the mother. Make a note of the ribbon that you used as well (in case you make other crosses) as well as the date.
  8. Cross often. The more crosses you make the more likely one is to take.

Harvesting and Planting

  1. Take the pod off the daylily after it has dried out and cracked open. If you harvest too soon then they won’t be able to grow.
  2. Open the seed pod and then plant the seeds in soil about 1 inch deep. Make sure you label what you plant where so that you can keep up with your hybridizing efforts.
  3. Water the seeds daily until they form their true leaves.
  4. Transplant the seedlings to your daylily garden. Make sure to keep your hybridizing labels with the correct plants.
  5. Keep the ones you like. It may take a year or two to see your first bloom. If you like it then keep it and name it.

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