Daylily Cross-Pollination

Italian Kaleidoscope--Smith, FR--registered 2008, 6 inch
(It's a beauty)
An example of identification tags shown in photo taken in
the hybridizing area. Note the use of surveyor's tape and yarn.
Many things can be used for ID tags to verify crosses.

Daylilies are amazing plants. They are relatively easy to grow and
to hybridize. Even if your interest in hybridizing is minimal, once
you see your first baby, don't be surprised to find yourself
jumping up from a night's slumber, hurrying out to the garden,
camera in hand, with excited anticipation for the next visual
pleasure that awaits. After this experience, well, you're just
hooked, ... line and sinker. This is indeed a journey, but there's
a caveat. It is not for those who desire instant gratification.
It does take time and patience. Seedlings may bloom anywhere
from a few months (in the south) to three years (in the far
north) depending on the location, elevation, and climate
when grown in the field.

If you are just getting started, there are a few things to learn
about daylilies. The ease of pollinating daylilies is apparent
due to the visibility and size of the plant's male and female
parts. All you really need to remember is the pistil (female
part) is located in the center of the flower. The stamen (male
reproductive part) surrounds the pistil.
 There are typically
six stamens. The pistil consists of the hollow tube (style)
that supports the stigma (the pollen receiving node with
stigmatic fluid).

Daylily Labeled Parts
Click on photos for a larger view. The stigma in this
photo is glistening with stigmatic fluid, and is
ready for pollination. 

This photo was taken approximately 10 
minutes later. Note that the stigmatic fluid
is in the process of reduction.
The stigmatic fluid activates the pollen to form a growth tube
that descends to the ovary. This process takes a few hours.
The ovary develops and forms the seed pod which 

typically has three chambers that hold the 
developing/mature seeds. 
Daylily Dissection Showing Ovary
To pollinate, simply pinch off the stamen by its stem 
(filament), and touch the pollen from the pollen sac (anther) 
from one flower onto the stigma of another flower.

When using frozen pollen, reverse tweezers are a handy tool 
to secure frozen anthers from their containers.  

Pollination completed
The stamens in the center have been removed
from this flower to prepare the pollen for 

The best time to pollinate is in the morning when the
pollen becomes fluffy, and the stigma appears shiny
with stigmatic fluid. If the stigma appears dry, you can use
a stigma from another daylily bloom to transfer the fluid.

To discourage further pollination by insects, you can
remove the anthers from the pollinated flower, or
remove the petals and sepals, or cover the pistil with a foil
cap or other covering, or all of the above if you wish. Covering 
the pistil with a foil cap is a good idea to protect the pollen if 
you expect rain soon after pollinating. I'm not that concerned 
with additional pollination by insects because in my garden, I 
don't see many "bee" pods, and I put the pollen on very thick 
to get complete coverage.
If pollination is successful, you will see a seed pod form
in a few days. I see them form in two days. 

Note that in temperatures above 90 degrees or so,
pods are not likely to set, or if they do, they may drop off. If
the plant is stressed for water, the pods may drop off as well.
Sometimes shading the plant can reduce heat stress.
Keeping the parent plants happy and healthy will reward
you with more success in your efforts.

---Daylily Pods Approx. 30 Days Old---

---Daylily Seed Pods Maturing--
Pods approximately 40 days old

These pods are almost there. The one
in the bottom right-hand corner is
beginning to crack open. I will gather
it tomorrow.

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