Daylily Pollen Gathering and Storage



In the past, I haven't been so certain the pollen I 
saved would be viable pollen. Though I saved 
pollen every year, I seldom used it, except when I 
saved a blossom, brought it inside to use the pollen
the next day.

One of the reasons I didn't trust frozen pollen was
that I had saved too much of it in each container. 
The thought of taking it out of the freezer and it 
thawing improperly or subject to dampness when 
using it tested my trust as well. When one is making 
a cross with a particular goal in mind, you don't 
want to miss the chance to hopefully initiate the 
goal by using bad pollen.
Also, I usually have plenty of choices for crosses 
with pollen from the flowers. Now, I have become 
far more selective in parent choices. So, this year I 
will be saving only a small amount in each vial.

There are many good reasons to save pollen. 
For example, to be able to pollinate flowers that are 
not blooming at the same time, it is still worth the 
effort to try, at least for me. Also, a blossom can
be brought inside, placed in the refrigerator and be 
viable for a couple of days or so, although fresh 
pollen is still be very best to use when possible. 

Also, if you have new plants coming in that bloom,
and nothing else is in bloom to cross the plant with,
saving the pollen can give you a source to use if that
new plant doesn't last through the winter. At least
you have the pollen to use the next bloom season.
Saving pollen is, for me, a back-up plan for a just-in-
case situation.

This year I am trying something different. I bought 
the micro-centrifuge tubes, 100 of them, and I can 
place a couple of anthers' worth of pollen in each tube, 
and will not refreeze after use. With this many tubes, 
I should have plenty of different pollen choices.
I feel more confident with this method.

As an update, I also placed some of the anthers in 
matchboxes, transferred them to the refrigerator 
for a 24 hours or so, or until the anthers opened to 
reveal fluffy pollen. After the pollen was scraped off 
the anthers into the matchbox, the matchboxes were 
placed in a large plastic bag and transferred to the 
freezer. Very quick and easy to do, although it takes 
a bit more space than the micro-centrifuge tubes.

Update note:
This year after checking the frozen pollen, I noticed 
that the pollen can fall out of the matchbox unless 
they are stacked or placed in a section of the freezer 
where they are not likely to be overturned or disturbed. 
I also placed the anthers in the matchbox without 
scraping off the pollen. The anthers fell out of the 
boxes as well. If using this method to freeze pollen, 
my suggestion is to tape the ends of the boxes.

The pollen does dry very well in the matchboxes
To avoid the deal with taping matchboxes, and 
having to take it off to use, I'm considering using 
the matchboxes to dry the anthers in the fridge, 
and then transferring the anthers into the tubes
for freezing, unless I come up with some other idea.  

Found this at Michaels. The size is 6.5 x 5.5 inches
for the box which has a lid. The small containers
have a screw-on cap. This is helpful since the
names can be taped to the top of each container
for better visibility.

  Photos of the micro-centrifuge tubes:

---Micro-centrifuge Tube Storage Box---
A little less than 6 x 6 inches, and it has

a hinged lid. Fits very nicely in any part
of the freezer. To label, I put a narrow
piece of tape around the tube with the
name of the daylily written in ink.
---Micro-centrifuge Tubes---


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