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Thread: Daylily Seed - How to Tell When to Harvest....

  1. #1
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    Daylily Seed - How to Tell When to Harvest....

    Rebecca mentioned that she harvested some daylily seeds that weren't quite ready yet, ie., they had not turned black yet, but did after she harvested them.

    I thought I might share what I am learning in my new hibridizing venture...

    I noticed today that overnight some pods turned brown and crisp or did I miss those the day before? I dunno...

    But one thing for sure, I went around to my various beds where daylilies are producing seeds, and I poked, and I squeezed, and I noticed something different about the appearance and feel of seeds that were 'optimally' ripe.

    So, here it is...

    When you squeeze a pod, and it feels very firm and hard and doesn't budge, it doesn't appear to be ready.

    BUT, when you see one starting to lighten up in color (not so green), and you squeeze it and it crackles, the seed pod wall appears to have thinned drastically and the seeds inside are very plump and black and fall out immediatley when you press a little harder to crack the seed pod open.

    I also opened some seed pods that were just starting to lose their dark green seed pol color, and sure enough, there were plump black seeds present.

    I guess that the biggest problem that I have had with harvesting my daylily seeds are the strong afternoon thunderstorms with heavy winds and heavy rains which knock these ripened pods to the ground before I can get to them.

    If only I could figure out when they were ripe enough to harvest, but not chance losing them due to weather conditons, I could become a really serious daylily hibridizer.

    Rebecca, you have created a monster! What FUN! Thank you!
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


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    Is It Ready Yet?


    Ann,

    You've brought up a very good topic! I'll share what I've learned over the past few years of hybridizing.

    First, it takes approximately 6 weeks for the seed pods to mature, this is good to know as you can make a note of that date on your records and start examining the pods at 5 weeks.

    As soon as the top of the pod turns white I start doing the 'pinch test', if it gives, I pick it along with some stem and place it in a glass of water for a couple of days to finish the process. It it splits, same thing only not water, just let it dry for a day and finish opening on its own. If you have storms on the way and you know certian pods are in their 5th or 6th week, go ahead and harvest before they get knocked off by strong winds.

    Something else I have noticed as the pods get closer to harvest is that the chambers become more noticable, more defined as the pod loses moisture. When you see this happening along with the lighter coloring, then they are pretty much ready, do the 'pinch test' to check for firmness.

    Some crosses seem to take up to eight weeks to ripen, usually these will be Tet crosses and the pods get really big. It seems logical that they would need more time to ripen.

    So, your observations are right! I also might add, that not all pods trun brown before they split open on their own, in fact, most don't. They do get very pale in color and take on a 'gaunt' look.

    As for the experiment, we're on day 5 after being planted and no shoots yet.

    Here's an interesting tidbit, I had several seeds of one particular cross that just wouldn't sprout. They were in the expandable peat pellets and I just tossed them into the raised bed under my Japanese Maple. A month or so ago I was setting cuttings in this same bed and noticed some of these given up on seeds had sprouted, so I potted them up and set all the remaining ones together, more or less up right. Then forgot about them. Well, as luck would have it, the cat had knocked some small potted starts of impatience off the wall and into the bed. When I went to pick them up and place them back on the wall I found three more daylily seedlings that had sprouted. They looked to be a week or so old. This is just to point out that seeds sometimes are very slow to germinate and to not give up on them too soon!


    Rebecca

  3. #3
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    I thought you might want to seed my seedlings, the ones that I sowed in the ziploc exactly 2 weeks ago today!

    Here they are:



    and a side view...



    I have no idea what these will end up looking like, but it is surely worth the learning experience to try, isn't it? There are five 1 qt. ziplocs like this one, all harvested on 07/05/03.

    And, yes, that is condensation on the sides of the bag. The seedlings seem to really like that. A few are not as green as they should be, so I moved them to be directly under the fluorescent lights where they will stay for a few more days.

    Then I will start opening the bags and hardening them off. After that, I plan to pot them up, perhaps 6-7 in mum pots which are shallow, but wide. They should be fine in those pots until next spring.

    What FUN!
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


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    Ann,

    I see it's time for a lesson on growing daylilies from seed!

    First off, forget about using the mum pots, those seedlings won't last until spring in them!

    Daylily seedlings can grow very fast, even under lights, and they have a deep root system, hence you need to use deep pots as opposed to shallow ones.. I use the compressed peat pellet that you have to re-hydrate before use. One seed per 'pot'. At one month they are ready to go into 'community pots. I plant 3 or (rarely) 4 seedlings, peat pots and all into 6 inch mum/azalea pots, a month later they are ready for individual 6 inch pots. A month or so after that they are generally ready to go into one gallon nursery pots or (better) one gallon tree pots - they are extra deep.

    In your somewhat mild climate I see no reason why you shouldn't be able to have your seedlings in the ground by fall. You don't want to crowd them, either in pots or in the ground. I had to plant very closely in my seedling bed this spring and they are really crowded now. A good many of these seedlings are as big as the yearling plants. There's barely 6 inches between the rows and the poor seedlings are maybe 4 inched apart. This fall I will have to dig everything up, move or pot (or both) part of the two year olds and then re-line the entire bed. I'm hoping to make additional space for some of the other seedlings that have had to stay in pots and only a few have been lucky enough to get moved into one gallon pots, they, fortunately for me, can stay in those pots. I am not looking forward to having to do this, but if I don't I'll be in really big trouble next season!

    I noticed one or two albino seedlings in the bag you pictured, well get ready for your first disapointment, because once they have used up all the nutrients in the seed they will die off. Not having any green leaves, they are not able to photosenthisize sunlight to produce their own food and they basically starve to death. Believe me, I have tried to nurture them along, but they seldom live past a month of age.

    I digress.

    Now then, since potted plants have limited available nutrients, you will also have to fertilize the seedlings on a regular basis. Any general purpose house plant food works great, but cut it to 1/4 the recommended dosage and apply every other time you water. You'll need to water when the soil surface becomes dry to the touch but before the entire root ball becomes dry Daylilies are water hogs and heavy feeders, even as babies!

    If you grow these seedlings on in a greenhouse a good many of they may bloom next year if you don't crowd them into too small a pot and if you keep them watered and fed.

    I have found that keeping seedlings in small pots for too long (nearing the pot bound stage) they become stunted and they take forever to come out of it, IF they come out of it. Planting them too deep can have the same effect. The crown of the plant, even tiny seedlings should be barely below the soil surface. Planting too deep can also lead to crown rot, something you really have to be careful to avoid with seedlings.

    Well that ought to get you in the right direction, now all you have to do is stock up on (quality) potting soil and big pots! You can never have too many big pots or extra (2 cu. ft.) bags of potting soil! I know! I've finally gotten a few 1 gallon pots and now I'm out of soil!

    Keep us posted on how your seedlins are doing!

    Oh! BTW, I've done over 100 crosses so far and have had only 15 not take and, except for three crosses, these are all just single pods. I did double up on three. I still have new plants coming into bloom! Even with a small collection the number of different crosses one can do can be mind boggling! Of course with 30 or so new seedlings blooming this year plus all the new plants I've gotten, my collection has had a bit of a population explosion! (I'm affraid to count the actual number of plants I now have, let alone the number of different cultivars - each one of those seedlings counts as a new cultivar!


    Rebecca

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    Rebecca- I have trumpet lilies grown inside from bulbils over the past winter that have been outside since April in community 1 quart pots. They aren't all that tall but have nice big(apparently tasty to some chewing critter) leaves. Sounds like I need to get them into individual pots but two questions:
    1) Is this the right time to be doing that(100 degrees plus) and
    2) when can they just go into the flower bed for good(I am in Zone 6 and it will freeze and snow).
    Thanks,Cathy

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    Rebecca,

    I have to do what I can with what I have now...

    Let me clarify about 'mum' pots... That is the term used here. I get my pots wholesale, really cheap at BWI Companies, a wholesale nursery supply company. I can get 100 trade gallon sized for less than $9. Yep, less than 9 cents each, and I have lots of those.

    The 'mum' pots are 8 inches wide and about 5.25" deep. I use a soiless mix. It is a combination of Home Depot's Lambert's potting soil which has a slight amount of charcoal (not the cooking kind) chips and helps keep the soil mix 'sweet' with all the rain that we get.

    The biggest problem I have is that the soil tends to wash through the holes with all the heavy rains. We had over 2 inches today in a short time, 1.5" yesterday and that is a normal summer afternoon thunderstorm around here. I use long haired spaghnum peat moss to solve that. Bark lets too much soil wash through. Paper towels, etc. degrade to quickly...

    I also add perlite and this time a medium grade vermiculite. You see, we get VERY heavy rains followed by a potential long, dry spell on occasion. I add just a slight of polymer crystals just to make sure they do not get overly dry.

    If all goes well, I will be able to get them in a permanent bed before the first frost. Many of these tend to be evergreen varieties, and with our mild winters will indeed continue to develop roots over the winter, so at the latest , they will go in the beds in early spring which will be the first or second week in March or sooner. Our ground does not freeze.

    Yes, I noticed a couple of seedlings with very little color in the leaves. They were primarly on the outer edge of the bags, so I think that perhaps they were not getting enough light from the fluorescents because I did not have them directly under lights. They were a few feet away and the ziplocs standing straight up and lined side by side.

    We will see what putting them directly under the lights will do for them. If nothing else, the albinos will just have to do the best they can.

    Rebecca, I think there may be one big difference in our climates. The daylilies here do not root very deeply. They tend to root outwards more than down. Perhaps that is the warmth of the soil and the heavy rains. I am not sure. But they do tend to be rather shallow rooted here...

    Do you think that could be the difference?

    What do you suggest for fertilzer? I have several different kinds?
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


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    Cathy,

    You wrote: Rebecca- I have trumpet lilies grown inside from bulbils over the past winter that have been outside since April in community 1 quart pots. They aren't all that tall but have nice big(apparently tasty to some chewing critter) leaves. Sounds like I need to get them into individual pots but two questions:
    1) Is this the right time to be doing that(100 degrees plus) and
    2) when can they just go into the flower bed for good(I am in Zone 6 and it will freeze and snow).


    Well, it is awefully hot right now and humid too (here), but as long as you can keep the young bulbs from getting too dry I can't see where there would be a problem with going ahead and getting them into the ground now. Be sure you put them where the ground drains very well, lilies (scaley bulb types) really hate wet feet, and the Trumpets are even less forgiving. What sounds like an oxymoron is that they also like even moisture.

    Plant them out in the evening, when it is cooler and they will have the entire night to rest before having to take on a hot day and if possible, provide them with some shade for the first several days - laundry baskets, lawn chairs, whatever you have that will provide some shade and still allow in light and air circulation. Use a little bone meal in the planting holes if you have it. It will help get their roots going. Don't plant them any deeper than they are growing in their pots, but have something ready to mulch them with once the ground freezes. Pilling it on 4 to 6 inches think would not be too much. Trumpet Lilies are very sensitive to freezing and thawing cycles the first few years. When spring rools around you can pull back part of the mulch, but I'd still leave about half of it.

    I tired to winter ove Trumpet and Modonna lilies in pots last year along with all the Asiatic and Oriental and not one of them made it through the winter. I did have all the pots massed together and mulched with leaves, but the trumpets just didn't make it. They just aren't hardy enough for pot culture. I didn't lose a single one of the other types.

    Hope that helps.


    Rebecca
    Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us. We are not the only experiment.
    - R. Buckminster Fuller

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    Ann,

    I'm sure the different climates has a lot to do with the way daylily roots perform for you, part of it may be the mix you use, or the composition of your soil; but hey, it works for you and that's all that matters

    I still would not leave the seedlings in community pots much longer than a month, especially if they spread their roots wide more than deep. You can do a lot more damage than good when time comes to seperate the seedlings since their roots would be all tangled together. Root damage sets the seedlings back and what you want is to keep them growing foliage for as long as the weather permits. So, three seedlings per 6 inch pot and be prepared to move them to individual pots in, say six weeks, sooner if they grow realy fast. They will probably be okay in one gallon pots until they start to increase, but by then you'll probably be able to get them into a seedling bed. Personally, I'd give them a foot in all directions between plants in a seedling bed. They shouldn't increas so fast that they'd be too crowded before they bloom for the first time. From there you can seperate the very best ones to grow on to full clump size in another bed or special places in your gardens.

    As for fertilizer, any balance one would work; water soluable is better for small seedlings that you are feeding with every other watering and I like the time-released types once they are in one gallon pots; one application every two months during their sctive growing season, makes it a lot easier. Once the seedlings are in the ground I like to use a broadcast type, and there are even very good slow or timed release ones on the market for that type of application. Several small doses of Epsom Salts (Magnesium sulfate) will help give the foliage nice green colr and deepen the colors for any reds and purples and enhance the color in all the more pastel shades A little is good, but a lot can hurt. Being in a more or less coastal area, you may not need it though. 'If in doubt, do without' is a good rule to follow. Or have your soil tested and be sure about what elements are lacking.

    Early call in the morning so I guess that's it for now. Hope that answered your questions!


    Rebecca

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    Rebecca!

    I believe it was you that said the daylily Tet's make large seed pods.... Anyway, I have been carefully watching the ones in my beds that are HUGE! This afternoon, I was pulling out some more dead scapes, and wouldn't you know... I saw that one of these huge seed pods had started to turn slightly yellow at the base, and sure enough there was a split in the pod, and I could see the large, shiny, black seed inside.

    When I tried to pick it, it came loose from the scape very easily. I brought it inside to have it's picture taken. The 14 seeds inside will go in a baggie directly under the lights tonight...

    This is a seed pod from the hybridized lily featured on the main web pages on Landspro.



    and the seeds....



    The seeds are longer than the diameter of a picture. These are nice and PLUMP! Very fresh...

    P.S.

    Yep, that's a quarter in the picture, and not a dime!
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


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    Ann,

    Nice sized seed pod and nice sized seeds! How do they compare in size to seeds you know are diploid? They should be about twice the size of diploid seeds!

    You've been setting pods for about a month longer than I have, my first pod was set on June 26th. so it have a few more weeks to go before it's ready for harvest and then it is at least two weeks ahead of the rest of them that have taken. I'm up to 121 crosses made and maybe 20 of those failed. Had two new plants open blooms today but I won't be hybridizing with them this year as they just haven't been planted long enough. Just got them in the middle of June and have them in pots until their bed is ready this fall. It rained over-night and one of the two doesn't look so great, the other is gorgeous!

    The newest pods to have taken (so far) aren't even as big as baby peas, some are dime sized and some are almost as big as a nickle. Seems to be more white string tags hanging in the seedling bed than there are blooms now! Will have to be going through the list of crosses before long and trying to grade each of the crosses as to importance (to my breeding program); I really must stop doing crosses 'just to see what would happen'!

    Well, I have a few images to up-load and more to take so better get a move on.

    Later!

    Rebecca

  11. #11
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    Rebecca,

    They are at least twice the size of the other seeds and the pod is about three times the size of the others...

    Here is a picture of the mother daylily...



    It's an unamed 'hybridized' daylily and one of my favorite even if they only cost $1 each.

    Now, I am anxious to see what the babies look like!!!!

    Enjoy!
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


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    Ann,

    Your pink Tet looks a lot like my 'Corryton Pink' and it is, indeed, a Tet. I've only set one pod on it since it is growing in a pot and because I hear it is very dominate and that it's young tend to look a lot like it. That may be so if it has been crossed with lighter colors and/or whites, but I'd bet the second generation (F2) seedlings would expose a lot of the recessive traits. Being a pink, it doesn't have the substance of my reds, but it does hold its colr very well. Can't comment about scxape heigth since it's new and in a pot and not growing normally, but the blooms are held well abouve the foliage.

    What are some of the colors you have crossed your with? I used 'Along the Way' on CP. ATW is not pod fertile, but very pollen fertile. It has a really great purple eye zone that I hope to pass along to these offspring. Does your pink Tet have even a hint of an eye zone? I've noticed mine doesn't always appear in real life, but it is there on the images.

    Here's an image of 'Corryton Pink', Kirby-Oakes, 1981





    It may not be one of the fanciest ones, but it sure makes a statement with those big pink blooms! I just checked my records and scape heogth is supposed to be 32 inches, it blooms Early-Mid season and is supposed to be dormant.


    Whatcha think? Could this be yours?


    Rebecca

  13. #13
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    Rebecca,

    This is one of my first ones to bloom, and it repeats blooming for quite some time. There is very little sign of deeper color around the bloom eye area, but it does have.

    The scapes are medium height, about 18-20", no more than that. I don't know if this is one of the ones that stays partically green all winter. I will have to mark one and record that next spring.

    This was one of a baker's dozen that I purchased at Walmart, bareroot for $9.95 quite a few years back. They were labeled 'baker's dozen - hybridized daylilies'.

    I tried crossing them with a peachy orange ruffled one of my neighbor's (his didn't make seed), purplish colored ones, and burgandy/purple, but I did not prevent the bees from pollinating, so who knows...

    I harvdaylilyflwr.JPGested 3 more gigantic pods today. One had 18 seeds, another had 16 and the other had 12 seeds, so I guess that means a total of 46 if I added it correctly...

    There is no doubt in my mind that whatever the babies look like, they will be pretty! The flower has a purplish/lavender tinge and more of a slight peachy hue rather than a rasberry one.

    Here's a picture without the ruler...



    This was my first purchased daylily!
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


  14. #14
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    Geepers!

    I just opened one of those whopper pods that had 30, yes, 30 plump seeds in it!

    Guess I will put a marker in the ground by that one tomorrow and label it, 'Good Mama!'. this is one of the ones with taller scapes...

    What FUN!
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


  15. #15
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    Ann,
    With the scapes being that short, it can't be 'Corryton Pink', but it sure is a purdy one, whoever it is.

    Didn't you tag the ones you hand pollinated? If you did then you can be 99.99% sure that that is the pollen that fertilized the bloom. First on is what does the job and no one I know of does anything to keep the bees away, it would be too time comsuming and really needless from what I've read.

    The lavender(ish) cross will probably give you lavender offspring, more lights than darks and probably more in the lavender-pink or rosy-lavender range. The more burgundy cross could get you some reds depending on which way the burgundy parent goes - more red or more blue. If it is more towards the blue end of the spectrum you could get purples. A lot is really dependant on what it was bred from and since you don't know it's parents you'll just have to be surprised!

    I can give you an idea about what colors you could get from your crosses but I can't tell you what shape they will have or any of the other little things that make us love these flowers so much!

    Those are some really great seed yields from those pods, but Tets do give high yields and I have heard of pods with even more seeds than what you've gotten so far!

    BTW, I wasn't knocking the zip-lock bag method of sprouting seeds, it is great for small quanities of seeds and when sowing the seeds straight from the pod as you are doing. Us Yankees don't always get to do that and must allow our seed to dry a bit before storing them in the fridge.

    I like the peat pellets. but they do get expensive. I was fortunate in being able to get several trays at close out last summer; not so lucky this summer, so I'll be back to using good old 'mum' pots next year! I also grew all my seedlings under 'shop lights' this year - started the first ones in late January. Those were the ones who got to go into the seedling bed in May and several may bloom next season due to the early start, I don't think I'll be doing that this year, in fact, a lot of this years crop may have to stay in cold storage until I can come up with more space to grow them. (Lord, what was I thinking about making all of these crosses! And why do I keep making them?)




    Rebecca

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