You can grow daylilies from seed. This is how hybridizers create their new varieties, by growing plants from seeds. Named varieties of daylilies are propagated vegetatively. Simply taking seeds from a named variety does not give you more plants of that variety, since each and every seed is genetically distinct to some degree from either parent.
To produce seed, a daylily flower must be pollinated. Since most varieties are not very fertile when self-pollinated, the pollen should come from a different plant. You can create your own hybrids, by using pollen from a parent selected by you, or you can let the bees choose the parents for you.
Place the pollen on the tip of the pistil. If you want to be sure that some bee does not come along and put different pollen on that pistil, cover it with a bit of folded aluminum foil after you do the pollination.
If you have taken the care to choose the pollen parent yourself, you should mark the pollinated blossom to identify the pollen parent when the seed are grown. A simple string tag or repair tag from an office supply store will work nicely. Write with a waterproof and sun-proof pencil, like a very soft common No. 1 lead pencil. Most inks, including ballpoint pens, will run when wet and will be totally gone by the time the seed pods have ripened.
The pods ripen at different times, but most diploid seeds are ripe enough to harvest 6 weeks after pollination. Tetraploids take about 8 weeks to produce fully ripened seed. When the pods start to crack open, it is time to collect them. Shell the seeds out, much as you would shell garden peas from their pods.
The next step may be to plant the seeds, or they may be stratified. Whether and how to stratify is a matter of controversy.
[Continue to next page.]
Revised last on 30 November 2004.
© Copyright 2004 by James E. Shields. All rights reserved.