Stratification is a process for breaking dormancy in seeds. It consists in storing seeds at low temperatures, but above freezing. In daylilies, and most other plants, seeds require moisture as well as cold temperatures for effective stratification.
Some varieties of daylily will produce seeds which do not need any stratification. Many daylilies' seeds do however need it, and will not germinate until their stratification needs have been fulfilled. There is no way to know in advance which type a given batch of seeds will be unless you have had experience with the same parents in the past.
To be sure your seeds will germinate well after planting, it is best to always stratify all daylily seed which you wish to grow. A minimum of three weeks of stratification has been recommended by Dr Rober Carr and others, but respected texts on the subject state that a minimum of five weeks is necessary.
Storing daylily seeds in the freezer is a different matter, and the seeds must be well dried before being frozen. Frozen dry seeds can be held for years without complete loss of viability. Freezing may not satisfy the seeds' need for stratification.
Seed can be stratified in any convenient, waterproof container. Zip-top plastic bags can be purchased from many plastic companies. The 4-inch by 6-inch size with a white label area is excellent.
Write on the bag the identity of the seeds; i.e., the name of the pod parent, an "X", and then the name of the pollen parent. Place the seeds in the bag and add a few drops of sterile water. Distilled water from the drugstore works well, but tap water from a chlorinated municipal water supply will also work. The water should not be sloshing around in the bag! Close the zip top tightly.
Store in a refrigerator at 35 to 40°F (2 to 4°C) for the recommend period of time, or until you are ready to plant.
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Revised last on 07 February 2007.
© Copyright 2007 by James E. Shields. All rights reserved.