Are the pods ripe? If it’s been about 7-8 weeks since fertilization and the pods are beginning to turn brown or open up at the tips, the seeds are ready to be harvested.
Collect the seeds and soak them in warm water overnight. The next day, put them in a zip-lock type bag and place the bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Daylily seeds require a minimum of 4 weeks cold stratification before they will sprout. Important: Label your bag prominently so your harvest won’t accidentally end up on your dinner plate.
When you are ready to plant the seeds, remove the bag from cold storage. Check first. Have the seeds already started to sprout? If yes, you can go ahead and plant them. if no, add some water to the bag and leave out in a dark and warm location. For the next week, check daily to see if seeds are starting to germinate. If there are no white feet popping out, put the bag back into the crisper for a week as the cold period needs to be extended a bit more.
It’s time to plant, what to do?
Plop seeds into pots filled with potting mix and place in a warm and sunny location. How deep to plant? Some sources recommend covering with about an inch of potting mix, others suggest they will do fine gently pushed on top of the mix as long as they are kept moist. I either bury them or cover the pot loosely with piece of plastic kitchen wrap because I tend to forget to mist them as frequently as they like.
Watch for green leaves and once the plants are about 5-6 inches tall they can be planted out in your garden. Soon, you’ll have completely new daylily varieties – that may or may not look anything like their parents – growing in your garden.
Daylilies are some of the most beautiful and carefree plants in the garden. They come in many colors, sizes and patterns. They withstand heat and drought. They are even edible!
They are plants that do not come true from seed. This means every seed produces a new and unique plant that may or may not look anything like its parent.
And that’s where the fun starts. How about trying your hand at hybridizing this year? It’s quite easy and you never know what you might get. The 3 most common crossing types are:
1. pretty on pretty – pick two varieties in your garden that you really like
2. trait on trait – flower shape, height, number of blooms – your choice
3. intentional – using plant genetic and science to attempt to bring out desirable attributes
How to find the Anther and Stigma on a Daylily
Making a cross is quite simple, take the pollen from one variety and apply it to the stigma of another. Then wait and see if the mating was successful. If yes, there will be a pod developing at the base of the flower. Daylily pregnancy takes about 50 days from fertilization until seeds are ripe and ready for harvesting.
Maybe you tried your hand at pollinating some of your iris or maybe the bees went to work. Either way, your iris flowers have faded away and there’s seedpods in the making. Like a proud parent, you’re admiring the pods and imagining growing the seeds into beautiful new plants.
Oh no! You see a broken off stalk. Compost. Goodbye dreams of spectacular flowers. Worry not, here’s what you can do to save the day and let the pods continue on to maturity.
Trim the bottom off the stalk and insert firmly about 2-3 inches deep into the soil. You’re done! Really! Watch the pods mature and collect the seeds once the pods have ripened.
Developing Iris Seedpod
Now that I have your attention, this post is all about taking a little pollen from one plant and dabbing it on the receiving part of another in the hopes of creating a unique new plant.
It’s essential to be able to identify the reproductive parts of a plant, and for an iris that’s not so easy. Here’s your road map to get started. Find the beards. They look fluffy and inviting. Think of them as the red carpet, leading towards the door #1, the stamen and door #2, the stigmatic lip. Those two structures are the necessary ones for the iris mating dance.
If you like to try your hand at hybridizing this spring, it’s easy. Remove the stamen from one variety and rub it into or onto the stigmatic lip of another. Wait for about 3 days, if your efforts were successful, the base of the flower will start swelling and growing, eventually forming a fat, oval shaped balloon. Should your stalk break off the plant, don’t worry, just stick the stem into the ground and your pod will continue to mature! It will take about 6-7 weeks for the seeds to be ready for harvesting.