Thursday, February 11, 2010

Greenhouse Hybridizing . . .

For me, there is no greater plea-
sure in daylilies than hybridizing 
and walking the seedling fields 
to see the results of your art. 
Yes, in my opinion, hybridizing
is as much an art as brushing
paint on a canvas. You select a 
pod parent and combine that 
with a selected pollen parent. 
Your selections may be for a 
particular color, large or small 
flowers, full formed or UF's, 
eyes and edges, teeth and 
tentacles, etc., etc, the select-
ions are unlimited. Select for 
what makes you happy.  

In this instance, I am working 
for reds with teeth. Toward 
this goal,  I used  H. 'Horny 
Devil' as the pod parent, and  
H. 'Jean Pickles' as the 
pollen parent with a result-
ing first generation seedling 
shown. Now, I need to work 
on cleaning up the color and 
enhancing the teeth. I would 
like to get the teeth in both 
white and gold, maybe with 
a watermark on the bloom..

Another cross that I was 
anxious to make was to use  
H. 'Elisa Dallas' and H.  
'Crazy Ivan' with each other. 
I have always admired the 
eye of H.  'Elisa Dallas' but 
wanted a little better plant

under it along with a larger 
flower. I thought H. 'Crazy 
Ivan' might do the job for 
me so I used it's pollen. 

The resulting seedling was 
larger with a better plant 

underneath and I picked 
up the form of  H.  'Elisa 
Dallas' that I prefer. The 
eye shows with a small
watermark and a great green 
throat. A very striking flower.

All of our hybridizing is done in 
the greenhouse between 
late February and the end of 

Hybridizing daylilies is 
easy which is probably 
why so many people are 
doing it. As I have shown
above, you pick your two
parents with a goal in mind,
or,as many hybridizers do,
simply put pretty on pretty.
When you have selected a
pollen parent,you break off
an anther and place the
pollen on the tip of the pod
parent pistil. If the cross
takes,you will see a seed
pod forming in a few days
which will mature between
50-55 days.

The pollen should be yellow and fluffy. If it is white and hard,
it is probably not good. Images showing good, fluffy pollen (top)
pollen to pistil (center), and newly formed seed pod (bottom).

As I said, hybridizing daylilies is easy . . . try it, you might like it. 
I guarantee that once you see some of your own seedlings 
bloom, you will be hooked.

Life is very, very good. 

to be continued . . .


  1. Very good lesson in genetics today Lee. I am anxiously waiting to see what I get from HORNY DEVIL this coming summer, also from Miss Jean's flower, JEAN PICKLES. Anticipation!

    David Hansen

  2. Lee, we are new to this blogging thing but wanted to tell you we can't wait to see TENNESSEE BORDER in bloom this spring. We gave it a generous helping of rabbit "crap" when we planted it and now it is under a few inches of the white mulch we all call snow.

  3. neat post today and can't wait to see the red HORNY DEVIL's blooming. I am interested in if you are having any problem with excess humidity in the greenhouse from all the water beds? It will be interesting to see. I have been growing my seedlings in tree trays in the greenhouse for a couple of years now with the seedling 1020trays underneath them to contain the extra water. I would routinely fill the 1020's up to an inch of water at a time. Works great, the lined beds like you have is an even better idea. Keep posting!!

  4. Hi Lee,
    I'm 'in' and looking forward to seeing more of the cool stuff you cook up in your greenhouse. You get to be my first blog!

  5. Hi Lee, think I got the comments straightened out now. Had a nice 39 degree sunny day here in Hudsonville MI for a change. Still have enough snow to cover Lori's Daylilies to keep the deer off them. Waiting for Spring. Enjoy the blog so far.