My Babies are Born

July 9th, 2006

I’ve had an exciting week. After 18 months my daylily seedlings have bloomed (2 of them anyways). Here is one and here is the other.

Hybridizing daylilies is a fun and easy activity to try. Each daylily has a single pistil, or female part, and multiple stamen, or male parts, sticking out of the bloom. You can recognize them because the pistil is usually longer, has no pollen, and there is only one of them. All you need to do is break off a stamen of one plant you want to cross (don’t worry, you won’t hurt the plant) and carry it to the plant you want to cross the first plant with and rub the pollen on the tip of the pistil. Then you can, if you like, put a bag over the bloom so the bees do not volunteer some more pollen later in the day. Hybridizing is generally best done in the morning for this same reason.

That is all there is too it, a little pumpkin-like pod will form and a few months later dry up and split open and shiny black seeds will emerge. You can plant them immediately or keep them in a cool dry place over winter and start them indoors in early spring or outdoors after the last frost.

Most plants will not bloom until their second summer, so you’re in for a wait, but it is exciting to think that the flower you are seeing has never been seen before. Also, because of how genetics work, remember that two parents aren’t going to product identical children. The children might look like either parent, or not at all, and they won’t necessarily look like each other.

The only other thing to remember is that daylilies come in two forms, diploid and tetraploid. Ploidy describes the number of chromosomes a daylily has, diploids have 2, tetraploids have 4. You can only cross tets with other tets and dips with other dips. If you don’t know what your plants are you can usually guess if you know that tets tend to be bigger, with fancier & more substantial blooms.

Also, in addition to my babies blooming, my largest daylily purchase ever, the $200 Purple Maze, (pictured above) bloomed for the first time, so I was really excited about that.

2 Responses to “My Babies are Born”

  1. Hanna in Cleveland  Says:

    I never knew it was that easy to do. I will have to give it a try.

    Nice daylily babies, BTW!

  2. Meighan  Says:

    I’m going to try that with my daylilies this summer for sure!

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