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Hybridizing Daylilies

Hybridizing Daylilies

Hybridizing daylilies involves cross-breeding two different breeds of the flower. Although it sounds scientific, this can be done in your backyard garden.

Daylilies are a perennial flower that come in a variety of breeds, colours, shapes and sizes. These flowers require minimal care and grow well in a wide range of climates, making them suitable for all landscapes. Since daylilies are also drought-resistant as well as pest and disease-resistant, they are great for beginner gardeners.

Although daylilies carry the lily name, these flowers are not true lilies. Daylilies belong to the genus Hemerocallis, which translates to “day beauty.”

These flowers are often planted in large groups inside flower borders or as a ground cover. The daylily bloom typically lasts one day, with some varieties blooming in the early morning and lasting throughout the day while other varieties bloom in the evening and hold their bloom until the next evening. Since a well-established daylily will produce many buds, typical bloom time for a large clump of daylilies usually last about 30 to 40 days.

To hybridize your daylilies, choose a wide variety of breeds to increase your chances of cross-pollination. Daylilies are typically planted in early Autumn or spring when soil temperatures are moderate. They grow best when planted in direct sun to light shade, although the petals of dark coloured varieties tend to fade when exposed to bright, afternoon sun. Since daylilies do not require a lot of water to sustain themselves, water your plants moderately.

After the flowers bloom, remove the pollen from the end of one of the six stamens, found at the centre of the flower, on one breed of daylily and rub it on the tip of the single pistil, also found at the centre of the flower, on another breed making sure that you cross a Tetraploid with a Tetraploid and a Diploid with a Diploid otherwise the cross won't work.

When the flower finishes blooming, allow the bloom to dry up and fall off on its own. If the crossbreeding was successful, a new green seed pod should appear where the spent bloom was. Harvest the crossbred daylily seeds when the seed pod turns brown and starts to split. Allow the seeds to dry thoroughly overnight before storing them in an airtight container. Refrigerate the seeds for 4 to 6 weeks to preserve freshness before planting.

Hybridizing daylilies with the use of cross-breeding is one of the best methods for propagating daylilies.