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How Plant Breeders Gamble With Your Wallet, and How to Protect Yourself

These daylily hybridizers charge between $200-$500 per plant, with one of their daylilies going for $1,075.00 at auction in 2009. Pretty, but if you’re the type of person who used to be intrigued by growing a potato plant by suspending a potato by toothpicks in a mason jar of water, then you might be the type of person who’d rather hybridize your own daylilies and save your money for something else. A daylily’s single pistil (female part) is surrounded by six pollen laden stamens (male parts).  

My daughter has removed a stamen from a daylily given to her by a neighbor girl, and is shown here rubbing the pollen from the stamen to the very tip of the slightly sticky pistil. If pollination occurs, the flower will fade by the next day, and its base will begin swelling as the seeds develop in them. When crossing a daylily its important to try early on the day it’s opened, to make sure that the daylily hasn’t already been pollinated. Make sure you do something to mark the flower you pollinated so you’ll know which one to watch.
Now two months later, the seeds are ready to collect. Shake from the pod and allow to dry for a few days. I’ll be planting these out in the late fall, and allowing them to be exposed to snow, freeze and thaw in order to germinate. If I’m lucky, in about 3 years I’ll be able to see what kind of cross I have. Who knows, maybe it’ll be the next $1000 daylily.


What’s the best garden experiment you’ve tried and would you do it again?


2 comments to How Plant Breeders Gamble With Your Wallet, and How to Protect Yourself

  • Great tip, and great photo!
    It’s nice to be able to grow your own strands of flower, I think is better that way since you can have more control of what you get, and of course have a lot of fun while doing it.

    • Lisa

      It’s a lot of fun, and definitely helps to develop patience. I have a crossed daylily from a couple of years ago that I think should bloom this next year. The fun thing about my daughter’s cross is that it came, in part, from a daylily gift from her friend down the street.

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