Daylilies or Hemerocallis can easily by cross-pollinated to produce new plants or cultivars. The process is simple and fun. The rewards are time spent in the garden and a plant that is uniquely your own.
Daylilies are diploid or tetraploid (double the number of chromosomes). The only rule is that diploid daylilies must be cross-pollinated with diploid daylilies and tetraploid daylilies must be crossed with tetraploid daylilies.
Choose two parent plants that have characteristics that are pleasing or exhibit traits that you want to reinforce. Remove one of the stamens or swipe a Q-tip across the stamens on one flower to pick up pollen and dust the pollen on the pistil of the flower on the other plant. Label or mark the flower so that it is not accidentally picked. A seed pod will develop about half the time.
Pick the mature pod when it turns brown and begins to split open and store in a warm, dry place. Before planting in late winter in a flat, place the seeds in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator for a few weeks of chilling and then soak for a few hours to soften the seed coat. Keep the soil moist. In two to six weeks the viable seeds will sprout and these new seedlings can be placed in the garden after all danger of frost is past.
Now comes the fun part. What do your new daylilies look like when they bloom?
Linda Boucher, Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service