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I harvested some daylily seeds, now what?

2 years ago
last modified: 2 years ago

So I ran around pollinating a bunch of my daylilies early August. The couple that took are coming ripe now, and I'm collecting them. What do I do now, though? When do I plant my seeds? Do I need to prep them somehow? Anything else I should know?

I think I've got two tets and two diploid seed pods, if that makes a difference.

So far only one is harvested (others are close) ... the one harvested is sitting in a little dish waiting for instruction.



Comments (14)

  • 2 years ago

    I let mine sit a few days then I plant mine. I generally just plant them in the bed as I have no where to put them inside. Generally I get good results. I give this advice as one not so nearly experienced as Debra, Nancy or others, but as one who has no space. If you have the space, listen to them!


    BlueberryBundtcake - 6a/5b MA thanked Brad KY 6b
  • 2 years ago

    I let mine dry for a day or two and like Debra, I put them in small baggies in the refrigerator until I am ready to plant them. I don't start mine until the end of January. We grow them under lights in the basement. Then in early to mid April in our area (after the danger is frost is past) we put them outside. We start planting them in the ground as early as May.

    Before I plant them, I soak them them for a couple of days in water. I just put a little distilled water in the baggie and put them back in the refrigerator. I don't intend to pre-sprout them, just rehydrate them. I think that speeds up germination.

    If you want to plant them directly in the ground (many do), I would wait until it gets cold (before the ground is frozen). What you don't want is tiny little seedlings trying to make it through the winter. If you plant them now, that might happen.

    You can also plant them directly in the ground in the spring too.

    What I don't like is trying to overwinter them either in the house or the greenhouse. Our greenhouse is too cool in the winter with not enough sun for them to keep growing well. They also are susceptible to spider mites. In the house they grow long and lanky leaves that get burned in the lights. I see no practical benefit to starting them too early. You won't push up the bloom season anyway.

    My advice is don't make your work harder by repotting them often. We grow ours one to a cell in those starter sheets that fit a standard nursery tray. We use the ones with the smallest cells--72 cells per sheet. The seedlings get root bound, but they don't seem to mind if they get enough water. (Be careful not to overwater when they are young--can lead to damping off.) They go straight from those to the ground outside. With the number of seedlings we grow each year, we don't have the time to fiddle with them.

    Of course, you can grow the seedlings in a communal pot. We don't usually do that because of the damage you can cause when you separate them. They will be fine but it takes them a bit longer to start growing.

    Seedlings are so much fun. I hope you get some good ones.


    BlueberryBundtcake - 6a/5b MA thanked hoosier_nan (IN z5b/6a)
  • 2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Okay, so it sounds like I should dry them, baggie them, chill them, and then soak and plant them when I start tomatoes and peppers for spring. The fruits start in the aerogarden and then move under the regular grow light, but I could certainly turn on the grow light early for daylilies ... could probably do some lettuce or something simultaneously.

    I feel like if I directly planted them in the bed, I'd lose them or pull them out accidentally while weeding (especially since it's a newly cleaned bed that I fully expect to have weeds popping up in).

  • 2 years ago

    We don't direct sow because the weeding would be very tedious. Also, we have moles and voles that could disturb the area where the seeds are planted. I would think it would be hard to keep track of your crosses.

  • 2 years ago

    So far I have three of five seed pods in ... I put them in little plastic dishes (paint pots with lids off). The first is out of its shell, and the other two were just harvested today. I put little squares of paper in with them that describe what the crosses are (which flower it came off of and what pollenated it.) I might just toss them into the fridge in those containers (maybe all in a baggy).

    I also have a photographic record that I used to keep track on which pod went with which flower. The ones that took are actually all different, interestingly enough.

    I discovered that I also have a hosta seed pod that I forgot about ... Do they want to be chilled, too? Or do those seeds just want to planted as is? I'll probably be planting them at the same time ...

  • 2 years ago

    That is great advice from Hoosier Nan! Thanks Nan, for giving your detailed instructions!


  • 2 years ago

    Interesting thread! I have a question.....I sprouted some seeds, which are growing in small pots. Some are in the greenhouse, some are in a very sunny window. I am wondering when to start fertilizing them, and with what kind of fertilizer. They look like blades of grass right now and have been sprouted since August. Wondering how to make them get thicker and really start growing well. Thanks......


  • 2 years ago

    So my seeds are still sitting on a shelf in tiny plastic containers ... I know they need to be stratified before they can be germinated, so that would probably mean now ...

    How cold do they want? Refrigerator situation is a little complicated right now, so we've got a few different temperature options ...

    I'm assuming a 50°-55° basement isn't adequate ... is freezing bad?

    I'm thinking that I'll only do half, so I get a second shot at it if I mess up, but what's the normal success rate for germination? Or will they not keep and I should do them all this year?

  • 2 years ago

    Judith, we start fertilizing with weak solution of Miracle Grow (quarter teaspoons per gallon--every time we water) as soon as they get their second leaf. It sounds weird but it's nice to have an albino come up. They always die eventually, but when they start to die, you know the seedling has used up the food in the seed. That is the time to start fertilizing. The lankiness might have more to do with lack of light (and maybe too much heat) than lack of nutrients. Even in the greenhouse this time of year, ours get lanky because we have so many overcast days.

    Blueberry, daylilies especially dormant ones can take weeks to germinate. To speed up the process, they need to be rehydrated and experience some cold (to simulate winter). I doubt that your basement temps will do the trick. I have heard of people freezing the seed successfully, but I wouldn't do it. Your best bet is to get some small baggies (I use the tiny types made for craft projects--found at walmart or craft store) and find a spot in the refrigerator (I put them in the vegetable crisper). They don't take up much room this way. If that's not possible, find the coldest spot in the basement (near an outside wall or window). I would leave them there for about 3 weeks. Then when you are ready to plant, put some water in each baggie and put back in the refrigerator or the basement and wait several day. Check them periodically because they may start to sprout. After several days, plant them whether or not they have sprouted.

    Some people think they need heat to germinate so they put them on a heat mat. I find that too much heat encourages mold. I have many that germinate in the refrigerator. Our planted trays go into our basement (where it's cool) under lights.

    It's hard to quote a normal success rate for germination. Last season we had 95% germination (over 2000 seeds), but I am very picky about what I plant. Any seeds that are soft are discarded. I check them several times during the storage process to weed out any that are bad. I am happy if I get 80%.

    It is certainly ok to hold back some of your seeds. If they are refrigerated (without water), they can last for several seasons. Of course, you will have some that die along the way, but you get many that germinate.


  • 2 years ago

    Refrigeration is what your seeds need - two weeks worth. Putting them in a freezer is too much.


  • 2 years ago

    I will stick them in one of the veggie drawers ... with ample labeling.

    How deep do I plant them, by the way? Just a coating of media over them? or do they want like 1/2-1/4 inch holes?

  • 2 years ago

    I would plant them about a 1/4 inch deep. I use a pencil as a dibble to make a hole and press the soil down pretty well. If you don't, they sometimes push themselves out of the medium.

  • 2 years ago

    Thanks! I usually just use my finger, lol.