Daylily Hybridizing: My First Attempt

I am a self-professed plant propagation nut and therefore I find plant propagation in all it’s forms very interesting. It was inevitable that I’d try my hand at hybridizing and what better place to start than daylilies? Daylilies have easy to find and manipulate reproductive parts (stamens and pistols). The stamen is the male part that contains the pollen and the pistol is where the seeds are formed.

The first step to pollination is to select the flowers to hybridize. In this case I picked an orange daylily and a red one. I chose the red daylily to be the parent plant that will form the seeds, which means I needed to take a stamen from the orange daylily. The stamens are very easy to find, there are about six of them around a single pistol. I picked one stamen and brought it to the red daylily then coated its pistol with pollen from the orange daylily’s stamen. If pollination was successful I’ll have a seed pod forming that will be ready in a few weeks. If the pod cracks open on its own or with a little pressure on its side then it is ready.

When the pods are cracked open the look like this.

These seeds are really a cross between and orange daylily and a yellow ‘Stella D’Oro’ that I crossed a few weeks ago. There may be a few open pollinated seeds mixed in with the hybridized ones. I’m not trying to make the next best daylily for the nursery market, I’m just experimenting! In the future I’ll keep better records just in case I come up with a good one but I need to collect a better variety of daylilies to hybridize. After opening these seeds I put them in flats outside to grow as they can. Hopefully in a few weeks I’ll start to see some germination although it may be too hot for anything to happen. In some cases people recommend keeping the seeds refrigerated until fall then planting them. That gives the seeds a couple months of growing time before winter weather sets. The daylily seeds that I planted may remain dormant until the weather is better for them. We’ll see!

11 Replies to “Daylily Hybridizing: My First Attempt”

  1. I didn’t know you had begun hybridizing daylilies! That is so exciting. Can’t wait to see your results.


  2. Dave, I’m impressed by anyone who propagates or hybridizes plants. It is my Achilles heel.~~Dee

  3. Can’t wait to see the results!

  4. It sounds like a fascinating process and I look forward to seeing your results!

  5. This sounds like such an exciting venture for you! How interesting…

  6. I’m so excited for you Dave! Just you wait, the fun is just beginning:). Cheers!

  7. This is such invaluable information. If I ever attempt this I will look to you.
    Very Best Regards,

  8. Cool seeds and good luck!

  9. Hi Dave, you have done a good job explaining the process, and you are right in that the daylilies are about the easiest to do. I have noticed seedpods on several on mine, but didn't do any work myself. The bees are the hybridizers here, but there are so many varieties close together, we hope for a good one too someday. It takes several years for the seedling plants to flower, and I need to mark better what seeds were planted where, besides just falling in the gravel. Really I should plant the seeds in the gravel, they do so well there. ;->

  10. Gail,

    I had to try it sometime! I’ll show off the results when there is something to show. Hopefully it won’t just be an empty flat of dirt!


    The hardest part for me with either propagation of (now) hybridizing is being patient. I just can’t wait for the plants to grow so I can see how they do.

    Karen, Nancy and Skeeter,

    I’m eagerly awaiting the first sprouts!


    You have much more experience at this than I do, do you have any tips for keeping track of your crosses?


    Thanks! You’re welcome to follow the results. I’m just beginning the hybridization experiment. Go check out Chey’s blog Daylily Dreaming to see what she’s been able to do!


    They are kind of neat looking, so dark and glossy. Almost like morning glory seeds!


    Thanks for the compliment! The bees have been the primary pollinators here. There were several naturally made seed pods on our daylilies that I mixed in with the hybridized ones. I need to come up with a system of marking the plant where the cross is. Maybe a twist tie would do the trick. I’ll definitely be experimenting again with hybridizing so I’ll have a chance to refine my process a bit!

  11. For every I don’t know how many, probably a lot, inferior plants, you’ll get one that’s better than the originals, and that’s the goal. I did this with Stella and about 8 others I had. I got great germination, but it took 2 years for bloom. One came out looking like a half size Stella with full size flowers. Cute. Most looked a lot like Stella. I didn’t have room too keep it up, but it was fun. I hope you have great fun and produce some plants that make you say Wow.

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