In May of 2007 I was looking at the GardenWeb site, trying to learn a little bit about the plant Clematis. I stumbled upon the Daylily forum, though I am not sure why, because up until then I thought daylilies were just those yellow flowers that bloomed in front of every bank in America. My mom had a couple of them in other colors, but I was too stubborn to admire them.
Anyway, as I said, I stumbled upon the Daylily forum, and after viewing a couple of hundred photos and learning I could hybridize my own daylilies, I was hooked. Daylily cultivars (varieties) are all clones of the original plant. Usually these clones are produced by simply dividing the plant, but there are times when tissue culture is used though this is not something the daylily enthusiast desires. So if you own Stella De Oro, it is an exact clone of every other Stella in the world, a piece of the original Stella hybridized back in 1975.
Now, what I didn’t know before I stumbled on the Daylily forum is that there are about 50,000 different daylilies that are named and registered with the American Hemerocallis (Daylily) Society. What I also didn’t know is that if a daylily produces seeds, even if it was fertilized with its own pollen, it will create a unique plant with each and every seed.
I always knew that plant breeders were hybridizing, but I never realized how easy it could be. Daylilies have very accessible reproductive parts, the pistil and stamen. It is very easy to remove the pollen and apply it to the tip of the pistil, which is really as complicated as it gets. Now of course it takes more research and organization than that, but that is the fundamental science to it.
So starting in May of 2007 I became a student of the daylily. That summer I began buying different daylilies, reading the forum daily, making my own crosses and collecting the seeds, and finally allowing myself to make a couple of seed purchases on the Lily Auction.
Four years and hundreds of daylily seedlings later I am starting to get some daylilies that I am proud of. Below are some of the results that have bloomed in the last week and a half:
I am by no means an expert, but this is very fun stuff. If you are ever in the area, please feel free to stop by and take a look!