Growing Day Lilies From Seed
The pink daylily is a sweet confection brought to our gardens by skilled hybridizers.
One of the great adventures in gardening is reproducing new plants from seed. It takes a willingness to get in tune with the natural life cycle of your plant, careful observation of the seasonal changes in your area and the patience of Mother Nature herself. If you have an unusual plant or an antique it is time well spent to try for some seedlings. All day lilies are hybrids; their genetics a product of generations of tinkering and the new plants may be identical or completely different than the parent.
Unfortunately some modern day lilies are genetically modified to be sterile so that the plant can be patented and not sold or recreated by anyone but the patent holder. At Bulb and Bloom, we are strongly opposed to GMOs and believe seed saving is an environmentaly helpful act. Although flowers are grown for pleasure they provide food and habitat to the creatures that make our food crops possible and we all benefit.
Gathering The Seeds
You will notice after the bloom cycle the flowers will have produced a seed pod. Left on the plant in early fall this will swell and pop open revealing the many seeds. A week or two later of breezy fall weather they will be dry, black and easy to separate from the pod. Spread the seeds out to dry completely in an airy dry location indoors or out.
Planting or Reserving
If you live in a mild climate you can re-hydrate and directly sow in a new location anytime up to 4 weeks before last frost. To over winter, store seeds loosely until ready for the next step. Up to 10 weeks before the last frost in your zone and at the minimum of 3 weeks put each seed in a plastic sandwich bag with 2 teaspoons of water and a small piece of paper to absorb excess moisture. Squeeze out air, seal, label and refrigerate inside a larger container.
Check daily for sprouts and pot up the sprouting seeds. All seeds should be potted, sprouted or not in 3-4 weeks. Seeds may be sown in flats or pots, ½ inch deep. Water the Day Lily seedlings and place in a bright window or under growing lights. After the last frost, transplant to new garden location. If the weather chills down again, mulch new plants to keep them warm, if you get a hot spell be sure to water well. The new plants may not bloom the first year but as long as there is leaf growth there should be bloom in the second year. Just nurture along with the rest of the garden. For more helpful hints on this fun garden enterprise see Diane’s Daylilies at dianeseeds.com.