Most gardeners increase their daylilies by digging and lifting entire clumps, usually after there are 15-20 fans, and separating them into pairs. But grower Larry Grundler says you could instead create an entirely new variety and have its name registered with the American Hemerocallis Society,
At his Summer Hill Garden in Reserve, Mr. Grundler grows and sells more than 1,200 different varieties of daylilies. In 15 years, he has grown more than 300 new ones by cross-pollinating by hand. He has 150 seedlings yet to bloom and be named. This is the process he uses:
-- Pinch off the pollen-bearing stamen from one daylily and touch it to the pistil of a second.
-- When the seed pod forms, allow it to ripen, but not split open. It will take 6–7 weeks, usually in mid- to late August.
-- Plant the seeds and wait. Mr. Grundler uses 1-gallon pots.
The independent grower says he has best results when he cross-pollinates in the late morning. He identifies the two "parent" plants on a tag attached to the pollinated flower's stem. The plant that receives the pollen is the "mom" and its name is listed first.
Some gardeners prefer to refrigerate the seed and wait until the following spring to plant. Mr. Grundler gets a head start by planting the seed in pots in the summer, then bringing them inside for the winter to put under grow lights. In the spring, he hardens off the plants outdoors and then plants the tagged plants in a bed. In two to three years, the plants will bloom, he says.