Daylily plants offer a dramatic presentation of large, colorful, trumpet-shaped flowers on long, slender stems. Flowers come in yellows, oranges, pinks, reds and purples and are often multi-colored with striped, spotted or flared patterns.
It is very easy to pollinate daylily flowers by hand, and then harvest the seeds. In fact, cross-pollination is the only way to create new varieties of daylily. It's important to remember that daylilies come in two forms, diploid and tetraploid, which will not cross-pollinate. If you're not sure, go ahead and pollinate the flowers anyway and see what happens. You might be surprised with the results.
Consider what traits you wish to cross-pollinate for and identify and locate potential cultivars that possess those characteristics.
Collect pollen from a flower of one of the selected cultivars by removing the anthers at the end of the stamens, the yellow-tipped projections within the flower, using tweezers.
Place the anthers in a small container. Collect in the morning, when the pollen is dried and fluffy. Allow the pollen to dry for 24 hours, then store the anthers in the freezer.
Thaw the anthers when the other cultivar has bloomed. If both cultivars are blooming at the same time, use a fresh anther from one of the flowers.
Use tweezers to apply the anther to the stigma, the longest of the projections in the flower. Brush the pollen onto the stigma. The tip of the stigma will be tacky and the pollen will readily stick to it.
Observe your daylily plant. Over the next few days, the flowers will wither and seed pods will begin to grow. The pods will yellow as they ripen.
Record information about any crosses you make.
Harvest the seed pods when they turn tan or brown and begin to split open, usually in the next 6 to 8 weeks. The pods will be brittle and have a paper outer shell with the multiple seeds inside.