Best Way To Store Daylily Seeds over the winter?

mike_z6March 26, 2011

Hi Folks,

Finally finished planting all the daylily seeds from last season. Last year I dried the seeds for 48 hours after collecting then placed them in small plastic zip lock bags. These bags were then put in an air tight jar and stored in the fridge since last fall. I had very little fungus growth and all the seeds were firm and plump.

After planting about two weeks ago, I have about 50% germination with some crosses not germinating at all yet.

I am wondering if I should have placed the seeds in an airtight container or just have put them in a sealed plastic container as I did in past years. In past years I was able to get 80 to 90% germination but had more fungus growth on the seeds over winter storage,

Have you found a better way of storing seeds for the winter months so they stay viable and stay free of mold.

One year I coated the seeds with a light dusting of captan. That seemed to work well. I may go back to doing that this year.

All suggestions are welcome.


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Hi Mike,

A plastic bag is good but even if not sealed, it will create a lot of unnecessary moisture which creates disease problems and the seeds become too wet then will rot. If you continue to use plastic, place some vermiculite in the bag which will absorb a lot of the moisture. Dusting with captan is a good idea and you might also try cleary's 3336. (very good for moisture related diseases and more). Instead of using plastic, try a small paper bag. I've found this works best. Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 12:22PM
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I have stored my seeds in plastic bags with a minimum of problems for quite a few years. I do store them in the crisper section of the refrigerator only. I shell and inspect the seeds, dry them 24 hours and then inspect again. I am very rigorous in culling any that appear soft and shriveled. You might inspect your seeds every couple of months if rot is a problem, but I think over drying them will be as much of a problem with germination.

I also think stratification would be of use to you. 6 to 8 weeks prior to planting, add a drop or two of distilled water to each bag of seeds in the refrigerator. This is cold, moist stratification and has shown to improve the uniformity of germination of seeds from dormant plants. A soak in a weak hydrogen peroxide bath prior to planting or sprouting has also shown to be an aid.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 9:38PM
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Thank you both for the ideas. In prior years, I have tried paper pouches but there was still the problem with the paper getting moist during winter storage. Most years I have put all my crosses in individual small plastic ziplock bags. This is a good way to keep them in order and they stay mold free for most of the winter.
You are right, you have to be very agressive in culling any soft or moldy seeds quickly before the mold has a chance to spread. My best year for germination was when I put the sees in plastic bags and added captan with a cuetip so only a small amount was in the bag. This did work to keep the mold down and my germiation was over 80%.
Last year for the first time I placed all my seeds in plastic bags and put them in air tight jars. I had 5 large jars filled with crosses. I had very little or no mold while the seeds were in the jars. After planting most of them I left a few bags of good seeds off to the side at room temperature. I was amazed to see that within a week the bags left out had mold developing in them.
The germination of the planted ones has been approximately 60%. I can't tell whether that is from keeping them air tight all winter or some other cause. But it did solve the problem with the mold. I think this year I will go back to putting a little captan in each bag. I believe the captan kills the mold on the seeds in the first couple of weeks in the bag and prevents problems later on.
I thought there might be some strict protocol to insure viability and cleaness but I guess there are some things you just have to deal with.
Thanks again,

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 1:42PM
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Julia NY(6)

Mike: I'm in NY also and I air dry my seeds for at least 24 hours before placing them in the small plastic jewelry bags (bought at Joann's)labeled . I then place the bags into an airtight plastic container and store in the refrig crisper drawer. Most of my seeds are refrig for at least 4 months before I start my indoor seeds.

Even if my seeds after months of refrigeration are a bit shriveled, they plump back up when I presoak (peroxide solution) them before planting in Promix BX. I have a 95% germination rate when I do my own (my own crosses or bee pods) and typically will have most germinate (radicle showing) within 7 days.

I also read somewhere that adding cinnamon when bagging them will prevent molding. Not sure if it works as I never tried it.
I've also heard of the paper coin envelopes being good for storage. Haven't tried that either but I would think that you'd have to be certain the seeds are dry before storing them in a paper product otherwise I would imagine they would mold. Just a guess.


    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 7:00PM
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bambi_too(5 Ohio)

Just don't give up on the seeds that have not germinated yet. I have had seeds take as long as 60 days to germinate. I dry my seeds well and that is probably why. I have also germinated seeds that spent nearly a year on my desk. I had sold them but never received payment. I got nearly 100% germination in 10 to 14 days.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 10:36AM
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