How to store seeds

jjc5005(6a)August 3, 2008

I'm very new to this and did do a search, but didn't find an answer to this. I'm trying to find out how long I can store my daylily seeds before planting them? I know they need to be dried, then refrigerated, but if I don't want to plant all of them this February inside, how can I store the rest until spring when I can start them outside? Should they be stored in the refrigerator or freezer? Should they be in envelopes and dry? The reason I ask is that I ended up with far too many to start indoors. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! John

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After pulling seeds out of pod, let them air dry for 3 days to prevent mold (too long and they will dry out too much).

Label ziplock bags for each cross, and put seeds in the ziplock bags.

Put seeds in fridge - Not freezer- you dont want them to freeze - for a minum of 4 weeks - they need the cold cycle to simulate winter in order to germinate. I put my seed ziplock bags in a crisper in my fridge.

Leave in fridge until you are ready to germinate them. I leave mine in the fridge from September until January.

I don't want to mess with seeds over the Christmas holiday season - we travel too much.

As long as they are sealed in ziplocks they will last for months (perhaps years).

When you are ready, pull them out and germinate them.

Hope this helps,


    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 2:22PM
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I have heard they will be viable for several years as long as stored in the fridge.I planted a few after 2 yrs and they germinated and are growing now.

George gave you great info.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 3:06AM
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Thanks very much southdakotadaylily and okbt. I'll give it a try! Best wishes. John

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 11:02AM
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bambi_too(5 Ohio)

You will probably get many opinions and methods on how to do this, but this is the way I do it. I have tried a number of things over the past 10 years and this works best for me.

When the pods start to ripen, meaning they are begnning to dry and crack open I put on my apron and head out to the garden. The apron has 2 pockets, one is full of small paper coin envelopes, the other is empty.

I will pick pods that are either beginning to open or look like they might split with a gentle squeeze. I write the name of the plant on the envelope with a pencil, and dump the contents of the pod into the envelope. I'll check all the pods to see if any of others are of the same cross and if they are ready they go into the same envelope. I also add the paper string tag(s) with the pollen parents name on it. then the envelope goes into the empty apron pocket and I continue to the next plant or cross.

I usually don't do anything with the seed then until about the middle of October, by then all the pods have usually been collected, and Football season has begun. All this time the seed has been sitting in the paper coin envelopes on the table in the encosed back porch. Now I know it seems like a long time for seeds to dry but they store better if they are cold and dry. I once tried the 3 day thing and wound up with a bunch of mouldy and sprouting seed in the refrigerator. I managed to clean and save most of the mouldy seed, but the ones that sprouted were a loss since I don't do seedlings in the house over the winter. It was a bunch of extra work and I used a couple of hundred extra ziploc bags in the process. I do not believe I have dried a daylily seed to the point where it will not germinate, and I am not sure it is possible. If the seed is good it will sprout.

On Sunday afternoons during Football season, I will begin going through the seed sorting the dips from the tets. At this time I decide what I am going to plant, and what I am going to sell. I package it in small ziploc bags with the cross and the number of seeds on the bag. From this point on the seed is refrigerated. I have 2 crisper drawers in the refrigerator downstairs, one holds the seed I will plant, and the other the seed that I will sell. This is an excellent excuse to sit and watch football all day without a lot of criticism, since I am working while I watch. I don't miss much of the game either since they replay almost everything at least once.

I do not soak my seed before I plant it, and the majority germinates in 7 to 14 days, but I have had some go over 6 weeks, who cares as long as it sprouts.

I do not buy into "the seed needs to be chilled to germinate" theory for 2 reasons, the first being that every year while I am collecting seed pods I find sprouted seed in the pods, and many Southern growers plant their seed as soon as it is harvested, and often bloom plants from seed in 9 or 10 months. Fresh seed usually germinates better and faster than seed that has been stored, and again the key to storing any seed (well almost) is cold and dry, since warm and wet will usually cause it to germinate.

I have germinated daylily seed that was 5 years old with a 90% germination rate.

Daylily seed can be frozen, if it is dried well, and will keep for many years frozen.

I was really annoyed once when I spent 3 or $4.00 per seed and it arrived sprouted, ok I know it was good, but I want to have control over when I plant. I wasted about $50.00 that time. I have also received mouldy seed that despite a good cleaning was no good. Both of the problems wouldn't have occured if the seed had been dried properly.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 2:39PM
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bambi too,
Thanks so much for the very helpful reply re the storing of seeds! Do you live in the warmer part of the country? I'd like to avoid rearing seedlings in the house over the winter, but might try a few and store the rest for spring sowing now that I know that's possible. I might steal an apron from the kitchen too. That sounds like a little thing, but might keep things from getting mixed up. Best wishes, John

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 9:42PM
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bambi_too(5 Ohio)

I am in northern Ohio. I began planting directly in the ground in April and May. The year I tried it indoors we had swarms of fungus gnats, and a lot of plants damping off. Fans and sticky white fly traps worked but it was too much trouble in more ways than one.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 8:20AM
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John (bambi too),
Well, sounds like patience might be a good idea (since I'm in PA maybe I'll start mine outside mid or late April to avoid some of these complexities. Thanks again. John

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 4:46PM
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daylilydayzed(9/10 C. FLA.)

I will be getting my seeds in the daylily beds after they have been dried for a short while. I have room to plant and let them grow during the winter we have.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 6:30PM
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mizellie(z7 Al)

OK, here's the way I do it. I first save all my prescription bottles for harvesting. I take a bag of them to the garden with me. I pick the pods and put them with my labels inside and close the top so as not to lose them. Then I find a cool place and shell out the ones that are ready. I leave them in the bottle with the tag for a couple of days, ( uncovered). I then place them in an envelope and right the cross on the envelope. This I place in a zip loc bag. I use a half gal zip loc because I place all the labeled, ( sealed ) envelopes in the same bag. Place them in the frig and keep them until YOU are ready to plant them. As long as they are refrigerated, they will last for years. I have kept them a couple of years in the crisper....Ellie

    Bookmark   August 6, 2008 at 12:13AM
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This sounds like a great idea (especially the prescription bottles). I'm grateful for all these tips! John

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 11:22AM
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