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Hybridizing Waterlilies 101

Hybridizing Waterlilies 101


Mother Nature allows plants to pollinate through wind and through insects. Plants can cross pollinate in nature. When we want to create specific traits in plants by cross-pollinating, we must consider the desired characteristics and the plants available with those specific traits.

Controlled, hand cross-pollination depends on male and female parents. Using genetically diverse pairs, assures you of the most diverse hybrids being created. The goal is to acquire new, attractive characteristics in the new hybrid waterlilies you are creating. New intersubgeneric waterlilies are being created by crossing hardy waterlilies with tropical waterlilies. New and exciting colors are emerging on the forefront of the waterlily world!

When pollinating plants, we need a Mother and a Father. A first day flower is suitable to become the mother. A second or third day flower will be the father. All of the stamens must be removed from the mother flower. Pluck out the stamens as close to the stigma as possible, being careful not to damage the stigma. Check for pollen in the father plant by checking the anthers for pollen. Collect the pollen from the anthers of the father plant and distribute the pollen into the stigma of the mother plant.

Gently bag the mother flower with thin fabric like cheesecloth. This is to prevent accidental crossing.  If your pollinating has been successful, seeds will be created in the mother plant, creating pods. Once the pods swell, they will sink to the bottom. Gently remove the cheesecloth and replace with an aerated plastic bag, this bag will collect the seeds when the pod ruptures and  keep the seeds from being distributed in the water. After the pod ruptures, collect the seeds from inside the bag in a small jar with water, removing all other debris.The seeds will float, then eventually sink to the bottom.  Keep the largest seeds that sink to the bottom of the jar by using a strainer. You may store your seeds in a dry airtight container or plant them.  


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