I have dealt with many seed houses, and have found that NALS Seed House has the widest scope for selection, the cheapest rates, and it helps the Society to bring its members the latest research information through the Yearbooks and the Quarterly Bulletins.

Creating new hybrids can be an interesting hobby. If you have some spare time in the summer, take a clump of lilies and cross 2 or 3 flowers on each stem. Coat the stigmas on one plant with the pollen from another. Do this before the buds have fully opened by opening it completely yourself, then loosely cap the stigma with a little square of aluminum foil, 1" by 1" is ample, to prevent the bees from depositing different pollen on the stigma. Record the cross and tie a short length of soft wool yarn around the pedicle (short stem), loosely, to keep track of the hand pollinated blooms. When the blooms have faded on the stems, those which weren't hand pollinated, remove the immature seed capsule before they start to swell. This will ensure that the hand pollinated blooms will get the maximum chance to ripen good viable seed. Plant some of the seeds to satisfy your own curiosity as to what the results were, and send the bulk to the seed house, giving the cross (Seed parent x pollen parent) in that order. Do this with two to six pairs of cultivars. When the seed has ripened, the top end of the capsule will start to split open along the three ribs, this is the time to pick the capsule, shell it and gently blow away the chaff, leaving the heavier plump seed behind. Write the name of the cross on the envelope, put the seed in it and send it to [NALS Seed Exchange] as soon as you can. He has quite a job to make up a seed bulletin, and every bit of information, like whether the lilies crossed were up-facing, out-facing, or down-facing Asiatics, martagons, aurelians, trumpets or orientals should be written on the face of the seed envelope in order to help classify the seed for the bulletin.

lilium seedsTry buying a few packets from the bulletin when it is sent out, to grow and to compare the breeding efforts of others with your own trial runs. It is quite a fascinating little hobby, I can assure you. And sometime rank amateurs like myself may produce a good one. On my efforts, it is more by good fortune than by knowledge or any good preconceived notions about colour makeup in flowers that accounts for my success.

Why not try it! Once at least! Maybe two or three times!

To see how fertile your seed is candle it like you would candle eggs. Place the seed on a flat piece of window glass, with a light underneath it. A good seed will look like a.) or b.)

A seed has to be complete in order to be grown in the standard way. However, a seed without an endosperm can be grown on nutrient agar if it is discovered early enough in the ripening stages.

by Herb Sunley (CPLS Newsletter # 11:1-2) 1976