How to Harvest Day Lily Seeds

Getting Ready to Harvest Day Lily seeds

Years ago, when we lived on our farm my mom sent me a box of plants.  Several arrived tired because it was pretty hot and very few made it through transplanting.

However, the day lilies did amazing and every year I propagate to expand their beauty.

When we moved, we left some at the farm and transplanted the rest at Quail Grove.   They produced even better here and I’ve really grown to love these flowers.  I think it’s because they don’t require a lot of attention and they make a great statement.

So, there’s two ways to expand daylily plants, one by dividing their clumps and the other by growing from seed.  Today we’re going to chat about seed harvesting but if you prefer dividing daylilies read here.

Harvesting Day Lily seeds

Daylilies from Seed

Daylilies grown from seed will not be identical to the parent plant if you have other varieties growing nearby.  Which I think is pretty exciting because it offers an opportunity to establish a new flower.

Imagine forming new colors and patterns by cross breeding your existing plants, this is how new cultivars are created each year and it’s easy to do.

I only have one variety of daylily in my garden and no nearby gardening neighbors so I’m pretty sure that when I harvest these seeds, they’ll remain true to my existing plant.  I guess we’ll find out when I germinate the seeds I’ve gathered.

Let’s dive into seed harvesting process because it’s super easy!

After the Flower Blooms

After the flowers bloom the stem needs to remain attached to the plant so they can produce their seed pod. They’re pretty small and you can see them forming in the photo above.

These pods will expand and become a nice shade of green before they begin to dry on the stem, this process can take 5-6 weeks.

At this point many folks remove these stems to encourage new flower growth.  You can do that but leave a few if you want to harvest seeds for later.

Harvesting Lily Stems for seedsWhen the Pods Dry

When the pods finally dry, they’ll begin to open.  They almost hold the shape of a tulip and you’ll see black seeds inside.

When they begin to open you can pull and gather those stems to harvest seeds.

You won’t need to cut to remove because if you hold the stem from the middle and give it a tug it will come right out.

Getting Ready to Remove Lily Seeds

Collecting Seeds

Daylily seeds will vary in size, appear round, black and they’re easy to handle.

They may fall right out or you might need to help by opening the pod.  Once the seeds are gathered make sure they’re dry before placing in an envelope to store for later.

Harvesting seeds from the garden is one of my favorite activities and it’s probably because my grandma spent a lot of time showing me how to do it.

I remember her saying, “be smart, independent, learn essentials skills and you’ll never go hungry.” I believe her wisdom surfaced from raising a family during the depression.

They didn’t have much and yet they were able to keep a roof over their head and food on the table even if it was minimal.

Long after those days passed, life improved and those years of experience became part of her.  I found these stories interesting because they had this understanding of common sense that gave her inner strength and hope for the future.

A strength that seems to be missing more and more in the generations that followed and I’m not sure why.

I treasure the knowledge she passed on, because now I can share it will all of you.

Maybe that was part of grandma’s plan?

Simple skills like harvesting seeds is a reminder to be thankful for those awesome people that passed through our lives.

To learn more about this topic get my harvesting seeds article here.  It’s a great resource for those who want to expand their garden knowledge.

Learn how to harvest Day lily seeds and get tips for expanding those skills to additional plants. #Daylily, #SeedHarvest

12 comments

  1. Patti says:

    I love your stories about your grandmother. She sounds like such a wonderful person full of wisdom and love. I have never tried to harvest daylily seeds and I have a few plants so I’ll have to try this soon. Thanks for the idea and sharing your lovely story.

    1. Carole says:

      Every time I harvest seeds I think about her. She was a neat lady and had a great deal of wisdom to share and sometimes it felt like I was the only one listening… Which is pretty amazing because I was known for talking too much… LOL

  2. Christine says:

    I always love Hearing more about your grandmother! She was definitely a very wise and strong minded gal and way ahead of her time! Great tips on harvesting seeds!! Daylilys are one of my favorites!!

    1. Carole says:

      She was pretty special and I can’t even imagine raising a family through a time when life was so uncertain. We’re very fortunate these days as our trials can be pretty minimal compared to previous generations.

  3. mickie mclaughlin says:

    Hello Carole…..haven’t chatted with you for a while. Love this post and you really bring out the special bond you had with your Grandma. Just think about the great depression and how scarce goods were and then to follow that up with WWII and the rationing of everything and how it made everyone “find ways to do with what little they had”.

    I too am a seed collector and certain flowers just seem to reseed themselves for the next season. One question for you–do the day lily seeds need any special treatment (like exposure to cold, pre-soaking, nicking the seed, etc.) I refrigerate some of my seeds that need to be planted in spring when the soil is warm. And do you plant the seeds in the soil, or do they just lay on top of the soil and just take root, etc.

    BTW, The seed pods in your photos would make a great addition to a fall or winter flower arrangement (plain or painted) SMILES

    1. Carole says:

      I was thinking that same thing when I pulled those pods from the plant and because they’re pretty small the heads would be perfect in handmade Christmas ornaments.

      Back to the seeds I store all my seeds in cool place, for me that would be in my grandpas old lunch pale in the shed. With my larger seeds I actually soak in a small dish of water the night before planting. Germination is about 1 -2 weeks, at the farm we did direct planting but here because we have more critters roaming and no dog to run them off I’m actually doing more seed starting in containers and then transplant later.

      I have read where folks extend the drying period after harvesting seeds and then store in the fridge for 2 weeks. Which is confusing to me because when grandma and I harvested seeds it was a very basic process and most were always dried right on the stem. She kept everything so simple and each planting season we were able to use those seeds with great success.

      I’m hoping to share this in the spring but we decided the property we’re living on will be the second to sell so I may be busy setting up new raised beds again. I’ll share more about all that in the fall.

      Good to hear from you and hope that helped.

  4. Love this post! I had no idea that you could do this! And the stories of your sweet grandmother are the BEST!

    Happy day friend!

    KariAnne

    1. Carole says:

      Thanks KariAnne – harvesting garden seeds is fun stuff…

  5. Rebecca says:

    I collect daylily seeds too, only I hybridize different plants together on purpose! They are great and plants.

  6. Your grandmother was very wise. You were a lucky kid.

  7. Kim-Pacific Northwest says:

    I didn’t realize you could start day lilies from seeds. I have always just divided them but this year I will try collecting seeds- just for fun.

    Thanks for sharing your grandma’s information with us. I lost my grandma when I was only 3 or 4 years old but believe it or not I do remember things about her. I remember her spending lots of time in the kitchen with a dish towel over her shoulder and wearing an apron. I also remember her cornbread- the best ever. Grandmas are great!

    1. Carole says:

      Yes I use normally just divide as well but thought it would be fun to start a few by seed too. They grow like weeds here and it might be fun to just plant a few near the creek.
      I agree grandma’s hold a special place in our hearts.

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