Mike Huben's 2001 Daylily Hybridizing Results

Written 1/23/02

WAVE UPON WAVE (MH9925.9) image
WAVE UPON WAVE, Seedling MH9925.9 (Early And Often * Delicate Lace).
A creamy, sunfast, 4" pale apricot with an orange throat
and extraordinary waving ruffles; bloomed three sets of scapes.


In 2001, I introduced EARLY AND OFTEN. In less than 4 years from seed. It's well described at: http://world.std.com/~mhuben/EAO.html

Response was excellent for a first introduction of a novice hybridizer, and I sold out except for stock for next year. Darrel Apps introduced his competition, the excellent APRICOT SPARKLES. I sold 20 single fans of mine, and he sold 10,000 pots of his. I'm sure he's trembling in his boots. :-) Next year I ought to be able to make a comparison between one-year established plants of EARLY AND OFTEN, APRICOT SPARKLES, and ROSY RETURNS to see if my theories of selection for rebloom under my harsh conditions are correct.

In my garden, EARLY AND OFTEN rewarded me with yet another year of three sets of scapes per fan, and once again was loaded with seed. This year I'll be selling double fans instead of single: increase has been excellent. Reports from trial gardens have been mixed; I'm hoping for some clear signals from them next year after the plants are established.

The 1999 Seed Crop.

2001 was once again a disappointing year for newly blooming seedlings because of really severe spring sickness. The near-white seedlings I'd marked the previous year hardly bloomed at all, and didn't appear good enough to select yet. One bright sign was that the 1998 seedlings which had likewise shown severe spring sickness after their first winter showed much less this year: perhaps I can expect that from these 1999's.

Nevertheless, I was extremely pleased by MH9925.9 (preregistered as WAVE UPON WAVE), the seedling pictured above. It's one of the first seedlings from EARLY AND OFTEN, crossed with a future introduction preregistered as DELICATE LACE. It produced three sets of scapes, and to my mind the face is a huge improvement over EARLY AND OFTEN. The color is paler and purer, with less yellow in the veins. And the ruffling! Both petals and sepals have great waving movement without becoming UFOs. Substance and opening are excellent. Budcount is low, as in many rebloomers. Barring discovery of some major fault, this is a future introduction and likely to be an important parent in 2002. I only made two crosses with it this year, as I generally wait for convincing rebloom before beginning to use a seedling. Next year it will go onto a large variety of green-throated seedlings from rebloom lines and perhaps some whites.

There were a number of other rebloomers in the thousand 1999 seedlings, but none combined as many good qualities. Many hold promise for breeding: we'll see how they do in 2002. All told, I selected about 40 for further observation.

The 2000 Seed Crop.

Next year will be the most exciting yet, judging from the 10 month bloom of some of these seedlings. Many are EARLY AND OFTEN seedlings. Crossed with BABY PUFF and RUBY SULLIVAN, I got some really beautiful faces. Crossed with MILLIE SCHLUMPF, I got a whole row of blooming seedlings, one of which sent up 4 scapes. They have a peculiar opacity to their petals, and a number of them are double, but I suspect they will figure heavily in my breeding next year. But the really satisfying bit is that I've left the yellow behind at last. I'm mostly getting seedlings that are not yellow. It took years!

Some of the tall-and-small crosses also bloomed, and I can tell I've got some strange and interesting looking seedlings there. Many of them are yellow, but that's what I expected in the first generation.

The 2001 Seed Crop.

This year's thousand seedlings are once again growing under lights. I decided that while I loved using the greenhouse, the risk of rust in the next year or two is just too high there. This year's crosses again relied heavily on EARLY AND OFTEN, but also on APRICOT SPARKLES and a future introduction of Stephen Kendall in Utah, his IRF2 which I call SK3. That last had seven blooming size fans this year in my garden, and 15 scapes. Good branching and budcount too! It's a light yellow with an eye, and a perfect opener.

The main themes in rebloom breeding this year were strongest rebloomers crossed together, strongest rebloomers crossed to promising F1's, strongest rebloomers backcrossed, and strongest rebloomers outcrossed to best whites, pinks, and purples. The minor theme was tall and small; and my fun crosses this year were white crosses.

In addition, I set a large amount of seed to sell for my club. Even selling at prices well below those advertised in the Journal, I netted $380 for my club. The trick to doing it is to have slides of the parents, and explain the purposes of the crosses. Oh, and guarantee that every seed is a Stout Medal Winner. :-) This year I was heavy on diploid lavender, white, and UFO crosses with very modern parents. Next year I'll make lots of diploid red crosses for sale.


This year I escaped rust by the skin of my teeth: apparently my orders were shipped before it became epidemic in central Florida. For a few days, I thought I had it and was really distressed because it would have meant a delay in my first introduction. Fortunately, it was some other leaf fungus.

Long before Matt Kaskell got rust, I'd decided that when I get it, I'll add rust tolerance as a goal of my program. That means I won't control rust in my garden for quite a while. But for now, I'm hoping to put off that eventuality for another generation or two. By then, I hope to be comfortable about attaining my rebloom goals in a white, and should be able to learn from what others have found about rust tolerance.

National Convention. The National Convention was in town this summer, and I had a great time seeing and meeting friends from all over. I donated wads of plants to the boutique, and made sure to point out a fair number of locally bred plants to the guests. My garden was not on tour, nor was it open except by appointment. Some day, when my breeding goals are closer to attainment.... Perhaps the next Boston convention, 20 years hence. The seedlings I'd placed in two tour gardens did not cooperate, and were not in bloom during the two days of tours. In my experience, that's a common problem, unless you send a clump of something that blooms midseason. Perhaps I'll have better luck in 2002 in Michigan: Martin Kamensky will have 2 year old clumps of my seedlings there.

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