Mike Huben's 1998 Daylily Hybridizing Results

Written 01/19/99

MH9650E image
MH9650E (Huben not registered) 36 E Re 4, Yellow Self, Dor Dip Noc Ext

1998 is the year I finally feel as if I've accomplished something in breeding.

Oh, maybe I'll look back and laugh at these early steps a few years from now. But I feel as if I've confirmed my breeding plan with some excitingly good (read: very lucky!) results. I achieved F1 extra early and early rebloomers which, though they are still yellow, are getting much closer to cream (and my goal of white) than their parents. I have bloomed F2 cream and pink rebloomers in their first year, whose bloom period will not be known until 1999. And I set three times as much seed as I could use, which gave me a chance to carefully review which crosses would best serve my goals.

My best achievement came from my cross of THREE SEASONS * MONICA MARIE. Of roughly 12 2-year-old seedlings in the cross, 3 had at least 3 scapes on their single fans. But MH9650E (pictured above) was by far the best. It had 4 scapes from its single fan. Remember, this is not the south: I'm in zone 6, and even STELLA DE ORO barely reblooms for me. The first scape had 4 long lateral branches and a terminal fork, with 34 buds, sometimes opening 4 well-spaced blooms at once. That's quite remarkable, considering that up here the parents have about 7 to 12 buds each, and are branched like golf clubs. Rebloom scapes were more like the parents. It opened a mere week after STELLA DE ORO, which is good in my book, and looks ***much*** better (and better than its sibs.) Most of the sibs were conspicuously susceptable to spider mite damage: it was resistant. Only one sib was a different color, much paler. Needless to say, I've repeated the cross this year, and used the pollen of MH9650E in ***many*** of this year's crosses. I've got my fingers crossed for next year's performance.

Another noteworthy success was MH9651B (TOBOGGAN * UNKNOWN EE YELLOW). It is a 36 EE 4 pale yellow self that started blooming a week before STELLA DE ORO, with 3 long branches and wider petals, paler color, and better ruffling than its EE parent. (That parent is MUCH earlier: FFO more than 24 days before STELLA DE ORO this year.) The most intriguing thing is that the foliage and scapes had a distinct purple cast until summer, and the pods were deep purple. Neither parent shows purple. This rebloomed nicely in September. A somewhat later sib had paler bloom and also rebloomed. Neither parent shows any rebloom here. Used this in 4 crosses also. It's a good breeders flower.

The remainder of my 96 crosses were mostly junk. None of the 100 tetraploids were early, late, tall, sunfast, particularly pretty, or distinctive in any way I noticed. A few of the other 200 diploid seedlings were extra early or extremely vigorous, but otherwise uninteresting. Bob Sobek wanted one peculiar seedling of SILOAM PLUM TREE * H. dumortierii, which I thought irredeemably ugly. However, it was a true EE, and rebloomed twice. I crossed the best seedling each of HAPPY RETURNS * MONICA MARIE and PENNYS WORTH * MONICAL MARIE with my MH9650E, though neither showed rebloom. The former had a very pale color, and the latter had extreme vigor and bloomed early.

My 97 crosses showed that I could easily get 20% first year bloom starting them under lights indoors. The problem is that I don't have much use for first year bloom: I can't select for earliness of bloom until the second year. However, I did get 3 sets of scapes per fan on a few of the first year seedlings, so I know I could select for that and color immediately. A few of the F2's were cream or stippled pink. Some of the F1's showed a combination of form, color, and rebloom that I will likely use extensively next year, especially if they are early enough. Some were VERY vigorous. One seedling had 6 good branches and a terminal fork on its first scape.

I'll post photos of the best 97 seedlings next season. The problem with photos is that I'm breeding for BEHAVIOR. Earliness and rebloom. That's hard to capture with a picture of a face. Even branching does not photograph well. Perhaps if the faces are compared to STELLA DE ORO, they will be meaningful.

I grew about 100 plants from seed that Bill Potter provided to me. One was a very nice small pink that rebloomed its first year. Another was a miniature sandy-colored plant that bloomed continuously for at least 3 months. Needless to say, I've requested more seed from Bill. Both of those could be important for my program.

I'm anxiously awaiting the 1999 season, so that I can evaluate the rest of the 1997 seedlings from Bill and my crosses.

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