Cross pollination question

Jacquelyn8b(8b)October 14, 2005

Hi all!

I posted this on the Texas forum but thought the answer may be here.

We are rebuilding beds since I have apparently gone bulb crazy. Must have more space :)

My question is - how far apart do bulbs need to be to avoid cross pollination or is it even an issue or is it even possible to avoid without putting them in the greenhouse?

Crinums and amaryllis are my main concerns.

Thanks in advance,


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shrubs_n_bulbs(z8/9 UK)

You won't avoid cross-pollination by distance unless you own most of Texas!

If you're breeding and you need to keep track of the parents then you'll have to enclose the flowers before they open and pollinate by hand. Even in a greenhouse, wasps and moths get in and will pollinate for you whether you like it or not.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2005 at 2:01PM
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geoforce(z7a SE PA)

Cross-pollination is rarely a problem unless you plan to grow up some bulbs from seed. This is uncommon since all common bulbs increase from bulb division, and blooming bulbs from seed can take years. Even if you do try seed propagation, cross pollination makes it more interesting rather than less. I have grown a few Daffodils from seed, but it isn't something that they naturally do by themselves most of the time. I have never found a naturally selfsown plant of tulips, daffodils, or lilies in my garden. Some of the minor bulbs selfsow freely but they are an exception to the common condition.


    Bookmark   October 14, 2005 at 3:12PM
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tyshee(Z 3 & 4)

When you cross pollinate lilies (deliberately) you do so before they have a chance to be pollinated by anything else. You then take certain precautions to prevent further pollination. Lastly because of hybridization you will get many many types of lily seedlings. They also pollinize naturally if you do not break off the spent flowers which you really should do to encourage larger bulbs and flowers next year. Flowers will take two to three years on your own seedlings. It is rare for one to come up in your garden at any rate. They multiply by cloning anyway from the bulb. Many lillium are sterile with all the new breeding so you certainly won't get seedlings from any source out of these except for the clones. You can write to the National Lily Society and get a nice book on lilies and it explains the process in detail. It starts with obtaining pollen and goes through storing and planting and all phases of lilies including shipping. Very interesting booklet.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2005 at 7:50PM
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brigarif Khan

Why do you want to prevent crosspolination?


    Bookmark   October 16, 2005 at 2:35AM
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Thank you for the responses!
I am currently growing amaryllis and crinums from seed and bulb. It would be interesting to try hybridizing, especially if I could be reasonably sure of the seedling's parentage. The winged wonders may not allow for that!

Only ten acres has been alloted for my gardening, so I was hoping that would be room for the different bulbs to be far enough apart that the bees would get 'fully loaded' at one or two beds and not travel so far. Perhaps beating them to the pollinating punch is going to be my best bet!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2005 at 9:58AM
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geoforce(z7a SE PA)

If you want to guarantee the parents, select an unopened flower, and remove all the anthers by hand then cover it with a light muslin bag. After it opens and becomes receptive, you can pollinate it with pollen of your choice. Cover it again till it dropps the flower and seed is set.


    Bookmark   October 17, 2005 at 9:32AM
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Wonderful! Thanks for the information.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2005 at 9:25AM
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