Never allow sprouting seeds to dry out. That is a sure-fire way to bring germination percentages down to zero! This is one of the problems of using small compartment seed sprouting trays. (A few years ago Lee Pickles informed us that presoaking daylily seed in a dilute solution of hydrogen peroxide was not necessary for germination and he and we have abandoned the process.)

We give freshly collected daylily seed a slight squeeze and discard any that appear soft or mushy. Viable seed will be tough.

Seeds loose moisture in storage. We keep our seeds in the veggie drawer of our refrigerator. Check the temperature and adjust it as necessary to hold 39 to 40 degrees. A higher temperature may encourage molds and premature sprouting. The poorly developed seeds may mold but the good ones tend to resist molding. At first we used coin envelopes and found them to absorb moisture from the seeds. We also observed that good seeds stayed good and poor seeds molded in the same envelopes. Tiny lock top bags reduce the amount of moisture loss.

John McBride of Bellingham, WA, a commercial seed specialist, recommends drying daylily seed for 7 days at room temperature before storing in a lock top bag in the "crisper" in your refrigerator. This drying not only helps prevent seed rot from molds but also preserves original germ and vigor. It may also reduce the unexpected cold germination. However, lately we have put freshly collected seed directly into the little baggies and right into the refrigerator veggie drawer. We've observed sprouting under refrigerator conditions. If seeds are found to have sprouted in the refrigerator, they must be handled and planted very carefully so as not to break the tiny rootlets. They should grow just fine as long as they haven't become mushy.

[Edited and reprinted from AHS Region 4 Newsletter.]

Updated: February 17, 2023