Daffodil hybredizing

Palmdale, CA(Zone 8a)

Ive decided to try my hand at breeding daffodils this year. Some of the pods have swelled a lot!I am hoping to get plenty of viable seeds, and hopefully some neat hybreds when they start blooming. Has anyone else tried this before? Every website I visit seems to relay the same info:
water well, fertilize, keep them weed free, etc.

Ottawa, KS(Zone 5b)

The book, "Breeding Ornamental Plants", edited by Dorothy J. Callaway & M. Brett Callaway, has a chapter on Breeding Daffodils by Elise Havens. The subjects covered are Key Groups for Breeding (page 74), Important Breeding Lines (page 77), Important Traits and Breeding Objectives (page 79), Hybridization Mechanics (page 80), Propagation (page 81), Resources (page 82), and References and Additional Reading (page 84).


Too bad it is temporarily out of stock, but you can use Amazon's "Look Inside" feature to read pages 76-80 and 83-84, which should give you a good sample of what is covered.

The book, "Breeding New Plants and Flowers" by Charles W. Welch has a short chapter, Daffodils and Tulips on pages 35-38, and most of that is devoted to daffodils, with several helpful color pictures of daffodil breeding techniques.


Unfortunately, Amazon's "Look Inside" feature is not available for that book. The Daffodils and Tulips section starts by saying, "This group is for the connoisseur: these flowers are very simple to crossbreed, but need a lot patience since it takes five years at least for the first bloom to show its head."

That is one primary reason why I breed zinnias as a hobby. I can get a first bloom in as few as 5 weeks from planting a zinnia seed, as compared to the many years required by many flowers. And I can get four generations or more of zinnias per year by growing zinnias both indoors and outdoors and using advanced techniques, like planting embryos instead of seeds. And I can propagate zinnias vegetatively from cuttings, as well as the more conventional seeds route. The near "instant gratification" nature of breeding zinnias is one of the reasons why I chose them. As well as their great diversity of color and form.


This message was edited Mar 19, 2013 9:52 AM

Palmdale, CA(Zone 8a)

Thanks! This will help a lot, it slipped my mind to check for books on the subject.

Ottawa, KS(Zone 5b)

There is another recent book that just came out that has some good daffodil coverage. I bought a copy and have been reading it for its zinnia coverage and other general home plant breeding information.


That book is reasonably priced and mentions the DaffSeek - Daffodil Photo Database


(not associated with any product or vendor mentioned or linked)

Palmdale, CA(Zone 8a)

The pod has ripened, and I clipped it and took the seeds out to dry. They look dark and wrinkly,is that good?

Ukiah, CA

Thanks for the sources. I've been messing with cross breeding daffodils for a few years and just got my first bloom this week, with another on the way! It is nice to see that it actually works! My first crosses were made in 2011, so 4 years to the first flowers, but the plants have not been cared for that well, so I think I could have had more blooming this year. My project is chronicled in a multi part blog post here: https://turkeysong.wordpress.com/2010/11/11/daffodil-lust/ but in short, my approach is very sloppy. I've gotten slightly more focused now and feel ready to pick up just a little more information, but I like my sloppy approach for the most part. There is a lot of really good genetic stock out there, and I think getting quality material to work with is probably a lot of the battle. A lot of work has already been done and we get to take advantage of that. Unfortunately, a lot of the leading edge stuff is very expensive. I have been following the rule below via Ron Scamp in this guradian article http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2006/aug/26/shopping.gardens2

"1 Choose two plants with features you love. One is the 'seed parent', the other the 'pollen parent'. The seed parent gives you form (broad petals, upright growth, strong stems), the pollen parent colour."

Extensive study, record keeping, labeling and such take the fun out of it for me, so I just cross what I like and mix it all together for growing out. I'm not expecting great results, but I'm having a lot of fun and my goal is not necessarily to introduce a new well known variety, but to enjoy myself and make people happy.

Pictures are of my first bloom. The second should open in a couple of days. I know this one is a Young Love seedling, but I have no idea who the daddy is. The flower itself and the form are pretty ragged, but I could live with a field full of seedlings of this calibre just hanging around. Hopefully it will shape up, and size up, as the bulb matures.

Thumbnail by Turkeysong Thumbnail by Turkeysong
Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

That is a very beautiful flower- your relaxed approach is working great! What fun to see the flowers open years later.
Here's a daffodil I want someone to breed for me- One with a soft buttery yellow flower instead of really bright. I bet I am not the only one looking. I planted 10 Narcissus 'Bahama Beach' from Brent and Becky's bulb this last fall, it was the only one that seemed like it might do.

Palmdale, CA(Zone 8a)

My seeds did not take, the ones i bred up. This year I am trying again. I pollinated several of the open flowers with the hope of better luck. A lot of waiting to do! Doing the same with my amaryllis indoors.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Well, keep us posted with your progress.

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