Crossing tets with the H. fulva species

Its long been a convention in the daylily world that you can’t cross tetraploids with diploids. And so, when I started to explore the possibility of crossing tender tets on to diploid and triploid H. fulva varieties, people looked at me as though I had lost my mind.

I knew, however, that Dr. Arlow Stout at the New York Botanical Gardens (from 1911-1947) regularly crossed the triploid H. fulva ‘Europa’, the standard ditchlily, to diploid species like H. flava. So why not try it, I thought, knowing I’d have to have Stout’s patience. The purpose of going back to that species was simply to reintroduce the incredible vigor and hardiness of the fulva varieties into the tetraploid gene pool.

We have about 15 varieties of the H. fulva species of daylilies. The most successful for breeding purposes have been ‘Hankow’, ‘Cypriani’ and ‘Korean form’ but we are experimenting with a number of others. 'Hankow' gives plant and bloom size to its seedlings while ‘Cypriani’ tends to throw spidery seedlings.

I have described our experience in an article ‘Inspired by Stout: Using H. fulva  in tetraploid hybridizing,’ Daylily Journal, vol. 64, No. 4 (Winter, 2009), pp. 8-12. Our first introduction from these crosses is ‘Gryphon Chinese Fire’ (Stelter 2009). The second is ‘Gryphon Baltic Heritage’ (Stelter 2010). Both are described in the section on our introductions.

(H. fulva 'Hankow' x 'Ruby Spider') 'Royal Celebration' X ('Wild Wookie' x 'Webster's Pink Wonder')


['Godzilla' x (H. fulva 'Hankow' x 'Ruby Spider')] X 'Igor'.


(Tall fulva from Yunnan, China x 'Tet Uncle Bryan').


You can get a more rounded form if you cross with the bagel type of daylilies. An example is (H. fulva ‘Hankow’ x ‘Ruby Spider’) X  (‘Illsworth’ x ‘Canadian Border Patrol’).


Then, if you add one more component, you get a very large rounded form, as in
[(H. fulva ‘Hankow’ x ‘Ruby Spider’) x ‘Illsworth x ‘Canadian Border Patrol’] X ‘Heavenly Masquerade’.


A lot of the H. fulva crosses look like this, perhaps because I have used ‘Web Browser’ extensively.
(h. fulva ‘Cypriani’ x ‘All American Chief’) X ‘Web Browser’. An 8.5 inch flower and 4 way branching.


But sometimes you get a very different color as in this cross of H. fulva ‘Hankow’ x ‘Web


Here is an example of a backcross. (H. fulva ‘Korean’ x ‘Web Browser’) X ‘Web Browser’.


This will probably be a bridge plant as it has poor branching. H. fulva ‘Cypriani’ X ‘Velvet Ribbons’.


The triploid, H. fulva maculata, is fairly fertile with tets. Here is a second generation example.
(H. fulva maculata x ‘Wild Horses’) X ‘Orange Splash’.

H. fulva ‘Europa’ X ‘Hang Six’.  For a long time I did not try to use ’Europa’ because Stout had used it so much in his breeding program. But in the past couple of years I have made hundreds of attempts and managed several seedlings, of which this is the most exciting. It has powerful pollen and may even be pod fertile.
[‘Godzilla’ x (H. fulva ‘Hankow’ x ‘Ruby Spider’)] X  ‘Igor’
‘H. fulva ‘Europa’ X ‘Hang Six’
[‘Red Suspenders’ {‘Godzilla’(‘H. fulva ‘Hankow’)] X ‘Tet Skinwalker’

Read my article
'Hybridizing for Hardy Spiders and Unusual Forms in the North", AHS Region 2 Newsletter Fall 2005-Winter 2006. - see pages 11-18