Wednesday, January 5, 2022

My Diploid Introductions as a Reflection of my Flower Aesthetic

 My Diploid Introductions as a Reflection of my Flower Aesthetic

Rust Resistance Rating of all my Introductions, click here.

My Introductions, click here.

Daylily availability, click here.

I had predominantly grown dips from the 1970s well into the 1990s. In the mid-90s I began to buy my first tets, but until that time, all of my experience was in the realm of dips. However, my initial breeding goals, dating back to about 2008, are all centered around polyploidy/tetraploidy.

I started a diploid breeding program when I saw Substantial Evidence. I did this for two reasons: I wanted to work with that flower form, regardless of ploidy, and working with it at the dip level allowed me to learn how it worked in terms of inheritance, as well as growing traits, so if it ever made its way into the tet level, I would know how to use it. I could test it for resistance, breeding value, flowering traits, inbreeding ability (or reveal inbreeding depression), and experiment with recombining flower forms and colors - looking for "clear" colored flowers and interesting forms - especially the heritability of the flat flower form itself. Finally, I justified working with dips through my rust resistance screening program (2012 - 2016), as a backup insurance policy in case I couldn't find the plants at the tet level to use in building a real program.

Fortunately, my rust resistance screening revealed enough diversity at the tet level that I can make a program I will like from them, so they have become my focus, as space is always at a premium and focus helps refinement.

I brought several thousand diploid seedlings through my 5 year screening program, and a couple of thousand through all five years of my rust resistance testing. The majority of these were fancy hybrid x fancy hybrid, as I did very little breeding with species at the dip level.  My major goals around the dips were to take a look at flower inheritance within the hybrids, and honestly, I just crossed most things with Substantial Evidence, or some of its children, putting this pollen onto every dip I had here, no matter how old or new. I did make a few other specific pairings, generally around flower traits, such as purple/lavender color, pink color or black/black eye flower traits. I also placed some focus on the small reblooming types, again, by crossing into Substantial Evidence family, for the most part. I also had an interesting group of seedlings from seeds I bought in 2010 that were all fancy x fancy dips, many latest-and-greatest from that time period, and these gave me a reservoir of fancy flower genes that I used quite a lot in my breeding work and was able to take through all five years of my rust screening. 2016 was the last year that I made any significant number of diploid seeds. I still have a few that I will sometimes set a pod or two on, but for now, my focus is the tets.

Because I took so many interesting seedlings through my rust screening, I have a lot of very nice diploids that have many good plant traits and many of them have very fancy, modern faces of the types I prefer. These are too good to just cull because I am not working with dips any more. People interested in rust resistance need to be using the best of these for rust resistance and breeding value. I will be continuing to grow and test these, over time whittling them down as much as possible, and the best will gradually get introduced for the public over the next few years. So while I am not actively breeding diploids, I will continue to have diploid introductions for some years to come. I will never be able to introduce all the seedlings I brought through the rust testing with good results, at the dip level, but I do intend to introduce those with the greatest provenance for rust resistance (the 3 - 5 year tested categories), those that showed the greatest breeding value for rust resistance, those with exceptional plant traits (such as high thrips resistance or very attractive plants) and those that show very interesting flower traits (maybe even if everything else isn't perfect). The Rust Resistance Rating of all My Cultivars can be found by clicking here.

In terms of flowers, I am not a huge fan of overly round and ruffled. I am glad it is out there and it is pretty, but my focus is more about roundness through flatness (preferably with all three sepals showing, at least partially) or elongated, strap-like petals and sepals that are not super narrow spiders or exactly matching the AHS definition of "Unusual Form". I just think of them as unusual flowers with extra flatness and/or petal elongation. I love the very clear pink, lavender and purple colors, and because I think the palest melon backgrounds, pale cream or near-white, is the key to the cleanest pink, lavender, purple flowers, they are an important category for me also, as an adjunct base to breeding the best pink, lavender, purple flowers. However, I find every color interesting and am not limiting myself to just one or two colors. I had to work with species at the tet level, so orange and yellow are colors I couldn't get away from in those early generations, and throughout the 70s, 80s and most of the 90s orange was my favorite color, with Wild One by Wild as the flag bearer, and orange and yellow were really about all I grew, so I don't see them as "lesser". I also really love nature-tones such as silvered lavender that is sort of a grayish color, as well as driftwood tones, rich, earthy browns, black, metallic tones. Many of those grayed tan colors seem to have a lot of bluish color in them and often come from, and produce, really nice bluish-lavender coloring.

Now, let's look at my diploid introductions and group them according to the categories I consider them to be part of.

Flat Flowers:
The Substantial Evidence Project

The Reason For The Diploid Program

My diploid introductions are rich in Substantial Evidence, with a large number of those introductions having Substantial Evidence as a parent.  As of 2022 I have 22 introductions from this family line at the diploid level. I still have SE family line diploid plants in testing, and undoubtedly, some will yet get introduced. I love this line and I have found it highly productive, but I will add the caveat that I produced tens of thousands of seeds with an SE family line member as one parent for several years, so while this looks like a lot of keepers, it is a tiny remnant of the seedlings I started with. These represent several lines of selection. The SE family line shows good rust resistance, generally, but not all of these introductions show A+ rust resistance. Some are B level for rust resistance (Barbie's Dream Flower, Peacock Eyes). Nor are they all extremely thrips resistant, though some show very high thrips resistance (Heart Of The Quasar, Substantial Heart).  Some of these are rounder and some are longer-petaled, while a few, Like Substantial Impact, are in between and weird.  Of special note is Evening Substance, which has H. vespertina as pod parent and Substantial Evidence as pollen parent. More on Evening Substance further down in this article.

Wild One was my original introduction to a wide, flat form. I LOVE the spatulate petals on Wild One in combination with the flat form. While I would have been satisfied to work with the flat form in a diploid program, my eventual goal was to find enough genetics for this trait at the tet level to work with it there. Luckily, Richard Norris' Substantial Evidence was converted to the tetraploid level and that has made those genetics available at the tet level through Substantial Reward, which is by Richard Norris and is from Empire Of Desire x Tet. Substantial Evidence. Empire Of Desire is from Richard's own flat tet breeding program deriving from blending the Sherry Lane Carr/America's Most Wanted line with the Supreme Empire/Tet Siloam Medallion line. I have been working with Substantial Reward for several years now. 

Substantial Reward

I had already been saturating my tetraploid lines with flat genetics from Tet. Siloam Medallion and Butter Cream for several years before I obtained Substantial Reward, so there has been a rich ground for bringing it into some of my lines, and my experience with the T. Siloam Medallion lineage and the diploid Substantial Evidence family has made me much better prepared to use Substantial Reward wisely and with some bit of confidence.

Tet. Siloam Medallion

Butter Cream



My pink diploid introductions.
Left - Top to Bottom: Substantial Princess, Flamingos On Ice.
Left Center - Top to Bottom: Color Of The Heart, Substantial Rosebud.
Right - Top to Bottom: Vorlon Oddity, Early Symphony.

One of my two favorite colors in daylilies. When I was a child growing daylilies, the daylilies we could easily find called pink really weren't. They were more like pink flushed melons or "pink" bicolors where the pink on the petals was layered over yellow and appeared peach. A good example of that is the old Stout cultivar Linda. Early pinks like many of the H. fulva 'rosea' varieties also show a peach flower. Pink wasn't a reality in daylilies for me in the 1970s and 80s. :-)

Navajo Princess

In the mid 90s I bought both Navajo Princess and Hush Little Baby. These revolutionized my consciousness on what pink might could mean in daylilies. With my painterly background, I immediately recognized that, in my garden, Navajo Princess had peach petals and a coral-pink eye. I would fantasize about Navajo Princess, but with really bright, true pink petal colors. Basically combining Navajo Princess with Hush Little Baby. I didn't have time to try that then, but knew I wanted to look at pink if I ever did get to breed daylilies, and of course, once I did I still had both of these original pink cultivars. I have bred from them both and made introductions from them both in the pink color category, but I ended up crossing them both to Substantial Evidence, which in spite of its allegedly "muddy color" (I've heard that a lot about Substantial Evidence...) but SE breeds really nice pinks.

My breakthrough for breeding, at the tet level, for the kind of pink color intensity and clarity that I love is Rosy Complexion by John and Annette Rice, which can easily pass its coloring at the tet level, seemingly much as Hush Little Baby does at the dip level.

Rosy Complexion


Lavender to Purple

My other favorite color in daylilies. As a child in the 1970s, purple was kind of a joke in daylilies. The little purple/yellow bicolor below is one of the "purple" daylilies from my childhood. By the 1990s and early 2000s, we had things like Little Grapette and Prairie Blue Eyes. For the first time I really thought about the possibility of what purple might could become in daylilies.

Old Purple Bicolor (name lost)

My own purple and lavender introductions at the diploid level derive from seeds I purchased in 2010 for their combinations of family lines and fancy traits, including purple coloring. Of the eight purple to lavender cultivars in the image above, four are from purchased seeds (Lavender Feathers, Phoenician Royalty, Kaleidoscopic Evidence and Ziggy Played Guitar, while the other four are from my own breeding (Feathered Dragon, Contemplation Of Chaos, Temple Of Bacchus and Ziggy Really Sang). Amongst other good traits, the beautiful colorings of these flowers is a major part of the reason I have worked with them and introduced them.

At the tetraploid level it has been hard to establish a sound purple program, and rust resistance has been very hard to locate in very clean purples at the tet level. Luckily, I have been able to extract some very clear purples with rust resistance by selecting amongst resistant plants that have purple ancestors. A good example is my 2022 introduction Elizabethan Royalty. Pollen parent Stardust Dragon is a very clear, clean near white that often throws lavenders and purples, and so the nice color and high rust resistance came together in Elizabethan Royalty.

Another direction from which nice purple genetics has entered my polyploid/tetraploid program is through Temple Of Bacchus. With its interesting ancestry and breeding ability, I have actually used it more heavily at the tet level than at the dip level and I consider Temple Of Bacchus one of my species-like F1 base plants at the polyploid/tetraploid level.


Dark Colored Flowers

Another range of colors that I really like but that can be problematic. The earliest ones I grew tended to not have much thrips resistance, so that was a big focus here and these introductions have moderate thrips resistance (The Darkness In The Light, Creepy Weird) to high thrips resistance (Galactic Center, Heart Of The Quasar, Vorlon Encounter Suit). Vorlon Encounter Suit has lower rust resistance (B level), but has an extremely beautiful plant with high thrips resistance and tolerates rust without reducing in size. Heart Of The Quasar and Galactic Center have very high rust resistance along with the high thrips resistance.

One good example for this type of breeding at the tetraploid level is my 2022 introduction Black Hole Sun, with pollen parent Velvet Eyes. I still have a couple of other Velvet Eyes seedlings in consideration,  and I have used a good number of near-black or dark eyed tetraploid cultivars, so this look is in my tet seedling beds through those cultivars and Black Hole Sun.


Flower Forms and Rebloom

The above image shows some of my favorite flower forms from my diploid breeding. I am already duplicating all of these looks in tetraploids. For me, I need to see six petals. I need to know I am working on a variation of a six-pointed, star-shaped flower. I like sepals that look like they are reaching out to grab you, jumping in the air for joy, or curling cascades like ringlet curls. Either fully flat or partially flat flower shape works for me. Quilling, pinching and Spatulate forms are all fun. I mainly prefer a more narrow closure that is strong and can hold up the petal, with a wider petal end like a long blade or spoon. These can have quite narrow petals and be very UF/Spider-like or wider petals and verge on round-and-ruffled/bagel forms.

The image below shows some of my results from working within the lines of Stella D'Oro, Early & Often, and Endless Heart. Early & Often (by Mike Huben) and Endless Heart (by Darrel Apps) both have Stella in their ancestry and were extremely important for this area of my breeding because many of these Stella family line cultivars have good to very high rust resistance. Because I was interested in rebloom from the beginning of my program, and this group have the greatest concentration of reblooming genetics, I used them from the very beginning of my program, crossing them with the Substantial Evidence family line to increase flower substance and flower opening/flatness, while also working with reblooming traits, as SE produces reblooming seedlings and seems to carry some of the reblooming genes in a heterozygous state. Only after fall 2012 did I realize how important these could be in terms of their rust resistance ratings from that year.

The image above shows all my introductions that derive from these reblooming lines. Many of these introductions are F1 between the rebloom family x the flat family (Substantial Heart, Substantial Substance, Heart Of The Quasar, etc.) Impressionist At Heart is from Endless Heart x Frans Hals, but all the intros I have made from Impressionist At Heart seedlings have had the SE Flat family line crossed over it (Substantial Impressions, Evidence Of Light, Solar Spiral, Waterfall Ruffles). Misty Mountains Cold and Samwise The Brave are a cross of dark scape with rebloom to make reblooming dark scape on pale, melon based flowers.  At a glance they seem very simple, but their genetic potential is vast. They are from seeds given to me by Mike Huben and are from his breeding lines. I couldn't possibly be more grateful to have grown and screened this cross, as it has been revelatory in many ways. I have crossed these two introductions to many different styles of diploids and they gave a host of interesting seedlings, going in a variety of directions. 

Both Misty Mountains Cold and Samwise The Brave have extremely high thrips resistance and extremely high rust resistance. They have great branching and bud counts and the foliage is very pretty and has good frost tolerance, which helps the early/early season flowers to always look good. They are very fertile both ways and easy to use. The foliage gets ugly for a while after they flower, but it regrows in the summer and looks good into fall. The flowers can melt by late evening on really hot days, but I have shown to my satisfaction that you can get sun fast and melt-resistant flowers in their F1 seedlings by crossing to sunfast cultivars. I did that in several lines and saw segregation of sun fast and non-sun fast in all crosses. The breeding value for rust resistance is very good, as it is for the even more elusive thrips resistance.

The work I did with both Stella and Endless Heart (a Darrel Apps introduction, but marketed as "Early Bird Cardinal" in the commercial nursery world) produced some very good seedlings that became introductions. Substantial Evidence family line members seemed to really click with these two. The most shocking thing to me was the amount of petal substance I got in some of the seedlings (Substantial Heart, Substantial Substance, Heart Of The Quasar).  All of the introductions above showed very high rust resistance, and many through all five years of testing.

I have identified several tetraploids (cultivars and seedlings) that show strong rebloom, so the potential is there to move forward with this trait at the tetraploid level.


To see all my introductions - Click Here


Scroll on down to see a few diploids I consider to be special favorites.

If I had to pick one of my diploid introductions to date that I think is something really special, on every level, it would be my 2022 introduction Evening Substance. A first generation cross of H. vespertina x Substantial Evidence, it is the finest seedling out of several hundred that I saw flower. Many of those were subsequently culled for rust susceptibility, but this one, which always was the standout flower, randomly turned out to be very rust resistant. The plant is big and pretty. The scapes are very tall and show heavy branching and buds. It is very fertile both ways. The results of crossing it with Temple Of Bacchus was very encouraging, and I may repeat that cross. I wish I had the room to make 100,000 seedlings from Evening Substance, but as it is, I am almost certain I will break my 'no dips' policy to cross Evening Substance into my Phoenician Royalty line. I am already jealous of everyone who gets Evening Substance and can really go wild breeding with it. I think you are going to get some very interesting results. I can't wait to see!

H. vespertina
Pod parent of Evening Substance

Temple Of Bacchus

Temple Of Bacchus has an odd parentage, read about it here. Not likely a diploid, and registered as 'unknown ploidy', Temple Of Bacchus works with both tets and dips. I have never used Temple Of Bacchus much at the dip level, having used it much more heavily with tets, but I have a few dip seedlings from TOB and they may force me to dabble in a few dip crosses in the future. If so, it will revolve around the dips I am showing here in this last section. Temple Of Bacchus has H. citrina as pod parent. The cross of Evening Substance with Temple Of Bacchus produced some lovely results. Most of the seedlings were shades of yellow, but a few were melon and a few were lavender to pinkish-lavender tones, some with darker purple eyes. The three images of the Evening Substance x Temple Of Bacchus seedling below the image of H. citrina is my favorite of the group and was proven to be pod fertile this year...

H. citrina
Pod parent of Temple Of Bacchus

2019 seedling bed favorite Evening Substance x Temple Of Bacchus seedling

2019 seedling bed favorite Evening Substance x Temple Of Bacchus seedling
(click for larger image)

2021 hybridizing garden favorite Evening Substance x Temple Of Bacchus seedling
(click for larger image)

Phoenician Royalty

This big, beautifully purple daylily is one of my favorites. First, the plant is huge and the color is very clear. The flower is big. The scapes are tall and have good branching and bud count. There is almost always rebloom on an established clump. However, it resents being divided and takes a good three years to really get re-established and be its big, bold, well-performing self. The rust resistance is only moderate (B level rating for 5 years) but it shows strong tolerance to rust and an established clump will show no diminishment or restriction of flowering from having had rust the previous year. It is fertile both ways, and I always get some pods on an established clump, but it does not set pods on every flower. The pollen is good. When this plant is established it was the most impressive diploid I had ever seen at that time (some of its seedlings match or slightly surpass it) and is a HUGE plant,with massive scapes and a big, bold, purple flower with a green throat. The first round of test mating I did with it was with other F1 seedlings from its pod parent Texas Feathered Fancy and I also outcrossed it with Vorlon Encounter Suit. I am still testing a couple of things from this period, but for the most part, inbreeding Texas Feathered Fancy genetics proved counterproductive to my aims. So, of course, I bred Phoenician Royalty to the Substantial Evidence family line exclusively over the next few years - focused mainly on Substantial Evidence and the seedling that is now my introduction Wabi-Sabi and their descendants. I have found inbreeding through Substantial Evidence works well for me, for whatever reason.

Phoenician Royalty 
2021 Hybridizing Garden

Phoenician Royalty 
2020 Hybridizing Garden

Phoenician Royalty x Lavender Feathers
This seedling is in consideration for introduction

Lavender Feathers x Phoenician Royalty

Lavender Feathers x Phoenician Royalty
This seedling is a beautiful flower and plant, and is a likely introduction within the next year or two.

What I love the most about Phoenician Royalty is that, amongst many traits I like and a few I don't, its massive size is most remarkable. It is truly robust, and most people mistake it, and some of its seedlings, for tetraploids. It is a diploid though as I have tried it and its seedlings numerous time, and both ways, with tetraploids and have never gotten even a pod, let alone a seed. It sets seeds both ways with dips though. The robust nature of this family line must be coming from the pollen parent Rognvaldursson, which is a Mahieu diploid registered with 78" scapes. I have never grown Rognvaldursson. I bought the seed packet that produced Phoenician Royalty from a seller in Texas. I can only guess the robust genes didn't come from the Lavender Blue Baby offspring Texas Feathered Fancy, though that line did provide most of the shade and tone to the purple coloring, and causes Phoenician Royalty to occasionally show partial cristations. I have not focused on that trait, but it is there. 

What has turned out to be even more interesting to me is that when I crossed Phoenician Royalty with Substantial Evidence, I got some very robust seedlings and some extremely pale lavender flowers. You can see a slide about some of those below.

Click for larger image

While Phoenician Royalty has good enough substance, and Substantial Evidence is famous for its substance, some of these seedlings show the thickest substance I have ever seen in a dip - greater substance than my intro Substantial Substance, which shows extreme substance for a diploid. The really pale lavender shades are favorites.

Some of these seedlings from Phoenician Royalty x Substantial Evidence, in addition to the extremely clear color and extreme petal substance, have massive plants. This one is actually a larger plant than the pod parent Phoenician Royalty and showed A+ rust resistance the years it was tested. The foliage is also quite beautiful. Just like pod parent Phoenician Royalty, this seedling resents being divided and takes a full three years to reach full clump size and show you how big these can get. A clump at five to six years is a glorious sight with this family line.

Phoenician Royalty x Substantial Evidence Sdlg 1

Phoenician Royalty x Substantial Evidence Sdlg 2


The cross of Phoenician Royalty x Wabi Sabi gave some seedlings that I have been especially fond of. Wabi Sabi is big and weird. The whole package is weird and off-kilter. The scapes are tall but the flowers are so big the scapes can lean, the foliage is dark green but flops and hangs and doesn't make a nice clump. The flower is usually big, sometimes huge and the petals are always long, but the shape is never quite the same from day to day. It is almost always quite flat and open though. The color looks like flesh or driftwood. I love everything about it even though each trait is technically a "fault" and none should look good, but combined, this thing is all of a piece. It also rated A+/5 years for rust resistance and has breeding value for rust resistance. It also throws that big, weird flower to its seedlings. It produces some amazing eyes and applique type eyes as well as patterned regular eyes. The colors can range from cream to tan to lavender with this cross. Fortunately, it also can throw much neater plants and scapes than it shows, even if the scapes are tall.

Phoenician Royalty x Wabi Sabi Sdlg 1

Phoenician Royalty x Wabi Sabi Sdlg 2
2018 sdlg bed

Phoenician Royalty x Wabi Sabi Sdlg 2
2021 Hybridizing Garden

Phoenician Royalty x Wabi Sabi Sdlg 2
2021 Hybridizing Garden

Phoenician Royalty x Wabi Sabi Sdlg 3
2021 Hybridizing garden

Phoenician Royalty x Wabi Sabi Sdlg 4
2020 Hybridizing garden

Phoenician Royalty x Wabi Sabi Sdlg 3
2020 Hybridizing garden

These are large plants with great scapes and big flowers that hold up and are just the most interesting and unique daylily flowers I have ever grown or seen. While I certainly can't say I have a diploid program, I do make some seeds within these groups each year, usually crossing those from Phoenician Royalty x Substantial Evidence and Phoenician Royalty x Wabi Sabi, sometimes together to inbred and sometimes outcrossing to things like Evening Substance, Temple Of Bacchus. Last year I crossed one of these Phoenician Royalty x Wabi Sabi seedlings onto the lovely Evening Substance x Temple Of Bacchus seedling pictured above. However, my total production of diploid seeds for 2021 was about 35, so... not a program. But hey, everyone needs a hobby! And these giant robust diploids interest me.

What interests me most about them is observing the results of inbreeding this line. If I had to make a guess, I believe the type of gigantism seen in Phoenician Royalty (and probably in Rognvaldursson too) is a simple dominant gene. Both Rognvaldursson and Phoenician Royalty have pod parents that are extremely short. Further, when I bred Phoenician Royalty with other tall things, I get taller things, often taller than either parent. When I breed Phoenician Royalty to shorter things, the seedling's scapes are shorter than Phoenician Royalty but taller than the short parent. Phoenician Royalty, in turn, is shorter than Rognvaldursson. It seems to me that the exact expression of height is due to modifiers or is perhaps influenced by the tallness or shortness genes of the opposite parent. Regardless, the tallness trait in Phoenician Royalty passes easily and should be amenable to selection for extreme expression.

Here are seedlings from crosses of Phoenician Royalty to Misty Mountains Cold and to Kaleidoscopic Evidence.

Phoenician Royalty x Misty Mountains Cold

Phoenician Royalty x Kaleidoscopic Evidence

Both of the above in the seedling bed in 2020. The cross to MMC is about 3 1/2' scapes while the cross with KE has scapes just under 3'. Both are considerably taller than either MMC or KE.

And for good measure, here is a seedling from Phoenician Royalty x Ziggy Played Guitar

Phoenician Royalty x Ziggy Played Guitar

So my little personal vanity project, my hobby-sized inbreeding program, is this family line of dips, both because they represent genes of special interest to me in the tets (and I can potentially learn from observations at the dip level), and because the family line is rare, gorgeous, unusual and very advanced, especially in terms of flower color and robustness. Because this is just a little hobby within my larger daylily work, whether it succeeds or fails is irrelevant.  I can experiment with inbreeding this family line in small numbers and see where that goes, and whatever happens, I get to grow these gorgeous diploids that are unlike any diploids I have grown.  Blending Evening Substance with the Phoenician Royalty and Temple Of Bacchus lines, I suspect, holds great potential, though I will never be able to explore it well. I hope some of you can! I will probably make a few crosses though, just to see if randomness might smile on me.

You can see that with all of my interests in the diploids, I have also been working on those same traits in tets. Some traits have been very hard to secure with both rust resistance and thrips resistance, but for the most part, all of the phenotype genes I have worked with are represented in my tets, and the giant plants with huge, tall, tree-like scapes is one of my favorite types. The flowers I have produced at the diploid level represent the types of flowers I love and what I hope to focus on in tets, though certainly, other forms will occur and when they are good, they might just get introduced. Round and ruffled is not my favorite type, though if I produce a really nice one I will introduce it and I might even work it into a line of round and ruffled, but only if that form appears within my own program (and, certainly, the genes are there in many of my tet seedlings). As with everything, much will depend on what randomly works out. A big goal for the next decade of flower breeding will be to work advanced traits such as teeth, double/triple edge, heavy ruffles, pie crust/braid, pattern eyes, broken patterns, etc., onto flowers of the forms of those introductions I have shown above in this post.