Our Greenhouse . . .
Our first greenhouse was built in 1993 and was 20′ X 36′ with an 8′ crown. After the fourth year, we decided that it was just too small so we replaced it with the current greenhouse which is 30′ W X 44′ L, with a crown of 14′ 6″, which doubled the square footage of the original.
Utilizing a greenhouse for growing and hybridizing daylilies has several advantages. 1) You can do your hybridizing in the early spring before outside work starts. 2) Seed set is better in a greenhouse and some plants that will not set seed outside will do so in the greenhouse. 3) When outside work and evaluating seedlings starts, you are through with hybridizing. 4) You can start seeds earlier and grow the resulting seedlings in the greenhouse over winter, thus giving them a head start when transplanting outside in the spring.
One of the reasons for having a greenhouse is to be able to hybridize while it is still cold outside. We normally take our potted hybridizing plants into the greenhouse in mid to late December after they have been through cold weather. They will start blooming in March and we can begin our hybridizing. We will have approximately 100 pots of hybridizing plants growing in the greenhouse.
When potted plants are taken into the greenhouse, they are cleaned, Bayer Tree & Shrub, a granular systemic, is spread on top of the potting soil to control fungus gnats, thrips, aphids, etc. Next, Nutricote slow release 18-6-8 fertilizer with micro nutrients, along with a little Milorganite is added on top of the potting soil for fertilizing.
Temperature in the greenhouse is important when you start hybridizing. The late Dr. Bob Carr always said, “Trying to set seed at a temperature under 60° or above 90° is futile.” So as bloom starts, the thermostat gets turned up to 65° and the exhaust fan is set for 80°.
Water the plants. Misting is primarily used to help keep down spider mites. Otherwise, potted plants are watered by hand as needed, the more sun, the more hand watering. We have been experimenting with growing everything in the greenhouse in water beds. So far, we have been very pleased with the results.
There are two moving 1000 watt high pressure sodium lights on rails above each of the two hybridizing benches. The lights are turned on for one hour each morning about 1:00 A. M. just to break the sleep cycle.
We normally start between 1,00 and 2,000 seeds in July and August. In September, we transplant some of those seedlings to trade one- gallon pots, where they will grow in water beds. Many of those seedlings will bloom in the greenhouse in June and July.