Saving pollen if a seed parent isn't quite ready

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MillenialGardener
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2020 10:17 pm

Saving pollen if a seed parent isn't quite ready

Post: # 71877Post MillenialGardener
Thu Jul 16, 2020 10:41 am

Hello all,
This is my first post so just have to say thank you all for sharing your wisdom, reading through the posts has been so educational and inspiring!
It is my first year playing around with hybridizing (if you don't count when I was ten years old trying to cross my mom's Blue Moon and Moody Blues in the hope of breeding the world's first true blue rose haha) and I am just doing 'fun' crosses to get a feel for how everything works. I collected pollen this morning from New Zealand but the seed parent's buds are still small and will probably be a week before they are ready. I read on this forum about freezing pollen to use in later years, but does it need to be frozen if it is a shorter time frame? How long can it last stored at room temperature? Should it be sealed or left open to dry out further?
Thank you!!!
Joey
Wyoming zone 4b, 5000ft altitude.

jbergeson
Posts: 1406
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 11:54 pm

Re: Saving pollen if a seed parent isn't quite ready

Post: # 71878Post jbergeson
Thu Jul 16, 2020 12:04 pm

I put my dried anthers into an extra-fine tea strainer sitting on top of a small funnel going into a glass vial that can be capped and is airtight. Then I put a few blue desiccant beads into the vial and cap it tightly. The pollen can then be put in the fridge for a day or in the freezer for maybe up to a year. I don't like to use pollen that has been sitting out more than maybe 36 hours, although I'm sure there are factors that can change how long it lasts, especially humidity and temperature.

The cool thing about those desiccant beads is that they turn clear and/or pink when they've absorbed a certain amount of moisture, so if they are still blue in the vial you know that the pollen is quite dry and has not been exposed to moisture after it's been sealed up. I don't hesitate to put the pollen like this in and out of the freezer, even if it's just overnight. I would suggest freezing the pollen if it's going to be a week.

If you do a google search for "blue desiccant beads" it seems like the right product comes up. Any airtight container should work. Probably it is a good idea to let the container reach room temperature before opening it, so that moisture doesn't condense onto the pollen. Then after use seal it back up and pop it back into the freezer.

Joe

MillenialGardener
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2020 10:17 pm

Re: Saving pollen if a seed parent isn't quite ready

Post: # 71882Post MillenialGardener
Thu Jul 16, 2020 4:56 pm

Okay thank you!! I appreciate it!
Joey
Wyoming zone 4b, 5000ft altitude.

roseseek
Posts: 5141
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:54 pm
Location: Zone 9b Central California, Sunset Zone 15

Re: Saving pollen if a seed parent isn't quite ready

Post: # 71890Post roseseek
Fri Jul 17, 2020 12:24 am

Joe's comment that temperature and humidity probably affect how long pollen remains viable holds water. I live in the Central California Coast, nine miles from the Pacific Ocean. Our average temperature is 75 F. Humidity is high in the evenings when the fogs come in and fall to relatively low leves during the day when the sun is brilliant and ocean breezes blow. I harvest pollen as it becomes available, placing the anthers and stamen on plain sheets of paper in the living and dining rooms which are not where we live. We live in the den and the dogs aren't allowed in the rooms where the pollen dries. There are no breezes to blow the drying material off the papers nor is there a cat to push it off or suck it up in its fur. As more flowers of each type occur, I harvest their anthers and stamen and add it to the drying material on the papers. I continue doing this as flowers appear, until those I wish to use the pollen on open. The material may have been drying in those rooms for weeks to a few months before I use it. It is the only way I was able to raise hybrids of R. Minutifolia. Even with four different types of the species with multiple plants of each, I'm lucky to have seven to eight flowers of it to harvest pollen from at a time. It can flower winter through fall, several months prior to what I want to use with it is in flower. I handle every variety's pollen the same way and the results demonstrate the pollen remains viable as long as I wish to continue using it. It's now mid July and I've been pollinating since mid March when the first seed parent flowers began occurring. Because of our climate, I can literally pollinate and plant seeds year round. There are still crosses I want to make, so I am continuing collecting pollen and making the crosses. It seems from what I experience here, if you can keep the pollen in the mid sixties to low seventies temperature range and relatively dry, the pollen still works at least the length of the season.
pollen (3).JPG
pollen (2).JPG
pollen (1).JPG
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Kim
California Central Coast
USDA Zone 9b
Sunset Zone 15
Cooler inland coastal valley with strong marine influence

dmears
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:00 pm

Re: Saving pollen if a seed parent isn't quite ready

Post: # 71891Post dmears
Fri Jul 17, 2020 4:31 am

If there was a "like' button Kim I would have used it, a great reply

jbergeson
Posts: 1406
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 11:54 pm

Re: Saving pollen if a seed parent isn't quite ready

Post: # 71894Post jbergeson
Fri Jul 17, 2020 8:40 am

Just for kicks I took a look at some of the pollen from one of last year's vials under the microscope. The pollen grains were not withered...they were plump and round. But they were white/clear rather than golden. I wonder if they were viable? Does anyone know if a pollen grain can retain its shape while losing viability or would it usually wither up?

MillenialGardener
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2020 10:17 pm

Re: Saving pollen if a seed parent isn't quite ready

Post: # 71895Post MillenialGardener
Fri Jul 17, 2020 8:55 am

Thank you roseseek for your input!! What an amazing pile of pollen! I have small children so the safest place in my house to dry pollen is in the china cabinet, on my inherited antique china. The little teacups are a very convenient size for collecting and redistributing pollen but so far I have always used it within 24 hours, the humidity is low and the house stays in the low-mid 70s. I have to get my last crosses done pretty soon because otherwise winter will be hitting before the hips are ripe.
Joey
Wyoming zone 4b, 5000ft altitude.

roseseek
Posts: 5141
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:54 pm
Location: Zone 9b Central California, Sunset Zone 15

Re: Saving pollen if a seed parent isn't quite ready

Post: # 71902Post roseseek
Fri Jul 17, 2020 12:14 pm

Thanks, David. Those are just three of the literal dozens of sheets of paper with drying material on every horizontal surface in the two rooms. I am married to a Saint, by the way! Toward the end of summer I do begin getting the questions about when the rooms may be able to be dusted and vacuumed, otherwise, nothing is said and they remain undisturbed. As I said, a Saint! Joey, your antique china in the china cabinet seem perfect. No one to disturb them and no breezes to distribute the material around the room should make it work as desired. Good luck! Oh, and welcome! Joe, I have no idea what the answer is to your question, but it would be interesting finding out.
Kim
California Central Coast
USDA Zone 9b
Sunset Zone 15
Cooler inland coastal valley with strong marine influence

philip_la
Posts: 1115
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:28 pm

Re: Saving pollen if a seed parent isn't quite ready

Post: # 71910Post philip_la
Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:08 am

Kim, that is an impressive haul!

Joe, I don't know how difficult it would be to "proof" your pollen for viability, but stimulating tube germination with the appropriate sugar water/boric acid mix always sounded interesting to me. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/bi ... ube-growth
Philip F.
Zone 8 / Sunset Zn 30 (Austin, TX -- formerly New Orleans, LA)

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