Hippeastrum hybrid pollen collection-saving best practices

Started by kisaac, February 25, 2024, 08:26:32 AM

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Hello all!

I'm doing some pollen collecting and saving from a modern hybrid Hippeastrum. 
Basically, I'm holding a small reclosable plastic bag (Zip-Lock snack bag) open, and under the stamens, which I then cut  and they (mostly) fall into the bag.  I know I could use more care with a pair of tweezers and my scissors.

1) is the poly bag a good way to store this pollen in the freezer or fridge?  I'm wondering if a glassine envelope, or folded wax paper might have been a better option to help me later collect the pollen for use.  I'm wondering if the pollen is attracted to the plastic sides of the bag making later removal with my brush or cotton swab difficult.

My stamen/pollen storage baggie

2) Which? Is the freezer or a fridge the best storage for a few weeks to a month- for Hippeastrum specifically, and maybe all bulb flowers generally?
3) Do you worry about moisture in storage?  Do you worry about to much moisture, or to little?  I.E. do you put the pollen bag in another sealed container (larger poly bag?) with a desiccant pack, or rice, powdered milk, etc. which might have a similar water absorbing effect, to prevent moisture spoilage?  Do you worry about dehydration of the pollen?  I know there is water vapor transfer through plastic bags.
4) Do you instead favor the cotton swab collection method?  I.E. use the cotton swab to remove the pollen now while still on the flower, then just put the cotton swabs in the bag to store, then use those same swabs to pollenate the next flower?
5) What is the best AGE of pollen when collecting it for short-term storage?  I'm assuming shortly after flower opening.  Some have said to pry open a flower and take the pollen then just before flower opening, but some hippeastrum have the stamen sheathed.

I'm a 'no worries' kind of gardener but would love to hear real world input from other professional or hobbyist hybridizers.

I confess I know this has been discussed in great length, but a search of the archives wasn't pulling up much for me.

Any collection/storage ideas?
Member: : Pacific Bulb Society


Hi Ken

I've never done pollen storage but in the past I've read that using old 35 mm film containers with a descicant packet was common.

I'm sure there are some real Hippeastrum growers out there who could add to this.
Arnold T.
North East USA


Hello Ken,

First of all: I have never done pollen storage for longer than a few days.
But looking at your picture I would worry about too much moisture in the zip lock bag. Personally I would prefer to store pollen on a swab and not the whole stamens. But if you ever leave part of the stalks attached to the stamens I would bet that the juicy tissue will attract mold. Have you checked the wiki for pollen storage techniques?

Algarve, Portugal
350m elevation, frost free
Mediterranean Climate