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I have an amaryllis plant that is getting ready to bloom, and I know that I won't have enough time to cross pollinate it with a snowdrop so I want to know if it's possible in general to preserve pollen for extended periods of time and if so, for how long?

  • Yes you can. Use a qtip to gather the pollen grains. Then store in a test tube until later. – Escoce Feb 8 '16 at 19:31
  • I stored pollen for roses. before, using the method in my answer, and did come out with a nice hybrid. I crossed 'Prima Ballerina', one of the earlier hybrid teas', with 'Frederick Mistral', a newer one. The result was a longstem hybrid tea, large double hot pink with pale highlights, on a larger plant. It had good blackspot resistance, and the heavy scent of the older rose. It was a repeat bloomer, and good for cutting. #success. I gave it to a friend haha dunno if that was a smart move – J. Musser Feb 10 '16 at 2:31
  • I also hybridised single peonies as a kid, and asters, and various annuals and other flowers... – J. Musser Feb 10 '16 at 2:32
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Like you said, flowers for cross-pollination don't always coincide. Here's how to harvest and save pollen.

  1. After the flower is open, the anthers have burst/opened, and you can see mature grains of pollen, take a fine brush, and gently remove some of the pollen and put it onto a white sheet of paper. You can use pollen from more than one flower, as long as it's from the same plant.

  2. Place the paper in an area of warm temperatures and low humidity. It should be very dry in less than 6 hours. If there is no dry place, put it in a small sealable bag with a desiccant such as silica gel, and put that in a sealed container (such as a canning jar, or tupperware container) and set in a warm place for a few hours.

  3. After that, fold the paper containing the pollen, and place it into a small, dry tightly sealed container with a desiccant (contained, not loose). Place this in an area between 32 and 40 degrees F. until use.

  4. When the flower you want to pollinate opens, take the desiccated pollen, and apply it to the receiving pistil(s) with a fine brush. Then raise the humidity, without directly wetting the pollen.

After a few months, the pollen may lose over 50% of its vitality, but applied heavily enough, it will be sufficient. On another note. The amaryllis (Amaryllis sp.) and the snowdrop (Galanthus sp.) are only related by family (Amaryllidaceae), and are almost certainly not genetically capable for cross pollination.

  • Thank you for such a detailed answer! On another note, how closely related do plants have to be in order to be cross pollenated and, if I probably can't cross pollinate with the snowdrop, is there an intermediary plant that I can use to cross pollenate the amaryllis that would then make it able to be cross pollenated with the other plant? – Morella Almånd Feb 10 '16 at 13:55
  • @MorellaAlmann Yes. Intergeneric crosses are very rare. With an Amaryllis, you will be limited to crosses within the Amaryllis genera. I'm not sure about species compatibility, but in general, species in the same genera can be crossed. – J. Musser Feb 10 '16 at 13:59

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