Friday, January 23, 2009

Daylily Conversion

Hello Daylily Friends,

I started to do some of my conversion work a few days ago, and one plant that I worked with first, came from Jack Carpenter. It is Jack's WAXEN SPLENDOR. It is unusual because it has such a large green eye combined with a gorgeous red color. I am herewith inserting Jack's picture of his daylily.

The first step in getting ready to convert a plant is to let the plant dry for about four to six weeks, depending upon the type of soil that you are using where you have your plant growing. The more "loose" the soil, the less the time needed for drying. I normally have the daylily planted in the soil so that the crown is just above the soil. This makes it easier to cut the daylily for treatment.

You will need several items to prepare your daylily for conversion. First, you need a "single edged razor blade." Next, you will need what I call a "pin knife." Finally, you need a pair of "reading glasses." I use reading glasses that are +3.25 in strength. I am herewith inserting a picture of the three items that I am writing about.

I started with several full sized containers of WAXEN SPLENDOR. I took my single edged razor and cut the foilage about two inches above the crown. I then kept cutting across the foilage until I decided that I had cut as much as was prudent. I then took the pin knife and trimmed the edges of the plant to about 45 degrees. Just enough to keep the edges from later causing trouble . I then put on my reading glasses. I use these glasses to see better when I am carving the oval area around the "growing tip." The object that you ultimately want to accomplish is to saturate the growing tip with the proper mixture of the chemical known as "Colchicine."

Carving the 45 degree angle is easy, and it is easy to carve an oval area around the growing tip. I normally take the pin knife and cut a line to the left of the growing tip. I then cut back into this same line with yet another line. I then remove the plant material. I do this on both sides of the growing tip. I then cut the small areas at the ends of the the two lines, and the result is basically an oval shape. This can perhaps be better understood by looking at the pictures I am herewith showing.

With just a little practice, it is easy to see the growing tip. It is the green area in the center of the crown. If you trim your daylily too high, above the growing tip, you may not produce a good conversion. The reason is that the Colchicine may not penetrate to the depth of the growing tip. If you trim too close to the growing tip, you may do too much damage when you apply the Colchicine. I would just observe that there is more art than science in producing a usable conversion. You just have to keep trying, and I confess that I tried many times before I produced my first conversion.

As for the proper mixture of Colchicine, you simply take one gram of Colchicine and mix this with 400 milliliters of "distilled water." It is important to use distilled water. You should never use just plain water. Once you have the 400 milliliters mixed with one gram of Colchicine, you then want to transfer 200 milliliters to a 200 milliliter bottle. You will want to use the 200 milliliter bottle because it is easier to remove the Colchicine from this size bottle. The 400 and 200 milliliter bottles, and the distilled water you will need, can all be obtained from a local pharmacy.

One chemical that is sometimes used in conversion work is "DMSO." This is a penetrant chemical. It helps the Colchicine to penetrate into the growing tip. The amount that is used is a very small amount. I use .5 of a single milliliter to 200 milliliters. This is about five drops of DMSO for 200 milliliters.

Over the next several weeks we will take a look at WAXEN SPLENDOR just to see how it is progressing.


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