iBrugs Knowledge Center

Welcome to the International Brugmansia Society's Knowledge Base.   This repository will store a wealth of knowledge related to brugmansia.  Check back often as new items are being added on a regular basis.

Make sure you visit our Frequently Asked Questions section for answers to commonly asked questions related to brugmansia and iBrugs.com.

If you would like to contribute an article to the iBrugs Knowledge Base, please contact  Delisa

iBrugs News Articles

How To Collect And Store Pollen


After you've studied the Brugmansia Family Tree and set up your cross-pollination filing system for organizing your crosses, its time to begin collecting a variety of pollens for your hybridizing arsenal. An effective and efficient program depends on having pollens available when you need them. Plants tend to bloom in staggered flushes, so oftentimes flowers with pollens you wish to use as pollen donors simply aren't in bloom. When this happens, you have a missed opportunity and may well lose a season of seed production.


The solution to the problem is frozen pollen. With this process, pollens are collected from flowers when they bloom, dried and frozen for future use. In the past, pollens were collected and placed in small plastic baggies after they were left in the open to air dry. The problem with that method was acceleration of pollen's natural process of deterioration. The longer it remains unused, the less it's viability. Keeping it enclosed in small Ziplock bags traps gasses that form as natural deterioration occurs and encourages microscopic fungi to form. All of it decreases viability. The less viable your pollens, the less successful attempts to fertilize will be.


Silica gel is an excellent desiccant. It virtually sucks moisture into itself and away from whatever its being used to protect from moisture. Whether its camera equipment, packaged electronics or a closet full of clothing, silica gel is designed to keep the environment it occupies dry. For this reason, it is ideal for drying pollens quickly. Time is viability's enemy. From the moment it appears on your flowers anthers, your pollen's deterioration clock starts ticking and the less successful it will be for fertilizing flowers.


You should collect healthy anthers with powdery pollen as soon as possible. The best method for this is to set up a small tray with your micro tubes, Sharpie, tweezers and scissors, then make the rounds of your garden. When you first begin doing this, you may have to open flowers with a scissors in order to give you more room to work. Inspect each flower. If you see powdery pollen, gasp the anthers and gently guide them into the micro tube. You can either enclose the entire anther before the drying process, or you can return to your kitchen table, remove the pollen from the anthers and re-tube them (see video). Make sure to clean your hands between your visits to different Brugs. If you don't, you run the risk of transferring pollens from your other Brugs to the next ones you work with. Remember, it only takes one pollen grain to successfully pollinate a flower. Universal precautions apply. Above all, make sure you label your microtubes correctly!


Once your pollens are safely inside your tubes, unsnap their caps and place them in a Ziplock container filled with silica gel. Close the lid. Three days drying time is ideal. After that, remove the tubes from the gel, snap the caps back on, place the tubes in a Ziplock bag, then either use them within a week's time - or freeze them. Frozen pollens can be viable for up to a full year. So, use your fresh pollens quickly if possible, but if you can't - use your frozen ones!


Here's a short video showing the collection and preparation for freezing process. Good luck!




# Delisa
Monday, April 19, 2010 6:58 PM
I have always used this method that you taught me years ago Liz. Like Liz says about her dried anthers "I likes them crispy!" Thank you Liz!
Space Dog
# Space Dog
Thursday, April 29, 2010 2:32 PM
You're welcome, Delisa! Actually, I stole this method from some amaryllis breeders, made a few adjustments for Brugs and it worked! It also works for passiflora and hibiscus. The only difference is that the pollen is collected on a cotton swab that is snipped short before being inserted in the tube, dried in the same way and stored. The swab is then extracted and used to daub the flowers.
# kasha77
Tuesday, January 11, 2011 10:22 PM
Thank you Space Dog
for sharing your info on this. I have a few questions-

How can I recognize the optimum time to collect pollen from a flower?

When you place the Ziploc container in the freezer, do you leave the little covers open on the vials or do you close them up,- why or why not?

How will I know that a flower is ready for pollination?

How can I ensure that I will be the only pollinator? (What can I do to keep all others out?)
Sorry for so many questions, but I really want to get the most accurate results!
Thanks for your time-
Space Dog
# Space Dog
Thursday, January 13, 2011 10:45 AM
That's a lot of questions Kathy! LOL! OK Here goes:
1. When you see pollen forming, grab it.
2. Close the covers to the vials to prevent spillage. No other reason.
3. When you see pollen forming...time to pollinate (you can do it sooner, but you want to grab that pollen for future dusting).
4. If you can't get to pollinate a flower that's ready right away, tape the corolla tube closed with masking tape, and pollinate in the morning. When you finish pollinating, tape the corolla tube closed with masking tape.

You're welcome! :)

Post Comment

Only registered users may post comments.

Latest Articles

Columbian Datura Virus by Fred
Creating a Lasagna Garden by Ruth Ann

Hate To Mow The lawn And Dig In Bad Soil?

If this describes you and you love growing Brugmansia, I have a solution for you called Lasagna Gardening. It certainly will reduce the effort you expend once you have it made and are using it.

Selecting a Breeding Program by RJ
Hybridizing tipsWinter time is a great time of the year when to get together a breeding program if you’re interested in taking the quantum leap to create something special and exciting.
To best decide if you’re ready for a hybridization program, here’s a few good pointers to consider:
Hybridizing Guidelines by ABADS

The number one problem in the Brugmansia community is the naming of seedlings before they have been properly evaluated. Please do not broadcast news of a new seedling to the public using a proper name and call it a working name. At the rate the Americans alone are hybridizing we face....  [more]