Bill Carter, Washington

Pollen longevity?

February 24, 2015
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Category: Hybridizing

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My 1st blooms are opening and I feel like dabbing pollen.  I’ve go some 1 year old and 2 year old frozen pollen.  Is it likely the two year pollen is still viable?

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2 Responses to Pollen longevity?

  1. Lawrence Trevanion, Australia
    Lawrence Trevanion, Australia
    February 25, 2015 at 2:40 am

    Hi Bill,

    If you have a microscope you can test it. A droplet of a 10% solution of deionised water and cane sugar kept at 100% humidity for an hour gives a reliable measure for me.

    I have just tested some 6 month old pollen that has been out of the freezer for over a week and that still has some viability. I understand that keeping the pollen dry is important so if you take it out of the freezer and expose it immediately then it is unlikely to last long. I keep my pollen in gelatine capsules and store them with a desiccant. Bringing the capsule to room temperature with a desiccant before opening is probably worthwhile.

    I’m sure in the past I’ve had pollen that has had some viability after 2 years.

  2. Stephen Vinisky, Oregon
    Stephen Vinisky, Oregon
    February 25, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    Lawrence, I’ve used pollen from the freezer up to three years. Best at one year but  even 2 or 3 years seems OK if the pollen is used rapidly when removed from the freezer. Here, for me, with my haphazard storage, viability drops quickly when it thaws. I store in dark brown, wide mouth, glass medicine bottles with wide mouths. Also add a desiccant (silica gel) packet and tighten lid firmly.

    Steve