Best way to store pollen?

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Jun 19, 2016
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I've never really trusted storing pollen, probably because it rarely works for me! Now I have some pollen I really want to save for my fall bloomers.

A friend stores them in gel-caps at room temperature; another friend says the gel-caps dry out the pollen too much.

Gel-cap alone, or gel-cap in a plastic bag or other moister barrier?

Room temperature or refrigerated?

Any other suggestions? TIA
I use small test tubes for storing the pollen in the refrigerator. As they are air tight it is important to store not the whole polinarium, but only the pollinium, that is the pure pollen without the attached organs. These tend to rot and would destroy the pollen.
That works for several month, talking of years I still have no infos.
I have never stored pollen for more than a year, but did so by snipping off the pollinia, as Musa suggested, then folding them in waxed paper, then in a paper envelope, and storing them in the refrigerator.
I have stored my pollen in a 2 inch ziplock bag (U-line Corp) for the last 30-40 years. Place the bags in a plastic food storage bin and place in the fridge. Have had good success hybridizing with the pollen within two years. Have had some success after three years, but recommend discarding after two years. I used capsules for storage prior to that. However, they dried out to soon. Hope this helps.
I store my pollen on wax paper in coin envelopes inside plastic containers, in the fridge. I have successfully used pollen that was several years old. As long as it is still 'gooey' there can be viability. Terry Root once told me that he once successfully used pollen that was 7 years old.
The key is to harvest the pollen when it is fresh and young. Too many people leave it until the flower is old and at that point you have lost some viability already.
Removing pollen from a Paph will not shorten the life of the flower.
Paph Paradise, is it possible to harvest the pollen too early, or is it viable from the first day on?
I store my Paph pollen in gel caps with a small sliver of wax paper inside. I put the pollen on the wax paper because if the pollen is in contact with the gel cap it will dry the pollen out and it's harder to get it to stick when you go to use it.
I keep each gel cap in a 2.5" zip bag each labeled with the plant it came from and the date it was collected. I keep all of the zip bags in a plastic container in the fridge.
I have successfully used pollen over three years old many times. Not all pollen lasts that long and when it doesnt it's not necessarily how you stored it.
Pollen has to mature and should not be collected as soon as the flower opens.
It's a good idea to pollinate a flower sooner than later to give the cross time to produce pollen tubes leading to fertilization but the pollen should have a little time to mature. As Dave said, however, you can't wait until the flower is about to fall of.
I can send photos later if anyone is interested.
Many thanks everybody! I had the pollen in a gel-cap for a day or 2 and it was already starting to desiccate.

I moved it to wax paper, put it in a ziplock, and into the butter drawer of the fridge.

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