I had mentioned before, when I posted about Pamianthe peruviana, that I had failed to get viable pollen the last two times my bulbs bloomed. Usually my Pamianthe bulbs bloom in December, but this year to my amazement, one bulb has just bloomed for a second time, and this time I have pollen. Pamianthe is supposed to accept its own pollen, so I have carefully pollinated the four beautiful flowers, and now I will wait for the results. If it does take, it still will take about 15 months for the seeds to ripen. The last time I did get seed from my bulbs I had more than one bulb in bloom at the same time, so I was able to cross pollinate the bulbs. I only got one seed pod, but it was an amazing size and produced a lot of seed. This time, with only one bulb in bloom, I can only hope that it will indeed be self-fertile.
I have many bulbs from equatorial regions and they bloom very erratically, coming from climates that often have no discernible seasons. I just don't know what triggers these species to bloom, and it is often frustrating to have several bulbs, but never two bulbs in bloom at the same time. The answer? I freeze the pollen, so that when I do get another bulb to bloom, I have pollen on hand to pollinate the bulb, otherwise I would never get seed. I have quite a little pollen bank in my freezer. The pollen seems to remain viable for one to two years. I have snipped off the anthers of my Pamianthe, and will let them dry in the freezer with the package open, then date the collection and put them away wrapped in aluminum foil.
I encourage others to do the same thing. You can share pollen of Hippeastrum, for instance, enabling crosses that you could never do from a limited collection. If you are looking for pollen of a specific species (please don't just ask me what I have) you can contact me.