How to Remove Pollen from Clothing
One of the most eye catching elements of a lily is the colorful pollen which coats the anthers of the flower. The pollen provides a beautiful contrast to the petals literally sticking out of the bloom at the ends of the filaments. While being a key element in the reproductive system of the flower and a great visual element for flower lovers, the heavily laden stamens drooping with a huge amount of pollen hold a great potential for disaster. Not disaster on the epic level, but disaster for your clothes, furniture and tablecloths.
Anyone working with lilies or enjoying them in their home or office will know the sad moment when you accidentally brush against a big Oriental lily and end up with a swath of bright orange pollen on your shirt, blouse or worse, your white slacks. In my case it was a new fleece pullover, not as fancy as a white linen tablecloth, but living in Humboldt County, this is an essential garment and a bright orange pollen stain was bad news.
I had just completed a photo-shoot of some beautiful Stargazer lily bouquets prepping for Mother’s Day, which is only 45 days away. We grow big stunning Oriental lilies with dramatic blooms, however, also loaded with pollen.
My photography complete, I picked up the last bouquet to remove it from the back drop. Suddenly my foot caught on the tripod, I instinctively looked down to make sure the camera wouldn’t get knocked over. When I looked back up, I had inadvertently ended up with a big pollen stain across my chest.
I tensed up. I had heard horror stories of pollen stains, and now I was living it. I put down the bouquet and was about to use the back of my hand to brush away the pollen, it was about a 6 inch mark.
Across the barn, I heard a guttural yell, “Stopppp!”
My friend Cisco was waving his arms like a maniac, with a panicked look in his eye.
“Don’t touch that pollen or it’s going to stain!” he implored.
“What do I do?” I asked, the fear of a permanent stain creeping into my voice.
He reached in to the barn desk drawer and pulled out a roll of clear packaging tape. He skillfully ripped off a piece, flipped the piece around backward and created a loop with the sticky side out. Starting where the pollen first contacted my fleece, he used a gentle, twisting, padding motion and to my amazement the pollen came right off my fleece and became stuck to the tape.
Cisco was able to turn certain disaster into victory, with something as simple as clear packaging tape.
The Pollen Lesson
If you end up with lily pollen on your clothes, couch or linens, don’t rub, don’t try to brush it off, don’t toss it in the clothes washer. Take a breath. With as little moving as possible get some clear packaging tape, wrap it backwards around your hand so the sticky side is out and gently pat the stain, and let the tape collect all the pollen and save the day. Then continue to enjoy your lovely lilies.