Daylilies forum: Foliage Discussion

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Name: Fred Manning
Lillian Alabama

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spunky1
Dec 9, 2013 7:45 AM CST
I do not believe two dormant daylilies will produce only dormant seeds. The two daylilies mentioned above (ES X COB) are registered as dormant with no parentage listed. The parentage of both is SEEDLING X SEEDLING so there could very well be some evergreen genes in the background. A lot of the registered dormant daylilies will not go dormant here unless they are hard dormant.
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Dec 9, 2013 11:55 AM CST
Fred, could you please let me know which registered dormant daylilies go dormant for you and that you consider hard dormants.

Maurice
Maurice
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Dec 9, 2013 12:55 PM CST
I have done a little detective work on the AHS registered database,
Doorakian registered six diploid daylilies up to and including 2003 and they were all registered as semi-evergreen.
He registered 17 diploid daylilies from 2004 until this year. There were 16 dormants and one evergreen.
One might wonder how that can be. Perhaps, he no longer uses semi-evergreen in registrations, in which case the dormant category might include both.

Putting that thought aside, we can look at what little is known about growth categories in daylilies. The registration categories for "foliage" are for mature plants so dormancy relates to daylily growth. Seed dormancy categories can be and probably are different from foliage categories.

Stout found that evergreen was dominant to dormant in crosses of diploids. If daylily genetics was simple and if he meant completely dominant and if dormancy/evergreen was determined by just one gene then dormant diploid plants would be dd and evergreen diploid plants would be Dd or DD.

In that case a dormant x dormant cross (dd x dd) could only produce dormant seedlings.
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Now unfortunately I have to introduce a serious problem - what exactly does dormant mean?
It means that the plant stops growing. But it means that particular parts of the plant stop visibly growing. Those parts can stop growing for three different types of reasons. One is that the conditions become poor for growth (called ecodormant), another is that another part of the plant forces the stoppage (called paradormant) and the third is that the part itself determines the stoppage (called endodormant).

Stout looked at dormancy in daylilies. He found that most daylilies (in those days) were only ecodormant but a few seemed to be endodormant. Those that were endodormant seemed to be of perhaps two types. One type would die if the dormant plant did not experience some cold and the other type would start growing again after a delay of some time at warm temperatures without experiencing any cold.

I have been looking for modern daylily cultivars that go dormant and will not start growing again unless they experience some cold (some call these hard dormants). So far all those that I have tested because it was thought they might be hard dormants have started to grow without experiencing any cold.

Researchers have tested some daylily cultivars and they did not find any that required cold. Doorakian wrote an article for the Daylily Journal on growing daylilies hydroponically in greenhouses and his plants (half of which were considered dormants) did not experience cold and did not require it.

Now there is another thing that might affect how daylilies grow in various regions.

'Dormants' tend to be hybridized in the North or where there are colder winters; 'evergreens' tend to be hybridized in the South or where there are milder winters.
Arisumi ( a researcher with the USDA) looked at forcing daylilies to flower at a time that was not normal. He grew daylilies at several temperatures, 55, 65, 75, 85 and 95F. He found that the daylilies " At 85° and 95° the plants grew rapidly during the first 3 to 4 weeks and then became progressively chlorotic and the older leaves dried prematurely". He also found "At 85° most of the flower buds were blasted and only a few misshapen flowers bloomed. The scapes were weak and about half the size of those formed at 75°."

He did his research in 1960. It seems that daylilies did not appreciate growing at high temperatures.

No matter where one hybridizes one always selects/adapts ones plants to the conditions present in that location. Dormants hybridized in the North will not only be adapted to colder winters but also to cooler summers, shorter periods of heat, etc. Evergreens hybridized in the South will not only be adapted to milder winters but also to hotter summers, longer periods of heat, etc.

'Dormants' might not do well in some locations in the South because they are adapted to cooler growing conditions rather than the lack of cold in winter.

Now to introduce another complication.

Plants grow in one location - they cannot move around like animals and choose better places to grow. Plants have to adapt to whatever conditions they find themselves in (called phenotypic plasticity). They can change their behaviour.

This last year I grew Ophir in three different locations with different conditions.
In one location (grew there for 15 years, no fertilizer, only rainwater, rarely weeded, not divided) Ophir acts dormant from early summer (ecodormant because it grew immediately when brought inside on Oct 18 one year).
In another location, (grew there for one year, fresh garden soil, no added water or fertilizer, grass sod was turned under, no weeds) it grew like an evergreen during the year but by mid-late autumn appeared dormant.
In another location, (grew there for one year, fresh garden soil, added water and fertilizer, no weeds) it grew like an evergreen right up to the time that its leaves were killed by the cold.

Whether a cultivar is dormant or evergreen not only may depend on where it is grown but also on exactly how it is grown.
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Can a registered dormant x registered dormant cross produce evergreen seedlings, semi-evergreens and/or dormants. I would say yes, but it might produce more dormant seedlings than other types. How well those seedlings grow in specific locations might depend more on where their ancestors were hybridized than their registered foliage type.

Maurice
Maurice
Name: Fred Manning
Lillian Alabama

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spunky1
Dec 9, 2013 3:47 PM CST
Maurice said
Can a registered dormant x registered dormant cross produce evergreen seedlings, semi-evergreens and/or dormants. I would say yes, but it might produce more dormant seedlings than other types. How well those seedlings grow in specific locations might depend more on where their ancestors were hybridized than their registered foliage type. (We do agree)


Here the hard dormants will go below the surface during the winter and not resurface until early spring if they resurface at all, (these preform very poor here), the other dormants will act like semi-evergreens and have about two to three inch's of foliage above ground all winter,(most of these do some what better and a few do really well) Semi-evergreens will have four to five inch's of foliage during the winter(do great here, as well as evergreens).
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Dec 9, 2013 3:58 PM CST
Fred,

Are all the hard dormants that go below the surface during winter and not resurface until early spring if they resurface at all, your seedlings only? Do you know of any registered cultivars that have done that in your garden - that is, are hard dormants in your garden?
Maurice
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Gleni
Dec 9, 2013 4:13 PM CST
Maurice, I am in the subtropics and have several registered dormants that do not lose their foliage in winter. Most of these, however, were known not to act as dormants here (i.e. based only on the sellers not listing them as dormant). Interestingly from what you say, I am unsure if they stop growing. However. I will watch attentively this winter next year. The one I do have that dies off completely is Forestlake Ragamuffin. Alas I did not notice that it was a dormant when I bought it. This year was its first proper spring and it has regrown vigorously with 3 fans (from 1) and is into its 3rd month of excellent flowering. I do not know if this is going to continue through the years to come.

I have had several seedlings that have died back, after a few months to spring back but I am unsure yet if this was neglect or biology.
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
Dec 9, 2013 8:36 PM CST
This conversation has gotten more in depth and very, very interesting! Thank you to both Fred and Maurice for bringing up some really good points!

I have a question .... were the "original" daylilies (like the wild ditch lilies) considered evergreen, semi-evergreen, or dormant? I am assuming that ever-green and semi-evergreen were what the original daylilies were, but I could be totally wrong. I ask because it seems that the original genes are somewhere hidden deep in the genetic history of ALL daylilies, right? If they were evergreens or semi's, how did they get dormants? And if the originals were dormants, how did they evolve to become an evergreen? I need a quick summary of the evolution of daylilies.

I have grown a number of other plant species that were not supposed to thrive in my zone and climate. They were grown from seeds or from very young seedlings. I have also purchased larger plants of the same and they typically did not do well. Plants grown here from seeds tend to do better for me. That is another reason I like growing plants from seeds ... especially if it is something not native to Florida or not from a similar climate. The seed grown plants seem to adapt better in my zone/climate than a purchased plant. That may sound crazy, but I genuinely believe it is true for a number of the plants in my garden. I grow several plants that are considered "northern" plants in my yard. Many are in containers. Perhaps it is more about the soil than the climate for a majority of plants?
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Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Dec 9, 2013 9:54 PM CST
There were quite a few different daylily species used originally in crosses. Most of those were 'dormant' but a couple were 'evergreen'. The two that Stout originally considered to be evergreen were Hemerocallis aurantiaca and Hemerocallis aurantiaca var 'Major'.
A few years later Stout determined that H. aurantiaca was probably a hybrid and not a valid species. He thought that H. aurantiaca var 'Major' might be a valid species but more information about it from Japan (and more specimens) would be needed. Each was originally collected as only one plant.

Many years later Japanese botanists decided that H. aurantiaca var 'Major' was a valid species and named it Hemerocallis major.

Stout wrote this about semi-evergreen:

"There are wide differences among the large number of hybrid seedlings and named clones in regard to the proportion of leaves that remains green during autumn and winter. Some which have relatively few green leaves in mid-winter may be classed as semi-evergreen or semi-dormant. It is possible that in semi-tropical areas some of these may have a short period of complete dormancy."

Clones means the same as cultivar. Stout grew his daylilies in New York, N.Y.
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About the evolution:

Geneticists basically assume that the dominant form of a gene is the 'normal' form and that the recessive form is the mutation (unless they have other information). In this case that would mean that evergreen is the normal or original and dormant is the newer form. This would fit with the idea that because of ice ages plants survived in the tropics and then later moved North. As they moved North they would have to adapt/evolve to survive the cold winter climates. The assumption would be that dormancy allows a plant to survive cold winters.
Maurice
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
Dec 9, 2013 10:15 PM CST
Maurice - Thank you! Very enlightening information. Where did they originate from? Asia?
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Name: Fred Manning
Lillian Alabama

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spunky1
Dec 10, 2013 5:20 AM CST
I can imagine back in the early 90s I could have had some hard dormant seedlings, but not in recent years. I have only registered one soft dormant and the rest have been simi-evergreen or evergreen.

I have done no research or experiments, but have observed what happens here over the past twenty five years. Sometimes its hard to comprehend what happens to plants in different parts of the world. I believe the modern daylily is so much different than those Stout and others had to work with that they may get different results if the same studies were done today.
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Dec 10, 2013 8:47 AM CST
Yes, the native regions for daylilies are in Asia and that is where they are assumed to have originated.
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Thanks Fred.

With more or less 100 years of selective breeding beginning with interspecific hybrids (crosses between different daylily species) and the production of tetraploids, daylily biology has changed quite noticeably.
Maurice
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
Dec 10, 2013 10:15 PM CST
Maurice - Thanks! I thought it was Asia, but wasn't sure.

And I have to agree with you about how much daylily genetics/biology has changed ... especially in the past 10 years or so! Astonishing, IMHO!
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Name: Fred Manning
Lillian Alabama

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spunky1
Dec 14, 2013 7:02 AM CST
Maurice ask these questions in a Tree Mail I though we would share it here.
I'm trying to understand what dormancy really means in daylilies and any help you can provide will be very useful.
#1-When one of your daylilies has leaves a few inches above the soil surface during winter (say a semi-evergreen) have you noticed what happens to those leaves in the spring when the plant starts to grow?
#2-Do they grow to normal size or do they stay small and not grow or do they do something intermediate? Is what happens different for different seedlings?

#3-Do any of them grow short leaves above the soil surface, then those leaves are killed by the cold and then they regrow more short leaves again?

#4-When do the short leaves first grow (the month)?

#5-What month do the plants with those short leaves during winter start to grow normal length leaves?

The information that comes from myself is by no means anything but what I have seen happen here, and could vary in other parts of the daylily world. I live in the deep south with hardly no winter, so almost anywhere else in the USA may be different.

I wish someone from the far north would chime in with the information I can't relate to because of winter conditions here, or the lack of.

What you see here are 1 Year Old sibs, one sev and one ev. The original leaves on the sev have all died except a couple, the original leaves on the ev will continued to grow all winter. In the early spring (end of Feb or early March here) those same leaves on the sev will start to grow longer and will soon look like an ev. All seedlings or registered plants will follow this type of growth here. This is the only time of the year when I can tell which ones are sev. One other important thing, if my sev plants were in north Alabama they may very well be dormants and the ev plants may be sev.
Thumb of 2013-12-14/spunky1/829223
This is 2 Year Old sev, the plant is larger so the foliage (leaves) are larger
Thumb of 2013-12-14/spunky1/c6e09f
Everyone knows Emerald Starburst is dormant, here it acts like a sev.
Thumb of 2013-12-14/spunky1/520cdd
This is a group of plants that are all registered as sev, here all are ev.
The hybridizer says all are tested in the north before release and shipped from Florida
so they could all be sev in the north.
Thumb of 2013-12-14/spunky1/894719

Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
Dec 14, 2013 7:45 AM CST
That's some good questions that Maurice asked!

Fred - Thanks for addressing them here publicly for me and others to read!

When were those photos taken? Recently or earlier this Fall? I am trying to determine myself, what my plants are. When does the growth slow down here in Florida for sev or dor? I am somewhat confused about timing.
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Name: Mike
Hazel Crest, IL (Zone 5b)
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Hazelcrestmikeb
Dec 14, 2013 8:04 AM CST
Becky, I would suggest that you start making your own personal observation. Sooooo much to keep up with.
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Name: Michele
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tink3472
Dec 14, 2013 8:12 AM CST
beckygardener said: I am trying to determine myself, what my plants are. When does the growth slow down here in Florida for sev or dor? I am somewhat confused about timing.


IMHO it really depends on your weather. Here, most dormants show signs of going dormant when we have our first good cold spell. You can see all the dormants across the garden because the foliage turns yellow when it gets cold before it dies. However, they usually do not go totally dormant because it will warm up and they start to grow. I would say most registered dormants act more like semi-evergreens (or in this case semi-dormant as I have heard them called). If it stayed cold for a period of time then they would probably all go dormant. I can't remember exactly where I read this but I read that some dormants rely on cold weather where others are related to the length of days.

If we had a winter where we never got any freezes or frosts and stayed only mildly cold I would say that NONE of the dormants we have would ever die back. I could be wrong. I will try and take some photos today or next week of how the plants are acting here. At my old place that is usually 10° colder than the surrounding area I had some go completely under when we had stretches of days in the teens. It was older ones I had when I first got into daylilies; Black Eyed Susan and Pardon Me. I'm sure there were others but these I remember because I wasn't sure if they were going to come back up or if they died.


Here is a photo of how some dormants look here. Not all will die back and loose their outer green foliage, they just stop growing in the middle. I think I read that somewhere (the Robin maybe) and that's why I noticed this one yesterday

The foliage is cut back due to me just getting this replanted last week so normally it would be much longer. You can see the middle has no growth
Thumb of 2013-12-14/tink3472/640dad Thumb of 2013-12-14/tink3472/9c95fa

[url=www.pensacoladaylilyclub.com]www.pensacoladaylilyclub.com[/url]
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
Dec 14, 2013 9:04 AM CST
Michele - Thanks so much! "I can't remember exactly where I read this but I read that some dormants rely on cold weather where others are related to the length of days. " Thanks for posting those two photos, too! Very helpful as is the photos that Fred posts!

That is what I was trying to determine whether the slowing down, halting in growth, or dying back had to do with cold weather or length of days. Since all mine currently (in the ground) are NOIDs, I have no way of knowing what is likely to be dormant, sev, or ev. Right now, most all of mine are evergreen. None have died back and it appears that most are putting on new growth. So that is adding to my confusion. It has been very warm here (80's) and sunny. We had a mild cold snap a few weeks ago, but it was only in the 40's and not freezing weather. I am still fertilizing once a month. Should I stop, fertilize more, or just keep on doing what I am doing?

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Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
Dec 14, 2013 9:08 AM CST
When you start seeing more brown outer blades, is that signifying anything such as the onset of growth slowing down or stopping? This is odd (to me), but the newly planted daylilies in the front of my yard (south facing) are all green, very little dying blades, and putting on new growth. The back yard (north facing) daylilies are still all green, but I am noticing more brown blades. Both get pretty much all day sun. There is probably a micro-climate between the front and back yard, which may account for the ones in the front showing all green, no browning blades.
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florange
Dec 14, 2013 11:22 AM CST
Michele, you have given me a hint to determine dormancy in my garden. I whipped out there and took a look. Nobody without a lead. That's good news for me. I have seen them without leads and wondered what that meant. I do think SYMPHONY OF PRAISE has an undetermined amount of dormancy in her. Last year I saw her without a lead. This year she has one, but our lowest has been .... um, 49F I think. Love that plant, but if she drops the lead, she's out of here. She doesn't grow well--I've had her since mid-2010 and she hasn't added a fan. Yes, I do know what that means, but she bloomed quite well last year. What a slippery slope! Grumbling I'm done planting, so she can stay another season. Maybe. On the other hand, this afternoon ....... Confused And I have an open bag for garden waste. Maybe I can move someone else to that location. Maybe not.

Anyway. About the different kinds of dormancy. I purchase plants, now mostly from the auction in the late fall. I may have missed something, but have never seen a southern hybridizer who differentiates between different kinds of dormancy in their stock. So, it doesn't make financial sense for me to purchase from hybridizers who I know use even a smidgen of dormancy, no matter how beautiful the bloom. Yes, I am entranced by a beautiful face, but if it doesn't thrive here, why do I need it? Why should I buy it? In this garden, there is a longer list of "do not buy" growers than there is a list of "who to buy from". That's why for the past 24 mo. I've expanded into the smaller hybridizers to find the gem I need to continue replacing plants. Communication is the key when you live in one of those "difficult" locations--too hot, too cold, too long a cold season, and no cold season. There are areas in this wonderful country that challenge our lovely daylilies! And I'm in one of them.

I've been a Garden Judge for the AHS. I'm also a Master Gardener. Also a Financial Analysis. Durn, that makes me a tough customer to please!! But I LOVE my daylilies!
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Dec 14, 2013 11:31 AM CST
Thank you all and especially Fred for answering my questions and providing very useful important information.

I have brought a number of daylilies inside to grow during the winter to see what dormancy in daylilies really is.

Biologists have studied dormancy most in trees. Much of what is known about dormancy is about plants that make buds for the winter and have those buds in the air. Plants that grow near the ground like daylilies can also make buds but often those buds are protected by the soil and old dead leaves, etc. So the behaviour of a dormant daylily may not be the same as the behaviour of a dormant tree that has its buds in the typically much colder air.

A daylily fan grows its leaves (and scape) from a special location in the centre of the fan. That location produces all the leaves, like an assembly line with the leaves starting out as tiny microscopic babies and getting larger and larger in sequence as they grow. The location is the growing point or technically the shoot apical meristem (SAM).

To biologists dormant means not visibly growing but it is used only for those parts of a plant that have meristems like the SAM. When the SAM is not dormant it produces new leaves. When it is dormant it stops producing new leaves. The leaves can grow or they can not grow but that does not change whether the SAM is dormant or not dormant. That is, once the leaf has been produced its behaviour is independent of the SAM's behaviour.

Leaves grow from tiny baby leaves to mature long leaves and they live for quite some time (in evergreen trees a leaf might live as long as or longer than ten years). After a leaf has been adult or mature size for some time it will die (lets say of old age). It will yellow and dry up. If the daylily does not get enough water or if the weather is too cold then the leaves can die. Whether the leaves die or do not die or when they die does not affect whether the SAM is dormant or not dormant.

Plants are not warm-blooded like mammals (like us, for example). Growth for plants depends on the temperature (and other things). At low temperatures there is little or no growth; at high temperatures there is little or no growth and there can be death. At some intermediate temperature growth is best. When a SAM stops making new leaves because of the temperature (or drought, etc) biologists call that ecodormant. All daylilies can be ecodormant. When a daylily is ecodormant it might make a bud or it might not make a bud (we do not know). If it does make a bud the SAM becomes that bud. A daylily that is ecodormant, might have green leaves or it might lose all its leaves. What an ecodormant daylily will do, is that as soon as the temperature is better or water arrives it will start to grow new leaves quickly.

There is another kind of dormancy.
When a daylily fan flowers the SAM changes. It stops producing new leaves and produces the scape and the flowers. While the SAM was only producing leaves (a vegetative meristem) it kept growing so that even though part of it became each new baby leaf it did not get smaller. But when it produces the scape (a reproductive meristem) it does become smaller and gets all used up. One or more new SAMs must be made. These can be found, one per leaf at the very bottom of the leaves on the crown. Often only one new SAM develops beside a leaf near the centre of the fan. When the fan has a scape or is flowering that new bud can start to grow new leaves or it can be dormant and not produce any new leaves. When it is dormant the fan will look something like this \\\\\\S////// with the scape (S) in the centre and the old leaves / and \ on either side of the scape. When the bud is not dormant and starts to grow right away the fan will look something like this \\\\\\\///S/////. The new bud could be dormant for a bit of time and then start growing new leaves. If the old leaves start to die while the bud is still dormant and if they all die then the plant may be summer dormant. In those cases, usually the bud starts to grow new leaves after all the old leaves have died. The mature leaves and possibly the scape can be what keeps the bud dormant. That type of dormancy is called paradormancy.

Lastly there is endodormancy.
Many deciduous trees, for example like maples, are endodormant during winter. Many evergreen trees, like pines, are endodormant during winter. An endodormant makes a bud and stops growing new leaves. Its old leaves may die, like a maple tree or they may stay alive all winter like the needles on an evergreen tree. For most species of plants that become endodormant for winter it is the length of the day (or night) that causes the bud to be made and usually the bud must experience a certain amount of cold (to signal that winter has arrived and time is passing) before it can start to grow again. Some species of plants (perhaps apple trees) do not use the length of the day but use cold temperatures to cause the bud to be made. And some species of plants have a fixed pattern that causes the bud to be made . The first bud they make as a seedling for the first winter has a certain number of leaves and after those leaves have grown out a new bud is automatically made and growth stops each year.

Going into winter a daylily might be evergrowing and grow new leaves during the winter. It might be ecodormant and not grow new leaves at all or grow new leaves when the temperatures were warm enough and not grow them when the temperatures were too cold. Or it might be endodormant and not grow any new leaves until sometime in the spring. A daylily that is endodormant will not grow new leaves, even if the temperatures are warm enough and everything is right for growing until after it has experienced its signal that winter has passed (usually a certain amount of cold hours of a certain temperature or days).

I'm in the North. All daylilies are dormant here during our winters. I have brought daylilies inside the house in mid-October, November and mid-January. Every daylily I have brought inside has started to grow more or less right away. That means that no daylily I have tested is likely to be endodormant - they seem to be only ecodormant. Stout took a number of daylily species and early hybrids into a greenhouse in mid-November in New York. They all grew right away meaning that none of those dayliles were endodormant in November in New York. They also were only ecodormant at that time. He kept them growing and some of them went dormant in the greenhouse. Some of those that went dormant did not grow properly after they started to grow. He put some of those abnormally growing plants in cold storage for a month and after he took them out and gave them warm temperatures they grew normally. Those species and hybrids might be endodormants, but they might also not be endodormants and the abnormal growth might have been due to some other sort of problem.

I have two of the plants that Stout used and I have three of the plants that Watkins wrote about in Gainesville, Florida. I have brought all of these inside into the warmth for winter and the growth of the plants matches what Stout found when he brought his plants inside in November (but none have had abnormal growth). They do not seem to match what Watkins saw in Gainesville. To try to understand why they don't match I need more clues about how daylilies grow in Florida during the winter. Fred has helped enormously and I have asked him another question.

With the information from Fred I may be able to put together a logical answer about the differences in dormancy in daylilies inside here and in Gainesville that I can test next year.
Maurice

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