Daylilies forum: Dying Daylilies

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Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Feb 6, 2014 11:33 AM CST
I was just making new markers for my daylilies. I had read to use permanent markers when making them, but now I realize that in the sun "Permanent" is just a few months. I read an article that said to use a #2 pencil (I didn't believe that could work) now I am using a #2 pencil on my markers, the ones I did last year still look great (the ones the squirrels have not stolen that is).
But, I noticed that the great majority of the daylilies I had brought from Lowe's were no longer to be found (the daylilies) not the tags. They seem to start off like gangbusters and I am so proud of them, then they start to decline and within two years most of them are completely gone. Children's Festival, Little Grapette, Siloam Peony , Happy Returns, and a few more I can't think of off hand.
The daylilies I purchased elsewhere seem to have done fine. So my question is what am I doing wrong with those daylilies? I don't fertilize my plants with much other than just home made compost, and maybe once a year a little 10-10-10, the vegetable garden gets a little more but not the flowers.
I am wondering if those plants from Lowe's are highly fertilized (the reason they look and do so great at first) and then when I don't continue the feeding they just slowly decline and then die off. Or, I have read about tissue culture of daylilies not making very strong plants, could that be the reason?
Anyone experiencing this, or is it just me in my garden?
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Frogs and Toads Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Native Plants and Wildflowers
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Natalie
Feb 6, 2014 11:54 AM CST
I have bought lots of daylilies from home depot, and have never lost one. They were older, and just for garden flowers. I have never fertilized them or given them any special treatment, other than mulch. I've noticed a few at home depot are gigantic, compared to the stats on them, so you may be right about the fertilizer. I never bought any of those. Just the older cheap ones.
Natalie
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Feb 6, 2014 12:20 PM CST
Heck, I thought all those I mentioned were the older, cheaper ones. Cheaper ones is all I can buy.
Name: Jill
Weatherby, Missouri (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Birds Pollen collector Plant and/or Seed Trader Farmer Daylilies
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Dayjillymo
Feb 6, 2014 12:33 PM CST
It may be your location - I've heard that dormant daylilies don't like southern gardens because it's not quite cold enough in the winter. I didn't look up all the ones you mentioned, but two of them do fine for me in Missouri, so they are likely dormants. I don't know for sure, just a suggestion.
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Frogs and Toads Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Native Plants and Wildflowers
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Natalie
Feb 6, 2014 12:37 PM CST
Sorry, I wasn't familiar with the price or age on the ones that you have. I got all of mine on a 3 for $10 sale over several years, which was perfect for garden plants. They were all very nice though, and looked great! I know that they sell some for much higher prices, but I'm pretty sure that they are older ones too. Come to think of it, I did buy one that was closer to $10 on sale, but that one has done very well too. It just never looked like it did when it was at the store. It was much larger than it should have been, once I figured out what it actually was. It has never repeated that height in my garden, but has bloomed very well.
Natalie
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Feb 6, 2014 12:48 PM CST
Dayjillymo,
That is a possibility, I will check and see if those are the dormant type!

Natalie,
All my flowers are just garden flowers, I will keep an eye out for those 3 for $10 specials, sounds great to me. I do often covet those newer more expensive daylilies, but if I lost a $40.00 daylily it would be just catastrophic!
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Frogs and Toads Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Native Plants and Wildflowers
Cottage Gardener Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: United States of America Echinacea Xeriscape
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Natalie
Feb 6, 2014 1:07 PM CST
I know exactly what you mean by losing an expensive one. I just can't bring myself to spend serious money on them! Some sell for hundreds of dollars!

I'm not sure if all home depots have the 3 for $10 sale, but if they do, you have to check in early Spring when they first start getting flowers in. I got some really nice ones that way.
Natalie
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Feb 6, 2014 1:08 PM CST
After reading a little further it seems that there should not be a huge problem with growing dormant daylilies in my area, that appears to be more of a problem for zone 9 and 10. I don't doubt those daylilies might not do as well here but I don't think that should be a reason for them to die out in a couple of years. I did notice some of those that died were not evergreen.
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Feb 6, 2014 1:12 PM CST
We don't have a Home Depot here, but it seems I am a member of their "garden club" , so I do get e-mail notifications on a lot of their specials, just got one on flowers for Valentine's day. I'll try to actually read them over the next few months.
[Last edited by Seedfork - Feb 6, 2014 1:13 PM (+)]
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Name: Arlene
Ponce Inlet, FL (Zone 9a)
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florange
Feb 6, 2014 2:20 PM CST
Well, there are dormants and there are dormants. When I lived in Marietta, GA, most of my daylilies were dormant. However, there were a number of "strong" dormants that just wouldn't grow there. There are cold dormants and day-length dormants and probably other kinds, too. Marietta didn't have enough cold weather to support a lot of the dormant daylilies that require cold. I expect that most of what I grew were day-length dormants. Because the AHS database does not breakdown dormancy requirements, I don't have a clue.
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Feb 6, 2014 3:23 PM CST
florange,
Well, that is an idea. Seems there is not a lot of help in that area at AHS, but I'am going to research Cold weather dormancy first then look into day-length dormancy. I would have thought they would have been very similar, that may be why they don't separate the two at AHS, I don't know.
Not much so far: I did find something that said dormant daylilies might do better in the south if grown in a little shade and in soil with a higher moisture content, plus (this I really liked) some of them tend to bloom later in the season. I'll keep looking.
Ok, just can't find much, it appears it almost comes down to an experience thing or recommendation list, those seem pretty hard to come by, I did find a few short ones.
This was one of the most informative sites I found on dormant and evergreen daylilies (general info).
http://www.badbuds.org/plant%20habits.html
I did find that Little Grapette and Happy Returns are recommended for this general area.
http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/landscape/flowe...
[Last edited by Seedfork - Feb 6, 2014 3:50 PM (+)]
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Name: Tina
Where the desert meets the sea (Zone 9b)
Daylilies Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Dog Lover Birds Enjoys or suffers hot summers
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chalyse
Feb 6, 2014 4:40 PM CST
Hi @Seedfork - here are some thoughts, though they may or may not apply to your situation. They are all things that I have gone through myself, so please understand they are not assumptions about your situation, but my hope to convey things that can happen with dormants in warmer zones.

I buy from big box stores whenever I find a good deal, too. Normally, any flower sold in a nursery, floral shop, or big box will have been "forced" into bloom and grown at peak-fertilizing rates so that they are big, blooming and ready to buy. That said, they often do quite well their first blooming summer, and then begin to dwindle back by the next. And, sometimes those store plants are from tissue culture, which some say may weaken the plant's long-term endurance overall. So, I have to take some extra steps to keep store-bought fans going until they are established. I give them more shade, less shelter in the winter, and do start trying to fertilize (Osmocote - its so easy and gentle to use) by the next spring.

According to the USDA site, based on your zip code you are actually in Zone 8b, which is very close in temp ranges to 9-10. They updated the zones a year or two ago and those of us in the warmer areas got bumped up into "higher" numbers. Since three of the four daylilies you listed are dormants, and one is semi-evergreen, it is possible you may experience what many of us in higher zones do ... dormants, and even semi-evergreens, can be a real struggle to keep going.

Also, my few dormants always die back in the winter, even as warm as it is in my zone. So, I have a whole section right now that appears to be "dead" with just one or two daylilies poking up the tiniest little tip of green (when I brush away the fall leaves to check). Last year I thought they were truly dead, but was surprised to see green popping up once it got over 50 degrees overnight. Unless you dig out the suspected "dead" daylilies, and find their roots have actually disintegrated away, they may still be in there. A case in point, I was sure my Frances Joiner (dormant) was dead at the end of November when I was finishing clean up in the garden. I was rearranging things so I thought I'd just dig up and remove any leftover FJ debris and keep the area for some annuals next summer - I left the area very rough, uneven, and untended. To my surprise, there is now the tip of a fan of FJ starting to emerge. No other fans were planted in that area, so I am sure it is FJ. I must have missed a crown when I tried to clean out the area, and for all appearances, it was a "dead zone."

So, even though some dormants may make it, at least for a year or two, I try really hard now only to buy evergreens (or the occassional semi or even dormant that I can't pass up) so that I can see, and enjoy, that wonderful evergreen foliage all year round. Lots less wondering about it or needing to replace, for me.
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[Last edited by chalyse - Feb 6, 2014 4:52 PM (+)]
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Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Feb 6, 2014 5:01 PM CST
chalyse,
They may decide to go back to the old zone ratings after the winter we have had this year!
I do appreciate your post, and it appears that dormancy may be a larger issue than I have given it credit for. As far as being for sure they are dead or not, all but Children's festival have been dead for nearly two years. It is possible that the Children's festival could revive, but it was fading fast early in the season last year.
Your post also tends to reinforce the idea that the drop in fertilization may also be a problem.
I suppose my pattern of buying is really at the root of the problem, "See a cheap daylily, buy it".
I need to plan my buying better, check the availability and price, then check the compatibility for my area "before" buying.
Thanks for reminding me about the zone 8a and 8b, I remember being 8a then I remembered being in 8b, so when I looked it up on a couple of zone maps they said 8a, must have been outdated maps. I will change that in my profile.
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Feb 7, 2014 12:12 PM CST
I am going to jump in here about dormancy.
There are basically three types of dormancy. I will describe each kind in general and then give them their scientific names.

The sort of dormancy that many gardeners are familiar with is that there can be many buds on the stem of a plant but they do not grow/sprout. They stay "dormant" until the tip of the stem is pinched-off. Some may recognize that as being apical dominance. This is paradormancy.

The next sort of dormancy is when the temperatures are too cold, or too hot, or there is not enough water and the plant stops growing. The plant is just resting and when the temperatures are warmer or the rainy season starts the plant grows again. This is ecodormancy.

The third sort of dormancy is very much like the second but the plant will not start to grow again until it experiences something specific. The usual example of this is fruit trees or small fruit plants that stop growing for winter. They will not start to grow again until after they experience a certain amount of cold, even if the temperatures are warm enough (chilling degrees). They use that amount of cold as a signal that winter is over (so they do not start to grow before winter is over, because of a warm spell that is then followed by killing cold temperatures). This is endodormancy.

Daylilies have been classified as dormant, evergreen and semi-evergreen. Those classifications are not based on the different types of dormancy. An 'evergreen' daylily is or should be a daylily that does not go dormant, that is, it is evergrowing or non-dormant. A dormant daylily could be either ecodormant or endodormant or it could be both at different times of the year and under different conditions.

If we look at the way a fan grows we see a pattern of leaves. We could think of the leaves on one side as being 'left' leaves and the leaves on the other side as being 'right' leaves. For example, < < < < > > > > where < and > are single leaves of a fan (it may help to visualize the fan by thinking of it as having been cut back and then we look down on it from the top). When a fan goes dormant it stops producing new leaves. The leaves it grew before going dormant will stay alive for quite a long time (depending on growing conditions).

Daylilies can be paradormant. The best example of this happens in some daylily cultivars when they bloom. If we look at the leaves on a daylily fan when it has flowers blooming on its scape we can see two different patterns. In one pattern the scape is more or less centred in the fan with leaves on both sides but only left leaves on the left side and only right leaves on the right side, for example < < < 0 > > > where 0 is the scape. The fan stopped growing new leaves when the scape appeared. That fan is paradormant or 'dormant' (at least for a time). We know that it is paradormant if it starts to grow within a reasonable amount of time after we cut off the leaves and scape.

In the other pattern the fan does not stop growing new leaves when the scape appears and in this pattern the scape is off-centre with both left and right leaves on one side of the fan and just one sort of leaf on the other side. For example, < < < < < < > > 0 > > > > or < < < < 0 < < > > > > Those fans are not dormant; they are evergrowing.

When winter comes some daylilies stop growing (I mean they stop producing new leaves). Those daylilies are 'dormant'. They could be ecodormant or they could be endodormant or if they are like some other perennials they could be endodormant shortly before winter and ecodormant during the dead of winter. Stout presented evidence that suggested that a few of the daylilies of that time were endodormant - to grow properly again after they had become dormant (stopped growing in the warmth of a greenhouse) they had to experience a certain amount of cold.

There is a relatively easy test for whether a plant is ecodormant or endodormant on a certain date. Take the plant from the cold outside and bring it inside to the warmth and give it enough light, water, etc. If the plant starts to grow within a reasonable amount of time (many researchers use a couple of weeks) then the plant was ecodormant. If it does not grow in that time then it was endodormant.

I have tried this with several daylily cultivars, including some older ones from Stout's time and for several different dates. All the daylilies so far have been ecodormant. When a plant is ecodormant it does not really matter whether it was temperature or light (quantity or length - photoperiod) that caused the dormancy - basically the growing conditions were not good enough for the plant to grow and so it went dormant until the growing conditions become good again. Daylilies that are ecodormant should be able to grow well anywhere, including the tropics and where there is little or no cold during winter. Daylilies that are endodormant may not grow well if they do not receive enough cold to signal that winter is over. Stout did however find that some apparently endodormant daylilies could grow past their problems but that others died.

A few years ago, there was an article in the Daylily Journal about growing daylilies from seed to flowering in a greenhouse, "Daylily culture using hydroponics" by George Doorakian, volume 55 pages 406-416, 2000. He grew daylilies from seed from August to May in a greenhouse in Massuchusetts with just natural light at temperatures that only varied from 70 to 80F. He grew diploids and tetraploids, dormants and evergreens in hydroponics and normal pots. The plants bloomed when they were from 6 to 14 months old with the dormants being the ones that took longer and the plants in pots also took longer. They did not require cold. Researchers have also verified that the majority of daylies do not require cold (that is, none did that were tested).

Daylilies have been grown and hybridized for a long time after Stout's test. A very large proportion of all modern daylily cutlivars were hybridized in warm winter climates where dormancy will have been selected against. There are probably very very few modern endodormant daylily cultivars (The ones that would not be expected to grow well in warm winter climates because of their endodormancy). I have not found one yet, even in older cultivars.

If you can help by providing names of daylilies that are possible candidates because they dwindled away in a garden with mild winters please let me know their names.
Maurice
[Last edited by admmad - Feb 8, 2014 7:00 PM (+)]
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Name: Brian
Ontario Canada (Zone 5b)
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bearsearch
Feb 7, 2014 9:13 PM CST
I had a rather unusual situation last year with a dormancy issue. I had purchased a southern grown semievergreen which was in full growth and started blooming when my other daylilies were barely out of the ground. By mid summer, sometime in August, the new plant had completely disappeared and there was a hole in the ground where the plant should have been. I assumed it was dead and in September I went to plant another daylily in that spot only to find that a new growth was being produced. Of course it was underground and I sliced the crown in the process of digging. I'm hoping it survives as it was at the time the most expensive daylily I had ever bought.
Name: Mike
Hazel Crest, IL (Zone 5b)
There's a place of quiet rest !
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Hazelcrestmikeb
Feb 7, 2014 9:31 PM CST
Seedfork, here's a great place to start. Since you are in "AHS" region 14. These are popular in your region. The Lily Auction have many plants under seven dollars. I got a lot of my earlier plants from "Gilbertwild". They were small on arrival, but after a couple yrs they became big clumps. A lot of daylily sellers have very cheap plants. I would only buy from the big box if they are in bloom to verify if what I am paying for is what I am getting. I have had bad luck in the past so I stay away from them.
https://c.ymcdn.com/sites/daylilies.site-ym.com/resource/res...
robinseeds.com
Name: Brian
Ontario Canada (Zone 5b)
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bearsearch
Feb 7, 2014 9:41 PM CST
Mike I'd have to say that Yes they are tissue culture but the plants I've bought from the box stores actually have a better track record of being correct than the plants I've purchased from our society sales or from daylily growers. The thing with the growers is you can go back and have them replace with the correct plant.
Name: Mike
Hazel Crest, IL (Zone 5b)
There's a place of quiet rest !
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Hazelcrestmikeb
Feb 7, 2014 9:45 PM CST
Brian, I agree . If I consistently get the wrong plant from a seller it is time to try another seller or society sales.
robinseeds.com
Name: Brian
Ontario Canada (Zone 5b)
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bearsearch
Feb 7, 2014 10:00 PM CST
Mike between my lilies and daylilies over the last couple years I've gotten so many wrong plants from EVERYBODY that I'm on the verge of never buying another plant unless I pick it out of a field during bloom season.
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Feb 7, 2014 10:15 PM CST
Thanks Mike,
What are the numbers at the end of the columns?
Never mind, popularity numbers!
[Last edited by Seedfork - Feb 7, 2014 10:18 PM (+)]
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