Water Beds for Daylilies?!?!?!: I do not get it. LOL.

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Water Beds for Daylilies?!?!?!

By fiwit
April 11, 2014

Until fall 2013, the only water beds I'd ever heard of were for humans. Then Daylily hybridizer Lee Pickles described the water beds he made for his daylilies, and I knew I had to try it for myself.

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Name: virginiarose
Virginia
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virginiarose
Apr 10, 2014 6:17 PM CST
Excuse me for being slow, but I do not understand why someone would do this. Mine rot fast enough and after throwing away about 50 potted daylilies I am looking for better drainage not more water. LOL.
Susan

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.....Margaret Atwood
Name: Mary
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fiwit
Apr 10, 2014 6:44 PM CST
I didn't have any rotting here in the bed I made last fall. I'm not saying it would work in SE Virginia, but mine made it safely through the winter. As long as you don't submerge the crowns, why would they rot? The water in the bed is 1-2 inches deep, usually, and the soil level in the pots is higher than that.

It's not for everyone Susan, but it was something unique that I'd never heard of before, and I was intrigued enough to try it. Shrug! Thought others might be intrigued by it too.... Thumbs up


I would HATE to lose 50 DLs at once... owie Sad
Northwest Georgia Daylily Society
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Name: Larry
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Seedfork
Apr 10, 2014 7:04 PM CST
I find this article very interesting! But I would dearly love to hear the explanation for the purpose of using the water, instead of just sitting them on the ground, what is the science behind it? I find this extremely interesting personally because I just wintered quite a few daylilies in this exact same type of setup, but in natural setting. I have a bog area that duplicates this environment almost exactly. The plants did very well during the summer, but I was afraid they would all freeze and die during this past extreme cold winter we had. I lost no plants in the bog, I did lose one daylily to rot in one of my other beds that is normal soil and drains very well. The key is for sure to have the crown up above the water level, but still why water at all?
Name: virginiarose
Virginia
Money talks but Chocolate Sings!
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Level 1 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Hibiscus Dragonflies Daylilies
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virginiarose
Apr 10, 2014 7:08 PM CST
Well like you said we cannot control the elements so mine would probably turn into a swimming pool. I just did not understand why Pickels did it. What was HIS purpose for doing this?

Mary, I have already ordered another 70 for spring. My new daylilies are even better!
Susan

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.....Margaret Atwood
Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
Gardening dilettante, that's me!
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fiwit
Apr 10, 2014 7:13 PM CST
virginiarose said:Well like you said we cannot control the elements so mine would probably turn into a swimming pool. I just did not understand why Pickels did it. What was HIS purpose for doing this?

Mary, I have already ordered another 70 for spring. My new daylilies are even better!


The water will *never* get any higher than the the walls of the bed. So it would be hard for it to turn into a swimming pool, unless you make one of the mistakes I made, and try to use a wading pool. THOSE DLs were submerged, and I got them out of there post-haste. Thumbs down Won't make that mistake again, that's for sure!

As to the science behind it, I'm not a scientist. I would assume it's related to water's insulating properties? Shrug! And I don't know why Lee Pickles did it, other than he heard about it from Tommy Maddox in MS, and was intrigued, and wanted to check it out for himself, same as I reacted when I heard about it from Lee, maybe?
Northwest Georgia Daylily Society
I'm going to retire and live off of my savings. Not sure what I'll do that second week.
My yard marches to the beat of a bohemian drummer...
Name: Michele
Cantonment, FL zone 8b
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tink3472
Apr 10, 2014 7:42 PM CST
The reason for the water beds is to keep the plants watered so he doesn't have to do it. Tommy only does seedlings in the beds and then when he chooses them to evaluate further they go into the ground or the beds. Pots dry out really quick in our parts and need to be watered daily and then they still dry out if the roots and foliage are big; the water just runs off the foliage and onto the ground and never makes it into the pot. The water beds eliminate that problem. I don't know if Tommy has a well or not but if not this saves on the water bill not watering daily.
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Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
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fiwit
Apr 10, 2014 7:42 PM CST
@VirginiaRose.... I keep pondering on your "why" question... for YOU, the answer might be: For summertime only. If the DLs are sitting in water, they would weather dry spells better (of course, if you have a wet summer, this might be a bad idea)
Northwest Georgia Daylily Society
I'm going to retire and live off of my savings. Not sure what I'll do that second week.
My yard marches to the beat of a bohemian drummer...
Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
Gardening dilettante, that's me!
Plays in the sandbox Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Dog Lover Daylilies The WITWIT Badge
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Bluebonnets Birds Region: Georgia Composter Garden Ideas: Master Level
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fiwit
Apr 10, 2014 7:44 PM CST
Michele, looks like you were replying (and THANK YOU for that) while I was typing mine. Hilarious!
Northwest Georgia Daylily Society
I'm going to retire and live off of my savings. Not sure what I'll do that second week.
My yard marches to the beat of a bohemian drummer...
Name: virginiarose
Virginia
Money talks but Chocolate Sings!
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Level 1 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Hibiscus Dragonflies Daylilies
Bee Lover Dahlias Butterflies Hostas Birds Lilies
virginiarose
Apr 10, 2014 7:48 PM CST
Well, sure this is starting to make some since. I did not know Pickle lived in Florida. LOL. I had a big problem year before last and I sure wish I had know about this. I was going crazy trying to keep everything watered and ended up sitting everything in complete shade so they would not die. I was watering every single day and it was not enough, but city water can get expensive so I would do this for sure if I have the mosquito dunks. Got to have them!
Susan

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.....Margaret Atwood
Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
Gardening dilettante, that's me!
Plays in the sandbox Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Dog Lover Daylilies The WITWIT Badge
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Bluebonnets Birds Region: Georgia Composter Garden Ideas: Master Level
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fiwit
Apr 10, 2014 7:49 PM CST
virginiarose said:Well, sure this is starting to make some since. I did not know Pickle lived in Florida. LOL. I had a big problem year before last and I sure wish I had know about this. I was going crazy trying to keep everything watered and ended up sitting everything in complete shade so they would not die. I was watering every single day and it was not enough, but city water can get expensive so I would do this for sure if I have the mosquito dunks. Got to have them!


Lee Pickles lives outside Chattanooga. Tommy Maddox, who gave Lee the idea, lives in Mississippi. I'm outside Atlanta. Green Grin!
Northwest Georgia Daylily Society
I'm going to retire and live off of my savings. Not sure what I'll do that second week.
My yard marches to the beat of a bohemian drummer...
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
Apr 10, 2014 8:02 PM CST
But, the article says that Lee Pickles successfully "overwintered" his daylilies in these water beds, so I am assuming it originally had something more behind the idea that just keeping the plants watered during dry weather? That might be a good enough reason on its own to do it, but I would love to find out what made him try it though the winter, (just absent minded like me and forgot to drain the water bed) and found out they all lived ?
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
Apr 10, 2014 8:09 PM CST
Mary - Nice article with some great photos and instructions! This is a very good idea for drought times. I have heard of folks using kiddie pools, too. But you would have to either raise the plants up in the pool or use a very shallow pool in case of rain. Or you could drill drain holes along the side of the plastic kiddie pools to the level you want the water to drain to. I do that with plants I grow in plastic storage bins. I add drain holes all around the outside of the bins at about 2" up from the bottom of the container. That way some water does remain in the bottom of the container when watering or if it is raining. This prevents me from having to water as much and to keep the plants from wilting during the hottest days.
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Name: Michele
Cantonment, FL zone 8b
Seller of Garden Stuff Region: United States of America Pollen collector Dragonflies I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Florida
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tink3472
Apr 10, 2014 8:31 PM CST
virginiarose said:Well, sure this is starting to make some since. I did not know Pickle lived in Florida. LOL. I had a big problem year before last and I sure wish I had know about this. I was going crazy trying to keep everything watered and ended up sitting everything in complete shade so they would not die. I was watering every single day and it was not enough, but city water can get expensive so I would do this for sure if I have the mosquito dunks. Got to have them!


I meant Maddox is in this area (Mississippi), not too far from us Floridians.
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Name: Michele
Cantonment, FL zone 8b
Seller of Garden Stuff Region: United States of America Pollen collector Dragonflies I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Florida
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tink3472
Apr 10, 2014 8:41 PM CST
Seedfork said:But, the article says that Lee Pickles successfully "overwintered" his daylilies in these water beds, so I am assuming it originally had something more behind the idea that just keeping the plants watered during dry weather? That might be a good enough reason on its own to do it, but I would love to find out what made him try it though the winter, (just absent minded like me and forgot to drain the water bed) and found out they all lived ?


Lee Pickles put his seedling in the outside water beds (after being grown in his greenhouse in water beds until after they bloom) too see if they would survive being overwintered in them. I think they survived because they were fully grown, mature fans when he put them in there (looking at his photos). If they would have been baby seedlings then they may have not fared so well.

Tommy Maddox puts his seedlings in the water beds outside when they are 6 weeks old
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Polymerous
Apr 10, 2014 11:44 PM CST
I read about someone (I can't remember who) putting their seedlings into kiddie wading pools.

I have limited room for my seedlings (and not a whole lot of sun), so what I did last year was to get some plastic boxes, about 5-6" deep (the type used for clothes storage and such - you can get them at the hardware store). I potted my seedlings up into 9.5" high tree pots, and put 20 of these seedlings into one box, which got placed on my patio edge (one of the sunniest spots on the property). There was water in the bottom of the box all year (I would occasionally water it, and/or add some fertilizer), including the winter. (We are zone 9 here; although we had several days of frost and lots of dead plants this past winter, I don't know if the water in the box ever froze.)

I am happy to say that those seedlings have THRIVED! I hope to see bloom this season.

Re mosquitoes - yes, I found a whole bunch of babies Grumbling last week in a second box of seedlings which I am slowly filling. I poured in a little Dawn detergent (it was that or try olive oil - those were the two things I had at hand) onto the water, and the next day there were no more wriggling larvae. (I haven't noticed any negative effect on the seedlings from this, though I should probably keep an eye on them.)

One other hazard I should mention, though, is that I have had slugs and snails somehow get into the boxes. Sluggo in the pots is probably a good idea; I sprinkled in some of that last week, too. (I also once found one of our native frogs - very tiny critters - in the box, nestled way down between the tree pots. I have no idea how it got in there. Confused Maybe it was doing slug and snail patrol for me?)

Edit: I just checked on the tree pot size, as I had second thoughts and realized that 8" (as I originally wrote) seemed too short. They are in fact the Stuewe TP49 pots http://www.stuewe.com/products/datasheets/minitreepots.pdf, which are 4" x 9.5" and have a volume of around 0.44 gal (based on the data when I bought them). Sorry for that error!
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[Last edited by Polymerous - Apr 11, 2014 5:19 AM (+)]
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Name: Michele
Cantonment, FL zone 8b
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tink3472
Apr 11, 2014 4:10 AM CST
[quote="Polymerous"] I poured in a little Dawn detergent (it was that or try olive oil - those were the two things I had at hand) onto the water, and the next day there were no more wriggling larvae. (I haven't noticed any negative effect on the seedlings from this, though I should probably keep an eye on them.)
quote]

The Dawn should not hurt the seedlings. We use Dawn as a spreader/sticker when we spray insecticides or fungicides every 2 weeks and it doesn't bother them. I have heard though to only use the Dawn Original and not the kind that is antibacterial; not sure what happens if you do.
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Name: Vickie
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blue23rose
Apr 11, 2014 4:54 AM CST
Very interesting article and discussion. It's good to know that daylilies can survive under those conditions. And I won't worry so much next time I leave my daylilies in a bucket of water because I couldn't plant them right away. I just won't fill it up so much!

Thanks Mary!
Vickie
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Name: Mary
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fiwit
Apr 11, 2014 5:08 AM CST
blue23rose said:Very interesting article and discussion. It's good to know that daylilies can survive under those conditions. And I won't worry so much next time I leave my daylilies in a bucket of water because I couldn't plant them right away. I just won't fill it up so much!

Thanks Mary!


I tip my hat to you.

I spent the last couple days relocating my original water bed... note to self: next time, don't put it in front of a door you want to be able to use at some point, and for crying out loud, never again make one that's 8x8 unless it will NEVER move. Hilarious!

Anyway... once I got it relocated and re-settled, I took the 8 bare-root DLs that I brought home from our last club meeting and put them in the water as well, This is going to be a very handy summertime holding area for me, and if I again wind up with DLs that didn't make it into the ground before winter, I know that they can safely overwinter in my driveway.
Northwest Georgia Daylily Society
I'm going to retire and live off of my savings. Not sure what I'll do that second week.
My yard marches to the beat of a bohemian drummer...
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
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Polymerous
Apr 11, 2014 5:36 AM CST
@Tink - Thanks for that reassurance. Given that Dawn can be used at low concentration for rust, I should have known that... but I was thinking about the Dawn-laden water being soaked up by the roots.

@Vickie - I have overwintered daylilies in tubs and buckets of water. *Blush* Most of them survive. (The trick is to keep an eye on the water level, and make sure the crown does not get submerged. I am not always on top of this.) Our winter temperature rarely dips below freezing here (unlike in Indiana), so if the water in the tubs *does* freeze, it is not for long, and thus not something that I need to worry about. (I recall one such time, early on when I first starting buying daylilies mail-order, when the water was (at least partially) frozen. I was shocked and horrified to discover the "frozen" daylilies that morning, but the daylilies came through just fine.)
The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Jill
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Dayjillymo
Apr 11, 2014 10:27 AM CST
Great article! I've used a waterbed method before as a holding area waiting to get potted plants into the ground. I'm pretty cold to overwinter them in a waterbed, but for summers it has worked great for me!

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