Daylilies forum: What happened to my new daylillies?

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Krodri
Jun 3, 2014 11:32 AM CST
I just planted "proven winners" daylillies about a month ago. They were beautiful yellow with a deep purple throat. About 1.5 weeks ago, the stem turned yellow brown and there are no more buds. The grassy part is green, but the stems look dead- almost like wood. They get full sun. Not sure what happened and what I should do? Should I cut the stems down? Fertilize? Any suggestions would be wonderful- thank you!!
Name: Tina
Where the desert meets the sea (Zone 9b)
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chalyse
Jun 3, 2014 11:39 AM CST
Hi Krodi and Welcome! I wonder if they are just having a bit of transplant shock? Sometimes we will cut a stem when first planting a daylily - we lose the blooms (which might wither anyway) and allow the grassy leaves to soak up that sun and convert it to energy for growing and establishing roots. Then, the next stem is usually much more vibrant and productive.

Also, there may be factors that would help to understand might be happening - depending on where you live - a very hot summer, or mild one? Rainy or dry? Do you know your growing zone? Group hug
Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of old; seek what those of old sought. — Basho

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Name: John
Marion County, Florida (Zone 9a)
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farawayfarmer
Jun 3, 2014 11:57 AM CST
Krodri said:I just planted "proven winners" daylillies about a month ago. They were beautiful yellow with a deep purple throat. About 1.5 weeks ago, the stem turned yellow brown and there are no more buds. The grassy part is green, but the stems look dead- almost like wood. They get full sun. Not sure what happened and what I should do? Should I cut the stems down? Fertilize? Any suggestions would be wonderful- thank you!!


Sounds like transplant shock. Were they acquired as bare root plants from a dealer, or were they in pots? In either case, the scapes aren't going to be vigorous after the plant is transplanted.
John

Krodri
Jun 3, 2014 11:58 AM CST
Chalyse thanks so much for the quick re;ply! I am in growing zone 10 - mild but sunny summers. We did just have Santa Ana's the other week (very hot dry windy conditions) for about 4 days straight, that may have done it? It's been very dry- perhaps not enough water? We just recently changed the sprinkler heads for them to get more water to see if that helps. Any chance of those stems coming back to life or is cutting maybe the best thing?
Name: James
South Bend, IN (Zone 5b)
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JWWC
Jun 3, 2014 12:06 PM CST
Cutting them would be your best bet. Otherwise you seem to be on the right track. Around here they like more water after being transplanted and even with that 90% of scapes present during transplant will abort buds or just wither and die back.
Name: Tina
Where the desert meets the sea (Zone 9b)
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chalyse
Jun 3, 2014 12:18 PM CST
I agree with the above ... but will add ... it is very likely they will send up more scapes! Many/most daylilies may rebloom, and cutting old spent stalks will encourage or hasten that. Depending on the name of the daylily, you can find lots of information in the database. Does it have a name? If so, you can look it up here: The Daylilies Database

It is so cool to see people like you with their new daylilies, already learning what will help to encourage the plants to grow and thrive. Hurray!
Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of old; seek what those of old sought. — Basho

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Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
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Hemlady
Jun 3, 2014 1:22 PM CST
Are you sure they are daylilies and not asiatic lilies??
Lighthouse Gardens
Name: Tina
Where the desert meets the sea (Zone 9b)
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chalyse
Jun 3, 2014 1:42 PM CST
Ah! Helpful to sort that out, Cynthia. Perhaps the possible transplant shock would still apply?

Daylilies have large leaves that sprout from the soil line, and Lilies usually have tall stalks that have smaller, more grass-like leaves going up the stalk, right?

Daylilies pictured left, and Asicatic Lilies pictured right:

Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of old; seek what those of old sought. — Basho

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[Last edited by chalyse - Jun 3, 2014 1:44 PM (+)]
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Name: John
Marion County, Florida (Zone 9a)
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farawayfarmer
Jun 3, 2014 1:49 PM CST
chalyse said: I agree with the above ... but will add ... it is very likely they will send up more scapes! Many/most daylilies may rebloom, and cutting old spent stalks will encourage or hasten that. :


That's true, but it's been my experience that when newly transplanted daylilies rebloom, the blooms will not be as big as they should be, and the scapes won't be as tall as normal--that doesn't happen until the following season.
John
Name: Tina
Where the desert meets the sea (Zone 9b)
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chalyse
Jun 3, 2014 1:52 PM CST
Also very helpful to note, John! How many of us were surprised (and worried) when our first blooms were sometimes very different than what we expected! Hurray! < --- That's me, raising my hands and voting twice. Whistling Sooner or later, they'll hunt you down and assimilate you, though! Drooling
Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of old; seek what those of old sought. — Basho

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[Last edited by chalyse - Jun 3, 2014 1:53 PM (+)]
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Name: Pat
Near McIntosh, Florida (Zone 9a)
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Xenacrockett
Jun 3, 2014 3:40 PM CST
Welcome to the forum, Krodri!

When possible, I like to put "valuable" new plants in pots since that makes it easier for me to keep them under observation.
(Moisture control potting soil has been found to be the best for pots here.)
The plants are kept in semi shade for a few days until they are more established.

Then the potted plant is moved to see where it appears to like it best.
I also hand water since this gives me a chance to observe the plants.
Many of my bare root plants gotten this year are blooming or getting ready to bloom.

I'd think a hot dry wind would be hard on new plants.

[Last edited by Xenacrockett - Jun 3, 2014 3:42 PM (+)]
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Krodri
Jun 3, 2014 4:22 PM CST
Thank you all for you feedback- very much appreciated!!
Name: Anna Sartin
Cincinnati, Ohio (Zone 6a)
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AnnaSartin
Jun 3, 2014 4:45 PM CST
Having a similar problem with one of my new arrivals, Krodri. "Chili Spice" is not happy about being moved! I cut the dying leaves to encourage new growth.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jun 3, 2014 5:22 PM CST
If the grassy part is still green and the scape had opened all its buds and not set seed pods, it would be normal for it to turn brown after the last flower on that stem finished. Or did the final buds die unopened along with the stem?

On the topic of transplanting, the scapes (in my climate at least) will usually survive and flower on a transplant if the foliage is cut back (reduces water demand). That's what nurseries that sell daylilies dug on demand do.

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
Jun 3, 2014 7:20 PM CST
I had not realized that cutting back foliage would help save watering - I wonder if that is true of established plants, too? With out tight watering restrictions, it would sure help if I could reduce some of the foliage and still get blooms. I do tend to trim fans up a bit anyway, since some of the foliage really goes wild. I'll have to try it out on some of them to see, and any thoughts about doing so are welcome. Thumbs up
Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of old; seek what those of old sought. — Basho

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[Last edited by chalyse - Jun 3, 2014 7:21 PM (+)]
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Name: Glen Ingram
Macleay Is, Qld, Australia (Zone 12a)
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Gleni
Jun 3, 2014 7:24 PM CST
Welcome Krodri. Welcome! Welcome!
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
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flaflwrgrl
Jun 3, 2014 7:48 PM CST
Krodri, is this your first experience with daylilys? I may be interpreting your 1st post incorrectly but when I read it, it sounded like what you are calling the stem is in actuality the scape stem ~~~ that would be the portion of the plant that has the buds & blooms on it. Otherwise, daylilys don't have "stems", only leaves. You said the "grass part" is still green. The grass part is the leaves & they don't have "stems". Daylilys don't bloom forever, they send up a scape (stem) which has buds on it that turn into blooms. Each bloom only lasts one day & then it dies. When all the buds on that "stem" have bloomed, then the "stem" turns brown & dies. That stem will never have anymore blooms on it again. A new "stem" or scape can come up with buds on it but the original scape stem will die. I'm wondering if you knew this. It sounded to me like you thought that "stem" (scape) was supposed to produce more & more buds that would turn into blooms.
Please forgive me if I misread your original post. But if what I laid out above is in fact what happened, then do not worry. The daylily is just doing what it is supposed to do & everything is fine. As the others have said, we cut the stems after all the buds have opened b/c the stem is no longer needed & cutting it conserves energy for the leaves/roots. Depending on the variety of daylily you have, they will have a bloom period & that may be early, mid season or late season but rarely do daylilys bloom year round. In other words, one plant really doesn't bloom from say March through November.
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jun 4, 2014 12:49 PM CST
chalyse said:I had not realized that cutting back foliage would help save watering - I wonder if that is true of established plants, too? :


I wouldn't recommend it since the plant makes its food with its foliage (photosynthesis) so if you reduce the foliage you reduce its food manufacturing capability. I wasn't thinking in terms of saving watering but that when you transplant bare root there will always be some root damage/loss. That means that the remaining roots are trying to supply enough water for the original amount of foliage. If you reduce the foliage then the remaining roots can keep up with the lowered demand for water from the leaves (transpiration). So in that circumstance water trumps food because an inability of the roots to supply enough water is more likely to be life threatening.

When people sell daylilies "dug on demand" that have scapes, cutting back the foliage makes it more likely that the scape will survive and flower. I tried it myself one summer when I had to move clumps that were putting up scapes. On some the leaves were cut back and the scapes not, on the others nothing was cut back. On the first ones the plants went on to flower, on the ones where the leaves and scapes were left intact the scapes died without flowering and much of the foliage died back also.

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
Jun 4, 2014 2:22 PM CST
Thanks, Sue, I've been wondering about that all day as I worked in the garden. We've had some discussions elsewhere here about the special rigors of prolonged high-heat, full-sun gardening in zones 9 and warmer. With three months in the 90-105 range, and most days above 100 by 8-9 am, there is drastic dormancy that arrives, to the point that mature fans in my gardens shrink way down, with both foliage and roots returning to juvenile size. It takes green-housing them over the winter and a lot of care to bring them back each year, and a long time waiting for them to try blooming again.

With that in mind, would you say that the caution not to starve established plants by cutting back their foliage might be excepted for intense exposure to long-term heating and 14-hour sunshine days in the flower bed? I'm hearing what you say about keeping the balance more toward the leaves which supply the roots with the energy the plant needs to live and thrive. But, since daylilies in my zone and higher often go "retrograde" so drastically, and water gets rationed strictly by the counties, might a slight trimming still reduce watering loads without jeopardizing the plants?

I keep thinking about the 14-hours of direct and hot sunlight ... and wondering if the overabundance of energy producing exposure might mitigate the need for full foliage? Much of it browns out at the tips very quickly anyway, without an increase in leaf production, which seems to self-limit the amount of exposure and energy production. Thank you so much for speaking to this ... it will very soon become a very big concern for many in these zones. Group hug
Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of old; seek what those of old sought. — Basho

Daylilies that thrive? click here! Thumbs up
[Last edited by chalyse - Jun 4, 2014 3:16 PM (+)]
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Jun 5, 2014 2:43 PM CST
Interesting question. I think the best way to find out might be a limited experiment with just a few plants since there is not likely any research on this, especially with daylilies. Just thinking "out loud" if one extrapolates from other plants, say turf grasses, then I'm not at all sure it would work. When turf is under heat and drought stress the recommendation is to increase the mowing height, not decrease it. Transpiration is the plants' cooling system.

Most plants respond to reduced foliage by growing new leaves to replace the reduction, but that might depend on how far back you cut. If that happens then they'd have to use stored carbs in order to regrow. My inclination would be to assume that the plants know what they're doing - going dormant is their way to avoid the stress and they determine when to do that.

Manipulating the watering schedule might be another option. What happens if you water less frequently but for longer? Another thing that is done for heat sensitive turf is "syringing", which is a very brief light watering of the foliage only, just enough to wet the leaves but not into the soil, to reduce the plants' temperature when it is very hot.

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