Daylilies forum: Daylilies in the pot

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Fort Worth, TX (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Cat Lover Daylilies Roses Lilies Irises
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Sempervivums
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javaMom
Mar 5, 2016 7:20 PM CST
Hi friends,

I saw that some of you grow your daylilies in pots, how are they performing compared to growing them in the ground ?
And if I want to try to grow them in a pot, what size of pot would you recommend.

Thank you and have wonderful week-end,
Nanette
Name: Ken
East S.F. Bay Area (Zone 9a)
Region: California
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CaliFlowers
Mar 5, 2016 9:21 PM CST
A 5-gallon nursery pot is a decent size for a mature 3 fan division, and with proper culture you can see nice scapes & flowering for a couple of seasons, but don't expect the kind of heavy, robust growth you'd see in a garden bed. If you like to trade and share plants, you'll probably see better multiplication in a container, probably due to higher soil temperatures, and it's easier to divide container-grown plants.

If you want to see container plants really develop, a 15-20 gallon tree pot is best. Check with some topsoil yards for a fairly open mix designed for palm trees in large containers, because buying bagged soil mixes from nursery centers becomes ridiculously expensive. Note that a topsoil-based mix might not do well in 5-gallon or smaller containers.

With your heat, you'll probably need to arrange your pots to keep the sun off of the sides. Warmer soil is good, to a point, but the sun will cook any roots which are near the side of a black plastic pot.

I plant most new arrivals in a pot that I feel is proportional to the size of the root system I receive. This might be a 1-gallon pot for a mail-order single fan. If the roots are large, I'll go bigger. After the plant grows to the point where there are enough roots to hold that soil together, I'll bump up to the next size, and so on until I hit 5-gallon size. At that point, further re-potting is a matter of discarding extra fans, because I have very few containers which are larger. I like stepping them up because I think they develop better when given a layer of fresh potting soil as they grow. Also, potting soil "ages-out", and potting up in stages seems to delay that inevitability. It's also very fast/simple to step-up a size; just put some fresh soil in the bottom of the new pot, set the undisturbed root ball onto it, and fill around the sides. If the daylily has pulled itself down too deep in the first pot, crumble away the top of the root ball, and add more soil to the pot so that the crown sits where you want it. I like to place the fans pretty high, and if the roots are still covered after watering in, that's deep enough for me. Shallow planting seems to help with increase. I feel that simply plunking a newly-acquired single or double fan plant into a 5-gallon container is counterproductive, since the roots will quickly reach the sides and start to circle. Once a root is running along the side of a pot it's really only half of a root, and the plant will lose vigor.

[Last edited by CaliFlowers - Mar 5, 2016 9:32 PM (+)]
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Fort Worth, TX (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Cat Lover Daylilies Roses Lilies Irises
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Sempervivums
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javaMom
Mar 5, 2016 9:30 PM CST
Hi Ken,

So glad to read your reply and thank you so much for sharing and helping me in this brand new experience.
I will try this when I get my daylilies, probably try a couple of them first, since like you said our very hot summer is hard on potted plants...
Can I use the regular potting soil like Miracle Gro for this ?

Thanks again for your help,
Nanette
Name: Ken
East S.F. Bay Area (Zone 9a)
Region: California
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CaliFlowers
Mar 5, 2016 9:47 PM CST
You can use Miracle Gro, but a lot of people have had problems with it. Check out what's available in the "Indoor Gardening" shops in your area. They tend to carry some fairly esoteric mixes, try a few to see what works best for you. Potting soils, particularly the big-name ones available in garden centers, aren't what they used to be. Many of them are now regionally formulated, so your Miracle Gro might be different from what I can get here, which is marginal. A lot of Texas growers seem to be using soil mixes based on medium-sized pine bark. The mix plants from Yucca Do come in is really nice looking stuff.

Here, recycling/composting operations in the landfills are (hastily) cranking out compost based on scrap wood and yard trimmings. By and large, ground wood is something you really don't want in your soil mix. It's not even in the same league as ground pine bark, which is a first-rate product. Key words to look out for are "composted forest products". This usually means scrap wood run through a chipper, given a token period in a compost pile, maybe dyed black for sales appeal, and sold.
Name: Fred Manning
Lillian Alabama

Charter ATP Member Region: Gulf Coast I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Seller of Garden Stuff Dog Lover Region: United States of America
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spunky1
Mar 6, 2016 7:16 AM CST
I grow a lot of daylilies in pots, but for me they do not compare to the ones in the ground. The ones in the ground require less watering, and grow so much larger and faster. I am potting less and less each year, as I plant less seedlings I have more room to line out the sales plants. I am a commercial garden so fast growth and size means a lot.
Fort Worth, TX (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Cat Lover Daylilies Roses Lilies Irises
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Sempervivums
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javaMom
Mar 6, 2016 3:34 PM CST
Thank you guys and if anyone has any recommendation for great quality soil mixed, that would be great...
[Last edited by javaMom - Mar 7, 2016 1:48 AM (+)]
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Name: Maryl
Oklahoma (Zone 7a)
Cat Lover Roses Daylilies Container Gardener Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Cactus and Succulents
Region: Oklahoma Enjoys or suffers hot summers
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Maryl
Mar 6, 2016 4:24 PM CST
I grow 90% of my daylilies in pots. The soil here is heavy clay with way less then adequate drainage in many parts of my yard. Raised beds all throughout the yard might work, but then they might not be appealing to everyone's taste or interests should I need to sell my house in the future (something a younger me didn't think about). Anyway, for my situation the solution was containers.....Container grown daylilies have several advantages. The potting mix I use gives them the best possible growing conditions (NOT a pre-packaged mix such as Miracle Gro). Dividing is also much easier then in ground. Daylilies are portable in pots too. That has proven to be advantageous for many reasons. I can arrange the flowers into pleasing groups as they bloom. If disease strikes (such as rust) I can separate the plants readily. And if I decide I don't like a particular daylily, it's a lot easier to pass along already potted.....There are disadvantages for sure. Two primarily come to mind: they have to be watered constantly in the summer and with our winters they need to be moved to a sheltered area alongside a warm west facing wall. Now, in spring as we get closer to our no frost date, I will start moving most of them back to their east facing location where the blooms will stay much prettier longer protected from our hot afternoon sun.....There you have my take on containers vs in ground grown. Maybe you could do a bit of both to see what suites your situation best. ........Maryl
Fort Worth, TX (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Cat Lover Daylilies Roses Lilies Irises
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Sempervivums
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javaMom
Mar 7, 2016 1:50 AM CST
Thank you so much Maryl, always love to hear all of your opinion friends...
What size of pot would you recommend ? Do you use clay or manmade materials ?

Thanks !
Name: Maryl
Oklahoma (Zone 7a)
Cat Lover Roses Daylilies Container Gardener Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Cactus and Succulents
Region: Oklahoma Enjoys or suffers hot summers
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Maryl
Mar 7, 2016 3:29 AM CST
The final size of the pots is something you can decide on as you go. Since I move mine around anything larger then a 12" pot becomes impossible for me to handle on my own. Most new bare root daylilies will go into an 8 inch or 10 inch pot initially. I've learned the hard way that small plants in big pots is a recipe for rot (be it daylilies or daisies), so in this case smaller pots can be better initially. You can always move them up a pot size later in the season......I've never used dark colored pots because of our sun/heat. The Friskars clay colored plastic pots are available from my local Ace Hardware (link showing what they look like follows) and are what I currently use. Any material other then plastic would be too porous, and wouldn't be suitable for overwintering outdoors imo....One of the drawbacks btw to my small pot method is that my daylilies need to be root pruned and or divided much more frequently. Small 8 inch pots (around the gallon size) usually every year, 12" size about every 3-4 years. It's time consuming but satisfying and the fresh potting mix with new Osmocote now added makes them hum right along in a few weeks time. I know Dot in Ft. Worth who used to be on here all the time uses very large pots (18-24 inches) so may not have to divide for many many years. But her pots are stationary, whereas I move mine around. It's your decision as they grow on how large you want them to eventually be.........Maryl
Friskars Pots at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Fiskars-Inch-TerraPot-Planter-Color/dp...
Fort Worth, TX (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Cat Lover Daylilies Roses Lilies Irises
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Sempervivums
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javaMom
Mar 7, 2016 6:54 PM CST
Thank you so much !! I am so glad that I joined this wonderful site and get to know you, wonderful gardening friends !
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
Mar 8, 2016 12:25 PM CST
I grow my daylilies in pots. I prefer large clay pots personally, but they are heavy and difficult to move. I do have some large ceramic and plastic containers as well. The ceramics are usually even more difficult to move around than the clay pots because they have no place to grip and are very slick. They need to come with handles Big Grin . I'm not very consistent about the potting mix. Using potting soil of any brand is too expensive for large pots. I tend to pad it with pine bark. The finer the better, but it's hard to come by so I use larger often. I also use anything else I have on hand - like oak leaves that been put in a compost container and haven't quite turned to compost yet. Anything to add volume and reduce the amount of potting soil. That has also included fresh wood chips the power line people left in exchange for place to park their equipment. Surprisingly, using that ground up wood didn't lead to as much yellow foliage as I was expecting. On some plants it seemed to have no effect at all and a lot of those that did turn yellow seemed to outgrow it as the temperatures rose during the summer. Keeping a potted container with sufficient moisture requires regular attention and plants in a container have their roots more exposed to high and low temperatures than when they are in the ground.
Donald
[Last edited by needrain - Mar 9, 2016 7:44 AM (+)]
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Name: Darcy
Reno, NV (Zone 6b)
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djinnevada
Mar 8, 2016 7:46 PM CST
I've used empty water bottles (up to a gallon size in my bigger pots) to take up space...it worked really well. I've also used packing peanuts for my annuals or plants I planned to pull out after the season. The roots just grab on and seem to like them a lot.
Fort Worth, TX (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Cat Lover Daylilies Roses Lilies Irises
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Sempervivums
Image
javaMom
Mar 9, 2016 10:23 AM CST
Thank you all for sharing and will definitely take all your great advice !

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