Daylilies forum: Need opinions on what to do with seedlings

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Name: Sabrina
Italy, Brescia (Zone 8b)
Love daylilies and making candles!
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cybersix
Mar 21, 2016 9:22 AM CST
Hello!
I have some seedlings growing, and a couple of questions.
First: seedlings from my cross. These didn't have an easy life, slow growth before I'd buy grow lights, eaten almost completely by the cats.. Then I got fungus gnats. I thought I got rid of the problem but that was not the truth so I decided to make a new pot with new potting soil.

Thumb of 2016-03-21/cybersix/472ae0
Thumb of 2016-03-21/cybersix/ff0809

As you can see they don't look so healthy. For a couple of day I had the famous "fainting" leaves, but that was for transplant. Then some leaf started to dye. There is new growth as you can see. What should I do? Just wait and see? I only watered them with very diluted Miracle Grow after transplanting them.

Then there are other seedling from cross I got from the international seed bank:
Thumb of 2016-03-21/cybersix/be30fd

These seems to grow better they are much younger than the others, I'm afraid that container with vermiculite is getting small for them.
What sould I do with them?

I wanted to plant seedling outside but we will have some other light freezing at night (-1°C) and the sun still hits the garden for very few hours (better than the past month), plus rains should come again (light rain).

Waiting until april should be good? what would you advice?

And in the end a shot of the soil in the garden, in a non-treated spot, so you can see what the original soil looks like :

Thumb of 2016-03-21/cybersix/c1db55

DLs seems to like it they are growing fine (SEV DLs that disappeared almost completely for short time).
Many thanks for reading all this!

Sabrina, North Italy
My blog: http://hemerocallisblog.com
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
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sooby
Mar 21, 2016 9:34 AM CST
I agree the ones in the new potting mix don't look too good but if they have new growth in the middle that's a good sign. I would not immediately fertilize new transplants because it can make it harder for them to take up water. The ones in vermiculite will be fine for a while longer unless you leave them in hot sun or wind. If you think it will be much more than a couple of weeks before you can plant them out then maybe transplant them into something deeper. It won't kill them to stay where they are for a while longer as long as they don't get too dried out.

Edit: I should add that you may want to fertilize the ones in vermiculite if they are staying in it and you aren't already. As for the light rain, that's the best time ever for transplanting. Maybe you could do that and then cover them with something if it gets too cold?

Any more questions or do I have to go back to the housework now Hilarious!
[Last edited by sooby - Mar 21, 2016 9:36 AM (+)]
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Name: Sabrina
Italy, Brescia (Zone 8b)
Love daylilies and making candles!
Daylilies Cat Lover Region: Europe Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Level 1
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cybersix
Mar 21, 2016 9:52 AM CST
Hilarious! I always have questions!!!

The kind of Miracle Grow I have says it helps after transplanting shock. I used less than half of what they reccomend, anyway I'll be careful and use plain water.

Sun is not very hot, when it shines, because we have clouds.. I put them outside for a couple of hours then they go back in the basement under grow lights.

I will add some more vermiculite just because I'm afraid roots are touching the bottom of the container.

I dont'have anything to cover the seedlings if I plan them now, we have winds and some cold so I don't know if they can survive. Thank You!
Sabrina, North Italy
My blog: http://hemerocallisblog.com
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
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sooby
Mar 21, 2016 10:05 AM CST
I wouldn't add more vermiculite, it would make the crowns be deeper. It doesn't matter if the roots touch the bottom, they'll just run along where they can.

Quite possibly the MG didn't do any harm but the logic is that if you water with something with salts in it like a fertilizer it may draw water out of the roots if it is concentrated enough, or at least make it harder for the roots to take up the water (osmosis).
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
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sooby
Mar 21, 2016 10:36 AM CST
I went around in a few circles trying to find the label for Miracle Gro Quick Start Transplant fertilizer, 4-12-4 which I assume is what you used. I couldn't find it but from the web site it doesn't say for use in container plants. I'm thinking with that formulation it is for transplants into the garden when the soil is cool (otherwise the P doesn't need to be that high). From the MSDS the ingredients are ammonium phosphate, potassium phosphate and urea. In the proportions and the dilution you used it probably that isn't particularly salty but it's not necessary to go that high with P in containers. The main concern with transplants is getting enough water and a too salty fertilizer can interfere with that. Fertilizer is not an urgent need for transplants, especially if their roots are damaged in the process, and can wait until they're growing again, to be on the safe side.
Name: Sabrina
Italy, Brescia (Zone 8b)
Love daylilies and making candles!
Daylilies Cat Lover Region: Europe Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Level 1
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cybersix
Mar 21, 2016 11:44 AM CST
Sue the thing I call Miracle Grow it's a different thing here, it just has the same name, sorry!! It' a 7-5-5 general fertilizer with micronutrients, but they claim it has a patented system that helps metabolism and plants get stronger and more pest resistant. This is the italian link http://www.blumen.it/crescitamiracolosa.asp?pagina=crescita%...
Sabrina, North Italy
My blog: http://hemerocallisblog.com
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
Mar 21, 2016 12:16 PM CST
Sorry but my Italian is nowhere near as good as your English, in fact it is non-existent! Do you have a list of ingredients? I did run it through Google translate. What is the "miraculous RAM factor" ingredient?
Name: Sabrina
Italy, Brescia (Zone 8b)
Love daylilies and making candles!
Daylilies Cat Lover Region: Europe Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Level 1
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cybersix
Mar 21, 2016 12:47 PM CST
That is a secret ingredient. Nowhere it's mentioned what it contains I think it's patented. The other ingredients are N-P-K and microelements as B, Cu, Zn, Fe (chelated), Mn, Mg.
Sabrina, North Italy
My blog: http://hemerocallisblog.com
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
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sooby
Mar 21, 2016 12:58 PM CST
Interesting that it has Mg, a lot of fertilizers don't. By ingredients I was looking for the chemical names e.g. ammonium sulfate, urea, potassium phosphate, things like that . But it's not really necessary if the plants look like they'll be ok based on the middle leaves growing. Without knowing what the "secret" ingredient is, and probably even if I did know, I still wouldn't give new transplants any fertilizer immediately.
Name: Sabrina
Italy, Brescia (Zone 8b)
Love daylilies and making candles!
Daylilies Cat Lover Region: Europe Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Level 1
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cybersix
Mar 21, 2016 2:28 PM CST
Hilarious! Mg it's not in it I was going by memory but now I checked the label and no Mg. It has zinc. I will write the chemical symbols because I can't translate, sorry!
N 3,5%; N-NH3 3,5%; P2O 5%; K2O 5%;B 0,05%; Cu 0,014%; chelated Cu 0,014%; Fe 0,2%; chelated Fe 0,2%; Mn 0,1%; chelated Mn 0,1%; Zn 0,015%; chelated Zn 0,015%. Ph range 4-75.

The RAM secret ingredient should help plants metabolize and absorb the nutrients better than any other fertilizer.

I won't use it anymore and not after having transplanted in the garden when time will be!
Sabrina, North Italy
My blog: http://hemerocallisblog.com
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
Mar 21, 2016 2:45 PM CST
I don't see why you can't use it, I just wouldn't use it for the first few waterings right after you've transplanted. It's fine to use it once they have recovered from the transplanting. I know what the chemical symbols mean, I was looking for the actual ingredients that supply those chemical elements. Like for P and K it might contain potassium phosphate for example. That would give an indication of the fertilizer salt index. Not to worry, it probably wasn't strong enough to be very salty anyway.

Without knowing what the miraculous RAM stuff is it's hard to say whether it's useful or just advertising.
Name: Sabrina
Italy, Brescia (Zone 8b)
Love daylilies and making candles!
Daylilies Cat Lover Region: Europe Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Level 1
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cybersix
Mar 21, 2016 2:57 PM CST
No posphates on the label.

I will use it after transplanting but not immediately, that's what I wanted to say Green Grin!
Thumb of 2016-03-21/cybersix/a10932

In this picture from the website it's a supposed test in 12 weeks on five plants.
Left to right fertilized with: water, blood meal, common fertilizer and this "miracle grow".

The table it's the same from top to bottom, and second column is leaf count, third column is bloom count. Shrug!
Sabrina, North Italy
My blog: http://hemerocallisblog.com
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
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sooby
Mar 21, 2016 3:19 PM CST
It must have some source of phosphorous in it because the middle number is not 0. I just gave potassium phosphate as an example, I'm not specifically looking for phosphate. I would need more info for the comparison pictures, like are they growing in plain sand which is what is often the case for such tests. In which case it's not surprising the water only one would be small. I don't know if it says whether they applied all the other three fertilizers to supply the same rate of nitrogen, or whether there were enough microorganisms to convert the organic part of the N in blood meal to a form the plants can use in sufficient time for the test. Or what was in the "common fertilizer". To look at it critically one would need more information. I think there might be a study mentioned at the bottom? The analysis seems fine, though, so there's no reason I can see not to use it.
[Last edited by sooby - Mar 21, 2016 3:21 PM (+)]
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Name: Sabrina
Italy, Brescia (Zone 8b)
Love daylilies and making candles!
Daylilies Cat Lover Region: Europe Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Level 1
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cybersix
Mar 21, 2016 3:29 PM CST
Yes, it has phosphoric anhydride (P2O).

the experiment seems to be in soil but since this is only on the producer site I'm taking it as a claim. I know many people use this fertilizer with satisfaction, I'm wondering if it's a sort of plant doping Smiling
Sabrina, North Italy
My blog: http://hemerocallisblog.com
Name: Ken
East S.F. Bay Area (Zone 9a)
Region: California
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CaliFlowers
Mar 21, 2016 4:01 PM CST
Sabrina,

Your seedlings in vermiculite should be just fine for several more weeks of growth. (At this time of year, that may take more than several weeks... Big Grin )

In any case, I wouldn't mess with them until they have put on some size and made enough roots to hold most of the existing vermiculite together when you tip/tug the plants out. Then all you need to do is add new mix underneath, set the root ball back down, lightly brush away any loose vermiculite from the top layer and add some new mix to cover. The idea is to disturb the roots as little as possible while giving them something new to grow into. Even if that new mix is different, such as bagged potting mix, it won't hurt to leave the original root ball of vermiculite intact. If you're doing this during very favorable weather, such as a stretch of overcast skies with pleasant rains, you could shake the roots gently, mix the original vermiculite with some bagged mix, and use that as your new soil.

Also, whenever transplanting seedlings, don't put too much soil mix over the crowns — 5-6 mm is plenty. (check to see that no roots are showing after the plants are watered.) The bagged mix you're showing in the other photos looks like it could probably benefit from 10% perlite to lighten it.

Most of this is extra-cautious advice, and once you've raised more seedlings you'll have a better idea of what they can take. When I transplant seedlings, I'll sometimes hold a few of the runts back and place them in a jug of water. With adequate sunlight, and the occasional splash of liquid fertilizer, it's not unusual for them to live through the rest of the summer and even through the next winter.

Your garden soil would benefit from a light, but well-maintained covering of mulch. Nothing so fine-textured that it packs down and becomes just another layer of soil, but something that lets air and water through while shading the soil and keeping it moist. Since the native soil seems to be performing well, a mulch is probably better than digging a bunch of organic matter directly into the soil. With a mulch, the soil organisms do all the work for you.

Were you ever able to find alfalfa pellets? (make sure they don't have added salts.) I use them under a coarse mulch sometimes.

Ken
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Mar 21, 2016 4:03 PM CST
The P20 isn't actually the fertilizer ingredient - it's complicated. I don't think it is plant "doping", it could be a perfectly normal result. A test like that wouldn't normally be done in soil but since I can't see how they did it I have no idea what they did. But, with plant nutrition there is a thing called the law of the minimum. That means that if any of the essential nutrients is deficient then it doesn't matter how much of the others you give it, they will be limited in performance by the deficient one. When you grow in pots you are the one who must make sure all the essential nutrients are supplied in sufficient amounts. If the "common fertilizer" only contained NPK and not any micronutrients, then it is normal that the one with the micronutrients would do better unless there's some other source in the growing mix that applied to all of the pots. So the better performance could just be the result of supplying all the nutrients the plants needed whereas the others didn't. (Although calcium and magnesium are not supplied in the fertilizer, I don't know what they did about those).
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
Mar 21, 2016 6:15 PM CST
I sow 3-5 seeds in a cup. The seedlings get really crowded before I can get them transplanted outside. When I remove them from the cup, the roots are all tangled together, but with a hose spraying water on the roots, I can typically untangle them without breaking any roots pieces. The growth in the cup slows down when they get that crowded, but I've had to keep them in the cup longer than anticipated and they did fine. Sometimes the smallest plant will die, but usually they all do okay.

I just sowed another 50+ seeds in cups. I have NO idea where I am going to plant them when they need to be transplanted outside. Whistling Hilarious! Hilarious! Hilarious!
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Name: Sabrina
Italy, Brescia (Zone 8b)
Love daylilies and making candles!
Daylilies Cat Lover Region: Europe Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Level 1
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cybersix
Mar 22, 2016 2:16 AM CST
Ken - thank you so much for advices. For now I willlet seedlings as they are, will se if the ones in the pot will recover a bit (I hope!).
The ones in vermiculite are there since the end of february.
I like the native soil even if it's not so good to look at, and it's hard to work when I need to dig for planting, but as I said before is full of earthworms and I believe it means it's quite rich. I couldn't find alfalfa pellets because I have to find an equivalent italian product and understand what it really is (is it a horse food?). So I should mulch all the year long?

Sue - I can see the point, and I don't believe in miracles if they are on the producer page, with so few details. I read a lot of italian forums and people who's using this fertilizer see the difference, but it's quite costly for a garden. many says the same good result are obtained with a granular fertilizer called NPK gold which is a 15-9-15 with micro nutrients and magnesium too. The N in there is of two types, one is immediatley available and the other is a slow release N. Not that it costs less, it's about 1€ per Kg, but for a garden makes more sense!
Sabrina, North Italy
My blog: http://hemerocallisblog.com
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
Mar 22, 2016 6:38 AM CST
cybersix said:

Sue - I can see the point, and I don't believe in miracles if they are on the producer page, with so few details. I read a lot of italian forums and people who's using this fertilizer see the difference, but it's quite costly for a garden. many says the same good result are obtained with a granular fertilizer called NPK gold which is a 15-9-15 with micro nutrients and magnesium too. The N in there is of two types, one is immediatley available and the other is a slow release N. Not that it costs less, it's about 1€ per Kg, but for a garden makes more sense!


Sabrina, I'm not sure if alfalfa pellets would be easily available or cost effective for you there because, unless things have changed since I lived in Europe, it is not as widely grown there as it is in North America. I don't know what the Italian name for it is but another alternative name in some countries is lucerne.

Re the fertilizer, the one you are using also has fast and slower release forms of nitrogen based on the numbers you gave. When people give comparison opinions and see a difference it depends on what they were fertilizing with before, or if they were fertilizing at all. It also makes a difference whether the plant is in soilless media in a pot or in the ground. In the ground the nutrients are naturally all there, otherwise the ground would be bare of vegetation. What can happen is that some nutrients aren't there in sufficient amounts for the optimum growth that we might want in a plant, or we might have planted something not suited to the nutrient balance or the soil pH. So we have to make additions or adjustments.

The only nutrient that doesn't come naturally from soil particles is nitrogen, which relies on microorganisms capturing it from the atmosphere (or fertilizer!). In soilless potting mixes it depends what is in the mix. Some media ingredients have very little or almost no nutrients naturally so we have to add them all, including micros. That's where you may see a significant difference between fertilizers.

If you're fertilizing in the ground you may only need NPK, or maybe even just N and K, or just N. You may or may not need to add micros but you probably should to soilless media in a pot. The same with calcium and magnesium. In your case with your high calcium soil/water you would not need to add calcium (usually done with lime) and may not need to add magnesium to your garden soil.

So there's nothing wrong with your fertilizer as far as I can see, and there's no reason (without seeing the ingredients or a test) that the NPK gold wouldn't work as well. There's no benefit in going higher with nutrients that are in adequate supply, in fact it can be detrimental. In the garden often all that it takes to make the micronutrients that are already there available to the plants is to lower the soil pH. In that case you wouldn't need to include micronutrients in the fertilizer.

I think this is getting too long so I will stop now Hilarious! I don't think there is anything wrong with your fertilizer. You may be able to find something that works as well for you but is less expensive for the garden, where you do not need to provide all the essential nutrients because they're already there. In a pot you do need to provide all the nutrients so you are more likely to need something like the one you are using.


Name: Sabrina
Italy, Brescia (Zone 8b)
Love daylilies and making candles!
Daylilies Cat Lover Region: Europe Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Level 1
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cybersix
Mar 22, 2016 10:16 AM CST
Sue, did you have other houseworks to do? Hilarious!

Thanks so much for your post, here weather is not getting better so I guess I can wait a bit more for my seedlings. Today I found the same "italian miracle grow" but in granular form, with magnesium too. I bought it and added a little bit around the adult DLs. Then I removed sedum from the portion of garden I will use for my seedling, probably I will have to remove sedum again because even a tiny bit of it roots and makes a new plant. So I added horse manure to the soil, I greeted a happy group of earthworms and that's it for now. Sure I can't plant my seedling before the first days of april, weather forecast says it will rain and it will be a bit cold.
Sabrina, North Italy
My blog: http://hemerocallisblog.com

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