Lilies forum: Why are my lily stalks twisted at the top?

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Name: Taqiyyah
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Container Gardener Winter Sowing Plant and/or Seed Trader Roses Salvias Seed Starter
Vegetable Grower Region: Mid-Atlantic
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lovesblooms
May 22, 2016 9:20 AM CST
Is there anything to blame for this strange bent/twisted heads on my oriental lilies?

Thumb of 2016-05-22/lovesblooms/7a199e
Thumb of 2016-05-22/lovesblooms/2ca1cd
Thumb of 2016-05-22/lovesblooms/8bb8da

Think it could be the excessive rain here this season? I can't recall for sure, but I think I also remember odd looking blooms, too.

This happened last season to a few of them, but this year it seems all are affected. It was very rainy last spring, too.
[Last edited by lovesblooms - May 22, 2016 9:21 AM (+)]
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Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
May 23, 2016 5:22 AM CST
To address some of the other possibilities in the other thread:
--- Lawn weed killers would not affect lilies in that way. Lilies are monocots, like grass. Overspray of an herbicide like Round Up that goes after everything is possible, I suppose, but unlikely.
--- Since the insects that would cause this kind of damage would usually be sucking insects and not the type that eat parts of the plant/leaves, you would not see anything "missing". But I don't think it is insects, anyway.

My best guess is something environmental, since it all seemed to have happened at the same time. A cold snap a week or so ago? I suppose insects could do this, if they damaged one side of the stem, but not probable, in my opinion.

At any rate, your lilies will be fine in the long run. They may look a little wonky for the rest of this season, though.
Name: Taqiyyah
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Container Gardener Winter Sowing Plant and/or Seed Trader Roses Salvias Seed Starter
Vegetable Grower Region: Mid-Atlantic
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lovesblooms
May 23, 2016 7:48 AM CST
Maybe the environmental effect is all the rain and cloud cover? It's been like three weeks straight, with only a spotty day or so of sunshine. I'm thinking they're not happy there's no sun to stretch towards. But my tiger lilies don't seem to mind...

Well, glad to hear they'll be okay, thank you, Rick.
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
May 24, 2016 6:24 AM CST
Lilium are apparently somewhat resistant to glyphosate (RoundUp) but can be affected by some broad-leaved herbicides - this was just a process of elimination. If it's known that nothing was used in the neighbourhood then that can be ruled out. I had also asked about other pesticides because it isn't just herbicides that can cause problems. Since there was none of the above, then you might want to look at possibly a virus (especially since they were affected last year too) or some kind of pest. Not all pests that can cause distortion and bending are present on the plant all the time, or necessarily readily visible if they are, so you may not necessarily see anything when you look. The reason I thought of pesticides, other than that it is always considered with this type of symptom, is that some leaves on the adjacent plant are also distorted. That could also apply to a pest common to both, or be two different things of course.

I don't think it is foliar nematodes, there doesn't seem to be enough browning and the stems are also affected, but just to eliminate that possibility here's an article with a picture:

http://pnwhandbooks.org/plantdisease/lily-lilium-spp-nematod...

I did notice that there is what looks like browning on a stem or two. Is that a camera effect or is there really?

Also what are the black specks on the leaves? Just trying to eliminate pests (so figure out whether that could be droppings). I thought I could see something that looked like a bug on one or two of the pictures but it's not clear and may just be a shadow or something.

None of this is intended to alarm you but when faced with an unfamiliar plant problem one needs to go through a process of elimination to see what one is left with. I'd be surprised if wet cloudy weather would do this, especially bending to one side and distortion. Cold maybe, or hail even.
[Last edited by sooby - May 24, 2016 6:24 AM (+)]
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Name: Taqiyyah
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Container Gardener Winter Sowing Plant and/or Seed Trader Roses Salvias Seed Starter
Vegetable Grower Region: Mid-Atlantic
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lovesblooms
May 24, 2016 7:18 AM CST
The black specks are bloodmeal to keep the deer off.

The stems aren't browning, but some of the leaves at the top seem to have browned slightly as they twisted.

It has been cool, with nights down in the forties for the past month, but not freezing.

Maybe something was used in the neighborhood and blew it this way but with all the rain I really doubt it. My asiatics are among them, and I've never noticed this effect on them. They're naturally shorter though.

It's just odd because this is the second time this has happened, and only to the oriental lilies (Salmon Star).

By adjacent, do you mean the lilies adjacent in the picture? I haven't seen distorted leaves on any of the other plants in the bed.
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
May 24, 2016 7:35 AM CST
By adjacent I meant the smaller plants to the left in the top picture. Some of the shoots over-hanging the pathway appear to have puckered top leaves.

In this study below, the Oriental lily tested with herbicides was more sensitive than the Easter lily and Asiatic. Whether that difference happens with these types in general I have no idea but you can get different reactions based on variations in exposure to drift, and varying sensitivities between plants.

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Pablo_Marinangeli/publi...
Name: Taqiyyah
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Container Gardener Winter Sowing Plant and/or Seed Trader Roses Salvias Seed Starter
Vegetable Grower Region: Mid-Atlantic
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lovesblooms
May 24, 2016 1:02 PM CST
I didn't realize the puckered leaves were abnormal. It's soapwort. Looking at a few pics of new growth on the web, it seems the puckering is common to a certain extent...
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
Image
sooby
May 24, 2016 2:29 PM CST
If it's normal for the plant (didn't know what plant it was) it's not a clue, then. There were two or three shoots at the back of the picture by the path that looked curled at the leaf edges as well as puckered, that was what I was primarily looking at.
Name: Taqiyyah
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Container Gardener Winter Sowing Plant and/or Seed Trader Roses Salvias Seed Starter
Vegetable Grower Region: Mid-Atlantic
Image
lovesblooms
May 24, 2016 2:34 PM CST
Oh, sorry--that's a bad angle. Those are just turned away because I'd dug some up recently and they were kind of bending over.
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Jun 23, 2016 7:33 PM CST
lovesblooms said:Is there anything to blame for this strange bent/twisted heads on my oriental lilies?

Thumb of 2016-05-22/lovesblooms/7a199e
Thumb of 2016-05-22/lovesblooms/2ca1cd
Thumb of 2016-05-22/lovesblooms/8bb8da



I'd be interested in seeing what these plants look like now, about a month later after the fact. It appears that there was a lot of top soft tissue growth during the extended cool weather period in conjunction with an over abundance of moisture. When a plant and bulb is saturated at it's maximum holding capacity for water, the uptake or absorption of certain minerals needed to build a strong stem are severely diminished ( think minerals like calcium is to strong bones in people ). When the weight of the top becomes too heavy for the soft skeletal framework to support the stem, it bends over. Quite often and if not too severe, the situation is self correcting, as soon as there's ample sunshine, warmer temperatures and moisture levels decline. The stem may harden back up with a bend in the middle but this problem will have no affect on next years performance.

Note: I see something similar on Div. VI, Trumpets and Aurelians quite often with newly budded stems=fast growth on warm nights. After one 80'F night a few days ago, I got up to about 12 or 15 like shown in the pictures below. All but a couple self corrected by the next day. Those in the pictures did not.


Thumb of 2016-06-24/Roosterlorn/501905


Thumb of 2016-06-24/Roosterlorn/82aa7e

Name: Taqiyyah
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Container Gardener Winter Sowing Plant and/or Seed Trader Roses Salvias Seed Starter
Vegetable Grower Region: Mid-Atlantic
Image
lovesblooms
Jun 24, 2016 8:10 PM CST
Thanks for asking for the update, Lorn. They have in fact done exactly as you observed with your lilies. Now they all look perfectly fine, and have budded well. Glad it really was just the extra rain.
[Last edited by lovesblooms - Jun 24, 2016 8:10 PM (+)]
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Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Jun 24, 2016 8:36 PM CST
Good news! Thanks for reporting back. Thumbs up

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