There's a lot of scientific information available about daylilies that have been tested for performance with Rust, Leaf Streak, and Spring Sickness. Keep in mind that resistant ratings do not mean cultivars will not get these diseases. It means that they were observed to get only 50% or less of their foliage affected with those diseases, and thus performed well enough to be considered acceptable garden and helpful breeding specimens. Resistant cultivars were seen to self-recover without any treatment and were found to be presentable for garden display with foliage trimmed to remove (and discard) affected leaves.
Averaged Rust rankings can be found for individual cultivars in the ATP database here. Or, you can search en-mass in the Search by Characteristics page here.
More information about the source of the scores is here.
Scores for the fungus that is associated with Leaf Streak and Spring Sickness are linked here.
Additionally, listed below are daylily recommendations for cultivars that have been tested for both of the fungi that are related to rust, leaf streak, and spring sickness. Recommendations come from a non-commercial home hobby hybridizing garden in a coastal state with temps ranging from 25-105 degrees, marine and desert/sandy soil, and low rainfall.
I'll update recommendations over time, so you are welcome to check back to find more options, and feel free to send a tree-mail if you have questions or feedback about any of the daylilies listed. I'd love to hear from you about any that are growing and doing well in your own gardens!
Daylilies that are, or have lineages that include cultivars that on average tested resistant (50% or less foliage affected) for fungi associated with rust, leaf streak, and spring sickness:
Daylily (Hemerocallis 'Darker Shade')
Daylily (Hemerocallis 'Dil-Robin Nichols')
Daylily (Hemerocallis 'Donna Mead')
Daylily (Hemerocallis 'Handwriting on the Wall')
Daylily (Hemerocallis 'Little Liza Jane')
Daylily (Hemerocallis 'Open Secret')
Daylily (Hemerocallis 'Regal Giant')
Daylily (Hemerocallis 'Tremor')
Daylily (Hemerocallis 'Woodside Ruby')
Updated October, 2014, and to be continued as next summer's blooms arrive ... !
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Huh! Turns out it is easy, almost unavoidable, in this day and age to pick up one's first bona fide organic material, or find an organic landscape maintenance service, for tending daylilies!
For example, DH and I were recently at a garden center and needed soil for our newest seedlings that have just started to sprout. While there, by the way, something magical happened, it rained softly for about an hour ... at the end of July ... in drought-stricken California! Everyone there was mesmerized, like snowfall in Florida so rare, and we all felt a tug of memory that transported us back to a tropical forest we once visited, as we strolled among the greenery there. Our happiness was only added to when we found that....
There were certified organic products _everywhere_ !!! So we grabbed an OMRI-stamped bag to bring home for our seedlings. It was about 35-cents more than non-certified soil, but for such a huge bag we thought it to be money well spent!
There are also many organic landscape service providers who can tend a daylily garden in ways that are safe for kids, pets, and the earth. Here is a small sample as example - not meant to be exhaustive or recommended, just a quick list to whet the appetite:
Sampling of Services Coast to Coast (some tuck organic service offerings into their sub-pages):
CA - http://www.organiclandscape.co...
CO - http://ecoscapedesign.com/
FL - http://www.floridaorganiclawna...
IN - http://indy.naturalawn.com/fra...
MN - http://organiclawnsbylunseth.c...
NJ - http://www.dabahdesigns.com/
OH - http://www.portageturf.com/law...
TN - http://www.morgreenlandscape.c...
TX - http://dotdirt.com/
UT - http://wasatchnatural.com/inde...
You will also find that the list of organic daylily cultivar sources has expanded again (posted earlier) and now includes Canada (Go Maples!). I'm hoping someone might tap me on the shoulder to identify sources that are available in additional countries, and even to begin adding website links for home gardens that are transitioning to or already growing their daylilies organically. We have so much to learn from each other, and it's a shame to miss anyone who just might not happen to be googelicious.
Here's a derivative parody on a cartoon that featured the initial interests of a fish as it evolved into a land animal ... it reminds me of the ever present changes and adjustments we make in life as we encounter new things and try to take everything in (like organics, lol):
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After most of the garden died under the withering heat and sun our first summer, I decided to change things up and try other plants that might be a better fit for the gardens. This time I would arm myself with more knowledge before I brought things home from the local nurseries. At least I would know that the plants were rated for our climate zone, and I'd pick up some that would offer a little shade to others in the garden. The handful of stragglers that survived the first summer would be rescued and relocated.
Southern grasses, large herbs, and bi-annual dianthus, to name a few, went in and splashed the yard with color. Larger, zone-appropriate cacti thrived in the same beds that had done in the smaller, more tender ones before. The fuchsia were rescued - I don't know how any made it, but a few survived in a tiny patch of shade provided by the shed - and more were bought in to brighten up our bare porch.
Still, there were more lessons to learn. About half of my new plants were lost from this group, again at the height of summer heat. I finally realized what a challenge we faced. One flowering plant was extremely invasive. Another was supposed to re-seed but did so only slightly; a lot of work to keep it going annually. Yet one more took so much watering that I knew it would not make the grade.
There were also a couple of scary visits to the vet's office, first when one dog inhaled a seed from a large grass plant. The seed was barbed, slipped deeply into his nasal passage, and thus was nearly impossible to dislodge - the sneezing it caused soon turned into blood running from his nose. The other dog got a hold of some of the flowering plants, ate them, and became violently ill. New lessons: check the ASPCA site for plants that are safe for pets! Back to square one ...
RIP - Sweet But Tender, Toxic, or Invasive Lovelies
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I'm sure that everyone has a different idea about what it means to be "organic," and must wonder at my embracing the term "near-organic." So, I thought I'd start at the beginning and find out what various sources have to say.
1) Wiki: Generally, the avoidance of any synthetic chemicals not on the USDA list of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (e.g. fertilizer, pesticides, antibiotics, etc.). No use of genetically modified organisms, irradiation, or the use of sewage sludge for irrigation. Farmland must be free from prohibited synthetic chemicals for a number of years (often, three or more). A detailed audit trail of production and practices must be maintained. Keeping strict physical separation between organic products and non-certified products. And, periodic on-site inspections.
2) USDA: Generally, "...synthetic substances are prohibited unless specifically allowed and non-synthetic substances are allowed unless specifically prohibited." Maintains the list of 1) Synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production. (§205.601) and 2) Nonsynthetic substances prohibited for use in organic crop production. (§205.602).
Their broad definitions make it easier to check out if something I want to use in the garden is really considered harmless and organic.
3) OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute): Maintains searchable lists of over 3,000 products that are considered organic.
4) National Organic Program (NOP) Regulations outline many first-step ways to increase plant performance, combat pests, and deal with disesases. They are a simple but effective list to review before considering the use of other substances.
Regarding "near-organic" ... I think there is always a first step that can help distance anyone from practices and products that are not considered completely safe, and closer to considering things that are less detrimental to health and environment, that are familiar and easy to get. So, for example, the next time you are looking for insecticide, check the big box and online stores for Safer's Soap and Ortho's Elementals, liquid insecticides that are fully certified as organic, and that are readily available at affordable prices at big box stores and online.
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Unheard of in the heartland, it hadn't occurred to me that an environment left to go arid for five years would have a lot of problems supporting healthy growth - I was just excited to finally have a place to discover the joys of tending a garden and being surrounded by beauty. Such are the joys of initial honeymoon delights. But furrowed brows and wrinkles soon enough set in, and life commences with more lessons to impart.
I never knew to flinch as each lesson arrived. Though no one would discern the finer weave of what unfolded, nature quickly showed forth how well connected and influential the environment can be. I trusted the local nurseries to sell what fared well in this area, and was delighted to finally set out a first, rudimentary garden.
The Ground Floor
None of these plants were able to thrive long enough to survive a summer in the garden, not even the cacti. I though maybe it was just a lack in planting and grounding techniques. Or, perhaps it was not enough amending, watering and fertilizing. I would soon try again, seeing the same plants offered up at many of the local farms and nurseries. I was convinced that people must really be finding that these lovely recruits could thrive in our 105 degree summers under a withering sun ...
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