I spent the first five years buying that pretty face. In some cases that did not satisfy me, but I did not know what else I wanted.
In the last two years I have become rather savvy about these lovely flowers, and that is partly due to the contributing members of ATP. I did not have to ask questions because others were already asking. I read, read again, and started to make a list of the characteristics that were more desirable to me.
Once the list was complete, I became a wiser shopper. I read all of the information available through the database and observations made by other daylily growers and hybridizers. I usually stay away from the ones whose hybridizer does not list the number of branching.
The characteristics are in order of importance:
Scape height, 28" minimum, does not bloom in the foliage.
Strong scapes that will not flop over.
Well balanced branching on scape; for me, more than three.
High bud count, over 30.
Grows well in NE Indiana.
Reblooms here in NE Indiana.
Good substance blooms, not tissue paper.
Flowers open well, especially here in NE Indiana.
I do understand that some characteristics will not show the first two years; however, I do trust the stats found in the database. I searched on ATP's database according to only two characteristics, branching and bud count. Based on the results, I first listed on my notes the ones that I already had. I had bought these because of their pretty faces or because they were very inexpensive. I was very surprised that I had many that fit most of my requirements.
It was time consuming to do the research, but having the information helped me to determine which of my existing daylilies fit my requirements. I sorted the cultivars according to bud count, followed by branch count. I added cultivars to the list in descending order from the highest bud count, followed by branch count. Bud count less than 30 did not make the list unless it had very high branch count.
Eight Miles High has a bud count of 21-25 on 30" scapes, but the branch count is 5. The other feature that helped put this cultivar on my list was the uniqueness of the pretty face.
Piping Rock cost less than $5 per double fan from Maryott's as a discontinued cultivar.
46+ bud count
And now I know that it does very well here.
Crazy Miss Daisy is another inexpensive daylily that I already had, and it meets my requirements.
45 " tall.
41-45 bud count
There were many more that I already had that fit my requirements. That gave me a great feeling of accomplishment. I finally had a plan to follow.
In the spring of 2014, Michele (Tink) offered me choices to replace daylilies that did not make through the winter before shipping. I researched all the choices and I selected Irish Jackpot as one replacement. That was true serendipity! It has scapes that will reach 34" with over 46 bud count on 8 branches. I was in love.
I returned to the database to search for cultivars with 8 or 9 branches. I added to my list those that I did not already have, and started to shop for them on the Lily Auction and with Maryott's. Since then, I have bought many from the list.
My dilemma now is deciding what to do with those that do not fit my requirements. I am still working on this, and I am sure that the answer will present itself.