Daylilies forum: What to expect?

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Name: Dave
Fairfax County VA (Zone 7b)
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daverme
Apr 20, 2019 1:41 PM CST
Many of my daylilies have put up an abundance of foliage - they look spectacularly robust. My concern is that they are putting to much energy into growing leaves now which will have a negative impact on flower production when the time comes. Opinions eagerly solicited.
Name: Diana
Lincoln, NE (Zone 5b)
Daylilies Region: Nebraska Organic Gardener Dog Lover Bookworm
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ShakespearesGarden
Apr 20, 2019 2:15 PM CST
Dave, I think they'll be okay. All of mine are about the same as you describe, lush green foliage. I think the greenery may even help, as the green sends energy to the roots, which in turn sends it to where it's needed- to healthy, well-budded scapes one can hope!
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Name: Jill
Baltimore, MD (Zone 7b)
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Jillz
Apr 20, 2019 2:23 PM CST
I agree with Diana. Lush foliage = photosynthesis = energy for the plant. Relax Dave, it sounds like your garden is doing great
Name: Tina
Greenup, Ky (Zone 6b)
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beenthere
Apr 20, 2019 2:51 PM CST
I know with some plants, my Crocosmia for example, fertilization leads to more foliage and fewer blooms. I only ever use alfalfa pellets, which I feel is really simply feeding the worm population. But they in turn fertilize the plants. The Daylilies don't respond the same way. The more foliage, the more blooms. At least that's my observation.
Name: Betty
MN zone 4
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daylilydreams
Apr 20, 2019 4:08 PM CST
They are all correct daylilies will have lots foliage then will produce scapes with blooms, I have been growing them for years.
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Betty MN Zone4 AHS member

Name: Tim
West Chicago, IL (Zone 5a)
Daylilies Native Plants and Wildflowers Vegetable Grower
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Lyshack
Apr 20, 2019 5:14 PM CST
I'm sure everyone else is right about the foliage, but just to give you something else to think about, someone much smarter than me once told me that you'll get good scapes and buds if your plants get plenty of water when the scapes are forming.
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Daylilies Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
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Seedfork
Apr 20, 2019 5:29 PM CST
@daverme,
Can you provide photos of the plants with the abundance of foliage? I suppose there could be a situation where too much nitrogen fed to the plants in early spring could cause them to put too much growth into the spectacularly robust foliage, but I don't think that has ever happened to me here. Do you use a lot of fertilizer? If not then I don't think you will find the robust foliage to be a problem.
Are the plants doing much better than normal this year? Have you had a wet spring?
Edited to add some photos:
This is typical of what the foliage on my plants look like today.
Thumb of 2019-04-20/Seedfork/15ce78
Thumb of 2019-04-20/Seedfork/a099b8
Thumb of 2019-04-20/Seedfork/c3ec8a
Thumb of 2019-04-20/Seedfork/803aed

[Last edited by Seedfork - Apr 20, 2019 5:32 PM (+)]
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
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sooby
Apr 20, 2019 5:50 PM CST
Lyshack said:I'm sure everyone else is right about the foliage, but just to give you something else to think about, someone much smarter than me once told me that you'll get good scapes and buds if your plants get plenty of water when the scapes are forming.


The scapes potentially start forming months before bloom, even the previous year. At what point the number of buds on those scapes becomes set is not known though.

Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
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Seedfork
Apr 20, 2019 9:22 PM CST
"You'll get good scapes and buds if your plants get plenty of water when the scapes are forming."
"The scapes potentially start forming months before bloom, even the previous year." Not sure exactly what "potentially" means here.
I would love to know more about the scapes forming this far in advance. I always assumed the scapes formed fairly quickly and that the blooms followed a few weeks later. So maybe it is true that you will get good scapes if your plants get plenty of water when the scapes are forming, that just maybe months before we are normally thinking?
What are the scapes doing during that long of a delay, what are the stages of a developing scape?
[Last edited by Seedfork - Apr 20, 2019 9:44 PM (+)]
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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
Apr 21, 2019 5:52 AM CST
Larry when I read that the scapes start to develop the year before I examined some of my daylilies under a microscope one November several years ago. One early bloomer had a baby scape about half an inch long, a couple of others had baby scapes barely starting although buds could be distinguished. They would just be dormant through the cold winter months and then start to grow the following year.

One of the smaller scapes with a pen for size comparison (note the crown was cut in half vertically to help me find the scape):
Thumb of 2019-04-21/sooby/c34119

The half inch one
Thumb of 2019-04-21/sooby/7addce

The buds on the half inch one under the microscope after removing the bract
Thumb of 2019-04-21/sooby/4e72c9

The top tiny scape taken under a microscope
Thumb of 2019-04-21/sooby/1f7bbf


[Last edited by sooby - Apr 21, 2019 5:55 AM (+)]
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Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
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Seedfork
Apr 21, 2019 7:22 AM CST
I am in a much warmer climate, so I assume that maybe those immature scapes would have gone ahead and matured and produced blooms down here and not have stalled in the process? Maybe the plant if grown down here would have actually produced a series of rebloom scapes and maybe the process would not have been so protracted and drawn out?
Have you ever had any feed back from breeders down in Florida on the length of time the scapes are in the process of forming ? I would love to get an idea of how long it takes for scapes to form here in my garden, and that might give me a better idea of just when the plants need extra water and fertilizer to help form stronger scapes and form them faster. Then again the best practice might just be to see that they have the best of growing conditions all the time, but I have already noticed from all the rain that a few plants have had blasted scapes.
I think you have done a wonderful job of presenting the process of the formation of a scape with the photos you created using the camera and the microscope. Great job...love how you present things in such a scientific manner.
It appears in one photo that the daylily is developing a "helping hand for you in the garden". Hurray!
Name: Tim
West Chicago, IL (Zone 5a)
Daylilies Native Plants and Wildflowers Vegetable Grower
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Lyshack
Apr 21, 2019 12:14 PM CST
Very cool, Sue. Thanks for the detailed explanation. Those pictures are crazy awesome!

I had assumed when I was told that water was important, that we were talking about that 2.5 to 3.5 week period when the scapes were increasing in mass. When they were going from the "oh, look, those aren't leaves. It's a scape!" phase to when starts (or finishes?) blooming. Last year was a good example for me, as it was very dry in July. I documented declines in branching and bloom counts in far more plants than any previous year, as well as more dropped buds.

Not very scientific, so I could easily be wrong, I guess.

My other point wasn't well made, and that's that if Larry's performance stats are off this year, there are other factors besides the foliage that could be impacting it, so it's hard to say what he should expect.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
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sooby
Apr 22, 2019 5:27 AM CST
Seedfork said:
Have you ever had any feed back from breeders down in Florida on the length of time the scapes are in the process of forming ?

I think you have done a wonderful job of presenting the process of the formation of a scape with the photos you created using the camera and the microscope. Great job...love how you present things in such a scientific manner.


Thanks, Larry Smiling

The only reference I remember off the top of my head for Florida was a comment by Ben Arthur Davis in his book Daylilies and how to grow them, where he said scapes were present in February. As far as I recall he did not say whether they had looked before February or at what size the baby scapes were that they found. I would have to look at the book again and may not have time today but will try.

I do not recall any Florida (or other) hybridizers mentioning having looked for early un-emerged scapes. Most people probably don't want to do this because it basically destroys the fan. When I looked at mine I only took pieces from daylilies that had formed large clumps for the most part. Anybody could do this but I must admit it is likely easier under a dissecting microscope except for ones like the very early bloomer in my pic that had a half inch scape in November that could not be missed. One other issue with doing this is that you also have to luck out and get a fan that intends to flower otherwise you obviously won't find a baby scape even if the cultivar does normally form them then!

An article by Shull who looked at early scape develoment said:

"In general it would seem that the early varieties, due to bloom in April or early May in the latitude of Washington, D. C, lay down their blossom buds before winter sets in and lie over in this condition ready to jump into action at the first stirring of spring. However, in one early variety, Aureole, no such buds were found in October though the crowns seemed sufficiently well developed to warrant expectation of bloom in 1942.

No dissection of known late bloomers disclosed blossom buds at this time. Whether or not blossom bud formation goes on even during the otherwise dormant condition of these later flowering sorts, or whether they are formed during the early growth of spring, will have to remain for further investigation."

Arisumi did some research on scape initiation and found several months between when they start and when they flower. I would have to dig out the paper later for the exact details unless Maurice @admmad has them handy.
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Apr 23, 2019 9:17 AM CST
These dates are those that apply to Maryland and were determined by Arisumi & Frazier. They found that the time at which the scapes start to develop is determined by when in the growing season the plants actually flower.

Early blooming cultivars initiate their scapes from July to October the year before they flower.

Early mid-season bloomer initiated scapes in December the year before they flower.

Late mid-season cultivars initiated scapes in March of the year that they flower.

In Florida, early, mid and late flowering cultivars had all developed scapes by February.

Those dates may well be misleading.

Daylilies develop their scapes when the growing point reaches some mature size. It is the last thing that a mature growing point does because it is destroyed (consumed) in producing the parts of the scape. The crown then must develop a new (replacement) growing point for the one that is consumed in producing the scape. That development starts, at the latest, when the previous growing point reached the size to stop producing leaves and to become the scape. The developing growing point may grow large enough to produce its own scape even as it develops and possibly even before it sprouts. That depends on the size of the crown, the fan of leaves and how well the daylily is being grown (how close to optimum conditions the fertilizer, light, water and temperature are).

In some plant species, the buds (growing points) with their inflorescences (scapes) can stack like nesting dolls. We do not know if daylilies can do that in locations where the growing season is very long and the winters are mild. I expect that they can do so. Most daylilies can rebloom and given appropriate conditions many can rebloom in even my location. That means that most mature daylily crowns are likely to have two scapes developed and stacked at some time.

In locations with long growing seasons and mild winters I would expect that if a daylily produces three scapes in a growing season then the time between the appearance of the second and third scapes is the amount of time that daylily requires to develop a scape (at the temperatures it experiences). Since temperature affects development time, the first scape to flower in a growing season will take longer to develop (due to lower temperatures during "winter" in mild winter, long growing season areas).
Maurice
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
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sooby
Apr 24, 2019 5:13 AM CST
"Those dates may well be misleading."

Are those dates from The Initial and Early Developmental Stages of the Floral Scape in Hemerocallis, Maurice? If so they based the conclusion on only three cultivars, an E, EM and MLa. If their finding for those three can be extrapolated to all daylilies in those flowering-time categories, then scapes must start earlier in colder areas because one of those that I found developing scapes with buds in November here was an EM. Although tiny, the scape was visible to the naked eye, as shown in my pic with the pen (although I had to use the microscope to find it in the first place). But according to Arisumi & Frazier it should not have happened until December based on their 'Crimson Glory' in Maryland.

One of their three, the MLa 'Purity' was one that I had dissected looking for a scape. I found two structures inside the bud in November but it was not clear if one was a scape-to-be.
[Last edited by sooby - Apr 24, 2019 5:15 AM (+)]
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Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Apr 24, 2019 7:14 AM CST
sooby said:Are those dates from The Initial and Early Developmental Stages of the Floral Scape in Hemerocallis


Yes, they are.

I agree that they could be misleading because they only looked at one cultivar from each flowering period.

They could also be misleading because temperature plays such a strong role in determining how quickly plants grow. Temperatures will vary in different locations and in different years. They also can vary in different parts of the same garden.

However, how the daylilies are grown also affects how quickly a daylily develops its structures and may affect when a daylily starts to develop those structures, such as scapes. If I grow a daylily with low fertilizer it may grow discontinuously during most of the growing season. If I grow it with more fertilizer it may grow continuously during most of the growing season. If I grow it with optimum fertilizer (and water, etc.) it may grow not only continuously during the growing season but it may even rebloom. Those sorts of effects on the growth and development of a daylily will also affect when scapes are initiated.

The time of flowering in different daylily cultivars is not dictated by specific signals from the environment, such as day length (photoperiod) or low winter temperatures (vernalization). When a specific cultivar first flowers as a seedling will depend on how large its crown must be before the growing point can switch from being vegetative to being reproductive. Its future cycles of vegetative growth (leaf production) and flowering (scape production) presumably depend on its growth rate and the specific relationship for that plant between the number/size of leaves and switching to reproductive (scape) production.

Maurice
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
Apr 24, 2019 10:47 AM CST
FWIW the daylilies I dissected looking for buds that November had had no fertilizer.
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Daylilies Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Region: Alabama
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Seedfork
Apr 24, 2019 1:23 PM CST
admmad said:
The time of flowering in different daylily cultivars is not dictated by specific signals from the environment, such as day length (photoperiod) or low winter temperatures (vernalization). When a specific cultivar first flowers as a seedling will depend on how large its crown must be before the growing point can switch from being vegetative to being reproductive. Its future cycles of vegetative growth (leaf production) and flowering (scape production) presumably depend on its growth rate and the specific relationship for that plant between the number/size of leaves and switching to reproductive (scape) production.

I really appreciate the info in the above quoted paragraph.
When I read:
admmad said:These dates are those that apply to Maryland and were determined by Arisumi & Frazier. They found that the time at which the scapes start to develop is determined by when in the growing season the plants actually flower.

To me that sounded backwards, and I thought that the time a plant actually would flower was more of a result of the time of the early development of the scapes. Of course those two things are closely related, but now I understand better the "growing season" being a determinant on when the scapes start to form. I think if I am understanding correctly, the time a scape starts to form is controlled by the maturity of the crown, and many factors affect that to some degree, but daylilies also seem to have a inherited blooming season that dictates to a large degree when the crown matures and when they will bloom, and therefore determines when the scapes start to form?
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Apr 24, 2019 5:51 PM CST
sooby said:FWIW the daylilies I dissected looking for buds that November had had no fertilizer.


However, the daylilies used by Arisumi and Frazier may have been treated relatively normally fore research meaning they would probably have been fertilized. That would be a difference in growing conditions between the daylily you examined and the ones they examined. Perhaps being fertilized may have kept their plants vegetative for longer in the growing season.

They examined 'Crimson Glory' on the 26th of October and classified the plants as vegetative. They next examined the plants on the 22nd of December and classified them as stage 2. Apparently they did not examine them in November so their plants could have become stage 2 at some time during November.

As an aside 'Crimson Glory' was registered as reblooming.
Maurice
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Apr 24, 2019 6:10 PM CST
@Seedfork
The researchers wrote "Time of floral initiation in Hemerocallis cultivars was correlated to the blooming period."
That is formally the correct description. However, daylilies are classified by when they bloom and they cannot be classified by when they initiate their scapes as that can only be determined by microscopic examination of dissected and sectioned tissues. It is not known.
The other aspect of when a daylily flowers is that the first flowering will tend to be unusual in timing. It may not even happen at the usual time for the particular daylily. In those locations where daylilies rarely rebloom the timing between the second bloom period and the third period will tend to be more or less the same as that between all later consecutive bloom periods.

What happens to the timing in those locations and conditions where daylilies may flower and then rebloom once or twice or three times in the same growing season would be interesting to examine.

Yes, daylilies will have an inherited blooming season. The factors that are part of the inheritance of the characteristic blooming season in daylilies are not known but the growth rate, how a daylily responds to temperature, fertilizer, etc. and how large the crown (or perhaps more precisely the growing point - shoot apical meristem) must be, are probably all factors.
Maurice

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