Daylilies forum: Odd Foliage After Near Death

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Name: Katie
MD (Zone 7a)
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Pug933
Jun 5, 2019 3:33 PM CST
One of my daylilies almost died this spring because of rot/slugs, but when it finally came back, the foliage was much thinner than usual, almost like an ornamental grass. I thought it would revert after a while, but it is still growing the same. Have you ever seen this?

When I thought it was dead, I bought a replacement, so I don't need Spell Fire to come back, it's just odd.

Thanks,

Katie
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Name: Diana
Lincoln, NE (Zone 5b)
Daylilies Region: Nebraska Organic Gardener Dog Lover Bookworm
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ShakespearesGarden
Jun 5, 2019 4:18 PM CST
Welcome! Pug933 Perhaps it got/stayed skinny because of the environmental stress of slugs and rot. It's possible that the foliage will thicken up, maybe next spring. I'm sure someone on here can give better insight.
Bravery is not being unafraid. Bravery is being afraid and living life anyways.
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
Jun 5, 2019 4:32 PM CST
I had daylily foliage do that on a few plants. I read somewhere that it was caused from the plant being subjected to climate changes. What ever the cause is I am assuming it to be stress of some sort. I remember reading several years ago the way to correct it was to dig and replant the fans. I did that and the next year my plants had normal foliage the best I recall. Might be worth a try.
[Last edited by Seedfork - Jun 5, 2019 4:44 PM (+)]
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Name: Katie
MD (Zone 7a)
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Pug933
Jun 5, 2019 5:00 PM CST
My mom suggested reporting it, but I was concerned that would add more stress. I'll repot it this weekend and see how it does.

Thanks!
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
Jun 5, 2019 5:01 PM CST
What happens if the main meristem (growing point) on the crown is killed by winter or whatever, is that the plant can produce new shoots from elsewhere on the crown but they will be small baby fans to start with.

Edited to add: I would not disturb it by repotting.
[Last edited by sooby - Jun 5, 2019 5:05 PM (+)]
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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
Jun 5, 2019 5:15 PM CST
It does make sense that stressing an already stressed plant might not be the best idea. Maybe let it grow this year and see how it looks next year, or maybe repot it in the fall if it has not improved?
Name: Katie
MD (Zone 7a)
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Pug933
Jun 5, 2019 5:30 PM CST
I got impatient and decided to repot it. I decided that leftover bacteria in the soil was probably worse than the reporting stress and I was shocked. There are no tubers at all! Every single tuber around the meristem was a hollow shell. But there were fresh roots coming off all the greenery. We'll see if the miracle plant can gather enough energy over the summer to make new tubers for the winter.
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Jun 6, 2019 9:44 AM CST
Sooby explained what happened. The small fans are nothing to be worried about - they are one possible normal reaction to damage to an important/vital part of a fan.
Plants grow from parts that are called meristems or more commonly "growing points". The shoot apical meristem (sam) produces all the leaves and the scape.
A first year seedling has a very small sam and each year the sam grows larger and the fan becomes larger and the leaves become larger. The larger the sam the larger the leaves and fan that the sam produces.
The problem in the spring caused the sam to die. To survive and grow the daylily must produce a new, replacement sam. It can do this because there are special areas between the bottom of each leaf and the crown that can become new meristems. When the sam died the daylily could have produced one new replacement sam or two or three or four. The more replacement sams that are produced the smaller the sams because they have to share the resources that were stored in the root tubers. Small sams make small fans and small leaves.
When large fans are replaced by several small fans because of some problem that killed the original sam the new fans are sometimes described as being grassy.
The small fans will grow larger just as small seedlings grow larger. They will also produce new tuberous roots at the appropriate time of the year. The tubers were hollow shells because the material (resources) that had been stored in them the previous year are used for the daylily to grow new leaves in the spring right after the end of winter. That is perfectly normal. In this case the resources were probably used to grow the original leaves that were killed by the problem and the new leaves on the small fans. That is their job and they did their job.
Maurice
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
Jun 6, 2019 10:49 AM CST
@admmad
If the new small fans produced a clump of 10 or more small fans, should they be spread out, or should they be left all bunched together for a few years?
Name: Diana
Lincoln, NE (Zone 5b)
Daylilies Region: Nebraska Organic Gardener Dog Lover Bookworm
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ShakespearesGarden
Jun 6, 2019 12:56 PM CST
good Q, Larry, thanks for asking it...
Bravery is not being unafraid. Bravery is being afraid and living life anyways.
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Jun 9, 2019 7:18 PM CST
@Seedfork
I would let the plant(s) decide that - if they grow quickly from small fans to reasonable size fans then I would split them up. Otherwise I would leave them together for a year. That basically means it depends on your zone (weather), length of growing season and how you treat the plants (fertilizer, watering, etc.)
Maurice

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