Daylilies forum: "Tissue Culture" -- What is it and why is it bad?

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Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
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fiwit
Jun 22, 2012 8:40 PM CST
Someone mentioned in Tina's "New Member Questions" thread that one problem with big box store daylilies is that they're probably tissue cultured. I was going to just nod and smile, pretending I knew what she was saying, but decided not to.

What does that mean, and why does it matter? Is it only important if you plan to hybridize? My 2-3yr old big box store DLs look great, have strong sturdy scapes and have bloomed their little (and big) heads off for me this year.

Is it just a way to be a daylily snob, or is there really a serious drawback to them for the average person?
Northwest Georgia Daylily Society
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Name: Michele
Cantonment, FL zone 8b
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tink3472
Jun 22, 2012 9:37 PM CST
If you go to this link and scroll down to tissue culture it explains it some.
http://www.mikesbackyardgarden.org/daylilyprop.html

Tissue culture is taking a tiny piece of plant and putting in a test tube, so to speak, and growing it. Then cutting it up some more and growing it then once it has leaves and roots growing them as seedlings until full grown. Some plants do great tissue cultured, some even do better than the mother plants. Daylilies on the other hand don't always do so well. It can bring out mutations and the bad underlying qualities it may have. Some actually do great and if evaluated properly you can have a great plant. But when mass produced and not evaluated for quality it can lead to having daylilies that have not quite the right color. lower bud count, performs poorly, etc.

Big box stores buy in quantity and for lowest price. The only way that, say for instance, every single Lowes can have all the daylilies that they sale is by buying from someone who mass produces. And IMHO the only way to do that is to tissue culture. Then you add in Walmart and Home Depot and even local nurseries that have these plus any other stores that may sell them. A lot of these places buy from the same suppliers so that's a lot of daylilies being bought and sold.

If you are just growing them in your garden then you may not have a problem with them being TC if they perform well. But then you have the people who buy the ones who don't do well and they may decide that daylilies aren't good plants and then they won't buy more and they tell there friends about it and maybe they won't buy any.

I have bought from these places and some do great, then I've had others that perform very poorly, didn't increase, never bloomed properly, and the blooms looked awful all the time and didn't look like it should (coloring).

I hope this answers your questions some.

[url=www.pensacoladaylilyclub.com]www.pensacoladaylilyclub.com[/url]
Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
Gardening dilettante, that's me!
Plays in the sandbox Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Dog Lover Daylilies The WITWIT Badge
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fiwit
Jun 22, 2012 9:53 PM CST
I figured it was kind of like cloning, to use a very simplistic example.

And I understand the points you're making. I guess I've been lucky with mine - the pots were labeled properly, and the DLs have all been wonderful. Haven't really paid attention to increase, but I planted my first ones in 2010, I think, so I haven't really been looking for increase yet. And the only one that doesn't really match the expected color is darker than I expected, so I have no complaints there. Hilarious! (except it makes me doubt whether I really know what it is -- it should be Minstrel Boy, but it seems to be significantly darker, almost Alaskan Midnight dark).

Realized today that the scape on one of them is almost as thick as my thumb, so I'm assuming it's a happy plant Hilarious!


Thanks!
Northwest Georgia Daylily Society
I'm going to retire and live off of my savings. Not sure what I'll do that second week.
My yard marches to the beat of a bohemian drummer...
Name: Juli
(Zone 5b)
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daylily
Jun 22, 2012 10:41 PM CST
Michele, very good explanation.

I have grown TC plants beside field grown divisions of the same cultivar that were directly from the hybridizer. In every case, the TC plants were inferior. I am only talking about a handful of plants, so it was not a large experiment. I don't remember details, as it was at least 10 years ago. I have not knowingly bought a TC daylily since.

However, I think most Hosta on the market are TC. They seem to TC well.

Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
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Hemlady
Jun 23, 2012 4:53 AM CST
I was the one that mentioned the tissue cultured because I had a bad experience with some about 7 or 8 years ago. I had ordered 2 from a seller on ebay and when they bloomed they didn't look anything like the flower they were supposed to be. That turned me off to them and I haven't willingly bought any since. However, the ones I saw at Lowes were decent looking. Like I said in my other post I saw most of them blooming and the blooms looked fine. Final Touch was in bloom and it had a scape like a tetraploid scape. The only thing is, I saw a lot of tags in the wrong pots.
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Name: bb
north of boston on the coast
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lilylady
Jun 23, 2012 5:14 AM CST
An example of plants tissue cultured - notice the difference.

Thumb of 2012-06-23/lilylady/fcd11a
Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
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Hemlady
Jun 23, 2012 5:34 AM CST
I'm assuming that the more vibrant colored ones are the true ones, correct??
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Name: Tina
Where the desert meets the sea (Zone 9b)
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chalyse
Jun 23, 2012 11:20 AM CST
nice discussion of the pros and cons (thanks for delving further, Mary! and, i'm assuming the same as Cindy about the pic) ... to my newbie eyes, i am much more enjoying the sorta tropical color gradations in my big box breathless beauty than if it were from what i have seen of the regular stock color ranges, depending on zone, sunlight time, etc (other examples do not begin to enchant me the way this one does).

based on a database note about breathless beauty - that [fan-divided specimens] do not fade in the sun - i would have to say the tissue-culture variety does fade, almost down from purplish-pink with orange-yellow tinges all the way through more orange-based washes, and then to an interesting silvery-gray-and-streaked look by night. but, my no-calif valley sun is truly unrelenting, too. on balance, though, if i saw the two blooming side-by-side, even and perhaps because of the interesting fading habit (new to my eyes morning, noon, and night) i'd pass the 'regular' specimen by and pick up the 'mutated' one Whistling

on the other hand, for hybridizing purposes (even for amateur hobbyists like me), its critically useful to identify and work with DLs that have a pedigree, known lineage, confidence in color range and pheno/genotype characteristics, and strength of natural growing/dividing habits (so, a TC "con" for sure), or it can become a very needless shot in the dark. still, i feel a tinge of concern that so many nice newer hybrids, really it seems at times like all of them, are "unknown x unknown," or "something x seedling", appearing as though hiding one's work is now so profitable that it overshadows the ethic to keep the fun and knowledge available to all. naturally, there must be some unknown crosses that occur, and you can tell pretty easily when that's honestly the case Thumbs up but it all makes me wonder if DLs will soon go the way of fuchsias ... so removed from the common garden/er that even successful hybridizers become co-opted by Suntory whiskey, copyrighted, mass propogated, and rendered sterile before they'll sell only through exclusive higher-end conglomorates ... the gall mite devastation in fuchsias opened the door for suntory to generate a super-resistant line, and pretty much tore the societies apart *sigh* Shrug! i guess i'd rather see DLs stay at the big boxes and see some nice varieties taking hold there, than see the fight that may be looming between Suntory and independent hybridizers ...

i think that's what i love most about DLs ... at the moment ... still able to find nice fans divided from known pedigrees that are under 10$, as well as to sometimes happily indulge with an inspiring instant-purchase at big box ... keeps the door open for regular peeps and hobbyists to find something of latest/greatest quality; there's room enough for everyone ... even for those at the top to keep Suntory et al at bay if prices regularly start attracting attention Hurray!

Thank Goodness for places like All Things Plants, and the super-helpful hybriders and members who make Daylilies a pleasure for all!
Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of old; seek what those of old sought. — Basho

Daylilies that thrive? click here! Thumbs up
[Last edited by chalyse - Jun 24, 2012 9:46 PM (+)]
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