Daylilies forum: Did poorly last year

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Eastern Massachusetts (Zone 5b)
jsf67
Apr 9, 2020 11:12 AM CST
Last year (first time) I bought "Big Time Happy" Daylily roots.

It was early (barely after the ground thawed enough to plant) but on opening the package, I saw they already had whatever the above ground part is called at that stage growing at difficult angles within the package, pale and very delicate.

I planted as best I could to get roots mostly down and above ground parts mostly up, accidentally breaking off part but not all of the above ground parts (some remained attached to each of 5 roots I purchased and all the above ground parts remained on the biggest one).

The above ground parts gradually turned greener and more leaves came out, each plant reaching a level I'll compare to this photo from the DB. Mine had about a quarter that many leaves per plant (as this photo) with each leaf about half as long:


From midsummer on, they all just sat there that way, not growing any further nor dying back, certainly no hint that they could flower.

They all emerged again recently (but still too little to get a decent photo). Anything I can do to make them do better this year? Are they likely to just do better anyway? (If they were building a better root system, the whole time they seemed to be just sitting there last year).
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 9, 2020 11:42 AM CST
Where did you buy the plants from? Can we get photos of your actual plants? Are they planted in full sun? Have they ever been fertilized? Do they get supplemental watering?
[Last edited by Seedfork - Apr 18, 2020 1:18 PM (+)]
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Eastern Massachusetts (Zone 5b)
jsf67
Apr 9, 2020 12:02 PM CST
Longfield Gardens via Costco.
I don't have any photos with decent focus. I'll try again when it stops raining.
My yard doesn't have any places with full sun. They get about 60% sun.
I fertilized when planting according to my best understanding of planting instructions on the LF website (instructions that I couldn't locate again today). I haven't fertilized since. I was planning to soon.
I tracked rainfall with a rain gauge carefully through the growing period. At any time the preceding 3 day total was under half an inch and rain was not highly likely in the next several hours, I watered up to half an inch (so half an inch every 3rd or 4th day during any long dry spell, but usually less after allowing for recent light rain, or zero for at least 3 days after significant rain).

The one in focus photo I have is the largest one after its first little growth spurt a year ago. That small growth spurt made me temporarily optimistic. But it did so little after that:

Thumb of 2020-04-09/jsf67/69a411

As long as you brought up watering, correct my assumption: A less established plant needs water on the 4th day dry no matter how much fell the day before the 4 dry days. But these are in theory established, so if they get an inch or more of rain in one day, they don't need any water for a week.

Also, 4 out of 5 of these are at the top of a very steep mini slope: About a 20 inch drop across 4 inches horizontal, with sticks and pine needles on the surface preventing the dirt from washing away. So any more than half an inch of water within a few hours just flows through those sticks and pine needles and out onto level below.
[Last edited by jsf67 - Apr 9, 2020 12:37 PM (+)]
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Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
Daylilies Spiders! Plant and/or Seed Trader Winter Sowing Hybridizer Peonies
Garden Procrastinator Container Gardener Composter Organic Gardener Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
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bxncbx
Apr 9, 2020 12:29 PM CST
I expect your plant was just taking some time to adjust to its new location. If I'm correct it should look a lot better this year. The roots should have grown well since you planted it very early last year. It wouldn't hurt to give it some fertilizer to jump start it but try to give it compost or something else that won't burn it. I think the amount of sunlight your plant gets shouldn't be an issue. I have most of my plants in the backyard and they probably get 40-50% sun and do just fine.

I don't know about that cultivar but some daylilies do take 3 years (or longer without lots of fertilizer & extra water) for me to see them bloom. But if the plant doesn't seem to get better despite added attention I'd think about replacing it. I bought a peony from Costco a few years ago and it grew ok but it did take about three years for it to give me a bloom. Others I bought from different places bloomed a lot quicker and better. Check out the green pages here for some other vendors.
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 9, 2020 12:30 PM CST
Well, just in general...to improve the growth of the daylily...plant in full sun (see if you can create such a space) then double the amount of water you have been giving the plant, give the plant some fertilizer (not too much, don't burn the plant, but give it just enough to give the foliage a chance to grow and green up.
Here are he instructions provided by Longfield gardens.
https://www.longfield-gardens....
Eastern Massachusetts (Zone 5b)
jsf67
Apr 9, 2020 12:48 PM CST
Seedfork said:plant in full sun (see if you can create such a space)


Most of the shade in my yard is from tall evergreen trees that are not on my property. I'm not going to cut down even the ones that are on my property. Some areas shaded by the house in the morning are shaded by trees on my property in the afternoon. No place would get full sun even if every tree on my property was cut down.

Where I put the daylilies is shaded by the house in late afternoon and intermittently by trees that are not on my property in the morning (sunniest early afternoon).

Few spots on my property get more than the 60% sun that spot gets, and none get much more.
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 9, 2020 2:48 PM CST
Well, I was hoping that maybe there was a few sunny spots in your garden, or that maybe by trimming a limb or two you could create such a spot. If not then your daylily will live and grow and probably bloom, it will just take it longer, it won't have as many blooms and won't multiply nearly as fast. I know in my garden the plants with the most blooms are in general the plants in full sun.
Eastern Massachusetts (Zone 5b)
jsf67
Apr 10, 2020 6:57 AM CST
The largest one is about two inches high (the other four similar and a bit smaller):

Thumb of 2020-04-10/jsf67/82f40c

I want to pull out the debris, weed, fertilize, mulch and put inch marks on the stakes. I didn't try that earlier because I wasn't sure I could distinguish weeds from emerging daylily. Now it is too cold and windy, with more rain forcast. But I'll get to it within a few days.

I put a stake in before planting each one, mainly so I wouldn't accidentally step on them while they are small. But also most flower stalks in my non sunny yard need extra support and I worry about damaging roots if I put the stake in when I start to need it. It is easier to pull a stake out if I discover I don't need it than put one in when I need it. For now, they still need the stake to not get stepped on.

Edit: soon after writing the above (despite wind and cold), I did pull out the debris, discovered fewer weeds than usual underneath (removed those few) put some 10-10-10 in a ring around the plants, not touching them, then mulched with shredded leaves, and put a mark every inch on each stake so future photos will have scale.

[Last edited by jsf67 - Apr 11, 2020 2:01 PM (+)]
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Name: Marcia
Rochester, ny, zone 6 (Zone 6b)
Dragonflies Dog Lover
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DaylilyDazzled
Apr 13, 2020 9:53 PM CST
I see you're in zone 5. I would think that what I am seeing of your plants they are doing ok. I am in FL for the winters now but if I remember my zone 6 plants weren't much larger this time of year. By mid May you should see a huge improvement in the size and color of your plants. Being from Costco or any store that isn't totally into daylilies, the bare roots tend to be small. From what I understand you bought 5 roots(fans) and then separated them into 5 separate plantings? Or did you buy 5, 5 root(fan) plants? If you separated the 5 roots into separate plants and they all look like the one pictured above, bravo they are doing really well. I bought some single fans and a year & 1/2 later they might have added a fan. Yours look to have 5 to 7 fans so I think they should be fine.
Ps if you want to buy more plants buy from either a local daylily farm or onIine would stay away from the big online nurseries you get bigger and usually cheaper from the smaller daylily only places. Imho
Good luck Thumbs up
Eastern Massachusetts (Zone 5b)
jsf67
Apr 15, 2020 2:23 PM CST
I'm not clear on what a "fan" is. The package had 5 separate roots. That is what I planted: total 5. I did not split anything then nor later.

From April 10 to April 15, each grew one inch, so the largest is now 3 inches high.
[Last edited by jsf67 - Apr 15, 2020 3:00 PM (+)]
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Name: Mike
Hazel Crest, IL (Zone 5b)
"Have no patience for bare ground"
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Hazelcrestmikeb
Apr 18, 2020 1:24 PM CST
Jsf67 you have nothing to worry about. As was mentioned above, the plant should really take off with the warmer temps. Hopefully it blooms true to name.
robinseeds.com
"Life as short as it is, is amazing, isn't it. MichaelBurton
"Be your best you". "Mikedon" on the LA.
Eastern Massachusetts (Zone 5b)
jsf67
Apr 24, 2020 6:45 AM CST
They seem to be slowing down and well behind last year by calendar. A year ago, they still had some white left from sprouting in the opaque package before I bought them. Today they are a healthier green, but smaller (by same day of year). The one that was biggest a year ago is now very small:

Thumb of 2020-04-24/jsf67/312c2d

The one that is biggest this year grew from 2 inches to 3 in 5 days April 10-15 but then grew just another half inch to 3.5 in 8 days from April 10-23. The other four seem to have done nothing from April 10-23. Largest on April 23 is:

Thumb of 2020-04-24/jsf67/77b7bc

The optimism others expressed in this thread is still likely correct. But so far it feels like it could replay last year, when they seemed to be off to a real start, then just sat there small all summer.
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, 2020 7:45 AM CST
Maybe I am just not seeing good this morning, but those look odd for daylilies.
Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
Daylilies Spiders! Plant and/or Seed Trader Winter Sowing Hybridizer Peonies
Garden Procrastinator Container Gardener Composter Organic Gardener Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
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bxncbx
Apr 24, 2020 7:49 AM CST
If your weather is like mine the temperatures have dropped the last couple of weeks and it's been more rainy/cloudy. That will slow down their growth. A couple of weekends ago I fertilized all of my plants with alfalfa right before a big rainstorm. That definitely helped their growth! So if you are very worried, apply some non-burning fertilizer (like well-rotted compost, worm castings, fish or kelp fertilizer) and wait for the sun and warmth to return. I'm sure your daylilies will start growing like crazy.
Eastern Massachusetts (Zone 5b)
jsf67
Apr 24, 2020 8:11 AM CST
Seedfork said:Maybe I am just not seeing good this morning, but those look odd for daylilies.


Is the amount of magnification throwing you off? One of those pictures is a 2 inch tall plant and the other 3.5 inches tall.
To me, nothing in the photo gives a hint that is was magnified that much. So you think you are seeing a much bigger plant, so the shape is then wrong. I guess that is why many in this forum put a dime in the picture when taking a photo of something small. I tend not to have any coins handy.

Anyway, I bought and planted "Big Time Happy Daylily" last year and I'm quite sure these plants that emerged this year are those same plants.

Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Apr 24, 2020 10:07 AM CST
Plants grow by temperature (and sunlight) rather than calendar dates. The lower the temperature the slower the growth. When the temperatures are high (say 78F) they will grow quickly. As soon as the temperatures drop (say 50F) they will grow much more slowly and if the temperature are say below 45F or 40F they may not grow at all. On a day when the temperatures stay in the 50s but the high is say 65F the plants will grow slowly while the temperature is low and only a bit faster when the temperature is higher and only while it is higher.
Maurice
Name: Mike
Hazel Crest, IL (Zone 5b)
"Have no patience for bare ground"
Image
Hazelcrestmikeb
Apr 25, 2020 7:54 PM CST
The closer I look at the top picture Larry I start to wonder.
robinseeds.com
"Life as short as it is, is amazing, isn't it. MichaelBurton
"Be your best you". "Mikedon" on the LA.
Eastern Massachusetts (Zone 5b)
jsf67
May 27, 2020 8:02 AM CST
On May 26 (more than a month after last photo), which one of five is largest has changed and the gap between largest vs number 2 has increased. This largest one is a little bigger than the biggest any got last year (a good sign). But the others aren't as big yet as last year and the growth stopped last year around this time of year then just sat there all summer. So I still don't know whether this year is better.

If they are on track, when would you expect the first flower to appear (at how big and/or what month)?

Thumb of 2020-05-27/jsf67/679086

(the marks on the stake are one inch)
Name: Sue Petruske
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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petruske
May 27, 2020 2:20 PM CST
I'm in zone 5a (Wisconsin). I am seeing scapes on just one daylily cultivar so far. And I have a lot of daylilies.

We had a cool spring and things got behind, but are catching up now that the weather has warmed up.

Your daylily looks pretty healthy. It will probably surprise you soon and send up some scapes.
Name: Mike
Hazel Crest, IL (Zone 5b)
"Have no patience for bare ground"
Image
Hazelcrestmikeb
Jun 3, 2020 2:19 PM CST
JSF67 is your plant a named variety ? That would help in determining if it is a early, mid or late bloomer. I agree with Sue. Plant look good for a first anniversary plant.
robinseeds.com
"Life as short as it is, is amazing, isn't it. MichaelBurton
"Be your best you". "Mikedon" on the LA.

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