Daylilies forum: Fertilizer for daylilies

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Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
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Seedfork
Apr 28, 2020 6:19 AM CST
I have seen growers reporting that they are using a six month to one year fertilizer with spectacular results. I have seen the prices of such fertilizers and they are way out of my range. I currently pay just under $16.00 per bag for 50 lbs. of 16-4-8, recommended to me by Tim Bell. I have been pleased with the results, but have yet to reach(or come close) the bud counts and branching numbers of the plants I have acquired mainly because of those registered high stats. One of the first lessons I learned when I first got into daylilies was that they require copious amounts of water to perform their best. I just seem to be realizing just how important fertilizer is also to their performance .
Now I am still growing the great majority of my plants in the garden, but this year I am also growing a lot of plants in pots. I think if it were just a simple matter of tossing some 12 month fertilizer in with regular watering we could all come closer to reaching those branching and bud count stats.
My question is: Is there anything in those 6 to 12 month fertilizers that is not found in the cheaper type like I am using that would cause such a dramatic difference! Also I have read that it will take three to four years planted in the garden for a plant to reach the registered stats, most of my plants acquired for their impressive stats are not that old, so maybe I am just impatient.
[Last edited by Seedfork - Apr 28, 2020 6:27 AM (+)]
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Name: Rob Laffin
Mariaville, Maine (Zone 4b)
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RobLaffin
Apr 28, 2020 9:54 AM CST
Larry, people all have their own regimens for fertilizing and I am only speaking for myself here, but I think some growers can overload their plants with agrichems to get impressive short-term results, but it is sometimes hard on the plants in the long term. By the time a plant gets to you, it might be exhausted from being pushed to maximum growth, and be wanting a bit of a rest.

IMHO, your absolute best bet is to improve your soil will the best organic matter you can find, make sure it has good tilth, well drained but plenty of water/rain, and then use fertilizers (preferably natural/organic ones) sparingly. I use urea (nitrogen) in early spring, then top dress with fertilizer made from chicken manure or some other natural source in May/June. If I use commercial fertilizer, I foliar feed in June (my peak bloom is late July/early Aug) but I do it very lightly. My personal belief is that you will end up with the healthiest, strongest plants in the long run using natural soil amendments and going easy on the chem fertilizers. I have gotten better stats than registered on some plants from this approach to plant culture. Just my two cents. As I said, every experience daylily person has their own fertilizing regimen that works for them and I'm not saying my way is the only way.

Why are people growing dls in pots? Maybe it's different for southern daylilies, but my daylilies like nice cool soil and plenty of it, for their roots to grow and expand. Putting them in pots just makes for hot, limited space for the roots. Maybe it works for some daylilies, but I can't see how this is better except if someone wants a patio planter with a daylily in it. Even then, I wouldn't expect the daylily to thrive in the long run and I would rotate it out and into the ground after a season.
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 28, 2020 11:00 AM CST
Why grow daylilies in pots? I just recently discovered the convenience of growing daylilies in pots. The great thing about it is that for example: This morning I went down to the garden and found that I had a clump of 'Spanish Sketch'
with fans growing outside of its cage (protection against digging critters) so I dug the escapees and divided the fans. So I pot up the divisions, set them in the trenches, label them give them some water and now I have plants to give away or trade, take to the club meetings, etc. Never had that convenience before.
I have a bed of selected daylilies growing in double pots, I have others growing in pots so that when the first group blooms out, replacements are ready to be set in place. This is my first year of doing this and it will take me a while to learn which plants to pot for the first round of blooms and which plants to pot for later, but it is an enjoyable thing for me to work on.
Name: Roger & Karen
Birmingham, Al (Zone 7a)
Daylilies Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Alabama Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers Seed Starter
Diggerofdirt
Apr 28, 2020 5:33 PM CST
I guess i just need to water. I have gave my neighbor so many and they grow so so big and not as old as ours. She waters at least twice a week and i might water if it hasnt rained in about week or two. Use real good fertilizer and still dont get what i see ithers to look like. we have one bed that holds rain water and it does great. Huge fans.
Larry is what you use a poly and slow release?
Every home needs a daylily, and every daylily needs a home.
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 28, 2020 5:46 PM CST
Not sure by what is meant by poly?
Here is what the label on mine says:
Total Nitrogen 16 percent:
7.94 percent Ammoniacal Nitrogen
8.06 percent Urea Nitrogen: This is sulfur-coated Urea for slow release.
Available Phosphate (P205) 4 percent
Soluble Potash(k20) 8 percent
Calcium (Ca) 0.02 percent
Total Magnesium (Mg) 0,84 percent
0.001 percent water Soluble Magnesium
Total Sulfur (s) 3.00 per cent
3 per cent combined sulfur (S)
Boron (B) 0.12 Percent
Iron (Fe) 2.00 percent
Total Manganese (Mn) 0.12 percent
0.001 percent Water soluble Manganese (Mn)
Total Zinc (Zn) 0.06 percent
0.001 percent Water Soluble Zinc (Zn)
Name: Roger & Karen
Birmingham, Al (Zone 7a)
Daylilies Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Alabama Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers Seed Starter
Diggerofdirt
Apr 28, 2020 6:25 PM CST
Every home needs a daylily, and every daylily needs a home.
[Last edited by Diggerofdirt - May 3, 2020 7:53 PM (+)]
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Name: Sharon Rose
Grapevine, TX (Zone 8a)
Grace of the Lord Jesus be with all
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Altheabyanothername
Apr 28, 2020 9:50 PM CST
Larry...I agree with everyone water. I have found cold water is best, (I know impossible in the summer) because it cools the roots in summer. I feed spring and fall. A slow release 10-10-10, alfalfa pellets and milorganite. This year I have been adding some bone meal. Will have to see how that goes.

Not scientific but I feel they set their energy and blooms off of the previous fall feeding. Usually feed towards the end of September or beginning of October. If I had to skip a feeding it would be the spring one. That's how important I think the fall feeding is, especially after a brutal southern summer. Because I container grow...to control conditions...I throw earthworms into the containers. Another reason to keep the containers damp and cool.

Earthworms in a container are a game changer. Earthworms do not eat as much as composting worms. Leaves, pine needles and cones, cracked pecans, and alfalfa pellets, occasionally banana peels and coffee grinds...top them off with with wood chips occasionally. I have not needed to do much soil replacement when worms are in the containers. Just add to the top, the soil has been good for 3 or 4 years now.

Picture taken October 24.....same area spring 2019
Thumb of 2020-04-29/Altheabyanothername/17b923 Thumb of 2020-04-29/Altheabyanothername/0b9629

The short version is I recommend a good fall feeding in the south...the growing season is too long...it wears those poor babies out.

Many blessings for a successful gardening season!
One to take to heart....1 John 4
Name: Robert R.
Wharton, TX (Zone 9a)
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adc1947
Apr 28, 2020 10:21 PM CST
Came across this a while back:

http://www.ofts.com/bill/hooke...

http://www.ofts.com/bill/ferti...
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 28, 2020 10:39 PM CST
I think that second article was one of several that influenced me years ago to start adding all the organic material to my garden, not a daylily grower much back then, but the vegetable garden was my prime concern back then.
Name: Teresa Felty Barrow
South central KY (Zone 6b)
Consider the lilies of the field
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bluegrassmom
Apr 29, 2020 2:47 AM CST
Speaking of organic matter. I have aged cow manure in the barn and have been wanted to use it but I did once and it had a ton of weed seeds. Anyone know about solarizing with a sheet of plastic? I was wondering if the summer sun would kill the seeds. Just a thought. I buy the bagged Black cow which is ironic since this is real black cow manure.
Bee Kind, make the world a better place.
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 29, 2020 6:08 AM CST
I would compost the cow manure first, make sure it reaches high enough temps for long enough to kill the seeds then put it in the garden. I think someone just recently posted in one of the forums that 140-160 degrees in a compost pile kept at that temperature for just one hour was enough to kill most weed seeds.
Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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touchofsky
Apr 29, 2020 12:09 PM CST
I have filled garbage bags with aged manure and put them in the sun. That kills the weed seeds. I also do it with any homemade compost I think could be weedy. Covering a pile of manure in the sun with a black plastic tarp would work, too.
Touch_of_sky on the LA
(Zone 6a)
Frillylily
May 1, 2020 12:15 PM CST
touchofsky said:I have filled garbage bags with aged manure and put them in the sun. That kills the weed seeds. I also do it with any homemade compost I think could be weedy. Covering a pile of manure in the sun with a black plastic tarp would work, too.


I just put a shovel full in a 5 gal bucket, cover w water and let it sit for a few days or a wk. Then pour it through an old pillow case over a 2nd bucket it gets out any seeds that way I dilute it then if its too strong.
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
May 2, 2020 8:10 AM CST
I suspect that the high branch and bud counts of some commercial growers are related to not only how they fertilize their plants but also to other differences in how they grow them.

Some commercial growers may use very low amounts of water soluble fertilizers in every watering and water every day. They may grow them at optimum densities, dividing them whenever the clumps have eight or more fans. They may grow them with no competition from any other plants nearby. They may adjust the temperatures with shade cloth, etc.

I expect that the more daylilies are watered the more fertilizer is "washed" away, especially for those being grown in pots. Pots, especially black pots, above the soil surface are likely to get much hotter than plants in the soil. That may cause the plants to grow less than optimum. Unless pots are large (10 gallon?) the growth of the daylilies will be less than maximum.

This is a web page that provides a general description of some of the details about fertilizers for commercial plant growers https://www.greenhousegrower.c...

I would be surprised if home gardeners were able to easily provide the optimum growing conditions that commercial growers try to provide their plants. Without optimum growing conditions the growth and flowering of daylilies will be less than maximum.
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
May 2, 2020 2:42 PM CST
Thanks so much for that info Maurice, I had not given any thought to them dividing the clumps at eight or more fans. I have a lot of plants that would be more manageable at that size clump, but I never seem to have the time to get around to them. Plus I like having some large clumps, but I do think it would make for much nicer fans if the plants were divided at that size.
I have no plans to try and water and fertilize everyday, but that does explain how the fans can get to such large sizes.
I am at least setting most of my pots either down in a trench or pulling mulch up against the pots to help keep them from overheating. I think the spacing is pretty good for most of my plants. I guess I will just be content with growing normal averaged sized plants, and just dream about growing those monster fans.
Name: Teresa Felty Barrow
South central KY (Zone 6b)
Consider the lilies of the field
Seller of Garden Stuff Irises Hostas Region: Kentucky Lilies Peonies
Region: United States of America Garden Photography Vegetable Grower Hummingbirder Cat Lover Heucheras
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bluegrassmom
May 3, 2020 2:01 AM CST
Larry, the dividing out of clumps will help so much. I had gone several years without dividing mine until a 2 yrs ago and my son wanted to start his own patch. We dug/divided and line out over 50 cultivars and now the singles/doubles are thriving and multiplying. The fans are much larger. So it really helps. It is time consuming but worth it.
Bee Kind, make the world a better place.
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
May 3, 2020 10:01 AM CST
@seedfork
You can get a rough estimate of how many buds a particular fan will have by looking at the size of the fan at the soil surface - that is its width. The wider the fan (for a particular cultivar) the more buds. The graph below shows the relationship between the width of fans (their size) and the number of buds for one particular cultivar. Every cultivar will have its own (different) relationship between the size of the fans and the number of buds on their scapes.
Thumb of 2020-05-03/admmad/1da945
Fans that are too small (in width) do not flower. On the figure they have zero buds.
I do not know if the relationship is estimated better by the size of the fan or the size of its crown, but it is easier to measure fan widths. I measure the fan width in its longest direction. One inch is approximately 2.5 cm.

Maurice
[Last edited by admmad - May 3, 2020 10:04 AM (+)]
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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
May 3, 2020 12:02 PM CST
Maurice,
Thanks again for the info, I had not thought about a relationship between fan width and bud count. I can see that it makes sense that to a degree that the width of the fan could determine the ability to carry more buds on a scape. Then thinking about it I would have thought that the scape diameter would have been an indicator more so than fan width or crown size, but I am always happy to learn new things like this.
I think it would be great if you wrote a book full of info like this!
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
May 3, 2020 6:11 PM CST
@seedfork
I think it would be great if you wrote a book full of info like this!


Its on my list of things to do, sometime, in the future Crossing Fingers!

I think that the fan width is a surrogate measurement for the size of the growing point. The size of the growing point probably determines the diameter of the scape as well as the size of the leaves.

I also suspect that the size of the growing point is related to the size of the crown.

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
May 3, 2020 7:14 PM CST
I want a copy when you do finally write it!

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