Daylilies forum: Does anyone know how to stop blooms from opening early?

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Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
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bxncbx
Jul 2, 2020 7:03 AM CST
I have a few cultivars that always start opening their blooms the evening before. However, this year pretty much all of my daylilies are starting to open by 6 pm the evening before. We are having a drought but I have been trying to water on a regular basis. I'm not always successful so I've also been experiencing some bud drop and much smaller flowers than normal. I accept that. But having the blooms start opening early is driving me crazy! We get thunderstorms in the evening and at night. It also lets all manner of critters into the blooms. I haven't posted many pictures of my flowers because they are all spotty and damaged. Maybe 5% of blooms actually look decent each day. Normally when some open early they are barely starting to open in the evening. Now many are almost half way open by the time I get home from work. Is there any way I can stop this? Do I need to water much more often? Fertilize more? Temperatures have also been unusually high for this time of year and so has the humidity. I'm getting desperate!
(Zone 6a)
Frillylily
Jul 3, 2020 12:22 PM CST
that is just the way they are. Large ruffled fancier ones and the larg spiders are more like that than the others. I just sort them out and cull those. They don't stay here long. We have lots of humidity which results in dew after the sun goes down. That dew then runs into the open bud and washes the color out resulting is splotchy blooms the next day. There are many that don't do it as bad and it's not as noticeable on lighter colors.
Ohio (Zone 5a)
Deryll
Jul 3, 2020 4:29 PM CST
When I first saw this post, lots of things went through my mind. Maybe it is the variety, as Frilly said, some do in fact
begin to open extra early, and like a butterfly they unfurl their wings as the day or two progresses. Maybe it is just
weather related, as it could possibly have something to do with heat or drought. Maybe it is just the gardener not
knowing certain things... AND THEN I started taking a closer look at mine! We are all over the place with blooming
this year. Some are just barely starting to show a hint of getting buds, while others are out. As I was walking through
the rows, I started noticing buds opening prematurely. That was strange... And then I started looking closer and found
a few buds that were blasting. Then I saw the tell tale black spots on a few very small buds- GALL MIDGE! I've never
had them before, but they are spread here and there everywhere. I removed all of the infected buds I could find, and
sprayed an insecticide on the clumps that were showing signs, as well as the plants next to them. I have about 2000
seedlings from last year and this year, but none of those show any signs of midges, just clumps over 3 years.

Elena, I feel your pain, and I hope this helps! Sorry if I misjudged you and your gardening skills!!!
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
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sooby
Jul 3, 2020 5:28 PM CST
Deryll said:
knowing certain things... AND THEN I started taking a closer very small buds- GALL MIDGE! I've never
had them before, but they are spread here and there everywhere. I removed all of the infected buds I could find, and
sprayed an insecticide on the clumps that were showing signs, as well as the plants next to them. I have about 2000
seedlings from last year and this year, but none of those show any signs of midges, just clumps over 3 years.


Deryll, did you cut open the affected buds to check for maggots? The gall midge has not been formally recorded in Ohio yet as far as I know.
Ohio (Zone 5a)
Deryll
Jul 3, 2020 6:37 PM CST
No, I didn't. I just burned them, but I have seen the articles in the Journal, and since I am buying plants from all over
the country, I have a good chance of importing them. And just like Elena said, I had buds opening prematurely. This
was not on evergreen plants that tend to do that. These buds were way small and under developed. We are very dry
here, so I won't discount drought, but that has never affected mine in the past- not like this. And then there were the
very small buds showing the black spots indicative of midges. I don't want to say absolutely, but I think they are here.
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
Jul 3, 2020 6:47 PM CST
Deryll, where is the information that black spots indicate midges? It would be useful if you see more affected buds to cut them open and look for the maggots to confirm. The midge is not widespread in the USA other than in the Pacific Northwest (it's also in a few spots in eastern Canada and recently Maine) so any information about previously unreported locations is important.
Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
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bxncbx
Jul 3, 2020 8:10 PM CST
Thanks for everyone's responses!

Frillylily, I do have some cultivars that always open early but I'm seeing this in ones that typically do not. I don't have any spidery or really ruffled varieties. But I'm definitely seeing the spotty blooms. And lots of thrip damage.

Deryll, I'm pretty sure I don't have gall midge. Yes, I have bud drop & scapes drying up but I think it's weather related. I do have some plants opening blooms off their normal schedule. But while the blooms are odd they mostly are opening. If it were midges the buds would never open.

I just don't know what's going on. We have gotten some rain & things seem a bit better.
Ohio (Zone 5a)
Deryll
Jul 3, 2020 9:22 PM CST
Sue, the Daylily Journal has had articles about it. And all of my buds did not open, they blasted/ dried up and many were
contorted. It is possible that thrips are part of the problem as well-

Thumb of 2020-07-04/Deryll/8caff7 I took a photo of these

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
Jul 4, 2020 5:17 AM CST
Deryll said:Sue, the Daylily Journal has had articles about it. And all of my buds did not open, they blasted/ dried up and many were
contorted. It is possible that thrips are part of the problem as well-



I'm aware of the Daylily Journal articles, but I have not seen anything in them about black spots, nor are there any on pictures of buds damaged by gall midge as far as I could see. Do you remember where you saw that?

The flies on your daylily do not look like gall midge, which has the appearance of a small mosquito. This picture of one laying eggs on a daylily bud is from the AHS Daylily Dictionary:

https://i0.wp.com/daylilies.or...

The rest of the article is here:
https://daylilies.org/daylily-...

If you (or anyone else outside of a state or province where it is already known to occur)) really think that you have gall midge as opposed to thrips and/or drought, I hope you will contact someone at AHS (or your local Extension service) if you haven't already, so that a new location can be confirmed and recorded.
PA (Zone 6a)
pinkruffles
Jul 9, 2020 8:29 AM CST
I read these comments with great interest, because I have NEVER seen so many ugly blotchy blooms among my daylilies in my life!! Many times I've seen the first bloom on a plant look that way, but the following blooms look perfectly fine. There are a few that don't seem to be affected--VERY few!! So, between the deer FEASTING on the buds, and the blotchy blooms, I've been pretty disappointed this year. I'm trying to see the 'half full' glass instead of the 'half empty' glass in this situation. I was able to protect some of my new seedlings and new purchases with wire, so I did get to see SOME new ones, and some of my past favorites this year, which is always a real treat!! Smiling Hurray!
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
Jul 9, 2020 9:16 AM CST
Not that I'm happy @pinkruffles that you are also suffering the same fate but it's comforting to know it's not only me. I meant to post again that after several thunderstorms with heavy downpours the rampant bud drop has diminished. I'm also getting more normal blooms but there are still plenty of splotchy, deformed ones around too. So I have to believe that some, if not most, of what I'm seeing is due to the drought stressing the plants. It's been abnormally hot and humid too so that can't have helped either. So while my early and midseason bloomers did poorly I'm hopeful that the later bloomers will be more normal. I'm thinking that I'm also going to have a short season because a lot of my mid-late bloomers are already open when this is typically the height of midseason for me.

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