Daylilies forum: Evergreen VS Dormant

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Name: Darcy
Reno, NV (Zone 6b)
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djinnevada
Aug 22, 2020 5:18 PM CST
Another newbie question -
I've seen people say that certain daylilies won't grow in their area because they're evergreen. How does that work? I bought some of every type, just wondering now if I should have been more careful.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Aug 22, 2020 7:50 PM CST
I'm in USDA hardiness zone 4a and I grow all foliage types. What matters most is where they originated and/or where they have been grown successfully by others in a similar climate to yours. Did you buy them locally?
Oklahoma (Zone 7a)
Flowersgalore
Aug 22, 2020 8:13 PM CST
djinnevada said:Another newbie question -
I've seen people say that certain daylilies won't grow in their area because they're evergreen. How does that work? I bought some of every type, just wondering now if I should have been more careful.


The people I buy daylilies from say a dormant daylily needs a period of dormancy to thrive....to grow, bloom and and multiply.

So I guess it depends on whether you have a period cold enough for them to go dormant or not.

If it gets cold enough the evergreens will go dormant, too.

I'm in zone 7 and, so far, the evergreens are doing well and the dormants have come back every spring, bloom and have increased.

Good luck with them.




Name: Nancy
Bowling Green Kentucky (Zone 6b)
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alilyfan
Aug 23, 2020 6:29 AM CST
I am in a similar zone to you, although I bet growing conditions are different. For me, I am avoiding evergreens unless I check and see how the daylilies are doing for others in my zone ir cooler. I have evergreens that are among the best in my garden, but have had many that just never do well and eventually die. I agree with Sue, seems to make a difference where they were hybridized.
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Aug 23, 2020 12:21 PM CST
Flowersgalore said:The people I buy daylilies from say a dormant daylily needs a period of dormancy to thrive....to grow, bloom and and multiply.


This is a common belief.

I have looked at research on daylilies and I tested this belief over a number of winters.

Daylilies that go dormant for winter under natural conditions do NOT need a period of dormancy to grow, to bloom or to multiply. I have tested several registered dormant daylilies. Of course I cannot test thousands of dormant cultivars but none that I have tested needed a dormant period for any reason.
The most recent test I have made is with 'Stella de Oro'. I brought 11 Stella plants (most were single fans) inside in September of 2019. They had last experienced a dormant period during the winter of Dec. 2018/Jan 2019. So far they have increased to more than 250 fans (59 fans in 15 clumps that were countable, estimated more than an average of 20 fans in each of 12 clumps with too many fans to count individually). I have had to divide and re-pot many of the clumps formed by the fans twice so far and will probably do so again this week.

Each of the 11 plants had bloomed once outside before September of 2019 (they were in a very large clump that had not been fertilized or watered for years and barely flowered). They have rebloomed a maximum of a further five times inside since then and are still going strong and will continue to do so for as long as I am willing to grow them inside. They have not experienced temperatures below 16C (61F) at night or below 19C (66F) during the day inside. They have not noticeably gone dormant.

Researchers tested six daylily cultivars, one of which was 'Stella de Oro'. They did not need to go dormant to flower nor did they need to experience cold temperatures to flower.

Maurice
[Last edited by admmad - Aug 23, 2020 1:23 PM (+)]
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Name: Sue Petruske
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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petruske
Aug 23, 2020 2:01 PM CST
When you plan to purchase a particular daylily that is evergreen, look it up in the Plants Database here on garden.org.

In there you can scroll down until you see where it is listed, (for example look up Cleo), 10 members have this plant and 1 member wants this plant.

In this case of Cleo, the 10 members are from:
New York, Florida, Upper East Tennessee, Wisconsin, Southern Indiana, SW Wisconsin, SE Minnesota, Washington, South Dakota, and one is not listed.

There are a number of members here at garden.org that have Cleo and live in states that one may think evergreen DL's wouldn't be a good idea. I happen to own Cleo and it does very well in my zone 5a here in Wisconsin.

Also many have been featured as a "Daylily of the Day" here at garden.org. Watch for that too when you look up a daylily. You will read first-hand reports from members that own the daylily.
The thread "Daylily of the Day: Cleo" in Past Plants of the Day forum
Oklahoma (Zone 7a)
Flowersgalore
Aug 23, 2020 4:29 PM CST
admmad said:

This is a common belief.

I have looked at research on daylilies and I tested this belief over a number of winters.

Daylilies that go dormant for winter under natural conditions do NOT need a period of dormancy to grow, to bloom or to multiply. I have tested several registered dormant daylilies. Of course I cannot test thousands of dormant cultivars but none that I have tested needed a dormant period for any reason.
The most recent test I have made is with 'Stella de Oro'. I brought 11 Stella plants (most were single fans) inside in September of 2019. They had last experienced a dormant period during the winter of Dec. 2018/Jan 2019. So far they have increased to more than 250 fans (59 fans in 15 clumps that were countable, estimated more than an average of 20 fans in each of 12 clumps with too many fans to count individually). I have had to divide and re-pot many of the clumps formed by the fans twice so far and will probably do so again this week.

Each of the 11 plants had bloomed once outside before September of 2019 (they were in a very large clump that had not been fertilized or watered for years and barely flowered). They have rebloomed a maximum of a further five times inside since then and are still going strong and will continue to do so for as long as I am willing to grow them inside. They have not experienced temperatures below 16C (61F) at night or below 19C (66F) during the day inside. They have not noticeably gone dormant.

Researchers tested six daylily cultivars, one of which was 'Stella de Oro'. They did not need to go dormant to flower nor did they need to experience cold temperatures to flower.



Ok. 1. I would be happy to read any published, peer reviewed study that shows me over several years that dormant daylilies, planted in the ground, thrive as well in FL as the evergreen daylilies planted beside them. Or that evergreens planted in MN thrive as well as dormant daylilies planted beside them.

2. Your comment "Daylilies that go dormant for winter under natural conditions do NOT need a period of dormancy to grow, to bloom or to multiply." makes no sense to me.

3. The people I buy daylilies from have been selling them for over 40 years, dormant and evergreen, all over the USA. Obviously they want people to be happy with them and buy more. I'll take their advice over your Stella test. We all know Stella is magic. She thrives under some tough conditions. Not exactly an average plant.

4. There have been people posting on this board about losing dormant daylilies in FL. Likely people also have commented on losing evergreens in cold climates.

5. But I am a beginner; here to learn and greatly appreciate the info freely given on this site. So if you do have a peer revied, published paper comparing evergreens and dormants under real world conditions I would be most interested in reading it.


Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Aug 23, 2020 5:31 PM CST
@Flowersgalore
Your statement "shows me over several years that dormant daylilies, planted in the ground, thrive as well in FL as the evergreen daylilies planted beside them. Or that evergreens planted in MN thrive as well as dormant daylilies planted beside them." may make assumptions that are not appropriate.
A dormant daylily planted in the ground in Florida does not need to thrive as well as an evergreen daylily planted beside them to not require a dormant period for normal growth and flowering. Are you perhaps assuming that the only difference between a daylily growing in MN versus one growing in Florida is that the Florida daylily will not go dormant. That is not necessarily a difference and it would not be the only difference between growing in Florida and growing in MN or elsewhere.
For example, the registration information for 'Hyperion' - "Hyperion (Mead-F.B., 1924) height 40 in.(102 cm), season M, Dormant, Diploid, Fragrant, GYL1: Green yellow light self. (Sir Michael Foster × Florham)"
Hyperion goes dormant in Florida. Watkins (professor, horticulture, University of Florida) wrote "Hyperion and Ophir, for example, are distinctly deciduous in character, pushing their leaves through the
ground rather late in the southern spring, yet their leaves are beautifully dark green holding their pristine freshness long after some of the robust evergreen kinds have commenced to turn brown in the hot sun of late summer." He goes on to show photos with the caption " lower left, Mikado is dormant until spring ; lower right, Hyperion is completely dormant until rather late in spring in Florida."

So at least some "dormant" daylilies can go dormant in Florida. They also presumably may grow reasonably well.

Watkins mentions an important difference between Florida and more northern locations (e.g. MN) and that is the temperature.

A dormant daylily may not grow well in Florida but that could be because the temperatures are too high for it to grow and bloom well completely independent of whether it went dormant.

If we want to test whether a daylily that does not go dormant grows in the same way and flowers in the same way as the same daylily that goes dormant then all the other conditions for the growth and flowering of the daylily need to be the same except for the presence or absence of dormancy. Two samples of the daylily could be grown in MN under identical growing conditions except that some of the fans would be allowed to go dormant and some would not.

Of course there are other potential problems. One is the identification of whether a daylily is a "dormant' or not. Watkins found that 'Mikado' was dormant in Florida, yet Stout registered it as "Mikado (Stout, 1929) height 36 in.(91 cm), season EM, Rebloom, Semi-Evergreen, Diploid, OM2-S: Orange medium with spot or eyezone. It is likely that to Stout semi-evergreen meant that it kept one or more green leaves or partial leaves during winter but actually went dormant (set an overwintering bud).

As I indicated I have tested other dormant daylilies by keeping them inside during winter and preventing them from going dormant and/or experiencing winter cold. For example, 'Custard Candy'.

Does 'Stella de Oro' grow well and flower well year after year in Florida?
Maurice
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Aug 23, 2020 5:43 PM CST
@flowersgalore
In another note in Herbertia, Watkins wrote the following,
"In HERBERTIA, volume 7, an article by this writer presented a rather extensive list which designated those clones which are evergreen, those which are deciduous in northern Florida. It is generally agreed that the evergreen character is of great value in the Peninsular State where winter gardening is the rule. Most of us who are interested in breeding Hemerocallis for the Lower South have this evergreen character continually in mind. When two clones are nearly comparable for garden purposes, the one which produces new leaves without interruption is to be preferred over the one which loses its leaves in the autumn and does not get new ones for a period of perhaps, five months."

Deciduous was the term originally and perhaps more correctly used where "dormant" is now used.

I would suggest that it is important that the distinction Watkins made between evergreens and dormants was the loss of leaves with no mention of any correlation of loss of leaves with poor growth or flowering under Florida conditions.
Maurice
Name: Tim
West Chicago, IL (Zone 5a)
Daylilies Native Plants and Wildflowers Vegetable Grower
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Lyshack
Aug 23, 2020 6:13 PM CST
I agree with Sue. That's the way to go.

I try to treat Evergreen, Semievergreen, and Dormant as just foliage descriptions. I agree that a lot of people think that the foliage is linked to hardiness, but I think at best that's a rule of thumb.

RW Munson's plants are almost all registered as Evergreen, but every one I've ever grown does just fine here in my harsh zone 5 climate. Evergreen Nile Crane is one of the most prolific plants in my garden. I think the fact that they are registered as Evergreen probably has more to do with the fact that Mr. Munson created then in Gainsville, Florida rather than anything related to hardiness. They may even behave more like Semi-Evergreen or Dormant in Canada than they do in Florida.

As for sellers using the foliage description to encourage or discourage Northern growers against evergreens or southern growers against buying Dormants. There is no doubt in my mind that happens. And would I spend $200 on a hot new evergreen without knowing if it was hardy here? Not very often. Would I be more likely to risk $200 on a dormant or semievergreen? Probably. That's where the rule of thumb crosses over into common sense for me. But to Sue's point, as soon as I find it is hardy for me, I wouldn't avoid buying it just because it was Evergreen.

But growers that really understand their plants do not confuse hardiness with foliage traits. I asked Judy Davisson about evergreen Early Shift once, and she said it probably wasn't hardy enough for me. But years later when I asked about evergreen Flirting with Monkeys, she recommended it and knew it would be hardy for me. And it has been.

So not every seller is using the foliage to determine where their plants are hardy. If you sell 400 different plants from all different hybridizers, they probably don't know all of them the way Judy knows her plants, and so using the "dormants=north - evergreens=south" rule of thumb might be the best they can do.
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Aug 23, 2020 7:10 PM CST
I pay no attention to whether a daylily was registered as "evergreen" or "dormant" when deciding whether to purchase it or not. Partly that is because most registered "evergreens" act as "dormants" here and partly that is because I consider hardiness is better predicted by who hybridized the daylily rather than how it was registered "evergreen"/"dormant".
Maurice
Name: Darcy
Reno, NV (Zone 6b)
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djinnevada
Aug 23, 2020 10:43 PM CST
Thank you all!!

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