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Jan 18, 2021 6:09 PM CST
Thread OP
Name: Pat
McLean, VA (Zone 7a)
I asked this question in the daylily forum but not much response. I hope it's better placed here. Thanks in advance.

I grow a lot of daylilies in raised beds and in those beds I plan to use alfalfa pellets, organic Fertilizer (Symphony - chicken manure), kelp meal. I wonder if they need more.

Also, all the rest of my yard full of ornamentals is neglected when it comes to fertilizer and I want to fertilize without spending quite so much. It doesn't have to be organic but I kind of hate the idea of going back to 10-10-10 or something like that. There's always Milorganite. When I started putting it in the hole with a newly planted daylily years ago, the results were obvious and good, however sprinkling it around in the ensuring years didn't show me anything noticeable.

Any advice is welcome.
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Jan 18, 2021 6:34 PM CST
Name: Bea
PNW (Zone 8b)
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May not be the answer your looking for but I rarely fertilize my garden. I have all raised beds. Brought in mushroom compost 8-10" . Add compost or small amount of time released fertilizer to new plants dahlia tubers, daylilies when planting . As long as they have good drainage, air/oxygen to roots air circulation, sun all that good stuff everybody seems happy. Well until the deer come along.

Or maybe it's the water ? Can u do a PH test of soil . Sometimes the soil is to acid or alkaline depending on rain or the water if city or well water . There are places to send a sample of water. My well water has to much calcium so I have a filter I use .

What type of an effect are you looking for with soil amendments. A mix of sand, clay has lots of minerals etc. should be approximately 60% topsoil, 30% compost, 10% Potting/recycled soil adding a soilless growing mix that contains peat moss, perlite and/or vermiculite . I use sterile mushroom compost blend from yard garden supply stores.They deliver by the yard.

Take a peek at my garden combo pics dahlias, shrubs, trees etc. are of my garden.
I’m so busy... “I don’t know if I found a rope or lost a horse.”
Last edited by bumplbea Jan 18, 2021 6:49 PM Icon for preview
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Jan 18, 2021 6:43 PM CST
Name: Lee-Roy
Bilzen, Belgium (Zone 8a)
Region: Belgium Composter Region: Europe Ferns Hostas Irises
Lilies Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
I agree, no need for that.

People these days overfertillize their gardens to negative effect of surface/groundwater. Unless a soil test suggests deficiencies, there's no need.
Besides that, you're not managing a field, or even a veg patch, but purely an ornamental garden. You won't be harvesting great amounts of organic material every year resulting in nutrient depletions.

If you really want to 'fertellize', mulch using wood chips, straw or haul autumn leaves which so many Americans direct to the curb for landfill.
They'll be so much more beneficial than chemical fertillizers.
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Jan 18, 2021 7:02 PM CST
Name: Zoë
Albuquerque NM, Elev 5310 ft (Zone 7b)
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daylily99, the thing about fertilizing is that it is such a wide-ranging topic and you'll get countless opinions. However, your first step should be to determine what, if anything, is deficient in your soil. You can use a home testing kit, send a sample to your ag. extension, or just observe plant symptoms and performance, but just adding stuff without knowing why isn't the way to go.

The products you're using are all nitrogen-heavy. It's true that nitrogen is most easily depleted from soil, but if you don't balance it with phosphorus and potassium and micronutrients your soil will not feed your plants well (but again, back to testing: what does your soil need?) You say you don't mind if your fertilizer isn't organic but don't want to use a 10-10-10. Why not?

Many organic soil amendments take quite some time to break down, which is why they are best applied to soil in fall or early spring. They aren't immediately effective when used as side dressing mid-summer.

The Symphony looks okay, maybe low on potassium, and does your soil need calcium? Combining the chicken fertilizer with alfalfa is probably redundant...might not hurt, might be too much nitrogen. IMO, save your money and skip the kelp. Others might disagree. Whatever you use should be worked into the soil and watered well, not just sprinkled on the soil.

The best thing you can add is compost compost compost. It's not a fertilizer but boosts the microbial activity and tilth of your soil so it can better use available nutrients.

Edit to add: I totally agree with the two first posts, which beat me to it. Test and compost/1
Last edited by nmoasis Jan 18, 2021 7:04 PM Icon for preview
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Jan 19, 2021 8:35 AM CST
Name: Kenny Shively
Rineyville, KY. region 10. (Zone 6b)
Region: Kentucky Daylilies Hybridizer
Pat, I am also in zone 6b and my hobby is growing and hybridizing daylilies. Here are some of the amendments I use, lots of ground leaves (free from local city.) Alfalfa pellets, some worm castings, and just as scapes start a fish and seaweed liquid fertilizer sprayed on all the foilage I can reach, this is just for micronutrients, seems to help with brighter deeper color on blooms. Daylilies do like nitrogen, and water, but other things as well. As others have stated a soil test is always a good idea. I use alfalfa pellets and worm castings on all my plants. Worm castings can be a little pricey (see if you can buy directly from the worm farm, usually a lot cheaper ,especially if you are close enough to pick them up your self). Alfalfa pellets are fairly cheap when you consider you are getting nutrients and building your soil. Some of these amendments are worked into the soil in the fall. Some are used as a side dressing and covered with a bit of leaf mold compost in the spring. I must also say I use a lot of used coffee grounds in my garden (check your local coffee shop), great for Earthworms. These are most of the things I use. May or may not work for you. Shrug! . Good luck with your garden I tip my hat to you. . Stay healthy and safe Smiling .
Avatar for daylilly99
Jan 21, 2021 9:43 AM CST
Thread OP
Name: Pat
McLean, VA (Zone 7a)
Thanks to all who replied. I got bit distracted and forgot to check back for answers until just now.

My problem with getting soil test(s) is that I have so many beds or mixed perennials/shrubs in the yard in addition to about 40 4' x 12' raised beds in which I hybridize my daylilies and grow some veggies. There are probably many different soil conditions, depending on where in the garden I take a sample and it really adds up at $10 per test plus the cost of shipping boxes of soil to the extension service.

When you do get results, they don't come with specific recommendations as I recall from having done it once or twice. Maybe it's worth spending $100 or so to test a few areas (my DH won't be happy about it as he's not a gardener).

I just got in about 10 cubic yards of double shredded wood from the recycling center and the same amount of leaf compost, so I'll be working hard to weed and put all of that down as thickly as is reasonable between the ornamentals and daylilies. I already bought about 240 pounds of alfalfa pellets for the raised beds and ordered a gallon of humic acid to try out on some of the ornamentals and veggies just to see if it makes a difference.

I asked about amendments because I want a healthier soil and I know (from a test the extension will do for free) that I have some nematodes. I've been adding what I could of crab meal to hopefully help with that. I'm just looking to get as many beneficial nematodes, etc. into the soil as I can manage.

I have a huge compost pile onto which I throw everything that is not diseased or a really noxious weed and it breaks down into soil but never gets "hot".

I suppose it would be a good idea to take samples from that for a soil test too.
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Jan 26, 2021 4:57 PM CST
Name: Dr. Demento Jr.
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
What type of soil are they planted in ?
Natural dirt, dirt you created, bagged dirt?
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Feb 1, 2021 3:12 PM CST
Name: Christie
Central Ohio 43016 (Zone 6a)
Plays on the water.
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You might try just putting down some manure.
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Avatar for daylilly99
Mar 28, 2021 12:34 PM CST
Thread OP
Name: Pat
McLean, VA (Zone 7a)
Here's an update.

I sent in 5 soil samples, taking them from various of my raised beds where I do most of my hybridizing and growing on of new plants.

The results were pretty much the same for all 5 samples. No need for lime, phosphorous is very high, potash is very high. They recommended fertilizer with nitrogen only (or as close as possible). Urea is all nitrogen but you have to put it down carefully as it can burn plants. Another recommendation for fertilizer was a slow release lawn fertilizer, similar to what I just got a recommendation for from Jim Murphy. I got Jonathan Green Green Up (29-0-3) and a 15 pound bag is more than enough for one season. I had also gotten some alfalfa pellets and Jim says it won't hurt to put those down also.

Nematodes require a separate test, which I was going to do but I've discovered nothing outstanding with which treat them (or did discover a couple of things but at far too great a cost).

Let me mention that most all the fertilizer I have put down for years has been organic but it still made phosphorous and potash too high.
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Mar 28, 2021 12:59 PM CST
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
I am amazed that only a 15 lb bag of fertilizer was needed for the entire season!
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Apr 8, 2021 4:44 PM CST
Name: Lee-Roy
Bilzen, Belgium (Zone 8a)
Region: Belgium Composter Region: Europe Ferns Hostas Irises
Lilies Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
daylilly99 said:Here's an update.

I sent in 5 soil samples, taking them from various of my raised beds where I do most of my hybridizing and growing on of new plants.

The results were pretty much the same for all 5 samples. No need for lime, phosphorous is very high, potash is very high. They recommended fertilizer with nitrogen only (or as close as possible). Urea is all nitrogen but you have to put it down carefully as it can burn plants. Another recommendation for fertilizer was a slow release lawn fertilizer, similar to what I just got a recommendation for from Jim Murphy. I got Jonathan Green Green Up (29-0-3) and a 15 pound bag is more than enough for one season. I had also gotten some alfalfa pellets and Jim says it won't hurt to put those down also.

Nematodes require a separate test, which I was going to do but I've discovered nothing outstanding with which treat them (or did discover a couple of things but at far too great a cost).

Let me mention that most all the fertilizer I have put down for years has been organic but it still made phosphorous and potash too high.


Soil nitrogen levels go up and down so fast throughout the season it's impossible to test long term; that's why most labs don't.
Conversely it's easy and quick to remedy IF there is a deficiency.
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Nov 21, 2022 1:30 PM CST
Name: DAVID or PRUNNR RETALLICK
MILLBROOK ONTARIO CANADA (Zone 5b)
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I am in ZONE 5B , growing DAYLILIES in clay based soil. I have never in 35 years taken a soil test to see if anything the soil needs. We used well rotted horse , pig and cow manure for many many years . We ate the food the lad provided us way before synthetic fertilizers were used . I use MUSHROOM compost , wheat straw mixed in the soil in the fall . The miracle fertilizer for me is when I tried MILORGANITE . I an sold on it , use it sprinkled on all perennials , shrubs and vegetable planting holes . Unfortunately our government say we can't buy it in Canada . You people are very lucky to have this great product.
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Apr 14, 2023 6:01 AM CST
Name: Steve
Loomis, CA (Zone 9a)
Dahlias
The best fertilizer for daylilies in raised beds is a balanced, slow-release granular fertilizer with a formulation like 10-10-10 (N-P-K: Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium). They require a good balance of nutrients for optimal growth and bloom production.

When you fertilize them, it is important to follow these steps:

Apply the fertilizer in early spring as new growth emerges, and again in mid-summer after the first bloom cycle is complete.
Follow the manufacturer's recommended application rate and instructions to avoid over-fertilizing, which can lead to weak growth and fewer blooms.
Water the daylilies well after applying the fertilizer to help it dissolve and reach the root zone.


A few tips for. you.
I know I have dirt under my fingernails.
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Apr 14, 2023 7:15 AM CST
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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Steve,
That post sounds like an article pulled from a gardening magazine by a writer who has never even grown a daylily. Most people here on this forum know there is no best fertilizer for daylilies, each person's garden is different and the needs for their daylilies will vary. I use a mixture, but the main goal is to get a fertilizer that the plants respond well to, and nitrogen seems to be the key ingredient my soil needs so I go with things that are high in nitrogen.
Edited to add:
Not sure way raising the height of a bed would change the recommended type of fertilizer. That should depend on the planting medium used to fill or raise the beds.
Last edited by Seedfork Apr 14, 2023 9:18 AM Icon for preview
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Apr 14, 2023 9:05 AM CST
Name: Lee-Roy
Bilzen, Belgium (Zone 8a)
Region: Belgium Composter Region: Europe Ferns Hostas Irises
Lilies Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
Seedfork said: Steve,
That post sounds like an article pulled from a gardening magazine by a writer who has never even grown a daylily. Most people here on this forum know there is no best fertilizer for daylilies, each person's garden is different and the needs for their daylilies will vary. I use a mixture, but the main goal is go get a fertilizer that the plants respond well to, and nitrogen seems to be the key ingredient my soil needs so I go with things that are high in nitrogen.
Edited to add:
Not sure way raising the height of a bed would change the recommended type of fertilizer. That should depend on the planting medium used to fill or raise the beds.


Which is why you TEST before you dump fertillizers around.
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Apr 14, 2023 9:48 AM CST
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL @--`--,----- 🌹 (Zone 8b)
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I think of soil kind of like a complex living thing, not unlike a person as far as "feeding it." If you were to eat just a few things, you would not be as healthy as if you eat a huge variety of various fruits, veggies, proteins, and bits of various greenery that we call herbs.

Adding this 1 thing or that 1 thing is not how I approach it. I try to retain all of the organic material that grows or comes to our property (like kitchen scraps) and compost all of it, except for a few things like bones, meat, big thorns, very, painted/waxy cardboard, large pieces of wood. The compost then has a comprehensive variety of "stuff" in it that, when spread on the soil surface, will be processed by the soil dwelling critters, and rain, into a form that roots can use, and moved to a location where roots can access it. It's the way mother nature does it in areas where people just visit but don't try to control things.

I've never tested soil because I wouldn't understand the results. And which soil would I test? The mowed area, vs. the front area where very little compost has been added, or other cultivated areas where a lot of compost has been added? Since the results of putting same plants in those various locations varies so wildly, I am confident that soil tests from those areas would also vary wildly.

Nothing against the very important subject of chemistry, or the noble pursuit thereof, and I hope my comments don't give that impression. I say these things in support of my rejection of the notion that a gardener of ornamental plants or even a casual "veggie patch" must self-educate in regard to soil analysis or piecemeal "amendments" to succeed. I never see any discussion about comparing the results of soil testing to the soil in a pristine (unaltered by disturbance or the removal or addition of soil or amendments) natural location. The ornamental and veggie plants that are common in commerce/cultivation come from all over the world, from all kinds of soils. So it seems very reasonable to me that although they may be in the right hardiness zone, not all of the plants I like will like the local conditions where I am.

Sometimes a plant will (allegedly, in discussion) exhibit an imbalance that isn't necessarily remedied by adding more of something, but said imbalance can occur (allegedly, in discussion) because there is too much of something else. If that is going on, adding the "missing" thing might not help.

I've absorbed enough from reading articles and forum comments to recognize that 10-10-10 isn't a brand or kind of fertilizer, it's just a measurement of 3 (out of possibly thousands) of substances that plants need. An organic or synthetic fertilizer could be 10-10-10. I do use fert for potted plants, so I want all 3 of those things to be present.

The necessity of using tap water on gardens at times can add an additional layer of complications in regard to likely high PH, chlorination, fluoride.

Maybe I'm just lazy and want to let Mother Nature do things for me? IDK.

Mucking around with this stuff if you don't know what you don't know, don't have a comprehension of every thing a plant needs, how they obtain those things, and everything that is in those packaged products @ a store could do more harm than good. When I have a plant that doesn't do well, it's so much easier and cheaper to try something else than to try to analyze the cause of the unsatisfactory result and attempt to alter that.

Pat, I may have missed it if already discussed, but what are your daylilies doing that you feel like they need fertilizer?
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Apr 14, 2023 12:36 PM CST
Name: Lee-Roy
Bilzen, Belgium (Zone 8a)
Region: Belgium Composter Region: Europe Ferns Hostas Irises
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There are two reason for why I would argument against the liberal use of fertillizers:

1) Without knowledge of the current situation, you might end up creating a nutrient overload, that will inevitably land in ground or surface waters which is a form of pollution; natural bodies of water are rarely VERY nutrient rich compared to land soils.

2) Lieblig's law of the minimum: this is represented by a barrell with slats of different sizes; each representing a different nutrient and the level of the water inside the barrell representing the plant's growth.
As you can imagine, the level of the water will be decided by the shortest slat (because at this point it will overflow and thus not rise anymore), even though the other slats might be much bigger.
So in essence, a plant's growth is determined by the least available nutrient. Ofcouse this law can be violated through evolution for instance, but that's rarely the case in a garden setting.
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Apr 14, 2023 1:39 PM CST
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Plant Identifier
I had to go back to the original post and find out when this thread was posted...

2021...

I plan to use alfalfa pellets, organic Fertilizer (Symphony - chicken manure), kelp meal. I wonder if they need more.


The plan sounded fine... Except the part where amounts spread was left out...

Using commercial chicken poop isn't like using the compost from birds that get all the goodies from the garden... I could garden directly in the chicken compost, after rotating them out of a pen... Matter of fact, the plants start growing on their own...

That commercial poop is likely to burn stuff... The poop I used to buy from those commercial poultry barns was certainly dangerous if much was applied...
Avatar for Rubi
Apr 18, 2023 12:32 PM CST
West Central Minnesota (Zone 4a)
Hummingbirder
Daylilies need fertilizer? Who knew?
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