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Jan 3, 2022 7:37 AM CST
Name: Lori Thomas
Dawsonville, GA (Zone 7b)
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I have daylilies growing in several garden beds around my home. Some are in full sun; some in part sun. Some are newly planted in amended soil, others have been in native clay soil for years. I've never fertilized daylilies, and I've had some success getting large clumps, but I'm wondering if I need to fertilize the daylilies to get better results. Your thoughts and ideas are appreciated.
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Jan 3, 2022 8:18 AM CST
Name: pam
gainesville fl (Zone 8b)
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Guess it depends what you want. Water is their first love but they love some food as well. I stick to osmocote, milorganite and alot of systemic rose food that helps with rust.
Knowledge makes people humble, Arrogance makes people ignorant.
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Jan 3, 2022 8:30 AM CST
Name: Nan
southeast Georgia (Zone 8b)
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Pam, what systemic rose food helps with rust? How does that work? Inquiring minds want to know!

As for fertilizer, I have been confused about what is recommended for daylilies. I have seen sites that recommend a balanced fertilizer and others that recommend high nitrogen. I bought some "daylily fertilizer" last year and used it, but I don't know if it did anything. Usually all I do is give each plant a helping of compost spring and fall.
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Jan 3, 2022 9:12 AM CST
Name: pam
gainesville fl (Zone 8b)
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I just use bayer for roses. I believe ortho makes one ive used too. I figure it kills everything on daylilies it kills on roses and it works for me if I use it in time. It would be very costly and a pain to use it for a large areas tho.
Knowledge makes people humble, Arrogance makes people ignorant.
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Jan 3, 2022 9:21 AM CST
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
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Maybe try picking out a bed you think might be in need of a little extra, pick half of that bed to receive fertilizer and pick the other half not to receive fertilizer. Maybe two or three beds done like this with different mixtures in each. Maybe try some chemical fertilizer in one, some organic fertilizer in one and a combination in the other. I do know that daylilies prefer a ph of 6-6.5, at least that is the current recommendation.
I guess the answer we all know is that it depends on your soil, a soil test is always recommended. Then there is the actual world where very few of us actually ever get our soil tested. Still even with a soil test there seems to be differences in the recommended ratio of the fertilizers used for daylilies. Have there ever been studies actually done specifically for the fertilizer requirements of daylilies? I feel sure there must have been, but I don't remember actually reading them. I think now they are almost treated as growing grass. I know from reading the old Daylily Journals and even some fairly late country extension booklets, lower number nitrogen fertilizers were recommended. Now it seems almost everyone is recommending higher amounts of nitrogen. The old thoughts were that the nitrogen weakened the scapes and made them taller, and put the energy of the plant into growing foliage instead of into the buds and flowers. Now it seems the higher nitrogen is recommended to stimulate the growth of the number of fans and therefore the number of scapes and as a result more flowers and that the scapes are not made weaker by nitrogen if not over done, but in general more nitrogen than recommended than in the past.
I do try to build up the organic matter in my soil, I read so much about daylilies loving to grow in soil with high content of organic matter. I also try to make sure my daylilies get enough water, and I just posted the question of how much water a daylily needs during the fall and winter, being I got no specific answers I am still curious about that.
I am currently stocked up to fertilize my daylilies come the middle of Feb. 2022, I plan to use milorganite (6-4-0 plus iron), a fertilizer brought from the local Co-op (16-4-8) plus some minor elements then some pelletized limestone. I would love to use some form of alfalfa, but it seems to attract raccoons, armadillos and possums, so I had to stop using that.
Now that is not a recommendation for your soil, so if you do decide to try some fertilizer you still have to decide on what to use and how much.
Last edited by Seedfork Jan 3, 2022 9:31 AM Icon for preview
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Jan 3, 2022 9:22 AM CST
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4b)
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Everyone's soil is different so the only way to know what is really needed is to get a soil test. Nitrogen is the nutrient most often in short supply. In the absence of a soil test I would tend to avoid a fertilizer with a high middle number (P for phosphorus) because it can become excessive if applied often and unnecessarily. It's worth bearing in mind that too much of a nutrient can also slow growth and be damaging by causing deficiencies of something else. I know of a few people who had soil tests done and were surprised to find that some elements were too high and they were told not to apply any more.
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Jan 3, 2022 9:24 AM CST
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
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Bayer advanced 3 in 1is the product so many people use for roses and daylilies. It has fertilizer, insecticide and fungicide in the mix for total protection.
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Jan 3, 2022 9:26 AM CST
Name: pam
gainesville fl (Zone 8b)
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Same here on the alfalfa. For me its the rats that did me in.
Knowledge makes people humble, Arrogance makes people ignorant.
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Jan 3, 2022 9:33 AM CST
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4b)
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Larry, to try and answer some of your questions, there is no recommended pH level for daylilies although a researcher did suggest a range of 5.5 to 6.5. Daylilies, or at least some of them, do not seem to like high pH soils.

You asked about studies, here are a couple. The first was also written up in a past issue of the Daylily Journal.

https://meridian.allenpress.co...

https://journals.ashs.org/hort...

Can I ask why you are planning on adding limestone?
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Jan 3, 2022 9:38 AM CST
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
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It seems in this area almost all soils have lime recommend, it seems to be almost universal in my area. Plus, I have tried growing without it and with it, and at least in my mind the flowers seemed to have better color when I used it.
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Jan 3, 2022 9:48 AM CST
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4b)
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Seedfork said:It seems in this area almost all soils have lime recommend, it seems to be almost universal in my area. Plus, I have tried growing without it and with it, and at least in my mind the flowers seemed to have better color when I used it.


Well if it works for you then that's a great and presumably beneficial, although I would prefer a pH test before applying lime (or sulfur, to go in the opposite pH direction) because there is typically also a recommendation on how much to apply depending on the pH and the soil characteristics. I do know of a person who applied lime to daylilies because surrounding growers did so and ended up having to lower the pH back down with sulfur because what worked for the plants the others were growing did not work for daylilies or at least not in that particular garden. Pushing the pH too high can cause micronutrient deficiencies, most plant micronutrients become less available as the pH increases. A clue to that with daylilies would be paler green between the leaf veins.
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Jan 3, 2022 9:50 AM CST
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
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I guess because of reading the suggested soil ph for daylilies in articles, and seeing charts like this it seemed to me the best ph for growing daylilies was 6-6.5 range.
Opps left off the link:
https://www.dayliliesinaustral...
Last edited by Seedfork Jan 3, 2022 9:56 AM Icon for preview
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Jan 3, 2022 9:54 AM CST
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
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I do go light on the lime, and I can see that over the years it might have a tendency to get overused. I may not being doing a bit of good using it, but at least so far it has done no harm that I can detect.
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Jan 3, 2022 10:04 AM CST
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4b)
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From one of the daylily fertilizer researchers in the links I gave above:

"Add lime if needed to raise the soil pH to 5.5 to 6.5."

This is quoted from a University of Vermont article on daylilies:
http://pss.uvm.edu/ppp/pubs/oh...
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Jan 3, 2022 10:53 AM CST
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
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@sooby
Sort of got lost in the parts per million, and was very interested in the plants being grown in pots, the weekly application was noted. I suppose to me the most interesting part of the https://journals.ashs.org/hort... study was the conclusion:

Conclusion:
Daylily plants had similar acceptable VQ regardless of fertilization treatments throughout the experiment.
visual quality=VQ
Last edited by Seedfork Jan 3, 2022 11:10 AM Icon for preview
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Jan 3, 2022 11:25 AM CST
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
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I did find this part Bed maintenance.
Irrigation was suspended on 1 Dec. 2005 and resumed on 15 Feb. 2006 at once per week and increased to twice per week from 26 Apr. 2006 until the experiment was ended.
Not saying that is a recommended thing, but maybe due to a break for the holidays, but interesting.
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Jan 3, 2022 11:41 AM CST
Name: Debra
Nashville, TN (Zone 7a)
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I always get more buds on scapes when I fertilize. I've used Milorganite and Bayer's 3-in-1, but I get the best results from Gardener's Gold Premium Compost, which I buy from Gardens Alive. It's expensive, so I only use it on selected seedlings and my favorite registered daylilies.
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Jan 3, 2022 11:45 AM CST
Name: Nancy
Bowling Green Kentucky (Zone 6b)
I grew daylilies for years without fertilizing and always thought it was not necessary. I decided to finally try it a couple of years ago, using milorganite and alfalfa pellets. Some plants I could tell no difference in. Others multiplied really fast and bloomed better. They could even be growing side by side. Daylilies that struggled before, mostly evergreens, really improved, multiplying and blooming like they never had. Maybe they just needed that little boost. I think about 25% of my daylilies showed noticable improvement. Did not work for all my struggling plants, but many of them. Spacecoast Sea Shells is one example, I have had it 6 or 7 years, never grew more than 2 fans and dwindled to 1. I fertilized it and was 7 fans last fall. Hoping they all come thru the winter.
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Jan 3, 2022 11:48 AM CST
Name: pam
gainesville fl (Zone 8b)
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16 Qt - 80033
$19.99

Gardener's Gold™ Premium Compost - 0426
$19.99 Out of Stock
There were two chocies, one sold out, Wonder the difference?
Knowledge makes people humble, Arrogance makes people ignorant.
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Jan 3, 2022 12:47 PM CST
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
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I don't actually think there were two kinds, It indicates a choice, but I think there is only the one kind, then a drop down to let you know it is out of stock.

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