Daylilies forum: How do you choose your daylilies?

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Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Jan 12, 2015 1:07 PM CST
I read a financial article that said a study in England showed that even though many companies offered fully funded retirement programs for their employees, many of the employees failed to sign up. That is free money, being passed up. Why?? Because they would have to make a decision !
So with thousands of daylilies out there I have become locked , or frozen, because I can't make a decision. With thousands to choose from, with the number of vendors available to choose from, with the number of different things to consider: height, color, rust resistance, etc. etc.....
When it comes time to pay up, how do you make that final decision, other than "that is one I don't already have", as if you could possibly ever have them all?
I was very fortunate last year to have a most generous lady give me daylilies, that was huge because (well yes it saved me money) but mostly because it prevented me from having to make the purchasing decisions.
So I would love to have people respond about how they make their choices. Currently my method is buy the cheapest! Why, because the $300.00 daylily today will be the $8.00 daylily down the road. Naturally, this is not the case for those who respond who are in the business of raising daylilies, they need the latest and greatest in many cases, so they would actually choose the very plants I avoid.
How do you choose yours, I would love to know!
[Last edited by Seedfork - Jan 12, 2015 3:32 PM (+)]
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Name: Gerry Donahue
Pleasant Lake, IN (Zone 5b)
Hostas Garden Ideas: Master Level
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profesora
Jan 12, 2015 2:00 PM CST
My goal is to hybridize, and I do have a set of characteristics that I would love to see someday in own hybrids in order of importance:
Fertile

Many branches, over 5
High bud count, over 35
Large flowers
Unusual forms
Not orange in any shade
Tall, over 30"
Winter hardy (zone 5)
Teeth or other unusual edge
Broken pattern
Excellent genetics





springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Jan 12, 2015 2:20 PM CST
I like hot eye catching colors, bright cherry red, orange and bright gold-yellow. I also like bright purple. I shy away from pastels, washed out looking colors and whites, creams. I do not like anything frilly or toothed very much. Must be winter hardy and have a high bud count. Flowers must open all the way. I prefer large flowers. Flowers that bloom too short- down in the foliage, I don't keep. I also don't keep anything that is splotchy or frumpy looking.
Name: Kim W
Md (Zone 6a)
More daylilies!!!!
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kimkats
Jan 12, 2015 2:59 PM CST
I love the hot colors, and uf spidery types too. I have been trying to only buy things that will work for my hybridizing goals of tall, well branched, toothy, rebloom and hot colors. Yet somehow other pretty faces inevitably manage to get here Blinking Sticking tongue out . I have been a lot better about it the past few years because I am out of room. Price has a lot to do with it as well. I have been drooling over Barbra Mandrell since she came out. There was no way I was forking over the big dollars for her then. Finally I got her on the LA this winter for less than 30 bucks. Hurray! There was much rejoycing (sp?) here that day. Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing
When I first started out any old pretty face that was cheap was welcome in the garden. Now many of those, which are still quite lovely, have been removed from the garden to make room. My friends, employer and others have reaped the benefits of this.
It's my cats world, I'm just here to open the cans.
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Jan 12, 2015 3:24 PM CST
The replies are great so far, I can see right off the bat the hybridizers have an advantage when making ordering decisions because they have very specific goals in mind. However, arriving at those specific goals probably involved an extended period of trial and error.
Trouble starting out is they all look beautiful, and all the different forms look good. I often see that beginners like me go for the cheap, pretty faces, much like teenage boys.
So let me ask experienced growers and long time daylily purchasers did you all start out with the pretty faces, and as you gained experience find your tastes changed, or your interests in particular traits began to guide your decisions. Anyone out there that started out differently, or is it just a natural progression to tend to specialize more and more?
Edited to add: Odd that Frillylily does not like frillylilies!
[Last edited by Seedfork - Jan 12, 2015 4:12 PM (+)]
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Name: Betty
MN zone 4
Frogs and Toads Birds Roses Region: United States of America Peonies Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
Lilies Irises Hummingbirder Hostas Garden Art Echinacea
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daylilydreams
Jan 12, 2015 3:48 PM CST
Way back when I first started a daylily collection the color pink was my thing. Over the years my taste have evolved to include most colors mostly tets some dips also included a few double forms, then I was adding toothy cultivars. Now it seems that unusual tall forms are strolling into my garden with increasing frequency. Now days a daylily has to have something special that catches my attention as in color, pattern, shape, height. I always use to think I would never purchase new introductions, but since I am no longer adding more than perhaps eight to ten daylilies a year I sometimes purchase a new intro keeping strictly within my budget. I want eye catching, northern hardy, good branching and good bud counts, plus northern rebloom is a big plus (yes I do get some rebloom on some cultivars from Karol Emmerich). I also have extra early, early, mid, late and extra late blooming cultivars for as long a bloom season as is possible in our short summers. Can you tell I love daylilies and want it all! Lovey dubby One more thing there are evergreen, semi-evergreen and of course dormant daylilies here in my garden that are hardy here in the north, plus I don't want blooms down in the foliage.
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Betty MN Zone4 AHS member

[Last edited by daylilydreams - Jan 14, 2015 11:32 AM (+)]
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Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
Hybridizer Irises Butterflies Charter ATP Member Birds Cat Lover
Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Vegetable Grower Daylilies Hummingbirder Heucheras
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Hemlady
Jan 12, 2015 3:51 PM CST
I started out with both spiders and full forms but after a couple of years I concentrated more on spiders/ufo's. Those just appeal to me more. Last year after I had a toothy seedling bloom, I began kind of questioning whether I wanted to start hybridizing for teeth. I may try my hand at that too. As of now, all the full form tets I hybridize, I mostly sell the seeds. I do plant a few but not many. I try to purchase high bud count plants but I have found that in my climate they usually do not produce the registered bud count.
Lighthouse Gardens
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Jan 12, 2015 4:29 PM CST
I like UF, Doubles and full round flat ones the best.

I don't really care for the real spiders so much or the trumpet shapes.

The reason I don't like the frilly edges is because they don't open well. That is especially an issue here where the mornings are cool.
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cottage Gardener Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
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LarryR
Jan 12, 2015 4:36 PM CST
Great question! Here's an excerpt from my ATP article on daylilies: “I developed definite preferences early on as I began sifting through daylilies on hundreds of websites.  (Googling "daylily" generates over 600,000 hits.)  There was more than a little irony in what my preference for color turned out to be:  Orange!  (which I had always considered as too common a color) That’s especially odd, given that my favorite color is blue.  I would have been out of luck searching for blue daylilies, though, because there are no solid true-blue ones.  Yet.  And that's not for lack of trying.

Other preferences that manifested themselves along the way included an inclination toward cultivars that have rich colors.  I avoided colors that were muted or muddy.  Pastels just didn’t excite me.  As it turned out, I was even less excited by toothy petal edges and most doubles.  As one hybridizer put it, “doubles often look like crumpled, used tissues.” 
I hasten to add that in expressing my preferences I don’t mean to offend those who love teeth or doubles.  The doubles I do like are those that are consistently fully formed or are strictly hose-in-hose. The operative word here is “consistently.”  I came across so many cultivars whose double forms were all over the map, from single blooms, to a few odd petals here and there, to fully double, all on the same plant.  I especially appreciated those growers who stated right up front that the blossoms of a given cultivar were actually double only X% of the time.  Numbers ranged as low as 50%.”

Already my preferences are changing since I wrote that article. I'm particularly enamored of the beautiful patterned cultivars that Mark Carpenter and Nicole Devito have released in the past few years.
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Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Jan 12, 2015 4:39 PM CST
So, let me throw this in. If people out there who have been purchasing daylilies for a while would comment on this. If you had a chance to start over or for someone just stating out, how would you change the way you selected your daylilies? Or would you! All comments welcomed! Let me also add that photo examples are much appreciated. Muted colors? Splotchy? Frumpy?
[Last edited by Seedfork - Jan 12, 2015 4:45 PM (+)]
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Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: United States of America
Region: Indiana Garden Art Annuals Clematis Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 2
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blue23rose
Jan 12, 2015 5:08 PM CST
I only started buying daylilies about 10 years ago or so, because I met the owner of a daylily farm and they were only 15 miles away. I started by picking out pretty faces that were fairly cheap ($5 to $10). But in the last couple of years, I want daylilies that bloom very early or very late, fragrant, and tall with a scape that will hold up the blooms. If the daylily farm had not shut down, I would probably be buying fewer daylilies, but spending more ($25-$40) on the ones I would buy because of those traits. I don't see myself paying $50 for a daylily, but that can always change, too!

If I could start over, knowing what I know now, my garden would look so much different. I don't prefer doubles, UFs, blooms down in the foliage, or weak scapes, but some of my daylilies have those traits. And there are a few, like Nell Dean which is a double, that I just love because of the color.

Vickie
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Jan 12, 2015 5:19 PM CST
Here is Nell Dean, and it is an unusual color!
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Jan 12, 2015 5:23 PM CST
Would this be considered splotchy? I don' tmuch care for it in the photo, but I will wait for it to bloom here before judging it.
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Jan 12, 2015 5:47 PM CST
Ok, I know I want a long season of blooms, so I guess for me that is one of my first criteria for selecting my daylilies. But not just early or late, but how long of a period each one blooms, and the length of time between re-bloom must be taken into consideration. My, this can get complicated in a hurry!
Yes, strong scapes is a good trait to look for, don't recall that being a choice in the data base. But, I have some daylilies with weak scapes that will not hold the blooms up, and it is made worse because the plants are in the shade too much, must make a note to move those.
[Last edited by Seedfork - Jan 12, 2015 5:58 PM (+)]
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Name: Teresa
South central KY (Zone 6b)
Consider the lilies of the field
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bluegrassmom
Jan 12, 2015 6:16 PM CST
Hi, I guess live and learn is what I have done. About 10 yrs ago when I got into collecting I thought they were all lovely. My taste has changed. I now prefer Ufs , big and bright blooms. I still love a fancy, frilly one. I do add to extend my season now. I also look for high bud count, strong scapes. I hate a flopper or one that blooms down in the foliage! In the last 18 months I have culled about 100 that I was not so pleased with.

Now what stays is first of all what I think is beautiful, but it has to make the grade to be a keeper. I love the database here on ATPs because we have so much info at our fingertips.
Name: Gerry Donahue
Pleasant Lake, IN (Zone 5b)
Hostas Garden Ideas: Master Level
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profesora
Jan 12, 2015 6:28 PM CST
There are many daylilies that I own that I would not have bought if I had know what I know now. When I started buying, I looked for the pretty face and some spider lilies. I did not have a clue about what was out there. And I am still learning.

This year I will not buy because I still have many to relocate, some to sell, and some will be arriving that I bought last fall.

I also have many seeds to start and there are a few seedlings that I need to transplant. Further, I do not know what I may want to replace or just abandon those that did not survive. Last fall we had an unexpected freezing rain followed by below freezing temperatures that I know have already killed some potted plants.

Next season potted plants will be put away in the summer, not in the fall. I do learn.
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Jan 12, 2015 6:37 PM CST
Ok, being seeds were just mentioned by profesora, would it be advisable for people starting out to just buy seed? I am still a little befuddled with daylily seed (plants do not come true from seed) yet people pay big prices to get something they may not get, I don't get it (could not resist).
Name: Gerry Donahue
Pleasant Lake, IN (Zone 5b)
Hostas Garden Ideas: Master Level
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profesora
Jan 12, 2015 7:05 PM CST
When buying seeds, one is buying the genetics of the parents.
Name: Gerry Donahue
Pleasant Lake, IN (Zone 5b)
Hostas Garden Ideas: Master Level
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profesora
Jan 12, 2015 7:06 PM CST
Would you want some free seeds?
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Jan 12, 2015 7:23 PM CST
Thanks for the offer, but let me get some more feedback here and see just which direction I should go with my daylily decisions. Not sure just which genetics I would be trying to acquire.

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