Daylilies forum: My Daylilies

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Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Jul 28, 2015 8:26 AM CST
I assume that southern growers label a cultivar as a "hard" dormant when it goes dormant or stops growing early in the winter and does not start growing at all again until the spring. Classifying cultivars would be simplest if they disappear completely below ground when they go dormant.

Several cultivars have been described as being "hard" dormants (that I could obtain). When I tested them by bringing fans inside they started to grow quickly and without problem. A dormant that needed to experience a certain amount of cold to grow would not be able to start growing when brought inside before it experienced winter cold.

My conclusion so far is that daylilies are probably not hard dormants and do not require experiencing cold to break dormancy and grow normally.

The test for southern daylily growers is very simple. If you have a cultivar that seems to be a hard dormant (say because it is dormant in December and does not start to grow again until March) then take a fan of it inside as soon as possible after it has gone dormant and keep it at room temperature in a little water or a pot of soil. See if it starts to grow again relatively quickly. If it does then it was not a hard dormant (not endodormant) - it was only dormant because the temperatures were too low for it to grow (ecodormant). If it does not grow again (or if it takes months to sprout) then it may be a hard dormant.
Maurice
Name: Dennis
SW Michigan (Zone 5a)
Daylilies
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Dennis616
Jul 28, 2015 8:51 AM CST
Based on what I read here, it seems possible or even likely that historically speaking dormants were actually more likely to be northern cold hardy simply because there were more of them. Northern hybridizers were simply developing more cold hardy plants that were dormants. They were doing this not because of a scientific correlation between foliage habit and cold hardiness, but because there was assumed or perceived to be one. And also possibly because in many cases evergreens in the north can have a period in the spring when they have a lot of ratty-looking foliage.

So the question is, if that was true is it still true to some extent? Are dormants still more likely to be northern cold hardy simply because there are just a higher numbers of them that are? Clearly the line is blurred but is it truly to the point now where it is completely irrelevant?

Either way, the ratty foliage issue may or may not be a concern for some people?
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
Jul 28, 2015 9:49 AM CST
Thank you Sue and Maurice. This dormancy issue has had me really puzzled. I have crosses that are quite the mix concerning dor, sev, and ev. Most make it long term (at least 3 years) in my garden in my warmer climate. But a few do not. They get watered, fertilized, sun, etc. the same as all the other plants around them. They come back the second year, but disappear by the third year. It is the seedlings that have 2 dormant parents.
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Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
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Hemlady
Jul 28, 2015 10:12 AM CST
I don't know, I am reading all of this about any type of daylily can be grown in my garden but I just have not found that to be true in my 25 years of growing them. The most often lost daylilies in winter here are evergreens. Evergreens and some semi-evergreens are always most likely to get crown rot in my garden also. The evergreen Munsons struggled until they increased to a small clump and then they seemed to be a bit more hardy. I purchased a few evergreens from a Florida grower last year (single fans) and I lost them this past winter, despite the fact that they were planted in early spring. I also lost a 2 year old 4 fan clump of Archaelptyrx this winter, along with Raspberry Frost, Bella Isabella, Happy Happy (replaced that one) and Dragonfly Dawn is struggling. I can't recall ever losing a dormant to cold kill or crown rot. Also, some evergreens and semii-evergreens (not all) really struggle growing in my climate. I have some that I have had for 5 years that still have only 2 fans despite the fact that I fertilize with both slow release fertilizer and milorganite. I amend my clay soil with compost. My soil has never been ph tested so maybe I should consider doing that. I have taken some of my daylilies l80 miles north to my cottage in zone 4 and I find the same thing happening. Some do well and others just struggle to survive. That area has totally different soil consisting of a sandy loam type dirt and watered with strictly well water. I love the Reckamp/Klemn daylilies because they are dormant but most of them I find are not real good increasers. These are just some of my observations I thought I would add to the debate.
Lighthouse Gardens
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Jul 28, 2015 11:06 AM CST
It is difficult to separate out the two factors that might affect hardiness. One is where was the cultivar hybridized. Northern-bred plants will be more winter hardy than southern-bred plants. The other is foliage type. Dormant versus Evergreen.

The comparison cannot be made simply by comparing the winter hardiness of dormants versus evergreens. One needs to compare the winter hardiness of dormants versus evergreens that were hybridized in the north only with each other. One also needs to compare the winter hardiness of dormants versus evergreens that were hybridized in the south only with each other.

So for example, R. W. Munson registered 44 dormants according to the AHS database. He registered 752 evergreens. To test whether evergreens have the same winter hardiness as dormants we could choose (at random) a number of dormants registered by Munson and a number of evergreens (at random) registered by Munson and grow them in the same garden. We could validly compare their hardiness. Of course we do have a factor that may affect even this comparison - that is if the dormants that were registered by Munson had more northern-bred parents than the evergreens that he registered we would have the same confounding factor of northern plants being selected for hardiness (and passing that hardiness to their seedlings). Nevertheless, this comparison is better balanced for diminishing the effect of where the particular foliage-type plants are hybridized.

We might also try comparison tests of hardiness between dormants and evergreens registered by a hybridizer in the north and compare the hardiness of dormants and evergreens registered by that same hybridizer after they moved to the south (for example, Stamile). We would still have some confounding influence of the parents of dormants being more likely to have been bred in the north versus those of evergreens being more likely to have been bred in the south.

When we look at hardiness in a garden and classify cultivars as dormant versus evergreen it is likely that in practice that classification is really not the one that affects the hardiness. It is likely that basically dormants are northern-bred and evergreens are southern-bred and northern-breds are automatically winter hardy (to their home locations) while southern-breds are winter hardy to their home locations - which tend not to be in the north). The classification dormant versus evergreen really is not the one that is in fact causing any possible hardiness differences seen - the classification dormant really stands for northern-bred and therefore automatically northern winter hardy while the classification evergreen really stands for southern-bred and therefore northern winter hardiness is unknown/untested and possibly lacking.
Maurice
Name: Dennis
SW Michigan (Zone 5a)
Daylilies
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Dennis616
Jul 28, 2015 11:42 AM CST
The Stamile cultivars may provide a possibility for isolating the foliage type link to hardiness. Take a random sampling of northern hybridized Stamile plants and southern ones, and cross them. This may create some hybridization environment-neutral plants to test. Take the seedlings and grow them in both northern and southern environments and compare the hardiness of dormants versus evergreens in both environments. Of course still many variables cloud this not the least of which is random variations in the seedlings, but it still may provide some insight.

The scientific endeavor to establish any causal relationship between foliage type and hardiness is worthwhile and interesting. However, from the practical viewpoint of people growing daylilies in their gardens, the simple question is which are more cold hardy as a matter of common availability ? Snow cover is a huge factor as plants covered with serveral feet of snow all winter long are greatly insulated compared to plants in exposed ground. However, I'm still inclined to believe, for reasons mentioned in my previous post, that dormants are still generally more likely to be cold hardy.
[Last edited by Dennis616 - Jul 28, 2015 11:54 AM (+)]
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jul 28, 2015 1:04 PM CST
Possibly confounding this still further, bear in mind that registered foliage habit is determined in the garden of the registrant and a cultivar may behave differently when grown elsewhere. So, for example, that "northern bred" dormant may actually be evergreen or semi-evergreen when grown in the south and vice versa.
Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
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Hemlady
Jul 28, 2015 1:11 PM CST
So Maurice then what you are suggesting is that if I purchased the same plant, one grown in Florida and then purchased the very same plant, but from a northern garden, the one from the northern garden would fare better??? I believe all of the ev's and semi-ev's I lost were purchased from a Florida garden.
Lighthouse Gardens
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Jul 28, 2015 2:01 PM CST
Hemlady said:So Maurice then what you are suggesting is that if I purchased the same plant, one grown in Florida and then purchased the very same plant, but from a northern garden, the one from the northern garden would fare better

Sorry, no I am suggesting that if you had dormant cultivars that had been hybridized in a northern garden they would be hardier than dormant cultivars that had been hybridized in a southern garden. It would not matter were the cultivars were purchased. The cultivars could not be the same ones, as some were hybridized in a northern garden and some were hybridized in a southern garden.

If you purchased evergreen cultivars that had been hybridized in a northern garden they would be hardier than evergreen cultivars that had been hybridized in a southern garden. Again it would not matter where the cultivars were purchased. Again the cultivars would be different ones as they were hybridized by different people in different locations.

Hemlady said:if I purchased the same plant, one grown in Florida and then purchased the very same plant, but from a northern garden, the one from the northern garden would fare better

This is a different idea. In daylilies we have no objective, published scientific evidence for this sort of adaptation to winter. It is theoretically possible that the same plant grown in a southern garden may be less hardy than if it had been grown for several years in a northern garden. I have had something happen to some plants that I purchased from southern locations that seems to suggest that this type of effect might possibly cause daylilies to respond differently to growing conditions. I have purchased daylilies from southern gardens and planted them early in the spring in my garden. They seem to grow well during the rest of the year. Unfortunately in the next spring they seem to have an unidentified problem (spring sickness? winter tenderness? unknown????) and the fans die. The crown then sprouts new tiny fans. It takes many years for the tiny fans to grow to flowering size (normal in my growing conditions) but the cultivar never has the unidentified problem again. This seems to suggest that the southern grown plant was not adapted to cold winters the first year and suffered but became adapted and never suffered again. A possible explanation. However, there is some evidence that it is not the correct explanation. If I dig up that now apparently successful cultivar in the spring and plant it back in the same spot (or move it to another spot) then after the next winter the newly sprouted fans die (just as they did after the first winter). Usually, because the plant is now a clump and not just two fans, not every single fan dies and the clump survives more easily than it did that first year.

Maurice
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Jul 28, 2015 2:54 PM CST
I'm going to use the Stamile registered daylilies for this example. The Stamiles originally hybridized daylilies in New York state and then moved to Florida (now they are in California).
Up to and including 1996 they registered 265 daylilies, of which 165 or 62% were registered as dormants.
From 1997 they registered 721 daylilies, of which 81 or 11% were registered as dormants.

The majority of their registered dormants were hybridized in the north; the majority of their evergreens were hybridized in the south. If one chooses a daylily registered as a dormant and hybridized by a Stamile one would be twice as likely to choose a northern-bred as a southern-bred. If one chooses a daylily registered as an evergreen and hybridized by a Stamile one would be almost three times as likely to choose a southern-bred as a northern bred. The end result is that choosing a dormant more or less means choosing a northern-bred and choosing an evergreen means more or less choosing a southern-bred.

Northern-breds have to survive winter in the north to be registered - they are automatically selected for winter hardiness (up to the severity of the winter in their home gardens). Southern-breds only have to survive the mild winters of their home gardens - they are not selected for survival in northern winters; they will not be as hardy as northern-breds. It seems obvious, using the Stamiles as an example, that choosing to compare the hardiness of dormants versus evergreens really means that one is choosing to compare northern-breds with southern-breds and it is obvious that northern-breds are and will be more winter hardy than southern breds.
Maurice
Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
Daylilies Hybridizer Irises Butterflies Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Hemlady
Jul 28, 2015 3:21 PM CST
OK, thanks, I believe I understand it better now.
Lighthouse Gardens
Name: Linda
Omaha, N.E (Zone 5b)
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Freedombelle
Aug 4, 2015 2:35 PM CST
There is hope I see, I noticed 4 of them in bloom a few days ago, sadly I have not made it back out into my yard since, way
too tired from work. I am off Thursday, will take a tour. thankfully it rained today and did the watering for me, suppose to
rain tonight and tomorrow again.
You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because they have roses!
Name: Regina
Warrenville, SC (Zone 8a)
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scflowers
Aug 4, 2015 2:47 PM CST
Hemlady said:I don't know, I am reading all of this about any type of daylily can be grown in my garden but I just have not found that to be true in my 25 years of growing them. The most often lost daylilies in winter here are evergreens. Evergreens and some semi-evergreens are always most likely to get crown rot in my garden also. The evergreen Munsons struggled until they increased to a small clump and then they seemed to be a bit more hardy. I purchased a few evergreens from a Florida grower last year (single fans) and I lost them this past winter, despite the fact that they were planted in early spring. I also lost a 2 year old 4 fan clump of Archaelptyrx this winter, along with Raspberry Frost, Bella Isabella, Happy Happy (replaced that one) and Dragonfly Dawn is struggling. I can't recall ever losing a dormant to cold kill or crown rot. Also, some evergreens and semii-evergreens (not all) really struggle growing in my climate. I have some that I have had for 5 years that still have only 2 fans despite the fact that I fertilize with both slow release fertilizer and milorganite. I amend my clay soil with compost. My soil has never been ph tested so maybe I should consider doing that. I have taken some of my daylilies l80 miles north to my cottage in zone 4 and I find the same thing happening. Some do well and others just struggle to survive. That area has totally different soil consisting of a sandy loam type dirt and watered with strictly well water. I love the Reckamp/Klemn daylilies because they are dormant but most of them I find are not real good increasers. These are just some of my observations I thought I would add to the debate.


Cindy,
Any evergreens that are struggling in Michigan would love to come live in South Carolina; we have perfect temps! Especially Dragonfly Dawn Hilarious!
Name: Linda
Omaha, N.E (Zone 5b)
Always room to plant one more!
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Butterflies Region: Nebraska Birds Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Freedombelle
Aug 4, 2015 2:58 PM CST
freedombel said:There is hope I see, I noticed 4 of them in bloom a few days ago, sadly I have not made it back out into my yard since, way
too tired from work. I am off Thursday, will take a tour. thankfully it rained today and did the watering for me, suppose to
rain tonight and tomorrow again.


I got my tired rear end off my chair, went out and saw 2 in bloom, so here and there at least I am getting some blooms,
hopefully many more next year after the establish more and see how they are after a well mulched winter.

You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because they have roses!
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
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beckygardener
Aug 4, 2015 7:41 PM CST
Dragonfly Dawn would be VERY happy in MY southern yard growing next to her children! Thumbs up Whistling Hilarious! Hilarious! Hilarious! Hilarious!
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
Daylilies Hybridizer Irises Butterflies Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Birds Region: Michigan Vegetable Grower Hummingbirder Heucheras Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
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Hemlady
Aug 5, 2015 6:50 AM CST
Well ladies Dragonfly Dawn is going to stay here for the time being until I see if it can adapt to my climate. If it makes it through the winter that will be great. If it doesn't look any better next summer well maybe I will have to send it south. I don't blame you both for wanting it. Hilarious! Hilarious!
Lighthouse Gardens
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Aug 5, 2015 7:29 AM CST
Thumbs up Good luck! I hope it does indeed get it's act together and do well for you. Smiling
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
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