Daylilies forum: Not a good pattern.

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Name: Ashton & Terry
Jones, OK (Zone 7a)
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kidfishing
Mar 10, 2016 9:40 AM CST
This winter we lost our K. Mitchell daylilies. After 3 years growing Dan Mac Mitchell and Lilac Queen and 7 years growing Mildred Mitchell, all three died.

Last year I lost Texas Kaleidoscope and Cosmic Kaleidoscope, both Carpenter cultivars.

A few years back, I lost 6 or 7 R. Norris daylilies in one winter.

Living here, we understand that some plants are not going to survive. The middle of the country can get such a wide variance of weather conditions from temps to moisture. For example, the year I lost all the Norris cultivars, the temperature variation for that year was 124 degrees F. From a winter low of -11F to a summer high of 113F (I barely survived that year). Also periods of extreme wet or dry conditions can take place in the same year.

But, with that as it is, we grow about 600 registered daylilies that all experience the same conditions and just a few die each year. The loss of daylily cultivars that are related by hybridizer raises the question about genetics or origin or something that caused them to die together. Or is it just happenstance?

Does anyone have a similar experience or opinion or science to offer?
Terry
Kidfishing
Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
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Hemlady
Mar 10, 2016 10:05 AM CST
I have had Mildred Mitchell for about 5 years with no problems.
Lighthouse Gardens
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Mar 10, 2016 12:49 PM CST
kidfishing said:But, with that as it is, we grow about 600 registered daylilies that all experience the same conditions and just a few die each year. The loss of daylily cultivars that are related by hybridizer raises the question about genetics or origin or something that caused them to die together. Or is it just happenstance?

Does anyone have a similar experience or opinion or science to offer?


There is a first step in using science to look at plant losses. It requires numbers. The question would be, is there any evidence that daylily deaths are not random by hybridizer. For all the registered daylilies that you have grown, for the years that you want to investigate, you would need a count of the number of cultivars you grow by hybridizers and the number that have died for each hybridizer.

An example, say I grow 50 plants and they were registered by five different hybridizers
Thumb of 2016-03-10/admmad/ac5242
Depending on the actual numbers, there are relatively simple tests available to check whether the deaths were happenstance or not. Otherwise there are more complex involved methods available.

Maurice
Name: Ken
East S.F. Bay Area (Zone 9a)
Region: California
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CaliFlowers
Mar 10, 2016 7:47 PM CST
You're not growing in the coldest climate by any means, but it sounds as if it might be one of the hardest on daylilies. Regarding the hybridizers you cite, I can't offer any specific information—I don't grow any Mitchell or Carpenter daylilies, and I only recently acquired my first two Norris plants, Belle of Ashwood and Remembered Kisses last fall.

I don't think what you're seeing is due to natural genetics, per-se, but it's not happenstance either. It's the genetics that hybridizers have created, having more to do with artificial culture, the selection process, and human nature.

For a plant species to survive in nature it must not only withstand cold and heat, but must also be attractive to pollinators, fertile, and able to recover from stress or damage of all kinds, both physical and environmental. As gardeners, we try to minimize the hardship that our expensive acquisitions must endure.

My climate is not conducive to the best bloom quality, but it's probably one of the most comfortable places a daylily could wish to be grown, so I have had very few unexplained losses, and those were mostly associated with plants which "stalled" during shipping and couldn't seem to recover. This itself may be indicative of a "sensitive" daylily. I treated quite a few diploids with colchicine in the late 80's, and have had multiple fans of a few cultivars die in the process. When I talked to experienced hybridizers, it turned out that the same cultivars were behaving similarly for other people as well.

This characteristic I call "touchiness", or "failure to thrive" would seem to be inevitable when seeds and seedlings are coddled in near-antiseptic indoor growing conditions and anointed with fungicides in order to ensure that the maximum number of seedlings survive. It might also be a result of highly competitive race-to-market breeding programs which may tend to encourage breeding with young, unproven parents, or substandard plants with attractive/unusual flowers. Desirable plant habit and toughness can be bred back into a line, but it requires hard choices, and not everyone seems to be placing a lot of emphasis on it.

Whenever suggestions of a new, exciting floral trait are discovered, other aspects of the plant seems to be de-emphasized, and buyers eagerly snap up untested, second-rate plants with faults such as low bud count, weak scapes, ratty foliage, misshapen, poorly-opening blooms and muddy colors, just to get that one, new and desirable trait.

The impression I get is that before daylily hybridizing became America's favorite pastime, new cultivars were field-grown under fairly harsh conditions, and evaluated for a longer period of time before being brought to market. Greenhouse culture was unheard of, and seedlings took at least two full seasons to bloom, sometimes three. Hybridizing was the province of a few established nurserymen, those with a scientific bent, and amateur breeders who were mostly interested in having a fascinating, engaging hobby which might help pay for itself. Things have a tendency to change when the annual catalog represents a livelihood.

Ever since I can remember, people have been preaching that more emphasis be placed on plant habit and overall health and vitality, but how many breeders actually have the willpower to resist the siren song of the new and fantastic?
[Last edited by CaliFlowers - Mar 11, 2016 2:13 AM (+)]
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Name: Maryl
Oklahoma (Zone 7a)
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Maryl
Mar 11, 2016 8:00 PM CST
Growing anything in our rather extreme climate can be a challenge. You have my sympathy and my empathy. It's interesting you should mention Carpenter daylillies because I recently talked to two people in wildly divergent climates (far north vs far south) and neither one had had good luck with Carpenters. My own personal experience is varied depending on the daylily. One of my oldest daylilies is a dormant from Carpenter and has survived 10 years (in a pot btw). Another one that comes to mind I've tried 3 times and can't keep it going more then a year. Same with a couple of examples I can think of from Norris. That horrible winter you mention I believe was 2013-2014 and people all over the country lost daylilies that they had had for years (me included)......I would think that plant genetics would play a part in which daylilies do better then others. If a hybridizer continually uses the same group of plants to cross with and they are finicky, then that could account for the continued losses from that group that the hybridizer produced.............Maryl
Name: Ashton & Terry
Jones, OK (Zone 7a)
Windswept Farm & Gardens
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kidfishing
Mar 12, 2016 12:21 PM CST
Thanks for the replies. I was interested to know if there may be others that experience multiple losses of related daylilies. I have not kept complete records so in some instances I am relying on memory to recall some plants lost over the years. I mentioned the three examples in my post as those got me thinking that putting plant genetics and climate conditions together led to the losses. You are all on to something that only good record keeping could help to answer over time. I don't like buying even a $20 plant that only survives one growing season.

I even changed my hybridizing where I have wanted to let new plants settle in for a growing season before using them or some would consider cutting off new scapes to let plants establish better roots. I have had a few new daylilies not survive for a second season so I will just use them as soon as I can get them to bloom. Texas Kaleidoscope and Cosmic Kaleidoscope are good examples. They only grew one season and died, but I have 2000 seedlings form them.

We do grow all our seedlings outdoors and it is survival of the fittest.


Kidfishing
[Last edited by kidfishing - Mar 12, 2016 12:22 PM (+)]
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Name: Arlene
Ponce Inlet, FL (Zone 9a)
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florange
Mar 13, 2016 6:38 AM CST
Don't know about you, but I have terrible luck loading up new plants with pods! More often than not, the first year plant will stutter and stumble and will take a year or two to recover if I leave it alone. That may be part of your problem.
Name: Ashton & Terry
Jones, OK (Zone 7a)
Windswept Farm & Gardens
Hostas Lilies Hybridizer Keeps Sheep Pollen collector Irises
Hummingbirder Region: United States of America Daylilies Region: Oklahoma Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kidfishing
Mar 13, 2016 8:35 AM CST
I have loaded new plants with pod in the past but don't anymore. None of the plants I mentioned were lost for that reason. The three we lost this year, all related by hybridizer and similar genetics had grow for 3-7 years but all died together. I only set one seed pod on Cosmic Kaleidoscope and I don't think I set any on Texas Kaleidoscope. I just used the pollen from them. I did have one plant last year that was new and I loaded it with pods. It is an older cultivar and I bought it really cheap. I checked it yesterday and it has increased from 5 to 11 fans and looks like it is taking off for growth this spring.
I think everyone has to determine what will be vigorous and reliable for their local garden. While so many people are drawn to the same plants because of hybridizing and new popularity, we learn that even with hardy perennials like daylilies there are lots of differences.
Kidfishing
[Last edited by kidfishing - Mar 14, 2016 11:55 AM (+)]
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Name: Arlene
Ponce Inlet, FL (Zone 9a)
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florange
Mar 13, 2016 2:15 PM CST
Oh, yes there are a lot of differences. That's true here too.
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
Mar 14, 2016 5:08 AM CST
I'm finding that out myself. There is no such thing as a common daylily that can be grown everywhere. Some cultivars grow well in various climates and zones, but I would guess the majority do not. Would it be accurate to say that the older cultivars might be more hardy growing in a multitude of climates and zone? I've often wondered if the constant hybridizing of daylilies can affect their children (seedlings/intros) for hardiness in cold and/or hot climates.

Heat dormancy/heat intolerance is probably the killer in my zone, because dormancy no longer means to me what I thought it did. I have several registered dormant cultivars and I am very interested to see how they each fair here in zone 9b/10a.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Mar 14, 2016 5:29 AM CST
There are some that do well over a wide range of climates, the most obvious would be the "ditch lily", Hemerocallis fulva 'Europa'. Older ones may do well or seem to do better because if they didn't they wouldn't still be around. Newer ones may not have been tested as widely yet. One idea may be to check out the winners of the AHS Lenington award.
Name: Mike
Hazel Crest, IL (Zone 5b)
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Hazelcrestmikeb
Mar 14, 2016 7:58 AM CST
Sue, that's an excellent suggestion. There is a reason for sure concerning the older cultivars. The latest and greatest hasn't been tested by father time and varying conditions around the country. Nevertheless we keep procuring the pretty faces. Guilty as charged. Rolling on the floor laughing
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Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
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kousa
Mar 14, 2016 8:07 AM CST
I am guilty too. I look for the pretty faces and colors first and then plant habits and adaptability eventhough a pretty face does not do me any good if it can't survive my zone 6 winter.
[Last edited by kousa - Mar 14, 2016 8:08 AM (+)]
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Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
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needrain
Mar 14, 2016 10:18 AM CST
Hazelcrestmikeb said:Sue, that's an excellent suggestion. There is a reason for sure concerning the older cultivars. The latest and greatest hasn't been tested by father time and varying conditions around the country. Nevertheless we keep procuring the pretty faces. Guilty as charged. Rolling on the floor laughing


New ones gotta start somewhere, sometime, and someone has to do it. Otherwise no one is ever gonna know if they stand the test of time. If you just wait, then your time will run out and you'll never have the chance to see them grow and bloom. It's a wonderful thing to keep and have things from the past, but you can't really live there because it has already passed.
Donald
Name: Dnd
SE Michigan (Zone 6a)
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DogsNDaylilies
Mar 14, 2016 2:38 PM CST
Terry, do you organize your daylilies by hybridizer in your garden? Is there any chance that just particular areas are being affected and that it isn't necessarily the hybridizer, but the location in your garden?

That's probably too simple of a suggestion, though, I'm sure you have already thought of it.

My next thought would be to ask you which years you got those varieties compared to when they died. Do you binge-buy from a different hybridizer each year?
Name: Ashton & Terry
Jones, OK (Zone 7a)
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kidfishing
Mar 16, 2016 8:37 PM CST
We don’t binge-buy from hybridizers as I have only purchased one collection since starting our serious collecting of modern daylilies in 2009. I buy selected cultivars only. I would more typically buy a couple of plants that would be similar from the same hybridizer. I buy several plants from the same source but usually buy from a grower with a selection from many hybridizers. As hybridizers, we collect some similar daylilies over a few years if they fit something we want to do in our program.
I have read of several gardens that have beds for specific hybridizers, but we don't organize that way. We do plant most new plants in new beds since our garden is continually expanding.

For the losses listed in my original message, here are specifics.
2015 loss of 3 K. Mitchell daylilies all in the same bed but not purchased at the same time. There were 30 plants in the bed but only these 3 died. They had been grown for 3-7 years.
2014 loss of 2 Carpenter daylilies which came from two different sources and not planted in the same bed and only survived one season.
Prior year loss of 6 or 7 R. Norris daylilies all in the same bed as I purchased his full diploid collection and all died after the first summer in the garden.

If i look at these losses, I see plants that were very similar genetics that died together.

If a hybridizer wants a certain look in their daylilies, they probably practice line breeding and inbreeding to get consistent results. This enhances the qualities they are breeding for. It also enhances any genetic flaws. Also it breeds out some of the hybrid vigor. This is where we arrive at some of the new looks in daylilies for patterns, blue eyes, double edges, etc.

I have studied certain small and mini daylilies that I have collected. I found the same cultivars showing in the pedigrees over and over. That is why they generally have very similar plant habits in our garden. I have certainly been attracted to these flowers from their pictures and descriptions and have collected them from several different sources. These are plants that I collected to use for hybridizing but after studying my lessons and seeing how they perform in my garden, I realize that crossing them together as I had planned, does not make good sense. I would just be reproducing the poor plant habits of the parents. I now realize that I have to cross these plants with completely different genetic lines to move forward.
Kidfishing
Name: Leslie
Chapin, SC (Zone 7b)
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Lalambchop1
Mar 20, 2016 5:12 PM CST
It can be very enlightening to visit a hybridizer's garden before buying his/her plants. When I see someone who grows/crosses in a greenhouse or who has customized soil with every imaginable amendment/fertilizer added I know that "results will vary" when that plant gets to the home of an average gardener.

I have lost several of the Carpenter plants from the Kaleidoscope/Super Fancy Face lines. They are beautiful but lack the substance and vigor I like to see in my DL.
Leslie

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
Mar 20, 2016 8:06 PM CST
Leslie - Could you please elaborate a little more about Carpenter's Kaleidoscope series of cultivars?

I love the look of those blooms and just couldn't resist bidding on a seed cross of Cosmic Kaleidoscope x Feng Zhu with a few bonus seeds of Kaleidoscope Jungle Cat x Feng Zhu. These were both crosses that I really, really wanted. I am hoping all the seeds germinate and the seedlings do really well here. But as you said, growing in a greenhouse with pumped up soil is not going to be the same as my seedling raised beds.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
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Name: shirlee
southeast (Zone 6b)
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mistyfog
Mar 23, 2016 9:20 AM CST
Oops, sorry to hear about this since I have four plants of the Kaleidoscope series
arriving soon. I have also noticed a lack of vigor in seedlings with Tet. Peppermint Delight
in the background of some seedlings. This is just the commonality among the seedlings,
so I don't know yet if it is a major factor. There are so many variables to rule out first.
Name: Leslie
Chapin, SC (Zone 7b)
"As for me and my house, we will se
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Keeps Sheep Daylilies Irises Hostas Hybridizer
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Lalambchop1
Mar 24, 2016 4:52 PM CST
Becky, I had had and lost Super Fance Face, Beauty in the Valley, and Texas Kaleidoscope. I found them to have a thin consistency in the blooms and a decided lack of vigor. We have a pretty temperate climate here but do get a few freezing snaps each winter. I lost each of these during the winter but not at the same time. I hope your experience will be different than mine.

Shirlee, I've heard that Peppermint Delight is tender. Has it been that way for you?
Leslie

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15

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