Daylilies forum: RIP: Big Snowbird - Should have lifted!

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Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
Jan 14, 2017 12:00 PM CST
I have been assessing all my daylily plants today. I've had a really warm Winter so far. Though February is often the month that the weather might dip into the freezing temps for a few hours here along the central east coast of Florida.

Today it is in the high 70's and low 60's at night. So I have been watching the fast increase in foliage growth of my daylilies since they were hit hard by an aphid infestation a month or so ago. I always worry that some might not come back. I lose some every year for unknown reasons ....

But ....

I now think I may know what might be causing that to happen (other than what I thought was the gradual deterioration of dormants). I have lost my beloved Big Snowbird. I do not believe this cultivar was a "dormant". (It is not listed.)

I use a LOT of pine fines and some sandy dirt/compost in my raised beds. Pine fines tend to decompose and compress over time. I have noticed over the years that some of my daylilies pull themselves down into the ground by their roots. I now believe that is what happened to Big Snowbird. It could be that I planted it too deep (more than 1" above the crown). But I remember it being a little bit above ground level when I first planted it. When I recently noticed it was not returning with new leaf growth like all the others in the same raised bed, I started digging around in the area it was planted in and found rotted roots and crowns. It was originally a beautiful 5 fan clump. What a loss!!!! Crying Crying Crying

I noticed that the remains of the crown were much deeper than it probably should have been.

So I have a question to those on this forum .....

How often do you lift your daylilies? And how do you do it?

Rest in Peace Big Snowbird! So sad to lose this one! Sad
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Name: Ginny G
Central Iowa (Zone 5a)
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Legalily
Jan 14, 2017 12:16 PM CST
Thumbs down Thumbs down Thumbs down So sad - love the green throat!!!
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Name: Signet
South Western Ontario , Canada (Zone 6a)
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signet
Jan 14, 2017 12:24 PM CST
Yes , Big Snowbird is a dormant daylily hybridized by Milliken 1990 http://www.whitehouseperennial...

From everything I have read , dormants dont survive in Florida (they say they need the dormancy period) so I guess it was to be expected. It is a lovely daylily and I understand your disappointment . Happens all the time here with some SEV's and EV's .
http://www.asnailspacedaylilie...

Spent most of my time in the garden the rest of it I've wasted
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
Jan 14, 2017 12:31 PM CST
Genny and Signet - Thanks for your sympathy. It is a real loss as I loved that cultivar!

Signet - I have numerous dormants in my garden and still have many of them after 2 years and they are doing well. So I am not so sure that it is a dormancy issue. Of Big Snowbird's 4 parents, only 1 is a dormant, so I suspect that it was not a true hard dormant.

I really think that it is was a depth issue. We have high humidity here in Florida and root rot may very well have caused it's demise.

Do any of you "raise" your daylily plants each year or every other year? I am wondering if you do, how exactly do you raise them?
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
[Last edited by beckygardener - Jan 14, 2017 12:33 PM (+)]
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Name: Ginny G
Central Iowa (Zone 5a)
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Legalily
Jan 14, 2017 1:11 PM CST
Becky - I'm of the lazy gardener sort so once my plants get in the ground, unless I'm splitting or moving them, they stay right where I put them originally Whistling Whistling Whistling Whistling
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Name: Signet
South Western Ontario , Canada (Zone 6a)
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signet
Jan 14, 2017 9:09 PM CST
Becky , I'm afraid I do the same as Ginny. I just dont have the time to "raise" daylilies . I am too busy planting and weeding . I grow about 1200 named varieties and at least another 1000 seedlings .......most of which will be coming out this year in order for me to plant more seedlings. Also I grow in very heavy blue clay and once the ground dries up around the end of June early July it turns to cement ........I dont think the daylilies could move themselves down if they tried.
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Spent most of my time in the garden the rest of it I've wasted
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
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Seedfork
Jan 14, 2017 9:37 PM CST
I wonder if some dormants try to protect themselves from the warm weather by pulling their roots down deeper? I think some daylilies just can't take the hot summers and warm winters, I don't think they even need to necessary be a dormant. It just seems that sometimes no matter what certain plants start out great and over a couple of years just diminish to the point of non existence. Sometimes that happens rather rapidly, and I can't even to began to guess the real reason.
NW Indiana (Zone 5b)
josieskid
Jan 15, 2017 5:30 AM CST
"I dont think the daylilies could move themselves down if they tried."

Rolling on the floor laughing

Concrete here, too. I hope someone knows more about this subject, because if you really need to do this, I'll have to put it on the schedule.

As much time, effort, money, and love as I put into these plants, I don't want to lose them. I hope it's easy to tell if you have this situation going on. Tell the truth, I think some of my babies I started under lights might be too deep.
Name: Fred Manning
Lillian Alabama

Charter ATP Member Region: Gulf Coast I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Seller of Garden Stuff Dog Lover Region: United States of America
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spunky1
Jan 15, 2017 6:54 AM CST
I had a daylily that bloomed as a seedling in 1995 and registered it in 1999 and it was eventually distributed all over the US, it received an HM in 2003. In about 2013 it started dying from crown rot, the only thing I was able to save was a prolif which bloomed the following year and the same thing happened again, was able to save a prolif. This same cycle went on until 2016 when it did not produce a prolif, so I lost that daylily after growing it for sixteen years in different areas of the garden. So if anyone has "LILLIAN KATHLEEN" Manning 1999 I would love to get it back.

I also have never had to raise a daylily.
Name: Arlene
Florida's east coast (Zone 9a)
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florange
Jan 15, 2017 8:14 AM CST
Hi Becky. Yes, I do raise plants that have pulled themselves down. I grow daylilies in boxes and the soil is soft.

To raise a plant, I loosen it with a spading fork and keep the fork raised on one side as with the other hand I'm shoveling soil under it. I keep soil in a wheelbarrow when I do this and I use a perennial shovel which is small . Because I'm 5'2" I have to rest the fork on the soil and leverage the plant up to make room for the new soil. I'm doing this in the winter, so I always include a light application of fertilizer in the soil I'm adding.

Does this make sense? Good luck with your project and sorry you lost Big Snowbird.
Name: Mike
Hazel Crest, IL (Zone 5b)
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Hazelcrestmikeb
Jan 15, 2017 10:08 AM CST
I don't raise any after they are planted. Mike Grossman at Northern lights daylily suggest planting daylilies about an inch deep in the colder zones. I have Big Snowbird. It has wings Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing = doing great here.
I suspect that raised beds are more susceptible to plants pulling down due to the porous nature of the soil amendments.
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Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
Jan 15, 2017 10:50 AM CST
Hazelcrestmikeb said:..........
I suspect that raised beds are more susceptible to plants pulling down due to the porous nature of the soil amendments.


It appears to be true also of plants in containers, especially when the containers are close to or at tree pot sized. Probably also due the planting medium. The pots are so large it's way too expensive to only use potting soil, so I'm always mixing up cheaper materials and the bottom of the containers are sort of Hugelfultur style because of the type of organic debris that gets tossed in the bottom to take up space. All that cheaper material eventually decomposes and the plants seem to sink. When I refill to replace the volume, I nearly always set the daylilies at a higher level than they were growing.

Donald
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Region: Alabama
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Seedfork
Jan 15, 2017 11:22 AM CST
@spunky1
I found this old price list from The Valley of the daylilies There is no date on it, but their new 2017 site does not show Lillian's Kathleen available. Still you might contact them, they may have some or be able to tell you if they know someone who bought it from them.
http://www.thevalleyofthedayli...
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Region: Alabama
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Seedfork
Jan 15, 2017 11:29 AM CST
I don't know how most of your plant daylilies, but the recommended method seems to be to make a cone and set the plant on top with the roots spread down the side of the cone. I am wondering if that method might let the plants sink down? I planted my last order, very shallow and with the roots spread out very flat, with no cone for them to sit on. The roots were just spread out flat over the soil. My theory is that by spreading out the roots it would be like spreading your weight over quick sand and they would not be so likely to sink down. Of course I know it is not the weight of the daylily that causes it to sink down, but I still think by having the roots spread out over a wider area it would help.
Name: Arlene
Florida's east coast (Zone 9a)
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florange
Jan 15, 2017 1:15 PM CST
Larry, whether or not a cone is used in planting daylilies might be dependent on the size and length of the root ball. If I dig and divide and there's still soil on the roots, I'll usually just put the plant in a hole and tamp around it. If the roots are bare and long, I'll always use a cone. And I do make sure the soil is pressed over the roots. I've lost plants for failing to do that!
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Region: Alabama
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Seedfork
Jan 15, 2017 1:26 PM CST
Yes, I agree about the size and length of the roots being a determining factor just for practical application. But, I feel sure nearly all the plants ordered in new are mostly bare roots with plenty of length to them (if they were grown properly) I have received some that did not have much root at all. So I am thinking for people with a lot of organic material in their soil and with very soft friable soil (you know that beautiful crumbly stuff most of us want and that few of us have) it might be advisable to not use a cone and just spread out the roots evenly in as wide an area as possible?
Name: Arlene
Florida's east coast (Zone 9a)
Tropicals Daylilies Bromeliad Region: Florida Enjoys or suffers hot summers Birds
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florange
Jan 15, 2017 2:19 PM CST
Daylilies don't seem to be too picky about cones or not. They just want ok soil and want to grow. I'm 67 yr old and have moved a lot. Never, ever have I had good crumbly soil. Down here on the island, all we have is beach sand and aggressive oak and palm tree roots. Raised boxes are required to give perennials a chance to grow.

David Kirchhoff used to drive me bonkers because he would cut daylily roots to 3". Those plants didn't even have enough roots to allow them to stand upright. He would even do that when I picked plants up, even though he said he did it to save on shipping. Bet he is still doing that!
[Last edited by florange - Jan 16, 2017 6:45 AM (+)]
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Name: Marilyn, aka "Poly"
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
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Polymerous
Jan 15, 2017 9:08 PM CST
The only daylily I ever had pull itself down, was a seedling in a small pot. I didn't discover this until I tried to figure out why it didn't bloom, when it should have (it was blooming size and all of its litter mates bloomed). So I agree that potting or planting in raised beds with porous soil can be a sinking hazard.

Somewhat related (or perhaps not) to plants requiring dormancy, I have two EV daylilies which exhibit what I can only presume is "summer dormancy". Ever year, after they bloom and in the hot part of the summer, the plants go to heck. They literally look like they are dying, and don't start to recover until the weather gets cool enough in mid to late fall. I could see a SEv or a DOR going summer dormant, but an EV? Confused

Sorry that you lost a favorite daylily, Becky. Group hug

Sorry that you lost an intro of yours, Fred. Group hug

Losing favorite plants hurts. Sad
It's daylily season!
Name: Fred Manning
Lillian Alabama

Charter ATP Member Region: Gulf Coast I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Seller of Garden Stuff Dog Lover Region: United States of America
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spunky1
Jan 16, 2017 6:49 AM CST
Thanks Larry I will contact Dan, he still list one of my older intros so maybe he still has the other.
Name: Sabrina
Italy, Brescia (Zone 8b)
Love daylilies and making candles!
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cybersix
Jan 16, 2017 8:32 AM CST
So sorry for your loss Becky!
I have a very hard clay soil but I noticed plants can sink here too. I find them a bit "lower"in the ground year by year, it's a very small movement but it happens. I believe clay soil breaks from cold and dryness (I see cracks here and there) and a hole may generate underneath the surface causing them to sink or lean a bit. I never moved one of them just because of the sinking yet, I just keep them under control.

When I plant them I do the best I can.. dig a hole and fill the central part with some soil then I stick the plant inside. I'm not happy with this soil and my patience ends quickly Shrug!
Sabrina, North Italy
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