Daylilies forum: A Tale of Two Purveyors of Daylilies

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Name: Charley
Arroyo Seco New Mexico (Zone 4b)
Live your Dreams!
Mar 13, 2017 2:03 PM CST
A short short story. All names have been changed to protect the innocent and the guilty.

Once upon a time (obligatory story beginning,) there was a daylily I was interested in acquiring . I know this is how many daylily tales start but bear with me. Let's call that daylily FRAZZLE TOPPINGS. It wasn't a common daylily, as a matter of fact I could hardly find it any where. It had been introduced several years ago and so I thought I might find it for a reasonable price.

I went to the Lily Auction and searched for the term "20xx." 20xx actually being the year it was introduced with the "xx" replaced by two numbers. The Lily Auction obligingly gave me a list of daylilies currently on auction from the same year as FRAZZLE TOPPINGS, ABOUT 150 DAYLILIES. The common price seemed to be about $20.00 with a few priced higher and a few priced lower. My expectation was to find FRAZZLE TOPPINGS at about $25.00.

Further research indicated that it had been introduced at well over $100.00 for a single fan but the paucity in general commerce hinted that it hadn't sold well for whatever reason.

Now for Google. Searching on Google does have shortcomings. I searched for FAIRYTALE PINK once and discovered that Valspar has paint of that color and that for half a million dollars one could buy a house in the woods somewhere that was Fairy Tale Pink.

Undaunted, I Googled FRAZZLE TOPPINGS and found one source, a well known major source for daylilies with a long history. It listed FRAZZLE TOPPINGS at the original introduction price for a double fan! I emailed and was assured that the price was up to date.

What to do what to do?

It is a dormant, hardy in my cold zone so I just started looking at gardens north of zone six. Low and behold I found it and get this, the price was one tenth that of the other source!!!

Has anyone found a daylily with that large a price discrepancy between two sellers? A full order of magnitude!

I will plant it and grow it, the pocket gophers willing. None for sale though.


The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.
(Zone 6a)
Mar 13, 2017 3:29 PM CST
I have seen big price differences between sources and honestly I don't know how to account for it myself. I think it's nuts to pay that kind of money anyway, but I guess some people can afford it and if you hybridize maybe there is more reason. But honestly I have some I paid a mere 5 bucks for and they are my favorites...
Name: Virginia Harmon
Woodside, CA 94062 (Zone 8b)
Pollen Dauber
Mar 13, 2017 6:33 PM CST
It is generally considered to be in bad etiquette to resell a cultivar at a price that is lower than the originator's asking price. For this reason 'Ida's Magic' remained so elusive for more than a decade and can often be found in some lists today at the original asking price of $300. It is perhaps in part about exclusivity. Possession of 'Ida's Magic' became a mark of the elite hybridizers garden. In truth, several hybridizers lead the front on gold edges, ruffles and eventually braided edges due to their access to 'Ida's Magic'. Most of the "great" tetraploid advancements can be attributed to those genes. This in general is what drives prices and market demand. Many hybridizers that want to be on the leading edge invest in their future by acquiring new cultivars that are in limited supply.
Member of AHS
[Last edited by VHarmon - Mar 13, 2017 6:43 PM (+)]
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Name: Charley
Arroyo Seco New Mexico (Zone 4b)
Live your Dreams!
Mar 13, 2017 9:26 PM CST
VHarmon said:It is generally considered to be in bad etiquette to resell a cultivar at a price that is lower than the originator's asking price. ...

But not considered bad etiquette to resell at a price below the hybidizer's original price several years after the introduction. As an example, MARGO REED INDEED was, I believe, introduced at $100.00 and can commonality be found for $15.00 today.

My point was that two sellers are at this moment doing the equivalent of offering MARGO REED INDEED, one at $15.00 and one at $100.00.

My question was does anyone know of a similar price discrepancy with another cultivar.

The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.
Name: Diana
Lincoln, NE (Zone 5b)
Daylilies Region: Nebraska Organic Gardener Dog Lover Bookworm
Mar 13, 2017 10:19 PM CST
It 's possible that one nursery had far more invested in the cultivar than the other nursery and priced it accordingly. Another thread about plant patents seem to lend one's thinking to the initial investment required to get a patent and the time it takes to recoup the cash.

Perhaps the plant grows better in one area vs another- fewer fans here, more fans there? Supply and demand for the cultivar (Do we have an easy way to compare DL's zone to zone? Not all photographers include location info...- Could the zone where the photo was taken be a displayed along with photographer info, etc?).

Stubborn pride is a third possibility : )

I've only ordered from a few companies/people so I don't have any first-hand experience with the price differentials that have been mentioned for specific cultivars. I'm still on "beer budget" daylilies : ) However, I recently acquired a heftier priced DL as a bonus and I'm not in love with it- I have a step-mom-in-law who loves it so I will grow it for her and when it comes time- I will gladly part with extra fans at far below the list price of the cultivar- as long as its not patented. See other thread : )

Bravery is not being unafraid. Bravery is being afraid and living life anyways.
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Daylilies Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Region: Alabama
Mar 14, 2017 11:30 AM CST
I certainly don't think that the great price discrepancy is due to manners. Heck, many of the original hybridizers just don't have room in their gardens to continue to carry every plant they hybridized. There comes a point when even they have to pick and choose which ones to kick out of the garden. I know that must be a hard choice in most cases.
I have found when I am shopping that it is not unusual to have large price discrepancies, not normally 10 times, but pretty large. Fairly often I run across a price difference of four or five times as much from different vendors.
I think personally, one of the big reasons there is often such a huge price difference is that the hybridizers (not always) and some of the other more popular vendors tend to grow humongous plants and then send over generous bonuses. Now we all know bonuses don't actually come free! When you get huge fans and many bonus plants you are actually paying for them, plus the freight is often just outrageous because the plants are so large. Normally after a couple of years in the garden those plants become just like the other plants in the garden, normal size! Now I know there are a few people who claim (and it is possible and even reasonable) that those huge plants never shrink down to "normal size" in their gardens but that is not the case the majority of the time.
When shopping for plants, for me at least, I often find the original hybridizer to be way higher than any other source. I do find a lot of their $60 and $70 dollar plants offered by other vendors in the $10 to $15 dollar range, and $100 dollar plants offered in the $25.00 range .
When I buy a plant I had much rather have a beautiful normal sized double fan(no single fans for me please) and no bonus plant (something I have already or didn't really want) at a very reasonable price. Then let me grow the plant to the size I want it to be. Plus I save a fortune on freight. Now if I am given a choice of a bonus plant that makes it a little better, but then if I really wanted that plant I would have ordered it to start with.
I have bought some very cheap plants from H.G. Wild, tiny little dried up looking things. The price was often less than five dollars and the freight was often less for the entire order than many vendors charge for just shipping one plant. Within the first year normally the plant is normal size and blooming, for sure after two full years.
I guess what I am trying to say(long way around) is that I would prefer a better price and just a normal sized healthy plant with no bonus!
(Zone 6a)
Mar 14, 2017 11:32 AM CST
Another possibility is that the higher priced website is outdated. Some websites I looked at recently haven't been updated in several years and at least one I know of, the person has died, but the website still looks 'active'.

(Zone 6a)
Mar 14, 2017 11:36 AM CST
Didn't there used to be some kind of price guide published?

I know for me, I have some that grow like gangbusters and when I need to divide them up I just sell them cheap to find them good homes and make a little extra, but I know they are 'worth' more.
Name: Virginia Harmon
Woodside, CA 94062 (Zone 8b)
Pollen Dauber
Mar 14, 2017 2:07 PM CST
Eureka Daylilies Resource List was very popular in the '90s.
I lost track of them some time ago. There are so many more successful hybridizers and nurseries now that it must have become near impossible to keep up with.

I recently returned to daylilies and have searched the web extensively for resources. Finding daylilies of distinction is a bit easier now with so many people moving away from the "perfect (round) form, ruffles and substance. Patterns, appliqué, banded and double bordered abound. A lot of work has gone into unusual forms, crestates, bearded, sculpted, and poly. Yet, with so many hybridizers churning out remarkable flowers, the prices remain much the same. Supply and demand supports the high prices of new introductions.

The most crucial piece of information that I seek is the most difficult to find. I want to know more about the plant. How high does the foliage stand? If listed as "arching" foliage, I'd like to know how long it is. Does it sprawl about covering valuable real estate, or is it tidy and easy to groom?
Member of AHS
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
Mar 14, 2017 2:17 PM CST
They quit publishing the Eureka Daylilies Resource List. I am sure it was getting expensive as it was very good quality with all those color photographs and people were using more online sites.

Welcome! Virginia, lots of garden folks around here it is always nice to see more.
If you want to be happy for a lifetime plant a garden!
Faith is the postage stamp on our prayers!
Betty MN Zone4 AHS member

Name: Virginia Harmon
Woodside, CA 94062 (Zone 8b)
Pollen Dauber
Mar 14, 2017 6:51 PM CST
Thx, Betty.
I've enjoyed the welcome around here.
Member of AHS
Name: Barbalee
Amarillo, TX (Zone 6b)
Mar 14, 2017 7:02 PM CST
And yet another "welcome" comin' to ya, Virginia! Welcome!
Avatar is 'Global Crossing' 04-20-2017
Name: Virginia Harmon
Woodside, CA 94062 (Zone 8b)
Pollen Dauber
Mar 14, 2017 7:22 PM CST
Thx Barb! I'll be heading your way next week. Drivin' home to Texas to see my momma! She lives at my place on Lake Livingston and watches my daylilies bloom without me! We're neither of us youngin's anymore!
Member of AHS
Sydney, Australia (Zone 10b)
Mar 14, 2017 10:31 PM CST
It happens a bit here in Australia....granted not that big a difference. I generally don't buy any plants for more than $10 (apart from roses and orchids...but that's just because they cost more than that everywhere here) so I tend to find things cheaper just by looking around since there's a lot of small sellers online.
Anyone with oryzalin (aka Surflan, Embargo), am looking for a small amount rather than 5litres from manufacturer (min size in Australia....)
Name: Marilyn, aka "Poly"
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Mar 14, 2017 11:20 PM CST
VHarmon said:It is generally considered to be in bad etiquette to resell a cultivar at a price that is lower than the originator's asking price.

That's news to me. Blinking

This winter, I purchased two plants from the Lily Auction, 2016 introductions, that were listed at 1/4 of the hybridizer's introduction (and still current) price.

Does that make me a bad person? For supporting the "bad etiquette" seller by purchasing from them? Confused

Sorry, if so. If I can get the plant cheaper, I generally will. Sometimes I might buy directly from the hybridizer (if they ship to CA), so long as the price isn't too much higher than what I would pay elsewhere. Especially if I want to be absolutely 100% certain of the plant (but can one ever be? any nursery is subject to errors), and/or if I'm not sure about the trustworthiness of the other sources.

But when the price differential is a 4-fold amount...

Let's face it, gardens are already a hole in the ground that we pour money into... no need to pour more money in than we have to. If you have $100 that you simply have to get rid of, get the daylily in question cheaper (if you can), and donate the rest to a non-profit organization; I'm sure that they will appreciate it.

Evaluating an iris seedling, hopefully for rebloom
Name: Peter
Allentown PA (Zone 6b)
Cat Lover Seed Starter Greenhouse Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Pollen collector
Hybridizer Region: Pennsylvania Daylilies Vegetable Grower
Mar 16, 2017 6:44 AM CST
It is still considered bad etiquette to resell a hybridizers intro 1-2 years from intro at a severely reduced cost.

There are some who will no longer sell to you if you do it within 1 year of intro.

I think once you get into 2+ years from intro you can't expect your plants to hold close to original value.

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