Daylilies forum: To plant or not to plant that is the question

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Name: Catherine Moll
Ga. (Zone 8b)
Hummingbirder
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dixiebelle426
Aug 20, 2017 9:12 AM CST
Ok guys and gals, with the great advice I have got from yall, I have seeds with roots and shoots, some roots are a inch long, should I plant them now in a solo cup, with a equal mix of organic potting soil, perlite, and vermiculite? Or wait? Or no potting soil? I have also hear that using a used tea bag will help with watering them, putting the tea bag in the bottom of the cup, what's yalls thought on that? I started mine in cake pans, should I use the cake pans since they have a plastic lid, solo cup, or a pot?
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[Last edited by dixiebelle426 - Aug 20, 2017 9:13 AM (+)]
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Name: Ken
East S.F. Bay Area (Zone 9a)
Region: California
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CaliFlowers
Aug 20, 2017 11:11 AM CST
You could transplant these any time now. I feel like the easiest & safest time to move daylily seedlings is when they're barely sprouting, or after they've developed 4 or 5 leaves, (approaching 3/16" at the leaf bases)
When just sprouting, they don't have any clingy roots to damage and no top growth to support. Once they are starting to push leaves, the roots are fine and branching, and can be easily damaged, while there's not yet enough of a "crown" to ensure survival if something goes wrong. But, this is really splitting hairs, because they're daylilies, and they're tough, so with the right care, any time should be fine.

The main reason people use smaller pots or cups is to keep crosses separate.

If they're mixed seeds, I'd plant them in something big, like 1-gallon pots, maybe 10-12 to a pot. You could also go larger, like plastic rectangular dish pans or kitty litter boxes, but the sun breaks some of them down fairly quickly.

I'm not wild about vermiculite because it seems to compact and waterlog after a time, but this is temporary, so you should be OK. Perlite is great, and daylily seedlings love a 30/70 to 50/50 perlite/potting soil mix.

If space is a consideration—maybe you're going to grow them under lights all winter—then figure out what kind of container fits best under your light system, and space the seedlings to fit the area. I recommend something about 6" deep in order to let the plants do their best.

Round cups are tapered, which means your bench space will contain a lot of air, and the seedlings may be hurting for root room by spring.

Under lights, stick with big trays or square pots to get the maximum amount of soil volume per square foot.

There is a fairly good selection of 1-gallon square grower's pots available, and don't forget plastic grow bags, they're cheap, pack together tight and save space. Hydroponics stores have a great selection of containers designed for maximum efficiency under lights.

Name: Catherine Moll
Ga. (Zone 8b)
Hummingbirder
Image
dixiebelle426
Aug 20, 2017 11:38 AM CST
Thanks a lot of great info there, I will be looking for square pots now, makes since no need for wasted space. I have a few cake tins left that I might use, until I make a trip to lowes for other pots. Plus they are like mini green houses.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
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sooby
Aug 20, 2017 12:15 PM CST
Just to add that once they have germinated, it's best for them not to have a plastic lid. They need good air circulation to avoid fungal diseases like damping off.
Name: Catherine Moll
Ga. (Zone 8b)
Hummingbirder
Image
dixiebelle426
Aug 20, 2017 1:16 PM CST
I just went and got some plastic square containers to plant them in. I went and grab some from the dollar tree
Name: Catherine Moll
Ga. (Zone 8b)
Hummingbirder
Image
dixiebelle426
Aug 20, 2017 3:07 PM CST
I have about 40 seedlings now planted, I had went to town and grab some little plastic containers from dollar tree. Each has 8 to 12 in each I am using the cake tins and lids as bottoms so I can bottom water the seedlings
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Name: Ken
East S.F. Bay Area (Zone 9a)
Region: California
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CaliFlowers
Aug 21, 2017 2:19 PM CST
What's the soil depth in those trays? Looks like about 3 cm to me, but it's hard to get a sense of scale from the photos.
Name: Catherine Moll
Ga. (Zone 8b)
Hummingbirder
Image
dixiebelle426
Aug 21, 2017 3:09 PM CST
yes 3 inches , should they be deeper?
[Last edited by dixiebelle426 - Aug 21, 2017 3:10 PM (+)]
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Name: Catherine Moll
Ga. (Zone 8b)
Hummingbirder
Image
dixiebelle426
Aug 21, 2017 3:52 PM CST
@Califlowers
After seeing you comment, I figured the soil depth was not enough so I fixed all but 1 tray, I need more pots or cups. Depth now is a solo cup filled to the top, and pots about the same depth, so about 6 plus inches
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[Last edited by dixiebelle426 - Aug 21, 2017 4:29 PM (+)]
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Name: Ken
East S.F. Bay Area (Zone 9a)
Region: California
Image
CaliFlowers
Aug 22, 2017 12:15 PM CST
dixiebelle426 said:@Califlowers
After seeing you comment, I figured the soil depth was not enough so I fixed all but 1 tray, I need more pots or cups. Depth now is a solo cup filled to the top, and pots about the same depth, so about 6 plus inches


I get it now, I wasn't seeing the scale properly. Originally it appeared to me as if the blue trays were about 3" tall and there was a little more than an inch of soil in them. I was going to suggest blocking the hand-holes with duct tape or pieces of plastic and filling them up all the way, but the tall cups are good for starters. Much later, if you need to, you can remove the root balls from the cups and plug them into fresh soil in the blue trays. That always reinvigorates them.

The problem I have had with leaving a lot of "headspace" in containers is that unless you have active air circulation, humidity settles in the trays and can cause fungus/algae problems. Because seeds & sprouts don't need a lot of watering, and I'm usually just misting them with a hand-pump spray bottle until they get a few leaves, I like to fill the pots to within 1/4", or even flush with the rim. It always settles a little anyway. Last winter was the first time I tried a small fan on my garage seedling setup, and it worked out great. On its low setting the 8" fan uses only 5w of electricity, and not only cut down on mold and algae growth, but cools my LED fixture. The constant breeze allows me to water more regularly without worry. I was also overwintering some tender succulents, which is why I was concerned about fungus.

The other reason it isn't good to grow seedlings in less than 3" of soil is a phenomenon called the "standing water table". The way I understand it, it occurs due to the interaction between the surface tension of water and the porosity, water-holding and wicking ability of the growing medium. The effect is that for a long time after watering, there is an over-saturated, anaerobic zone in the bottom of containers which is unhealthy for roots. The height of that zone depends somewhat on the soil characteristics, but I don't think it really varies that much. The diagrams I've seen depict a standing water table which would be about 3" high in a 6" or 7" tall pot. The "cure" is to use containers which are tall enough to keep the crowns and most of the roots out of that zone. Six inches of container height seems to be a good practical minimum for carefree culture. Fortunately, good-sized daylilies love water and aren't generally too bothered by this, and if you're using a good, open potting mix, it's not an issue. Planting fairly thickly helps too, as the bottom of smaller pots (3.5" square) will eventually fill with roots which will quickly pull water from the soil. I usually put up to 8-12 seeds in a 3.5" square pot.

Most or all of these "rules" can be broken, it will just require more careful watering and monitoring until the plants get larger. Once they're crowded in their pots and growing strongly, (with strong light and good air circulation) they actually seem to do better when the containers are in trays with 1/4" to 1/2" of standing water in them right after watering. When the water is gone, it's time to water again.

What sort of lighting system are you going to use for these?
Name: Catherine Moll
Ga. (Zone 8b)
Hummingbirder
Image
dixiebelle426
Aug 22, 2017 2:40 PM CST
right now they get sunlight thur the window, I will put a fan in there now, or move them to another room for air circulation, since this is my first time, I know nothing lol. this weekend I will prob move them to another room, that door we leave open, the room they are in now is just my junk room, and pet food room. that was the only spot for them to keep them away from my cat who will eat the green shots on them, and since some day lily are harmful to cats I was trying to keep her away from them. I am by no means a pro at this. I will have to go get more pots for my day lilies, and for my aloe, and succulents, not sure they can survive the winter here, even thou we dont have a bad winter, but we do have a few days of freezing temps here.

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