Ask a Question forum: How long can Daylily seedlings grow before needing a cold period

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Name: Joel
Iowa (Zone 5a)
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joelsted
Oct 28, 2017 1:29 PM CST
Hello,
I am raising Daylily seedlings on my balcony in Miami, Fl. Seeds were mostly purchased from the LA starting in February of 2017. I averaged an 85% germination rate and have lost very few to the warm temps thru the Miami summer. This is my first attempt at this, but seem to be doing quite well, maybe too well as my balconies are starting be taken over by seedlings. I have gained most of my information from this amazing site. Many seedlings have already been transplanted to my garden in Iowa, where they will all end up eventually.
So now it is late October and really too late to plant any more this fall In Iowa. I have kept a few 6-8 month seedlings that I plan to overwinter here in Miami. We may get a week here or there with lows in 40's - 50's, often time warming up to 80 or so the next week. I don't think this will provide much of a dormant period for my Dormants or SEV's. I have noticed some of my dormant crosses not increasing in size compared to some of their younger SEV/Dormant combo balcony mates. So here is my question. Will these dormant/ dormant cross seedlings make it till May spring planting in Iowa with the above "cool" period and then go thru an Iowa summer before having a true cold period? This would be asking them to got thru 18 months with out a true cold period. Wondering if anyone has any incites on this. If not, I'll keep plugging along and see what happens. I do have the option to plant these dormants in Iowa next week, but lows are predicted to be very close to and sometimes slightly below freezing.
I have added an image to show the size difference. The plant on the left is a cross of Purple Penguin (D) X Rose F Kennedy (D) germinated March 2017 and the plant on the right is Shirley Koch (D) X All things to all men (SEV) germinated April 2017.
Appreciate all responses

Thumb of 2017-10-28/joelsted/67e5c3

Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Oct 28, 2017 4:20 PM CST
Joel, it really depends upon which variety of daylily you have. There are evergreen daylilies that keep their leaves all winter and don't need as much chill. Then there are semi-evergreen, which need a little more chilling and dormant varieties that need the most winter chill to do well. I do see labels in your little pots, so just look up your varieties in the Plants Database to see which type they are.

The listing in the Database will tell you which kind you have if you look them up under the cultivar name. There is a whole section of the Database dedicated to Daylilies so click on that first and then put the cultivar name in the Search box.

If you find you have some dormant varieties, I would think you could still plant them in Iowa to get them acclimated, and give them the winter chill they need. The others may do just fine in Miami for their first winter.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Oct 28, 2017 8:14 PM CST
I have a couple of dormants here in So. Cal. that do ok in the ground. I can't say they thrive, but they do come back every year.
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Oct 28, 2017 10:01 PM CST
I know, it's not absolutely consistent that dormants really go dormant. Shrug! My absolute favorite daylily is Siloam Double Classic, and it is listed as a dormant. It keeps green leaves all winter here, and still grows, increases and blooms at least 3 or 4 times each year. I'm not as warm as Miami, but still should be way too warm for a dormant variety to do this.

I also planted it in both my son's and my daughter's gardens in Salt Lake City, and it does go dormant there, but comes back and blooms like gangbusters.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Oct 29, 2017 5:15 AM CST
Also some registered southern evergreens go dormant (i.e. set resting winter buds) where I am. There are also daylilies that appear to be evergreen in the “north” but go dormant in the “south”. It has not actually been established that any daylilies need chilling to flourish, I think the idea is based on an assumption because some “dormants” don’t do well in warm climates, but that could be for other reasons. I’ve kept daylily seedlings indoors over winter with no chilling period and they’ve been fine. Some have gone dormant (set buds) but didn’t necessarily have the leaves die back although some did, so they can do so without being cold. Many people start daylily seeds indoors in winter and the plants would not experience any cold until their second winter.
[Last edited by sooby - Oct 29, 2017 5:17 AM (+)]
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Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Oct 29, 2017 8:26 AM CST
The only thing I've found with growing dormants (or others that need more chill) down here is that the clumps just peter out after about 3 years, rather than increasing as they do up North.

As long as Joel grows his seedlings to maturity up in Iowa, rather than trying to keep them in Florida I'm sure they'll be fine, and grow beautifully. No particular need to give them a chill this winter.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Joel
Iowa (Zone 5a)
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joelsted
Oct 29, 2017 12:12 PM CST
Thanks everyone for all of your great input. It sounds then that it is really cultivar to cultivar, as far as how much or little chill they really require, rather than simply dormancy vs evergreen. My Heavenly Angel Ice (D) X RFK (D) is doing better than the Purple Penguin (D) x RFK, while the Brenda Reid (D) X Humungosaur (D) crosses are some of my largest. I have included an image showing all three.
As also mentioned, maybe it is other needs rather than simply chill. Sounds like there may be a lot more to learn. All very interesting for a newbie, uniquely growing seedlings in Miami for eventual planting in Iowa zone 5. I'll try and give an update this spring as to how my warm winter may have affected these 6 month old dormant x dormant crosses. I may also plant a couple next week in Iowa and see how they survive. These guys seem pretty tough.
This all started as an experiment in germination and has led to probably more daylilies then I'm sure if I even have room for. Would it be reasonable to expect blooms early next year on the now 6-8 month old seedlings kept here growing in Miami?
Thanks again to all of those on this site who have been so incredibly informative.
Joel
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Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Oct 29, 2017 12:39 PM CST
I would think it's possible. Again, it depends upon the vigor of the particular cultivar, and the weather.

When you take your seedlings to Iowa to plant, just remember to mulch them since (I assume) you'll be in Miami for the winter? The only real danger for dormants through the winter is if they were to dry out, or freeze and thaw repeatedly. Mulch will help to prevent both of those things happening.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Oct 29, 2017 12:50 PM CST
The other danger for “dormants”, of course, is if they are not cold hardy to start with. Any of the registration foliage types can be cold hardy, or not. I grow all three types in zone 4, but I suspect it is an advantage that here the ground does not thaw during winter.

Plants also need time to acclimate to the cold and develop their full potential for cold hardiness, so planting one grown in Florida straight outdoors in a severe winter climate area at this time of year is risky. Where I am has been unusually mild this year and the soil temperatures are still running around 40-45 degrees F but it’s starting to turn colder now.

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