Daylilies forum: buying daylilies from a warmer place?

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PA (Zone 6a)
pinkruffles
Nov 20, 2017 3:23 PM CST
Is it unwise to buy dayliles grown in a much warmer place than you live? I'm in zone 6 in PA, and I was thinking of buying some dormant daylilies grown in Florida. Since they ARE dormants, would they grow well here? In particular I was thinking of Rainbow Butterfly. Thanks for your advice!
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Nov 20, 2017 3:30 PM CST
I don't know the cultivar and where it is hardy, but dormancy does not automatically convey hardiness. There are hardy evergreens and there are tender "dormants" (deciduous daylilies). I grow all three foliage types in my Zone 4 garden. So what you really need to know is how well 'Rainbow Butterfly' does in a climate like yours. The safest bet usually if you want a southern bred daylily is to buy it from someone who grows it in your area or at least buy cultivars that you have seen listed as growing in your area. Since 'Rainbow Butterfly' is a Gossard it has probably been grown in Ohio. But a daylily from Florida at this time of year would need time to adapt to the cold before winter.
[Last edited by sooby - Nov 20, 2017 3:36 PM (+)]
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PA (Zone 6a)
pinkruffles
Nov 20, 2017 4:27 PM CST
Thank you Sue for that information! I DID assume that all dormant daylilies would be hardy here in zone 6.
Name: Julie
Roanoke, VA (Zone 7a)
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floota
Nov 21, 2017 9:11 AM CST
Over many years of buying daylilies for my mid-Atlantic (edge of zones 6/7). Garden, I have learned through MUCH trial and error the following is true for my garden: it is OK to plant from a warmer climate in the spring. It is not OK to plant from a warmer climate in the fall. It is OK to plant from a similar or lower numbered climate in the fall! You don't have to believe me, but I have learned this lesson (many times) the hard way!! And if that saves even one person some money, so be it. I am very selective about buying nowadays and also have learned that cultivars from certain growers will almost always do well. There are also some breeders whose plants can be tender for me. We have little snow cover and very variable temps at this time of year. I won't even take club plants to grow (free newer ones) if past plants from those breeders have proven tender.
Name: Jill
Baltimore, MD (Zone 7a)
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Jillz
Nov 21, 2017 9:28 AM CST
Thank You! Julie! I really appreciate you sharing your experience on this. Really good to know.
Name: Jill
Baltimore, MD (Zone 7a)
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Jillz
Nov 21, 2017 9:40 AM CST
@floota Since we are both in the mid-Atlantic would you mind sharing which breeders you have found to be tender for you???
Name: Nikki
Yorkshire, UK (Zone 8a)
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Scatterbrain
Nov 21, 2017 11:18 AM CST
@pinkruffles,

Hi, I live in the UK and although it is classed as zone 8 that is only because very cold winters are rare here, it is often cold or at least cool and wet in the summer months too.

Just about every daylily I buy has been bred and raised in a warmer and drier climate. Some do very well, others do less well, if there is something that I have really set my heart on (and I can get hold of it), I will give it a go, as long as it isn't too expensive.

As a rule of thumb I am prepared to pay as much for a daylily that I really want as I would for a meal in a restaurant, that way if it fails or doesn't look the same in my climate I can reassure myself that it only cost the same as a meal that you eat and is gone.

Yes, I am willing to take advice and if I know that someone's daylilies don't work here I accept that that is the way it is (after a bit of cursing and swearing, obviously­čĄú). But if I really like something and am not sure then I prefer to try it for myself. I have in the past been directed towards daylilies that I am told do well in Britain but then have ended up with daylilies that really aren't my taste and have ended up chucking them anyway, or even worse, kept them because they perform well but I don't enjoy looking at them.

Don't know if that helps but remember that gardens change and develop over time and if something doesn't work you can always try something else Smiling
Name: Julie
Roanoke, VA (Zone 7a)
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floota
Nov 21, 2017 2:43 PM CST
Making generalizations doesn't seem a good idea on this forum. That being said, I will publicly state that I had a PERSONAL issue with the Salters a long time ago, vowed to NEVER buy another plant from them and haven't ( since 1999 or somewhere around that time)Back then, I bought entire collections year after year as some of you do now. In part I blamed myself for my stupidity in buying an expensive introduction that turned out to be one they hadn't registered. The name was later changed ( years later when it was finally registered) and I learned an expensive lesson. If registration matters to you, always, ALWAYS, check before you buy a plant!!! While registration matters a lot to me, it may not matter much ( or at all) to anyone else. IMHO, selling a plant purported to be registered that isn't is selling a glorified seedling that has no name protection (in other words, someone else can register a different plant and use the same exact name if it is not name protected) it can never be entered into a show etc. So that is my personal issue and likely not a valid reason for not buying for some of you, but it is my choice, as it is for any of you to choose who to buy from. Caveat Emptor. I still love Liz Salter's small/ minis, but some have been tender here and I always use secondary sources if there's one that I "must have."

I do grow some Florida, TX, and LA plants but grow a heck of a lot fewer of them than what was here 10 or 20 years ago. Over time, plants bred in these areas do not seem to do as well in my garden, but that is a personal observation from my garden. I've seen plants from these areas grow and do well in other club members gardens. There are micro-climates everywhere. Everybody knows someone who will tell you they plant a known tender plant in their most sheltered garden location!

My philosophy is why would anyone want to buy plants that struggle to bloom or survive or only produce a few blooms annually when over the years plants bred by certain hybridizers have proven over and over to be fabulous garden plants here ? Every so often I take a chance on FL evergreens ( got a few from Karen Pierce a couple of years ago and they have survived and done well, but last winter was fairly mild. Karen Pierce has been a very accomodating and pleasant seller and I'd buy from Floyd Cove again but in the spring not fall) Hybridizers such as Margo Reed and Jim Murphy (Woodhenge) or Judy Davisson (NC) produce plants that are as hardy as weeds here, plus they're beautiful. It helps that their gardens are geographically near too plus IMHO they are extremely ethical / honest hybridizers and that ( also a personal issue) is important too, IMHO. Other growers whose plants do well here, just off the top of my head - are: Sandy Holmes /Mike Holmes ( OH), Nan Ripley( IA), Karol Emmerich (MN), George Doorakian (MS); Ellen LaPrise(MS); Bret Clement(IN) and Jamie Gossard's (OH) plants have all done very well here - although a caveat. Sometimes new intros from Jamie have been on the really small side and I've lost a few, so I prefer to wait a couple of years and if there's something that's really a "must have," find a secondary source. Tim Herrington's plants do extremely well here, as do Scott Elliotts. Both are in GA, but plants seem to like it here. Last year I tried a few new intros from the Singletarys (GA) and hope they prove to be hardy, as I like their plants a lot and will probably be tempted again!

Nowadays I tend to avoid plants from Petit gardens, as some have proven tender here. I love the look of Luddy's ( Lambertson) 's plants but some of the newer ones have been iffy here too. Bottom line, many experienced growers I know will wait a couple of years, then purchase from secondary sources closer to their home if they are interested in a plant from a zone much different than theirs, the assumption being that the plant has survived in an environment more similar. If in doubt, ask the seller about hardiness. If they tell you they don't know, it's your risk!
JMHO.
Name: Jill
Baltimore, MD (Zone 7a)
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Jillz
Nov 21, 2017 3:09 PM CST
Thanks Julie!! I appreciate all this information very much. I've been mostly sticking to growers closer to home (Woodhenge, Davisson) but wondering about sticking my toe into the water with some southern growers. This really helps a lot.

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