Daylilies forum: Planting vs potting

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Name: Dick Henley
Central Ohio (Zone 6a)
May 6, 2012 8:10 PM CST
Last spring it seemed to rain every day for a long time. I had bought some plants at a club sale and potted them, waiting for the rain to stop. When I finally got around to potting them I did not examine them to see if they were doing well. Well, this spring shows that they must have been happy. Eleanor Roosevelt went from two small fans to seven husky fans. Crazy Ivan went from two small fans to five big fans. Several others got wonderful increase in one year. Has anyone done controlled experiments on potting vs. just planting them in the ground?
Dick in Ohio
Name: Juli
(Zone 5b)
Region: United States of America Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Daylilies Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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May 6, 2012 8:47 PM CST
I never seem to have the soil around to pot things. I usually have lots of pots from buying things at Baker's Acres, but no soil.

So I can't be much help. Lots of people seem to do this though.

Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
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May 6, 2012 9:03 PM CST
I haven't done it intentionally, but bought so many last year with no prepared beds, I had no choice but to pot them and overwinter. I think some are doing significantly better than the ones that went straight in the ground in some beds, but not as well as in others. Looks like it has everything to do with how much amending I did...not much in some cases. Sticking tongue out
It’s okay to not know all the answers.
Name: Jan
Hustisford, WI
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Region: Wisconsin
May 6, 2012 9:17 PM CST
I potted a bunch last summer in large kitty litter bins. I drill holes in the bottom and put some gravel on the bottom. They all did well. Unfortunately, I went into winter with a dozen still in pots. Tried to keep them in the garage - and they all got rust so I put them outside in a sheltered corner, mulched well.

Winter was too warm, with too much rain and not enough snow. Lost every single one of them. Actually, the last one is dying now - nothing I have done with it has saved it. I will never leave daylilies in pots through the winter again. Granted, in a normal winter, this might not have been a problem.

I am learning now to tip them on their side for the winter - I still will never leave daylilies in pots any more through the winter, at least not where I live.

By the way, the parsley I kept in my garage all winter did great.

And spring this year has been weird too - too much heat too early, then too many frosts & freezes since then along with gray damp and rain. I just lost another daylily this week out in my gardens. But loosing one in the gardens vs a dozen in pots - well there is my answer. ~Jan
Name: Dick Henley
Central Ohio (Zone 6a)
May 6, 2012 11:23 PM CST
I did not overwinter them in pots - just held them for a month or so until the ground dried - then planted them. I think I will dig up and divide one I have a lot of - dry the plants for a couple of days to simulate being shipped - plant half, pot the other half for a month, make sure both get similar amounts of water, and see what happens.
Dick in Ohio
[Last edited by poplarcreek - May 6, 2012 11:25 PM (+)]
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Name: Michele
Cantonment, FL zone 8b
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May 7, 2012 5:18 AM CST
Being in a pot for a month or so wouldn't bother them anyway. A lot of the plants you get that has been ordered ( from warmer climates) have been lined out in pots. Some do have them lined out in the ground and others divide as they are ordered. Just about all the ones we got this spring were in pots and have been so for a while, they get picked up instead of being delivered so they stay in the pot.

I have some potted since I sell them and then I have some of the same ones growing in beds. To me they grow the same except for one thing. If they are really close together, like pot after pot touching each other with no room inbetween whatsoever and there are a lot of them, they tend to grow taller foliage and scapes because they are competing with each other for the sun. This also depends on the size of the pot. If they are say in 5 gallon pots with one daylily, could be a clump, growing in it then then they seem to have plenty of room to grow outward. But if it's one gallon, two gallon, and sometimes 3 gallon pots all crammed close together they grow upward. At least for me they do and I have heard other hybridizers say they the same thing.

Another thing with pots, especially if it's the black nursery pots, They can get really hot from the sun and dry out faster than if planted. If overhead watering and the foliage is really lush the water can just roll off the foliage and never make it to the soil. I have had pots that I thought were getting planty of water and when I dumped them the potting mix (I use pine bark/sand mixture) was bone dry because the root were so dense that the water couldn't make it to the potting mix. What I do now is make sure the pots are either sitting in another pot that's a little bigger than the other pot with some of the potting mix in the bottom or they are sitting in one of the beds that has the pine bark in it.
Thumb of 2012-05-07/tink3472/dd4e66

By doing this the feeder roots grow downward to the moisture in whatever it's sitting in instead of around inside the pot getting rootbound faster. They also tend to get less hot this way. Now this wouldn't be feasable if you have hundreds or thousands of potted plants unless you have a lot of extra pots or have beds built to sit them in and have a lot of whatever soil you use.

Some people that grow them in pots will hand water them to make sure they get enough water.
Name: bb
north of boston on the coast
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Level 1
May 7, 2012 5:57 AM CST
I offer daylilies in pots. Had been using compost with peat. They do compact and I have found the black pots getting rather hot in the summer just as Michele mentioned. BTW, Michele, this year I used compost and bought pine bark mulch, which I hope is what you call pine bark down there. I'll report if there is a difference for me, later.

Just as with daylilies left with their roots in water, one can see new white roots growing quickly in well watered pots!

With all the rain you had, Dick, I think that might have contributed to your increase.

Around here, I notice increase AFTER they bloom and start to put on new growth.

Oh, and for the winter, all pots get tipped on their sides or put under benches, which are boards of wood, with a tarp over them. The idea is to keep the crown dry for the winter so it doesn't freeze/thaw.

[Last edited by lilylady - May 7, 2012 5:58 AM (+)]
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Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
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May 7, 2012 6:34 AM CST
2 years ago I purchased a fan of Emerald Starburst. When it arrived the crown was cut in half and it had one small root. I was so upset when I saw what I had gotten for $100. I decided to put it in a pot instead of planting it. That way if it didn't make it I could always, according to the seller, get a refund. Surprisingly, it did very well all summer. In the fall I decided to take a chance and put it in the ground. It has now gone through 2 winters and I have one nice fan and one smaller fan. I'm hoping it will bloom this year.
Lighthouse Gardens

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