An opening caveat. Some of the following is fact,
but much is opinion. There are as many ideas about the best way
to grow daylilies as there are daylily growers. I have striven
for a balanced presentation, focusing mainly on practices which
meet a consensus of approval.
The opinions expressed here are my own (unless otherwise
stated) and do not necessarily represent the view of the AHS or
anyone else. I have also drawn upon my own experiences. The point
is that, for many aspects of daylily care, there is not just one
right way to do things, and other people more expert than I may
have different opinions and advice. I have experience growing daylilies,
but I am not an expert.
Much of the following I have merely compiled from
other sources over many years. Thus, most of the credit for original
thought goes to others. While I have neither willfully violated
copyright laws, nor intentionally omitted giving credit for others'
work, I admit that because most of this was originally compiled
for my personal use, I neither paid much attention to, nor saved
much of, the source information. If you believe there is something
here that should not be, or that someone deserves credit for something,
please contact me immediately and I will resolve it ASAP. Also,
if you run across something you think is factually wrong, please
let me know.
Much of the advice contained herein was prepared for the
climate here in St. Louis. Be aware that your growing conditions
may be very different and may call for very different care.
This page is primarily targeted for beginners. If you
are an advanced daylily hobbyist, you probably know more than
I and this page may have little to offer you.
Learning is never done. I don't pretend to know even close
to everything. If you have something to contribute, please e-mail
your suggestion simply
Drawing by Cheryl Postelwait on behalf of the
American Hemerocallis Society
The above is a graph depicting the results of a five-year study
of actual bloom count in my St. Louis garden. The dates at
the bottom are hard to read, but the far left (top) is June
6... the far right (bottom) is July 30...
and the middle dates of very peak bloom range from about July
1 through July 10. The blue line are the actual points (five-year
average count of daylily blooms).
The red line is the curve that best fits the plotted points.
However, in the five years since I created this graph, we have
experienced hotter (record?) seasons, and the peak bloom has
often been earlier by about one week.
Sometimes, in catalogs, you may run into one or more of the following
abbreviations, which stand for some of the awards described above.
For a more detailed described of the awards, see the immediately
preceding section. Obviously, the fact that a cultivar has earned
one or more awards adds to its desirability, and therefore, perhaps
cost. This is just one more factor you may wish to consider when
SM Stout Medal, the highest honor a daylily can receive.
LAA Lennington All American, for outstanding performance
in all the different regions of the country.
AM Award of Merit signifies distinction, beauty and
proven performance over a wide geographical area. Given annual to
HM Honorable Mention, for excellent quality and performance
beyond the local level.
DF Donn Fischer Memorial Cup to the most outstanding
miniature (less than 3 inches).
ATG Annie T. Giles Award, to the most outstanding small-flowered
(3 inches to 4.5 inches).
LEP L. Ernst Plouf annual award for the most consistently
very fragrant and dormant daylily.
IM Ida Munson Award to the best double-flowered daylily.
JAM James A Marsh for the best purple or lavender daylily.
DCS Don C. Stephens award for the best eyed or banded
RPM Richard P. Miller Memorial Medal to the best nearest-to-white
RCP Richard, C. Peck Memorial Award to the best tetraploid
JC Junior Citation, a minor award to bring attention
to promising seedlings.
Just what is a daylily? Notice that 'daylily'
is one word. It is also correctly spelled as two. However spelled,
the daylily is not a form of lily (genus Lilium).
The daylily, or more correctly Hemerocallis,
is a perennial plant that blooms primarily in midsummer (earlier
in the South). The basic plant is often called a 'fan' because
the leaves are distichous. This means they are arranged in
two vertical rows on opposite sides of the 'crown' or core
of the plant, similar to an Iris plant. Thus, the leaves tend
to grow in one (flat) geometric plane and take on the general
shape of an old-fashioned, hand fan. The plant propagates mainly
by expanding its roots, which form new fans. A 'clump' is formed
as the plant grows and forms multiple fans.
Each individual daylily bloom lasts only one
day. Hence, the name from the Greek, meaning beauty for a day.
Not all blooms on a given stalk (called a scape) bloom the
same day. Daylilies often send up one bloom stalk per fan.
Thus, a clump of multiple fans will also usually produce multiple
bloom stalks, and each stalk has multiple blooms. Therefore,
an individual clump can produce many blooms in total. And because
all buds do not bloom on the same day, the plant gives the
illusion that the same blooms last for days, even weeks. However,
it is simply a different batch of blooms each day, with a single
plant having at least some bloom every day generally over a
period of 2 to 3 weeks.
There are many different varieties of daylilies
displaying different characteristics. We call each unique variety
Daylily leaves are long and slender. They are
varying shades of green. A few ones may show variegation. Yellow
indicates trouble: disease or insect infestation.
The size of daylily blooms ranges from 1.5 inches
(miniatures) to 8 inches or more (the spider varieties). The
most common size is 5 to 6 inches.
Daylilies are hybrids. This means that, unlike
some other plants, the seeds will not produce exact copies
of the mother plant. Thus, you cannot use seed as a means of
duplicating your favorite cultivars. As in humans, when you
cross two parents, the offspring will exhibit traits of both,
but the children will be unique and may even look unlike either
Therefore, unless you are intentionally hybridizing,
do not let seed pods remain on the scape. You would not be
using the seed, and the growth of the pod will needlessly steal
energy that could be better used to produce more blooms or
new fan growth.
A CULTIVAR is a unique variety that has been
named and registered with the American Hemerocallis Society
(AHS). A variety is unique, just as people are, if it varies
in any way from another plant. There are over 40,000 cultivars
registered by name with the AHS.
The CROWN is the base of the plant at ground
level, where leaves and roots join.
PETALS - foremost (normally three per flower) &
SEPALS - partially or totally hidden behind the petals (also
normally three per flower bloom)
PISTIL (receives the pollen and transports to ovary at its
base; one per flower)
STAMEN (Contains dust-like yellow pollen at its tip. Normally,
six per flower. )
The SCAPE is the stalk on which flowers develop.
RECURVED means the ends of the petal and sepal
segments roll or tuck under.
PLANT HABIT: DORMANT vs. EVERGREEN (with SEMI-EVERGREEN
The leaves of Dormant (often signified with solely
a 'D' in catalog listings) plants die back to the ground during
winter. This is normal and does not indicate the plant is dead
or sick. Evergreen ("EV") cultivars try to grow year-round.
They succeed in the South, but in the North, the leaves look
'sickly' during winter where temperatures often fall below
freezing. They don't die, but their new growth is continually
ruined by freezing temperatures. They simply keep trying to
grow but cannot do so. This is normal and does not impair the
health of the plant.
Semi-evergreen ("SEV") plants lie somewhere
in between. In fact, although all plants are categorized with
one of these three labels, there are no clear breaks between
one category and the other, because it is simply a gradual
continuum from one extreme to the other. In fact, the same
plant may exhibit different characteristics in different climates.
Generally, evergreen daylilies can withstand
northern climates, but some dormant varieties may gradually
die out in the deep South, because they need the rest of winter
dormancy to flourish.
Note: in the North, although an EV may be hardy
and thrive (picture on top, below), it looks poor during winter
and early spring. DOR plants (picture on bottom, below), however,
look great as they emerge from the ground in spring. Although
the EV in the following picture looks ill, that condition is
normal, and once freezes cease to impede it in late spring,
it jumps to life, too, and you soon will not be able to distinguish
an EV from a DOR.
HARDY vs. TENDER
Although there may be an occasional correlation
between dormancy and hardiness and between evergreen and tenderness,
too many daylily gardeners incorrectly use the terms interchangeably.
In fact, an evergreen variety can be extremely hardy and perhaps
even a dormant one tender. Plants are officially labeled as
to dormancy by their hybridizers, hardiness is often not known
at the time of registration and is not officially registered.
Without registered information with regard to
hardiness, unless you find out from other gardeners or see
it already growing in your region, the farther north you live,
the greater the risk you take with regard to a specific cultivar.
Another option is to research a cultivar's parents for some
indication of what it might be like. An extreme generalization
for northern gardeners would be to buy only those new cultivars
which have been introduced by breeders who live in your region
or a colder one. But this is an unnecessary precaution in my
opinion. While it is true that most daylilies introduced in
the North will be hardy, most Southern-grown varieties are
also hardy. I have as many Evergreen daylilies in my garden
as I do Dormants. (With many Semi-Evergreens, too, of course.)
REBLOOM most commonly refers to bloom scapes
which appear later on in the same year, on the same plant,
but after the initial flush of normal bloom. A period with
no bloom can occur in-between normal bloom and rebloom, or
rebloom can occur immediately after the normal bloom period
is over. Rebloom simply applies to the subsequent appearance
of more than one scape on the same plant. Rebloom is never
as floriferous as the original bloom, but the plant's bloom
cycle is extended, and the trait is desirable.
DIPLOID versus TETRAPLOID
There are two sets of chromosomes, totaling 22
for diploids and four sets, totaling 44 for tetraploids. The
terms Diploid ("dip") and Tetraploid ("tet")
merely refer to the number of pairs of chromosomes.
All plants and animals have a basic complement
of chromosomes, small bodies within the cell nucleus which
carry genetic factors. Most plants are diploid; that is, they
have two identical sets of chromosomes in each cell. A Tetraploid
is only one possibility among a whole series of polyploids.
Tetraploidy can arise from sudden cold or heat, or it can be
the result of the union of unreduced cells during sexual reproduction.
Such spontaneous chromosome doubling occurs occasionally in
nature. Also, it can be induced artificially through the use
of chemicals, that is, with a mutagen called colchicine (obtained
from the autumn crocus "cochicum").
"Dips" are often said to be more refined,
graceful, and versatile (for example, more color possibilities). "Tets" may
tend to be more robust, larger, may have more intense and varied
flower colors, have thicker flower parts, but are harder to
hybridize as the temperature rises and are somewhat still limited
in form, shape and color possibilities (at least for now).
Many believe Tets are the wave of the future, because their
greater genetic complexity should, in the long run make for
a more variable and versatile flower. But many believe that
hybridizing advancements come quicker in dips and continue
to work with them. Both abound and a friendly debate persists
over which is "better." (When hybridizing, you generally
cannot cross a tet with a dip.) The average home gardener should
ignore a cultivar's ploidy and not use this characteristic
as a criteria for plant purchase.
OVERALL PLANT CHARACTERISTICS
Avoid relying solely on how pretty the flower is. Consider
other plant characteristics too:
Branching (multiple is good, because it
yields more blooms)
Bud Count (the more, the better)
Attractive Foliage (there's a lot of it--
it better look good)
Reblooms (or Not) -- obviously a reblooming
plant yields more flowers
Fertile (or Not) -- relevant for hybridizing
Scapes that hold flowers at a good relative
height -- above the top of the foliage
Scapes that do not lay down (if it requires
a stake, get rid of it.)
... simply strive for parts that are in
balance with one another.
"CONVERTED" or "Treated" (with Colchicine)
With the chemical Colchicine (potentially dangerous and not
generally available), it is possible, with some difficulty,
to alter the course of a dip and convert it into a tet. This
is a complex subject too lengthy to cover here.
This image shows the exact same cultivar, except that the
flower on the left is from the original DIPLOID plant, and
the one on the right is from the successfully converted TETRAPLOID
Not every conversion produces a tet version that looks better
or is bigger than the dip version.
Image from the conversion and hybridizing program of Dan Trimmer.
AHS DAYLILY CITIES
(adapted from an article by Ken Cobb)
For many years the AHS has sanctioned private, commercial and public
Display Gardens based on application, selection criteria and an approval/renewal
process. The AHS Daylily City Program now extends a similar concept
to communities that achieve a defined level of promotion of daylilies.
Each approved city or town will be designated as an "AHS Daylily
In 1997, the essential objectives and policies for this program
were outlined to the AHS Board of Directors and presented to the
League of Cities. In 1999, the program was initiated and application
materials were provided to RVPs. West Bend, WI, was named the first
AHS Daylily City in the summer of 1999.
Create and maintain an awareness of the benefits of daylilies for
landscape usage in public locations and increase the overall usage
of daylilies in educational and promotional events within the city.
Any city that uses daylilies in a landscape
or display manner in public access areas is eligible.
Display areas must maintain an acceptable appearance
Promotion within the city must insure that
a reasonable percentage of citizens are aware of the activities.
Selection will be based on a point system with
a minimum requirement.
A "Daylily City" designation is valid
for two consecutive years and may be renewed.
Procedures for Club or Sponsor Actions:
Obtain approval of appropriate city department.
Submit application and $50 fee with pictures,
locale descriptions and maintenance plan to your RVP.
Coordinate a public announcement with city
officials upon selection.
Reapply on behalf of the city within six months
prior to expiration date.
Review all applications. To the extent possible,
the RVP or designee should visit the area.
Submit application materials to Chair of the
Daylily Cities Committee with the recommendation.
Feature each approved "Daylily City" in
a regional newsletter article.
AHS Daylily Cities Committee Actions:
Evaluate every application and assign points.
Minimum score of 50 points is needed for approval.
Advise the applicant and RVP of acceptance
or denial. If denied, offer suggestions.
Provide successful applicant a certificate
A Scale of Points provides a variety of opportunities for achieving
the minimum level of certification with points allocated for: public
plantings, a public AHS Display Garden, local or AHS-accredited shows,
school presentations, adoption of the daylily as the "official" city
flower, and maintenance partnerships with clubs, neighborhood groups,
government, youth groups, etc. The highest levels of certification
will involve ongoing promotion / advertising, regional / national
media coverage, and daylily-centered events such as festivals or
parades. Envision a presidential ceremony at the White House...but
not in the Rose Garden!
Fertilizer may be needed and beneficial, but you should
avoid the tendency to over-fertilize. Too much fertilizer can be
more harmful than too little. Too much can hinder bloom count or
even kill the plant.
Ideally, no fertilizer should be added before a soil
test can confirm what elements might be lacking, and what elements
might already exist in excessive levels. Heavy fertilizing can often
result in a build up of excess phosphorus. Soil testing can be obtained
through a university extension service or commercial labs. Common
home testing kits may not be a good value.
Many hobbyists recommend a balanced fertilizer, with
all three main ingredients, something akin to 20-20-20 or 20-10-10.
These numbers refer to the three most common trace elements that
all plants need: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash. The formula is
NITROGEN-PHOSPHORUS-POTASH, in that order, and is sometimes called
N-P-K, using chemical abbreviations.
Thus, a 20-10-10 fertilizer contains 20% nitrogen,
10% phosphorus, and 10% potash. The only difference between a 20-20-20
and a 10-10-10 is that the 20-20-20 is twice as concentrated. Thus,
you would need two times as much of the 10-10-10 to equal the 20-20-20.
Therefore, the higher the numbers, the more expensive the fertilizer,
per unit, and the less of it you need to treat a given area.
The main point is that when someone recommends 20-10-10
and you can find only a 10-5-5 fertilizer, other than perhaps price,
there may be no difference. You simply need less of one than the
A respected horticulturist told me that daylilies are
heavy nitrogen feeders, and he warned, too, against phosphorus buildup.
Thus, he advised against balanced fertilizers and was promoting the
use of a formula such as 20-5-5, 20-3-10, or even no phosphorus at
all. In 1996, following five years without professional soil testing,
I discovered that in every bed tested, I had too much phosphorous
(the "middle" number), ranging up to 182 lbs./acre-with
100 lbs./acre considered as the threshold between 'adequate' and
'high'. This probably resulted from too many years of indiscriminate
use of balanced fertilizers.
Having said that, some experts recommend that once
scapes start forming, you should change from a high-nitrogen fertilizer
to a lower-nitrogen fertilizer, in order to promote bud growth.
Be aware that so-called "complete" products
that contains N-P-K may not really be complete. Plants need small
amounts of many elements other than just N-P-K. Three of the most
needed other elements are calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. The good
news is that these are easy to obtain and hard to over-apply. I do
not want to say that you cannot overdo them, but an agricultural
lab told me they have never seen it. You can get calcium and sulfur
by applying some gypsum to your flower beds, and magnesium and sulfur
from Epsom salts.
Some use long-lasting products like Osmocote, mainly
for convenience. These products consist of fertilizer encapsulated
in a timed-release substance. One application will last an entire
season. I fear this leads to a risk of under- or over-fertilizing,
because I no have control over the rate of distribution: hot, wet
weather can cause some of these timed-release products to decompose
There are now newer products with a coating that is
supposed to be less susceptible to premature breakdown. A product
called Nutricote is now being touted as none better. It's not readily
available, with two known exceptions: direct from the manufacturer
in 50-lb. bags (call Florikan at 336-421-5457) and under the label "Dynamite" in
much smaller bags at Home Depot. It's available in various strengths
and lengths-of-duration. You should choose the duration type carefully,
based on your needs and length of local growing season. I have selected
their 17-7-8 plus "minors" (a collection of minor elements)
in a 140-day duration formula to try this year.
Another product I have used is a once-a-season Scott's
Pro-Gro 18-3-6 with minors. It is designed as a top dress fertilizer
and contains controlled-release NPK along with magnesium and micro
nutrients. It is advertised to last 2-3 months in the South and 3-4
You should avoid indiscriminate application of supplemental
micro nutrient products. Micro nutrients can be beneficial, but the
threshold between beneficial and toxic is very small. If you want
micro nutrients, the best advice is to buy a fertilizer that comes
with them in appropriate, balanced proportions, or know exactly what
you need and follow directions carefully.
Some years I instead use a monthly application of a
foliar spray. Frequent, diluted applications means less risk of applying
too much at any one time. Having said that-even with foliar feeding
you can overdo it. Sprayed fertilizer is readily absorbed and fast
acting. Foliar feeding can be a more efficient use of fertilizer,
because about 90% of the fertilizer is absorbed by the plant. In
soil application, this level drops to only about 10%.
I'm not aware that the actual brand is that important.
I use any brand name fertilizer, such as Peters, Miracle Grow, or
Do not apply fertilizers too early in the spring. Otherwise,
your plants may jump to life only to be damaged by a late freeze.
This may contribute to a condition called 'spring sickness' in daylilies.
Credit to Melanie Mason for this information.
Most gardeners think of manure as fertilizer, but that's
really not so, at least not in the N-P-K sense. In fact, most types
of manure are pretty poor suppliers of nitrogen, phosphate, and
potassium. Manure is a fabulous soil conditioner.
What is a soil conditioner and how does it work? The basic
framework for soil is mineralized particles. These are roughly
broken into three groups, sand, silt, and clay, and the biggest
difference between them is the size of the particles. Sand is the
largest, silt in the middle, and clay is at the small end of the
spectrum. To give you a size comparison, if a clay particle was
an inch across, a sand particle might be 8 feet or more in diameter.
If the building blocks are large, as they are in sandy soils,
the spaces between the blocks are large. Anyone who has sand can
attest to the difficulties of maintaining a garden with that kind
of soil. Water and nutrients wash through the soil practically
before you turn the hose off, and plants have a little chance to
use them. In addition, if you are environmentally concerned, any
fertilizers and nutrients are washing into your ground water.
On the other end of the spectrum is clay, as much as 1,000
times smaller than sand. Spaces between these particles are extremely
small, and the ionic bonds that cause the particles to attract
in the first place are very strong. With high concentrations of
clay, you can forget gardening and go into pottery. In the spring,
under the pressure of wet conditions, water is forced into these
tiny spaces, and soils become soggy messes. But once these soils
finally do dry out around midsummer, they become rock hard surfaces
that laugh at your feeble attempts to water. Water seems to be
more inclined to run-off rather than soak in.
Good soil structure needs just the right-sized spaces in
the aggregates. The only way to correct the space size in the aggregations
is to add humus.
Humus is the rich black material that comes from decomposed
organic matter. It helps sandy soils retain water, and helps clay
soils shed it. And best of all, manure is a great source of humus.
When you look at your daylily's roots and see those nice
fat tuberous growths and those long pencil-thick roots, realize
that what you are seeing are the anchors, pipelines, and storage
bins of your plant. None of these root structures actually takes
The hard work is done by the tiny root hairs that are at
the ends of all the roots and present on the fine white roots.
These tiny root hairs penetrate the spaces in the soil and bathe
in the nutrient rich moisture that should be there. The actual
nutrition takes place in an osmotic transfer through a single cell
wall. Without these right-sized spaces in your soil aggregates,
the root hairs are left dangling, either in the void of sandy soil,
or butting up against the brick wall of clay soils. And without
the microbial activity, much of the soils nutritional bounty lays
beyond your plant's reach.
Many gardeners extol the virtues of peat moss. It certainly
is cleaner, and doesn't stick to your shoes. The problem with peat
moss is that it is almost sterile. So when you add manure to your
soil, you are:
Improving your soil's structure by adding organic material.
Improving your soil's water holding and water shedding capacity.
Making existing stashes of N-P-K and trace elements available
through increased microbial activity.
What's the best poop money can buy? Horse manure!
Find a stable that uses wood shavings or sawdust as "bedding"-and
not straw or hay. The horse manure/bedding combination seems to
produce almost exactly the right ratio of carbon to nitrogen.
What about mushroom compost? Mushroom compost comes from
horse stables that bed their horses in straw, and is usually supplied
by racetracks. Mushroom growers put the whole mess through a grinder
and use it as a growing medium for mushroom culture. It's also
sterilized to destroy any weed seeds or alien mushroom spoors.
After the mushrooms are harvested, the compost is frequently sold
to gardeners. Remember that sterilization has killed the microbial
soup, and the mushroom growers charge a pretty penny for it, but
the stuff is well composted, and it is a fantastic soil amendment
just the same.
Now, on to some other manures, but the main problem is the
Worst on the smelling scale are chicken chips. Unless liberal
amounts of bedding are incorporated, be wary of chicken poop. Chickens
do not excrete urine separately. They sort of poop and piddle at
the same time, so it's all part of the manure. This makes it a
lot higher in nitrogen and a lot more odoriferous. Before you use
any of it, make sure you compost it with a lot of something high
in carbon (leaves, wood chips, pine straw).
Cow manure is readily available in many areas of the country.
Cow flops are not especially high in nitrogen, but these troughs
also collect the urine, and the whole mess is dragged into the
waiting truck. This means the general nitrogen level is relatively
high, and without any bedding, there is no carbon to take it up.
The best way to utilize straight-from-the-farm cow manure is to
mix it with a big load off wood chips, sawdust, ground-up leaves,
whatever you can find.
Does manure change the pH?
There seems to be no documentation that wood chips or sawdust
acidifies soils. Horse manure, straight out of the horse (no bedding),
may have a pH of 8.0. This would seem to indicate that the bedding
does buffer the pH some in a downward fashion. On the other hand,
it has been proven that highly enriched soils with plenty of organic
matter will produce excellent plants, even in the presence of a
If you are starting a new bed, Rototill in about 6" of
manure. If your garden is already established, add manure by way
of sheet composting. Simply spread manure in a 3-4" layer
directly on your garden and around your daylilies. Worms do a fine
job of mixing it in. One caveat: despite all the goodness in manures,
it is best not to cover the crowns of any of your plants with it.
(The following is no longer Melanie Mason's contribution.)
With all the good things I hear about manure, my limited
personal experience with manure has been mixed. Along with all
the good things, it may have brought some bad. The large batch
I got introduced a new small curly centipede to my garden. I think
I got rid of it using a granular pesticide, but I wish I had not
had to resort to that. It also brought some feed seeds that germinated
into coarse vegetation, despite my use of Preen as a pre-emergence.
It may have also brought some pathogen that caused some rot, because
I lost three plants to midseason rot that has never happened before,
and I had many other plants affected. I do not know if the manure
was to blame for this new fungus or if the two events were simply
coincidental. I certainly have limited experience with manure and
should not dismiss its use too quickly. Otherwise I may miss out
on its other proven virtues.
COLOR PATTERNS and FLOWER FORMS
SELF - the simplest pattern: petals and sepals are
all the same, single color.
BLEND - the petals and sepals are a blend of two or
POLYCHROME - an intermingling of three or more colors.
BITONE - petals and sepals differ in shade or intensity
of the same basic color.
BICOLOR - petals and sepals are of different colors.
EYED - the flower has a zone of different color, or
a darker shade of the same color, located between the throat and
the tips of the petals and sepals, i.e. in the center of the entire
flower. The term 'eyezone' is often abbreviated as 'EZ'.
BAND - an eye zone that occurs only on the petals.
HALO - an eye zone that is faint or only lightly visible.
WATERMARK - an eye zone that is lighter than the petal
PICOTEE or EDGE - usually an outer petal of 1/4" or
1/2" edge of a lighter, or different color.
DIAMOND-DUSTED - tiny crystals in the flower's cells
STIPPLED - looks like someone spray-painted petals
with dots of slightly different shade of color. Unusual. Not necessarily
desirable and not universally sought after.
MIDRIB - the center vein running lengthwise through
each petal is a different color from that of the petal itself.
THROAT - the very center or core of the flower may
have a green or other color which is different from the flower.
Daylilies come in different shapes and sizes, as well
as in different colors and color patterns.
Some forms are officially recognized, and others merely
fall into categories that people informally use to describe their
Terms such as 'round' and 'flat' are self-explanatory,
as are 'triangular.'
'Double' can be described as a daylily with additional
flower segments that tend to either set right on top of the main
petals and sepals ("hose-in-hose") or are formed out of
converted stamens and tend to jumble in varying degrees. The former
looks as if one flower were laid on top of another. The latter tend
to look like a peony flower. See below for the latter, which is the
Doubles, which have extra flower segments should not
be confused with 'polytepal' flowers, which simply have more than
the usual three petals and three sepals. Much like a four-leaf clover
is unusual, so is a four-petal daylily. However there are numerous
hybridizers working with those daylilies that tend to consistently
produce more than three petals and three sepals in the hopes of creating
more polytepal daylilies that bloom 100% polytepal. In addition to
4-segment polytepals, I've even seen five-petal flowers.
SOME BASIC FLOWER FORMS and COLOR PATTERNS
Many newer daylilies do not fit conveniently in existing
categories, so a new 'class' of "Unusual Forms" has been
created as its own distinct category. These Unusual Forms are often
affectionately abbreviated as "UFO."
UFO daylilies can even be further subdivided into three
categories: Crispates, Cascades, and Spatulates. And Crispates into
three types: Pinched, Twisted, and Quilled. Most Crispates bloom
in different poses every day, and even bloom differently on the same
scape making them Variable Crispates.
Pinched Crispate: Floral segments with sharp folds
giving a pinched or folded effect.
Twisted Crispates: Floral segments which present a
corkscrew or pinwheel effect.
Cascade: Narrow floral segments with pronounced curling
or cascading, which revolve upon themselves in the manner of a wood
Spatulate: Floral segments are markedly wider at the
end like a kitchen spatula.
(These descriptions and the following UFO images were contributed
by Bob Schwarz, one of the most ardent UFO proponents. These UFO
daylilies are tetraploid nd are from among his seedlings.)
STRIKE UP THE BAND
(Quilled Crispate. Floral segments turn upon themselves along
their length to form a tubular shape.)
A variety of fungi can attack daylilies. Most are
not fatal or extensive and can, therefore, be ignored. However,
a few are serious and some have no cure. Therefore, if a
fungus appears, I treat it.
Note that daylilies can also be infected by bacteria.
Erwinia is an example. Unlike fungi, daylilies can die of
a bacterial infection. The result is plant death and rot.
You may hear someone say they lost a plant to rot. What they
really mean is that their plant died and rotted, probably
from the result of a bacterial infection. This is not common,
but I believe is an opportunistic infection. By this I mean
that the bacteria is probably in everyone's environment,
but takes hold in a daylily only if the conditions are "right." Conditions
such as weak plants, high humidity and high temperatures
are some. This is why, in my opinion, "rot" occurs
more in the South; it's simply hotter there longer. For these
reasons, plant only in the Spring or early Fall, and avoid
planting in summer.
Some growers report an occasional plant that turns
'sickly' in spring. Hence, the malady is called 'spring sickness'.
The plant, or perhaps only some of the fans of one clump,
may turn pale and look like wilted lettuce. The affected
fans also twist and can become very contorted. Some people
suspect a fungus; others a small insect that feeds on the
new growth. I have experienced this a couple of times. Sometimes
I treat with a fungicide; sometimes a pesticide; sometimes
both; sometimes neither. In no case did I lose a plant to
this mystery-just some of its early growth.
If a newly planted daylily starts to turn yellow within
a couple of weeks of planting, it may be infected with a
fungus or bacteria. ALIETTE, PHYTON 27, 50% wettable CAPTAN
(two tablespoons to a gallon of water), or some other fungicide
poured on the fans usually will save them. Some gardeners
treat all purchased plants this way when planting them, as
a preventative measure. But fungicides, as well as many other
gardening chemicals, can be very hazardous and therefore
should be handled with care. Also, not all fungicides are
safe to use on daylilies. Some of those I use may be difficult
to find, at least in small, affordable quantities.
I will not use Benlate/Benomyl. Years ago
the maker, DuPont, was sued because many users of Benlate
accused the product for stunting nursery plants. I do not
know the outcome of the suit, and the wettable powder form
of Benlate is supposed to be effective and safe, but I am
satisfied with the others I use.
There's really a lot more to say about fungi, but
my expertise is limited. Join the AHS and read past issues
of The Journal for more.
Starting with the Millennium, a new fungus started
spreading across the US. Daylily RUST is now present in almost
all states. It seems to affect daylilies worse than the more
common 'Leaf Streak' fungus, and the ultimate outcome is
yet unknown. Because it is new, it is highly feared by many
daylily growers. Although it makes some affected cultivars
look VERY ugly, it is apparently NOT fatal and responds to
many fungicides, such as protective sprays like Daconil and
a Mancozeb with Heritage. Others include STRIKE 50 WDG (Triadimefon)
and systemics like Bannermax, Heritage, and Contrast. A good,
instant contact spray mainly used as a dip (by sellers before
shipment and buyers upon receipt) is Zerotol.
Two good choices for gardeners with small collections,
because they can be found more easily and in smaller quantities
are Immunox (myclobutanil) from Spectracide and Funginex
(triforine) from Ortho.
SOME (ATTEMPT AT) HUMOR
How to Interpret Daylily Catalog
(Adapted with permission from the works of A. W. Shucks, AHS
Low branched -- A scape on which all the flowers remain
well down in the foliage.
Sunfast -- May be better than most but still is not.
Proven Heritage -- Only the pod parent is known.
Garden Classic -- Flower looks like HYPERION.
Takes the wind easily -- Wind will bend its weak scapes
over into the foliage.
Always stops visitors in the garden --
The aforementioned weak scapes will fall into the pathway as
well, blocking it.
Floriferous -- Blooms out quickly.
Nocturnal -- Opens at night and wilts before dawn.
My best so far -- All his previous introductions were
ego trips and unworthy.
This is like the terms 'lemony' and 'chocolatey',
which of course have nothing to do with the real thing.
Other variations include 'hint of blue', 'blue sheen', or 'overwashed
In any case, all blue daylilies to date are lavender, and the
first true blue daylily will not sell for less than $1,000.
Of course, by then, all the blue names will have been used.
Semi-evergreen -- This sells better than it would
if registered correctly as a dormant or evergreen. If you
live in the South, plant will prove to be dormant and vice
Attracts many garden visitors -- like aphids, thrips,
mites, and Japanese beetles.
Very heavy substance -- The blooms are too stiff to
Reminiscent of a Tetraploid -- Both of its parents
were induced Tets.
Produces up to 30 buds when established --
This is clump bud count. Divide by the number of scapes to
derive true bud count.
Prefers filtered shade -- Dies in the sun.
Single fans only -- You will probably get only a proliferation.
Going fast -- This means it is susceptible to crown
rot and does not have long to live.
HM 1990 -- Hybridizer swaps with friends in other
regions, who happen to be judges.
Very near white -- Gray.
A garden standout -- Either its scapes are 54 inches
tall or its color combination is ghastly.
Sometimes blooms double -- Occasionally has two blooms
open at the same time.
Disease resistant -- The cultivar is only one generation
removed from species.
Wax-like blooms -- Blooms will melt in sun like a
candle in the heat.
May benefit from mulch -- Tender and would not survive
north of Miami Beach.
Midseason bloomer -- Will bloom either the day before
or the day after your local daylily show or tour.
Ample bud count -- Low bud count.
Round and ruffled -- Sepals cannot be seen behind
the wide petals.
Often reblooms -- Will probably live to see another
Ideal for edging -- Looks like liriope or needs mass
planting to offset low bud count.
Fragrant -- Was planted near a rose or oriental lily.
Fall delivery -- Seller wishes to use your pollen,
your proliferations, and your plant's increase for one more
growing season, while he also uses your money and the interest
JC 1998 -- Hybridizer had ten friends, who happened
to be judges, visit his garden.
Limited supply -- Hybridizer gave everything to friends,
who happened to be judges.
$100 -- This is cost, not value. Divide cost by number
of digits to obtain value.
Sold Out -- This plant probably doesn't even exist.
Often used to reserve a name permanently.
Bonus plant -- The dog that didn't sell last year.
My Favorite DAYLILY GROWING TIPS (MORE
When selecting a daylily for purchase, do not pay
any attention to anything except the flower. Who cares if
the plant doesn't multiply well or has only 5 buds! Do you
want great looking flowers or common/ugly things that grow
like weeds? Duh!! Low bud counts also make it easier to deadhead
your garden (remove spent blooms).
Speaking of deadheading, it is easier to do it in
the morning before the buds open. Once a bud opens, it's
harder to grab and it gets all ooky.
In fact, you should not deadhead at all, lest you
destroy the bee-cross of the century. Where do you think
those hybridizing breakthroughs come from anyway, humans
or divine intervention?
There are not many blue daylilies, so buy all daylilies
that have the word 'BLUE' in their name so that you can have
a garden with plenty of blue color in it. Also look for blue
daylilies that come with blue foliage. Yes, I know they exist
because I have seen them in a catalog I get from a favorite
grower of mine.
Buy only from your local discount store in order to
get the cheapest prices.
Plant new acquisitions about six inches apart. If
you plant them farther apart, your garden will look vacant
and unbalanced. Half of all introductions die anyway, so
compensate in advance.
Fertilize! Fertilize! Fertilize! Fertilizer to daylilies
is like Vitamin B to humans. There is no such thing as 'too
much' because you do not want to risk a deficiency. No problem:
any excess is simply excreted.
Do not use mulch unless you want slugs.
Forget manure. The people who promote this are just
barn owners are looking for a city-slicker who's dumb enough
not only to haul away their stuff, but to actually pay for
the privilege too!
When you buy a daylily, do not worry about planting
it right away. Daylilies are all hardy. That is why they
are called the 'perfect perennial'. Just throw them in the
trunk of your car and plant whenever you have nothing better
Best time to plant is around August 1 when the high
temperatures will repel invading insects and will burn off
any unsavory microorganisms.
Ignore the advice about watering daylilies. Watering
will simply cost you time and money and will make the plants
susceptible to rot. The only exception to this is immediately
after planting a new daylily; heavy watering at this time
will make the new roots grow faster. Do it twice daily.
As a prophylactic against insect pests, spray with
a mixture of Kelthane, DDT, chlordane, Habanero peppers,
axle grease, cigar butts, Schlitz, nitrates, Strontium-90,
smoked beef lymph nodes, Just For Men, drain cleaner, Nair,
Citrate of Magnesia, dioxin, and pig snout hairs once a week.
Never wear a mask, otherwise you would not be able to smell
whether or not you have mixed the spray strong enough. Keep
a little left over to wash your hands with, because the mixture
is good at removing anything.
Do not use plant labels, in order to keep thieves
from knowing where your expensive daylilies are.
Do not join the AHS, because all you get is the worthless
Journal magazine full of junk ads, technical talk you would
not understand, and articles about people you do not know.
Do not join a local club, because you do not want
to share your cultural secrets with your competition.
(written by an anonymous donor)
I will take a cursory cut at answering some questions
about AHS judges. First there two major kinds of judges,
the Exhibition (flower show) Judges and Garden (awards and
honors) Judges. The former judges judge the horticultural
division of a daylily show ( not the artistic - that is another
matter ). The requirements that must be met to become either
kind of judge are spelled out in the AHS judges handbook "Judging
Daylilies". On to your questions:
1) What is a daylily judge's purpose? Is it to award
the Stout and other awards to a daylily?
For the most part, that is the purpose of AHS Garden
2) How is it determined where a daylily will be judged?
Meaning, are daylilies judged at shows, AHS display gardens,
the hybridizer's garden, conventions, regional meetings,
The cultivar awards are mostly awarded by the Garden
Judges. For these awards, like the Stout Medal, they are
judged on ballots provided by the AHS and sent to the AHS
Awards and Honors Chairman by a specified date each year.
The Garden Judges are expected to visit lots of gardens,
including those of hybridizers, to grow a representative
sample of those up for awards, and to have undergone training.
For more detail see "Judging Daylilies".
The cultivar awards not voted by the Garden Judges
are voted as follows:
Lennington All-American AHS Board of Directors
Popularity Poll AHS Membership
David Hall Regional Regional AHS Membership
Presidents Cup AHS Membership attending the national
3) Does a hybridizer get an award, money, etc. if
their DL is picked as the winner in garden/show judging?
As far as I know, the only cultivar award involving
cash is $500 to the hybridizer for winning the Plouf Award.
For Show Awards, the exhibitors get the prize money, if any.
I have never seen the hybridizer receive any show award money
except as an exhibitor. The amount of these awards is up
to the Show Committee of each show and is published in the
The exception is the AHS Achievement Medal. It is
a show award that is paid for by the AHS. Regardless of who
makes the entry in the show, it is the hybridizer who gets
4) Are the results of judging posted by the AHS in
the journal or somewhere else?
The cultivar awards are normally posted in the winter
edition of The Journal, the AHS magazine publication. Most
awards are presented at the annual AHS Convention. The major
show awards and the regional popularity polls (the most popular
in each region receives the David Hall Award for that region)
are published in the spring AHS Journal.
5) Are judges paid to judge daylilies?
The Garden Judges are not paid. Show judges from afar
are often reimbursed for mileage or room, depending on the
show committee. Judging is for most of us a labor of love.
6) How does one get to be a daylily judge?
I'm glad you asked! It is relatively easy. To be appointed
a garden judge (and I paraphrase), you must:
* Have been an AHS member for 36 consecutive months.
* Have paid your dues by January 1.
* Visit lots of gardens, including those of hybridizers, and
grow a representative sample of those up for awards.
* Have attended at least one of your regional meetings with
* Be familiar with the contents of publication "Judging
* Attend at least one session each of Garden Judges Workshops
1 & 2.
* Fill out an application form and get it to your RVP by December
1. Your Regional Vice President (RVP) passes it on to the AHS
Garden Judges and Workshop Chairman by December 15. If the
AHS Garden Judges and Workshop Committee thinks you meet requirements,
you will be appointed unless your region's quota has already
There are 4 levels of show judge accreditation, student-in-training,
junior, senior, and honorary (we will ignore this level).
To be accredited as a student-in-training (and again
I paraphrase), you must:
1. Have been an AHS member for 2 years immediately
prior to applying
2. Have paid your dues by January 1.
3. Have a keen interest and knowledge of daylilies.
4. Grow daylilies from at least 10 hybridizers.
5. Obtain and become familiar with "Judging Daylilies."
6. Attend the "Introductory Judges Training Clinic." (Clinic
7. Pass a written test on material covered in the clinic.
At this point you are not eligible to judge a daylily
To be accredited as a Junior Judge you must:
1. Wait a year as Judge-in-Training before taking
2. Take Clinic II and pass a written test on it. (and do it
within 3 years)
3. Pay AHS dues by January 1.
You now may judge a show.
To be accredited as a Senior Judge you must:
1. Judge twice as a Junior Judge at any combination
of AHS daylily shows or Master Panels for an AHS clinic.
2. Do 2 of the following:
a. Exhibit at an AHS daylily show.
b. Serve on the Classification Committee for an AHS
c. Serve as a clerk in the Horticulture On-Scape division
of an AHS daylily show.
d. Be responsible for editing and producing the schedule
for an AHS daylily show.
e. Chair or Co-Chair an AHS daylily show.
3. File an application form with proof that the above
requirements have been met. This part is important, because
no one else will do it for you. You should be gathering this
evidence as you meet the requirements.
This may all sound like a real pain, but if you follow
the steps carefully, (and pay your dues by January 1st) you
will become a judge and can take part in the tremendous fun
of judging shows.
If you enter daylilies in shows, it pays to have taken
Clinics I & II just to find out what judges look for
INSECTS and Other PESTS
First, a warning about pesticides. Their use can start
many arguments among gardeners because of their danger to
the environment. And a warning against one pesticide, in
particular. Never use Kelthane! Although effective on other
crops, reports I deem reliable say it can ruin your daylilies'
foliage. Maybe not, but I'm not willing to try.
Some growers believe pesticides should be avoided
at all costs. They report that, in the absence of pesticides,
natural insect predators will increase and control problem
bugs. They advocate a willingness to live with a certain
level of damage.
At the other extreme are those who practice preventive
'medicine' and apply heavy pesticides as a precautionary
step, with the theory that an ounce of prevention is worth
a pound of cure.
I used to lie somewhere in the middle but have become
convinced that pesticides should be used rarely - only in
emergencies and only temporarily. Pesticides are dangerous,
not only to the environment, but to your own health. (Some
of the pesticides mentioned herein are extremely dangerous.)
Besides the health risk, the main problem with pesticides
is that they will not work in the long run. It's that simple.
They will kill good insects leaving no natural protection
from the bad. Bad insects will build up tolerance. You cannot
get 100% coverage of a pesticide on your plants, so the remaining
bad insects will multiply quickly. Even if you could get
100% coverage, eggs of some species will hatch in 3-5 days.
Pesticides are a dead end, for you not pests.
Many "bad" insects are becoming resistant
to even the best poisons, while "good" ones are
not. Thus you'll always kill off the good ones first, and
may be left with the bad ones, anyway.
Unless you develop an immediate widespread, plant-threatening
epidemic of a damaging insect, use no pesticides.
The wave of the future is biological control or Integrated
Pest Management (IPM). Nature has already provided you with
some biological controls for your garden. If you do not destroy
it, it may be all you need. Some bad insects and some minor
damage can be expected and tolerated, but sometimes an epidemic
occurs. In these cases, nature needs some help.
Although in its infancy, IPM holds much promise and
has made good progress already. There will be parasitic and
pathogen products, in addition to the more familiar predator
ones. Pathogens include viruses, bacterium, and fungi. Bacteria
is already being successfully used against certain caterpillars
(these do not attack daylilies), and several fungi are in
the developmental stage. A product first arriving on the
scene in 1996 is a fungus called 'Naturalis-O' which kills
most of the daylily's small pest enemies: aphids, mites,
The advantages to IPM include: no pest tolerance,
it is target specific (it would not harm as many good bugs),
it attacks pests in all stages of their lives (including
eggs), it's nonpoisonous, and it has no residue.
Some natural controls available for purchase produce
limited results. Ladybugs will not stay in my yard, but fly
away. The same goes with praying mantis, and these will eat
other beneficial insects. I suspect the same with lacewings
but do not know because they are too small to see. Diatomaceous
Earth (sometimes called 'DE') can help control slugs and
aphids but should be reapplied after every rain or watering.
For me, this is not practical, but on a smaller scale, it
is worth a try.
You can even buy spider mite predators, which I now
use religiously. In fact, more and more predator insects
are now available and the prices fall each year as more people
use them. Some predators cannot survive cold winters and
thus must be replaced each year, if the problem persists.
There are also some newer, much safer pesticides that
can be used: Neem or BioNeem (from Safer) and SunSpray oil
(or other, new soluble oil products). Neem is a pesticide
(insect control) that comes from a "Neem" tree
in India. It is very safe, non-photo toxic, and gentle on
plants. SunSpray oil is simply a highly-refined oil. It is
not a pesticide but acts by smothering insects. Up to now,
such oils could not be used on plants, because they would
smother the plant leafs ability to "breathe" as
well. However, the refinement process now yields molecules
so small that they do not interfere with the plant host.
See below for specific insect applications.
A final safety note about the use of pesticides. Although
they vary in potential danger, I would suggest treating them
all with extreme caution. Many require the use of respiratory
protection such as a respirator with an organic vapor chemical
cartridge and dust/mist filter. These are not that difficult
or expensive to find, but your local Frank's nursery, Walgreen's,
or Kmart would not have them. Wear long sleeve shirts and
pants. Wear rubber gloves. I keep a box of disposable latex
gloves on hand and wear them when using any pesticide, fungicide,
or herbicide. Although I don't always do so, protective goggles
should also be worn to prevent chemical splashes into the
eyes. So what if you look like you are exploring a foreign
planet in your protective gear; that is better than getting
Anyway, here is a list of the most small pests which
threaten daylilies. (For deer and buffalo, you are on your
Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects and are most
commonly light green, brown, gray, and black. Thousands of
species of aphids exist and, consequently, vary considerably
in color, size, response to environmental conditions, and
host preference. They are typically found clustered on the
undersides of leaves and on stems. The most common group
of aphids lays eggs in protected places on their preferred
hosts near the growing season's end, which overwinter and
hatch as females in the spring. From then until near the
end of the growing season, only females are present, giving
live birth to more females, which already have partially
formed females within them. At the end of the growing season
males are produced and females are then born with eggs rather
than live young inside, which are fertilized by the males
during mating. Excess sap, called honeydew, is secreted as
they feed and is sweet and sticky. Other insects, such as
ants and honeybees, feed on the honeydew. Some ant species
guard aphid colonies, killing natural aphid predators.
If present, you can see a large group of bright green
bugs in between young leaves. Dead skins, which appear as
white specks, can also be visible. Aphids suck sap from soft
leaf and stem tissue, causing the leaves to curl. Damage
is usually warty bumps on buds or distorted leaves and fans.
Try a predator call Orius (the 'Minute Pirate Bug').
Or, I have found that they can easily be controlled with
a mild pesticide, like Safer's Insecticidal soap. Neem (or
BioNeem) also works.
Are commonly found in the St. Louis area and can be
difficult. One adult can deposit up to 400 eggs a year. Slugs
can be found year-round. They are not insects but are mollusks
and can be described as snails without the shell.
Slugs love wet weather and early mornings when dew
is heavy. They hide under ground cover such as decaying plant
material, stones, bricks, boards, feeding primarily at night.
Therefore, any mulch provides a breeding ground and a refuge
for them. A clean flower bed, free of mulch and debris can
eliminate any serious threat.
Slugs eat the new foliage from the center of the fan,
and they can consume it faster than the plant can grow it.
Damage is often obvious: it looks like scalloped bite marks
on the edges of the leaves. During the day, slugs hide in
the soil around the base of the plant, so you do not often
actually see the slugs on the plants. They do their damage
at night and early morning, which is the best time to see
them still slithering around.
There are many 'homemade' treatments, many of which
work. Although, if you have a large collection of daylilies
(or hostas, etc.), most of these simpler methods are not
Note that hand picking slugs without gloves might
be dangerous. Many species serve as intermediate hosts for
the rat lungworm, Angiostrongylus cantonensis. Humans can
also be infected by the larvae of the rat lungworm, by deliberate
ingestion of the uncooked slug and also by accidental ingestion
of its slimy mucus secretion.
Slug Bait, BUG-GETA, etc. can provide adequate relief,
but try to find a brand containing both metaldehyde and Sevin.
Metaldehyde will only stun the slugs so that the sun can
finish them off the next day. In cooler weather, many will
survive the day and recover. With Sevin, a pesticide, this
would not happen. If you have small children or pets, baits
present an obvious hazard.
Also "effective" (though not yet tried by
me) is liquid DEADLINE, a snail killer.
The most effective treatment may be GRANDSLAM, but
this is the most toxic chemical I have ever used and should
be used with extreme caution. I no longer use it.
SPIDER MITES -
First of all, do not be needlessly alarmed. Spider
mites are not usually a daylily problem for the average garden.
However, by the time a spider mite problem becomes obvious
to someone not looking for it, the infestation is widespread
and the damage can be major. Therefore, it's worthwhile to
occasionally spot check a few daylilies, by inspecting the
leaf underside. Mites are very small, about the size of a
pinpoint - not a pinhead. There is more than one variety,
but it is the two-spotted mite that normally attacks daylilies.
This is different from the red spider mite that often infests
houseplants. If you see many little dots, about the size
of a period in this document, stare at them for at least
five seconds or so to see if they move. If the dots start
to move, you may have mites. Note that besides the fact that
they are small, they are also light-colored, and together
it makes them hard to see. You might try using a magnifying
glass or your teenage son with sharp eyesight.
The devastation occurs on the underside of the leaves,
and you can see the leaves turn pale yellow, looks dirty,
and then turns pale brown when the leaf is too far gone.
The mites by this time have drawn the chlorophyll from the
leaf. The plant loses its strength as it loses the chlorophyll.
Fine webbing is possible, but I seldom have seen it on this
kind of mite.
Once you have had an infestation, you should vigilantly
inspect the underside of random plants throughout your garden.
They are very hard to see, especially for older eyes. If
the underside of the leaf is green, there probably is no
problem. If there is any color loss, look carefully for any
small spots that could be an insect. You would not see any
form to it, just a dot. Many times they stand still. Stare
at the dot for at least five seconds. If it is a mite, and
if it is alive, it will finally move.
Mites are most difficult to get rid of, once out of
control. They like hot, dry weather, but I have found them
as early as late May, during wet weather. They hide on underside
of leaves. For heavy infestations, reapply every ten days;
it may also be helpful to use more than one pesticide and
The best solution to bad mites is predator mites.
Phytoseiulus persimilus (or simply PERSIMILUS) is the predator
of choice. I use Buena Biosystems at (805) 525-2525. Natural
Solutions from the Necessary Trading Company (703-864-5103)
is (or was) another source. Both these people have been uncommonly
helpful and accommodating. The trick is to have them (the
predator mites) arrive before the bad mites get out-of-hand,
but late enough so they have the heat and humidity to survive.
The predators also need a food source or they will die.
As a safe and cheap alternative to pesticides or predators,
mites might be controlled with simple water. Because this
would be so much safer than chemicals, try it first, especially
if you have no more than a small collection of daylilies.
The method is to wash the mites away. Mites are extremely
small and consequently crawl very slowly, perhaps only ten
inches a day. Therefore, if you can knock them off with a
forceful spray of water, and repeat the application every
three days, for three or four times, you can get rid of them
(at least for awhile). This approach is probably best for
the average daylily grower, unless your garden is large.
You should always choose predator mites over pesticides,
but if you must use chemicals, here are some effective pesticides
for mite control:
SunSpray (oil) - not a pesticide; works by smothering
mites and their eggs.
PLICTRAN (acaricide) - probably no longer available.
AVID (miticide) - possibly the best, but probably
cannot be obtained in convenient, small, affordable size
- unless you share with others. I have received a report,
however, that says smaller quantities can be obtained through
some African Violet supply houses, such as AV by Fredericks,
in North Carolina. Their phone number is 1-800-771-0899 and
their website is www.african-violets.com.
PENTAC (miticide) - probably the second best and most
used among commercial greenhouses. It has a long residual
action and will not only kill the adult mites, but will also
destroy the young mites and most of the eggs for a prolonged
length of time. It is available in more affordable quantities.
Stirrup-M (pheromone) - not a pesticide, but a sex
attractant to be used in conjunction with a pesticide. The
theory is that mites move around more and become more exposed
Thrips eat on and damage the blooms and tender branches,
not the foliage. A thrips ('thrips' is both singular and
plural) is a gray-black insect about the size and shape of
the upper part of a small exclamation point! Thrips are insects
that are barely visible, about 5 mm or less long, and cluster
along veins on the undersides of leaves. Their fecal spots
and plant damage are usually more apparent than the thrips
themselves. Adults have two pairs of wings that are fringed
and normally held over and parallel to the body. Active feeding
occurs during the adult and larval stages.
Once the bloom is open, thrips do little or no damage.
The damage is done in the bud form just as the outer petals
begin to loosen. The thrips rubs the bud until it 'bleeds'
and then eats this liquid. Bleeding can cause the petals
to stick together, and the flower is unable to open properly
or not at all. This also can result in white or brown scars
and distorted leaves.
If infestation is heavy, entire leaves become brownish
or silver and look dried rather than wilted, similar to damage
from windburn. Some species produce large amounts of black,
soot-like specks of fecal matter on the leaves.
The Orius Insidiosus predator is most effective ('Minute
Pirate Bug'), but thrips can probably be controlled with
Safer's Insecticidal soap. Orthene will probably also work.
Orius a member of the stink bug family. It will overwinter
from Florida to Canada. When the thrips are gone, the Orius
(or pirate bug) will then begin to devour mites and other
BULB MITES -
This is the most recent pest added to this list, and
the author has no knowledge or experience with them, that
I'm aware of. In fact, it is unclear to me that bulb mites
are responsible at all for any daylily damage. I have heard
that their presence may simply be coincidental with a sick
plant and get blamed for being in the wrong place at the
If bulb mites prove to be a threat, they are difficult
to diagnose because they are small and occur below ground.
If you experience sporadic occurrences of "crown rot" (where
the daylily truly dies), you might in fact have bulb mites
As the theory goes, the mites (Rhizoglyphus exhinopus)
attack first at the bottom of the crown. Without digging
and inspecting this area, there is no way to otherwise tell
if a plant is infested until it abruptly dies.
Because they are in the ground, bulb mites may unfortunately
not be a good candidate for natural predators. In fact the
best alternative to combating them may be a very dangerous
pesticide that is hard to obtain: Vydate. It contains oxamyl,
a highly water-soluble pesticide of the carbamate class.
(Probably similar to the product GRANDSLAM, that I used to
use on slugs.) Because contact pesticides are not a choice
for obvious reasons, Vydate-and perhaps Cygon" -may
work because they are systemic.
Hopefully we'll learn more about this in the coming
OTHER PESTS -
There are some other non-insect pests that can damage
Rabbits can develop a taste for the youngest, tender
daylilies. I had this problem one year, when there was a
bumper crop of rabbits. Instead of killing them, I choose
to use a Have-a-Hart trap, which allowed me to trap and relocate
I find that squirrels are a terrible nuisance, especially
in winter. They continually dig around freshly planted daylilies.
I suppose they simply like to bury or look for previously-buried
acorns in the loose soil -it's easy digging- but they tend
to expose the roots to the elements. This is another good
reason to brick new plants.
Having a dog or cat in the yard will, of course, help
discourage wild animals.
I have no deer near me, so I have neglected to gather
any intelligence for you on how to avoid damage from them,
which can be as severe (and quicker) than any insect. At
least you'll see the damage, however.
MOLES and VOLES -
(much credit for vole information to Bill Watson)
I have both in my yard. While moles make your yard
look ugly, they do little if any direct damage to your plants.
Voles on the other hand will eat plant roots. Although I
am aware of no incidence of voles eating daylilies roots
in my yard, they have destroyed other plants including hosta.
Forget trying to attack moles from the runs in the
middle of your lawn. Those are usually feeding runs which
the mole generally goes down only once. (Why go back if the
food is gone?) Instead, you need to try to find their highways,
which are usually deeper in the ground and under the cover
of a hedge or shrub. I have tried many remedies. Most have
proven worthless for me. I have had a little luck killing
a few with traps after being lucky enough to find a highway.
I have had the most luck recently by poisoning them, with
poisoned corn such as a product called Revenge and with a
totally different poison called Rozol, but not with the traditional
bait found most commonly at the local nursery.
If you have a vole problem, you have one of the greatest
problem any gardener can have, especially if you grow hostas.
You can see mole tunnels. You cannot see vole tunnels. They
create an underground maze of tunnels. You will find exit
holes about the size of a quarter where they are present.
Contrary to popular belief, voles do not use mole runs; field
mice do. Voles create their own runs. Voles are very small,
ugly, almost tailless. They may look a little like black
mice. Left alone in the garden they can create a maze so
complex that the ground can eventually cave in.
There is a product called Rozol that is available
at chemical supply places, not at garden centers. It is blue
pellets that you pour into vole holes and cover with brick
or board. If you can find it, Rozol is by far the best solution
I have yet to find for moles and voles.
When you receive new plants, whether from a local
grower or by mail from out of town, it is normal for existing
leaves to turn partially yellow, especially the older, outer
If it will be more than 24 hours before you can plant
your new purchase, remove the plant from any packaging material
and place the roots in a bucket of about 6" water. In
fact, even if you can plant right away, many hobbyists prefer
to soak daylilies for about three hours in water before planting.
Do NOT, however, leave the plants in the water indefinitely.
The purpose of soaking them for awhile is to prevent severe
dehydration. Leaving them for too long in the bucket of water
can result in different but just as disastrous results. Plant
them as soon as you can to avoid hydration problems of either
Plant about 18-30" apart. At 24" it may
look sparse at first, but foliage will fill in, especially
after first season. The closer you plant them together, the
sooner you will have to dig them up and to rearrange them.
If drainage is poor, it is beneficial to raise beds
3 to 6 inches.
Daylilies generally love sun, and need at least 50%
sun (either half a day in full sun or all day in filtered
sun) to thrive and produce optimum bloom. However, varieties
with darker shades of flowers should either be given partial
shade or planted where it gets afternoon shade. Otherwise
their colors may fade or melt.
St. Louis clay is often too poor and dense. It's almost
mandatory here to amend the soil with compost, humus, peat
moss, or other organic matter. Manure is probably the best;
see a discussion of it later on. Soil should be worked into
a loose condition, to a depth of about one foot, and about
15-20" in diameter, prior to planting.
Because clay does not drain well, some recommend adding
gypsum or something like Turface, a commercial inorganic
filler that looks like little irregular stone chips. If you
try this, use it sparingly to avoid your soil will become
too porous, requiring too much supplemental watering.
Do not plant too close to trees. Besides creating
too much shade, trees -especially broad-leafed ones-have
extensive feeder roots. These surface roots tend to rob the
daylilies of the essential nutrients and can physically interfere.
Dig a hole. Make a large ball out of amended soil
in center of the hole, forming an upside down cone shape.
Drape the roots over the soil cone, extending them
out in all directions. Hold plant so that crown is about
1" or less below ground level and fill in hole (over
roots) with amended soil. (The crown is that point where
the leaves meet the roots.)
Work the soil around and between the roots as you
cover the plant. Firm the soil and water well. Make sure
there are no air pockets.
Do not water again until the plant starts to grow.
This gives the plant time to develop hair-like feeder roots
that absorb moisture. (The watering advice that follows below
does not apply to newly planted daylilies less than a month
'Brick' all new plants acquired during the season
over the first winter. Do this by laying three bricks on
the ground, surrounding the crown in a triangular shape,
fairly close in. The bricks go around, not on top of, the
plant. The bricks act like a mulch and provide some buffer
from extreme changes in temperature, because they absorb
heat from sun during day and release it at night. This prevents
roots from heaving during changes from freezing to thawing;
and it provides protection from digging squirrels. I put
them down about the time of the first frost and remove them
in the spring when I start to clean the beds of dead foliage
from the winter.
The most popular time to transplant existing plants
is spring: mid-April or early May in St. Louis. Second best
is fall, mainly early September. This is late enough to miss
the heat and humidity of August and early enough to get roots
established prior to winter.
Daylilies can be multiplied in several ways.
Dividing the multiple fans that naturally grow and
develop with time-you hope-is the most common and effective
method of getting new plants. Daylilies are fairly easy to
divide, but not as easy as dividing iris. To divide a clump
of multiple fans, dig up the entire clump or at least the
entire portion you intend to remove as a separate plant.
While all you need is one fan to produce a new plant, it
is preferable to keep at least two fans together. It may
be necessary to dig down to 10 or 12 inches. With your shovel
or a spading fork, pry the clump out of the ground. Do not
worry if you accidentally break a few of the longer roots
but try not to do so.
Cut back the long outer leaves to about six inches
to make it easier to handle. (Do not damage the new inner
leaves that grow in the center of each fan.)
Wash it thoroughly with running water to clearly expose
all the roots. To split the clump into new separate clumps,
you can try the common method of thrusting two spading forks
down the middle and then forcing them apart.
Sometimes you have to use a little force to start
the separation. A good method is to insert a large screwdriver
in the middle of the clump, between two crowns, and twist
and ply. Sometimes, I have to resort to the use a large knife
to separate two crowns growing together. If you do this,
try to start a separation by cutting through the base or
crown, but do not follow through and cut the roots. You never
want to simply saw or cut a clump in two, because you destroy
too many roots. You end up with two clumps but also a bunch
of orphaned roots on the floor.
It may seems unnecessary, but you should clean any
tools you use to divide daylilies. Using a contaminated knife
is the best way to spread an evil fungus, if one is present.
I know because I did that one year, and all five daylilies
I separated became seriously ill with a fungus. Clean the
tools with a good horticultural disinfectant, such as Physan
20, or at least some rubbing alcohol, but not your good beer,
Dividing larger, established clumps may actually be
beneficial. Large, older clumps can become too crowded and
weak. Many growers recommend thinning out older clumps after
five years or so.
Proliferations are miniature plants-initially with
no or small roots-that sometimes spontaneously develop on
the side of bloom scapes, about half way up the scape. Some
cultivars are more apt to produce proliferations than others.
Some cultivars rarely do. Simply cut off the proliferation
and pot in a porous mix. To hasten development, you can first
treat the growth with a rooting hormone. I often leave the
proliferation intact on the bloom scape, long after the scape
has finished producing flowers. In this way, proliferation
growth is maximized before separation from its parent (the
The downside to using proliferations is that the new
plant you end up with is much smaller than what you can get
from dividing an established clump. On the other hand, it
is a bonus, free plant that can be had without any digging.
Cell reproduction (micropropagation) is a more scientific
means available to commercial enterprises and is not feasible
for the average home gardener.
Yes. Yes. And, Yes. Critical during flowering period.
(Peak bloom of most cultivars occurs from late-June to mid-July
in the St. Louis area.) If nature fails to provide at least
1" per week during blooming season, supplemental watering
is a must. Afternoon watering may theoretically raise the
risk of fungus, but early morning watering will ruin many
of the day's blooms. (Never water in the evening, because
of overnight fungus risk. It's no accident that golf courses
water in the early morning. It's not simply to avoid getting
the golfers wet.)
Can you give daylilies too much water? Yes. "Plenty
of water" doesn't mean a bog environment. Daylilies
need water, but also satisfactory drainage. Do not plant
so that daylily constantly sits in water. They are not pond
Heavy watering in the early spring will help to build
sturdy plants and strong scapes. Constant watering during
bloom season will increase bloom size, but it may cause blooms
to melt or burn earlier in the day or even cause 'scape blast'
a condition where the scape looks as if it explodes and breaks
in two. To impress scheduled visitors, watering heavily a
couple of days beforehand can improve bloom count.
Instead of hoses or sprinkler systems, some use soakers
and drip irrigation. Both deliver water more efficiently
to the plants in need. Soakers are simply hoses specially
designed to ooze water throughout the length of hose. Drip
irrigation involves the use of miniature hoses, with a separate
nozzle for each plant. Besides using less water, they also
have the advantage, for daylilies, of applying water directly
to the roots, thereby avoiding water damage to the day's
SUMMER MULCH -
Despite the fact that mulch can foster the growth
of slugs and other insects by providing them with an ideal
environment, its benefits outweigh its disadvantages. Mulch
can be attractive, practical, and environmentally sound.
It controls weeds, retains vital moisture, and provides a
use for recycled leaf and grass compost.
WINTER MULCH -
Sometimes used for tender cultivars. Beneficial to
many varieties, especially during winters of extremes and
rapid climate changes, although hardy cultivars do not need
it. Some hobbyists use leaves, shredded, whole, or composted.
Some use hay or alfalfa (but these can sprout). I put down
a lot of leaf compost in the summer and apply no winter mulch.
By 'winter mulch', we are talking about covering the ground
immediately around the daylily leaves and crown-do not cover
or bury the plant itself, else the plant might rot.
Do not forget to 'brick' all newly-planted clumps,
too, as discussed earlier.
Winter mulch and the dead foliage from last year's
growth should be removed relatively early, in my opinion,
once the deep freeze periods of winter are over. Here in
St. Louis, I start about March 1, weather permitting, to
clean out all my beds. Any hard freezes after this point
should not pose any real threat to the daylily, other than
destroying the ends of new leaf growth. After March 1, I
fear the risk of fungus and insect damage from retaining
heavy winter mulch and dead foliage from last year past this
point is far worse than the risk of freeze damage.
Daylilies need water. Not only do weeds detract from
the visual beauty of your garden, but they compete with daylilies
for water. This is especially important in times of low rainfall.
A common ragweed plant requires 912 pounds of water for every
pound of its foliage. This is an extreme example, but it
demonstrates vividly a simple fact: weeds use a tremendous
amount of moisture, in addition to competing for nutrients
Many mulches and some fertilizers will tend to lower
the soil's pH. Soil with a low pH (acidic) will stunt the
growth of daylilies. Limestone pellets is one method for
raising the pH. It is easy to find, and relatively cheap
to buy. I have heard ideal ranges of 5.7-6.5 or 6.2-6.8.
I do not believe you have to be paranoid about this, as long
as you check once in awhile to avoid extremes of either below
5.5 or above 7.0.
It is not always easy to determine the pH of soil.
Best readings can be obtained through commercial labs, mail-order
services, and university extensions. However, soil pH can
vary tremendously from flower bed to flower bed, and even
within the same bed, depending on the variety soil supplements
and mulch you have added. Therefore, I find the typical method
of collecting soil samples from various parts of your yard
and mixing them together to be tested as one sample, makes
sense for general lawn analysis but not for checking the
pH of flower beds. And I cannot afford to pay for 20 or so
That leaves home devices such as soil test kits and
pH meters that you simply stick in the ground for one minute
and read the results yourself. With a meter, there is no
chemical to run out of, and therefore, no more supplies to
buy. I have seen several pH meters on the market, ranging
in price from $25 to $200. The problem, however, with most
of these home-applied devices is that they are not very accurate.
Professionals say they may be worthless.
Therefore you may have a dilemma. Which is best?
Obtain expert results for one mixture of samples from multiple
beds. (May not be useful)
Obtain expert results for multiple samples from multiple
Buy an inexpensive pH meter, take many many readings. (Questionable
Buy an expensive pH meter, take many readings. (Middle
accuracy, middle expense)
It depends on your own circumstances. I use an inexpensive
pH meter and test every bed at least once a year. I realize
the results my not be accurate, but I can at least locate
beds that have pH either much higher or lower than the others.
In other words, I pay more attentive to the relative values
and not the absolute readings. This allows me to pinpoint
which spots need professional testing.
Ornamec (formerly Fusillade 2000) is a safe 'over-the-top'
grass killer. 'Over-the-top' means you can spray it directly
on daylilies with no ill effect. Not that you want to do
this, but if grass is growing in and among your daylilies,
you can go ahead and spray the grass without worrying about
hitting the daylilies too. It is harmless, as well, to most
other annuals and perennials commonly grown as companion
plants. This chemical is made by PBI/Gordon Corporation (1217
12th Street, Box 4090, Kansas City, MO 64101). Toll-free
in Missouri: (800) 821-7925.
If you have a problem with nutsedge, there is now
a product from Monsanto called Manage. It is safe to use
in a daylily bed. In fact it supposedly is very selective
and will not kill anything other than nutsedge.
Deadheading (removing yesterday's wilted blooms):
Makes your garden look good.
Forces you outside, into the garden (which is good for
Promotes a clean and problem-free environment.
HANDLING NEW ACQUISITIONS UPON RECEIPT -
When you receive new plants, it is normal for existing
leaves to turn partially yellow due to lack of light during
shipment, especially the older, outer leaves. Some sellers
believe plants with a dry crown and roots can better withstand
the rigors of shipping. Others may ship plants with a slightly
wet paper towel or shredded moist paper. I am not yet convinced
which is better. More important to me is how long the plant
is in transit-and how long it had been dug before they shipped
Some daylily hobbyists prefer to soak received plants
for a couple of hours in water before planting, and they
sometimes add a mild root stimulator (some brand of vitamin
B) or even a pesticide or fungicide as a preventative measure.
(An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.) However,
many commercial sellers treat plants with pesticides and/or
fungicides before they ship. Therefore, before treating new
plants with either, you probably should first check to see
if it has already been done.
Once a new acquisition has been planted, you should
withhold watering for about two weeks. (That doesn't mean
protecting it against natural rain with an umbrella - just
do not apply supplemental water.) Daylilies take up most
of their water from fine root hairs. Transplanted daylilies
need a little time to redevelop these fine hairs that were
damaged when the plant was dug up.
I have heard of a 'trick' to give new roots a jump
start. Plant new daylilies (only those shipped bare root)
in just sand (temporarily) or sand-amended dirt (permanently).
Planting in sand or a sand/soil blend supposedly promotes
faster re-growth of these fine root hairs. Additional watering
may be required in such cases, especially if planted in 100%
sand, but be careful not to over-water; use a meter if you
Avoid planting in midsummer to minimize risk of rot.
Plant the smaller, shorter cultivars in front. My
preference is NOT to plant cultivars of similar color next
to one another. If you do, I think this will always make
one look better, at the expense of the other. Mix colors
throughout the garden, so matching colors do not compete
with one another.
'Brick' all new plants acquired during the season
over the first winter: lay three bricks on the ground, surrounding
the crown in a triangular shape, fairly close in. The bricks
act like a mulch and provide some buffer from extreme changes
in temperature (bricks absorb heat from sun during day and
release it at night); it prevents roots from heaving during
changes from freezing to thawing; and it provides protection
from digging squirrels. I put them down about the time of
the first frost and remove them in the spring when I start
to clean the beds of dead foliage from the winter.
PURCHASING PLANTS -
If you are new to daylilies, start with dormant varieties,
because you minimize your chances of obtaining a tender variety.
Resist the temptation to buy daylilies from generic
garden catalogs, such as the well-known names we all get
during winter. If you do so, you lose control over what you
get, the plants are often ordinary, and the price is usually
inflated. Certainly this method is expedient for the beginner
who has little personal knowledge (especially when there
are thousands of daylily cultivars on the market to choose
from). It is common to feel overwhelmed in the beginning,
but with just a little research-and with help from fellow
members in the local club you should join-you can do better
than buying from general purpose catalogs.
Start with inexpensive varieties. There are plenty
of very good cultivars that are also relatively cheap. By
this I mean $5-$15. Prices vary tremendously. It is simply
a matter of supply and demand. When a new cultivar is first
developed and introduced, the supply can be limited to as
few as 15-50 plants. If the cultivar is unique, is desirable,
and has been widely advertised, it can command a price as
high as $300. But, be warned:
HIGH PRICE does not guarantee HIGH QUALITY, and
LOW PRICE does not mean a "DOG".
Once introduced, plants end up in commercial gardens,
as well as at hobbyists' homes. Therefore, in a few years
the supply will grow, bringing the price down. The point
is that, for the average daylily home gardener, the best
strategy is to avoid new introductions. Wait until a cultivar's
supply increases and wait to see what kind of growing success
the cultivar has across the country. A cultivar may grow
great where it originated, but it may not thrive elsewhere.
As a consequence of waiting for older plants, you
can find many that are reasonably priced. By this I mean
under $15. There are even many very good ones under $5. Do
not expect, though, to be able to pick up one catalog with
all 40,000+ cultivars listed, with pictures of each. The
best way to find out what you want is to visit other daylily
gardens and see for yourself. Then price your wish list and
make choices. (All the more reason for joining a local club.)
In recent years, an annual publication called Eureka
Hemerocallis has been published by a couple in North Carolina.
You can write to them for their current price c/o Eureka
Hemerocallis, 10 Quail Creek, Granite Falls, NC 28630. They
also maintain a web site. Their book compiles daylilies offered
for sale by 50 or so of the nation's leading sellers. Not
only you can find who is selling a particular cultivar you
may be looking for, but you can also see who has it at the
cheapest price. Be warned, however, that, as in many other
things in life, the cheapest price may not represent the
best buy. Knowing your supplier's reputation is also important.
Cheapest price may mean one fan instead of two. Even two
fans can be no bargain if they are small and weak.
Many of the best hybridizers are in Florida, but there
are certainly many famous and great ones elsewhere. Why is
Florida a good location for a commercial hybridizer? They
can get new seedlings to go from seed to bloom in one year
instead of two, and once they produce some new desirable
variety, they can propagate it much faster and bring it to
market earlier, because of the longer growing season.
I mention this because many daylilies are now born
in the South, and a daylily grown in Florida may not look
exactly the same in Missouri or some place else "up
north." It may look better; it may look worse. It may
grow better or it may grow worse. In fact it may not grow
where you live at all. The advice, therefore, is that unless
you are a serious collector or hybridizer who just "has
to have" the latest introduction from some other part
of the country, it is better to buy from growers in your
same general area. Let someone else learn what grows well
where you live.
You should get in the habit of labeling any plant
you add to your garden, but please make sure you do so for
at least your daylilies. Ideally, the label should be both
readily visible as well as unobtrusive. You want visitors
to know what they are looking at, but you do not want the
labels making your garden look ugly. It can be hard to achieve
both simultaneously. There are many commercial varieties.
Many gardeners make their own. Old Venetian blinds are sometimes
used. I have even seen hand-painted small rocks that looked
nice and worked well.
Although there are no set rules, I think the labels
should include the name of the hybridizer and the year in
which the plant was register, in addition to, of course,
the name of the cultivar itself.
Engraved labels are among the nicest yet most expensive
ways to mark your plants, however, there is one company who
sells at only 1/3 the price of normal engraving shops and
caters to plant growers. That company is AAA Quality Engravers,
5754 Oxford Place, New Orleans, LA 70131, or (504) 361-3944.
Email AAA Engravers
EDIBLE DAYLILIES (and a cat warning)
There is much talk about daylilies being edible, and
that's quite true, although I don't know many people today
who do so. There are even a number of collections of daylily
I have heard, however, that daylilies may be poisonous
to cats, but only house cats. According to the ASPCA National
Poison Control Center, as reported by Linda Sample, DVM,
Easter lilies and daylilies are toxic, but only to house
cats. For them, an ingested daylily bloom or leaf can cause
renal failure and death. So if you have house cats, you may
want to avoid bringing daylilies into the house. Apparently
there have been no toxicities reported in cats that are allowed
outside access. Go figure.
Whenever you visit another person's garden, you should
remember that it belongs to your host and you should act
accordingly. There are a number of rules, which are simply
common sense guidelines that everyone needs reminding of
once in awhile.
When part of a tour, do not expect personal treatment.
For tours, cameras are in-tripods are out. Close-ups? Use
a zoom lens. Never, ever step into the beds. Do not even
think of asking permission to do so. The only feet that belong
in a bed are those of the owner. If the garden is not your
idea of Eden, button your lip. Do not be hypocritical: surely
there's at least something to admire.
When asked to name the things their gardens can do
without, hosts often list briefcases, handbags, camera tripods,
high-heeled shoes, umbrellas, dogs and small children. Expert
photographers often insist on tripods, and maybe a gray or
white umbrella, when making flower portraits. If you want
a photography session beyond simple snapshots, arrange a
date when the garden will be otherwise empty.
There's always an exception to every rule, and that
is the case here too. A host, of course, can invite or allow
a violation of any rule, but that is his or her option, not
yours. For example, I often illustrate the heavy substance
of many cultivars, by having a guest handle a bloom. But
I admit that I would be uncomfortable having every guest
indiscriminately grabbing whatever they might want to. I
host an open garden on weekdays when I am at work, and would
hate to think that unescorted visitors would fail to follow
The Ten Commandments of Garden Courtesy:
1. Unless you are part of a tour or know that the
garden is open to unannounced guests, make an appointment
by calling ahead and finding out if your visit will be welcome.
2. Leave pets and young children at home. Bring older
children only with permission and keep them under close supervision
at all times.
3. Leave purses in your car and use camera tripods
only with permission and never when part of a large tour
4. Never ask to use the bathroom. Take care of that
before you arrive or leave if you must.
5. Use only established walkways and do not step into
or across flower beds.
6. Leave spent blooms alone and never deadhead without
permission. The dead bloom you want to pick might be a pollination
7. When it comes to the daylilies themselves, the
four 'P's are sacred.
Thou shalt not touch, pinch, snip, or snitch any:
PLANT, PROLIFERATION, POD, or POLLEN.
8. Honor the host's need to attend to chores (such
as hybridizing or visiting with other guests) and do not
attempt to monopolize his time.
9. Never smoke, bring food or drink, or litter.
10. Be careful how and where you park your car. Do
not run over grass or block driveways.
VIOLATORS SHALL BE COMPOSTED !!
READING DAYLILY CATALOGS
While general-purpose perennial catalogs target a
general audience and, therefore, are easier for the uninitiated
to read, you should not be buying daylilies from such catalogs.
Specialty daylily catalogs expect their audience to
be better informed and, therefore, they use more abbreviations
and shorthand that may be difficult to follow, unless you
'know the code.' Take the following fictitious cultivar as
an example of what you might see in a catalog:
* BUYME (Eiseman '98) 26" SEV EM 6" VF
If there is no mention of Tetraploid (often abbreviated
'Tet') or diploid ("Dip"), then you can assume
the cultivar is diploid. However, as in this example, many
catalogs will place an asterisk before the name to indicate
a Tet. Thus, this fictitious cultivar is Tetraploid, because
of the asterisk.
The cultivar's name, in this fictitious example: BUYME,
should always be listed in capital letters.
Following the cultivar's name, in parentheses, is
the name of the person who hybridized the and registered
the cultivar with the AHS. The cited year is the year in
which the cultivar was registered with the AHS.
The 26" refers to the height of the bloom scape
(stalk). The is useful for determining where to plant the
daylily in your garden.
While daylilies tend to bloom at roughly the same
time, each cultivar is slightly different. The notation 'EM'
refers to 'early-middle', the time, relative to other cultivars,
when you can expect this particular cultivar to bloom. Possible
categories of this bloom sequence category include:
The flower's diameter is listed at six inches.
'VF' means that the cultivar is usually 'very' fragrant-by
daylily standards. In fact, even fragrant daylilies are not
very fragrant, relative to other flowers and relative to
what you would probably desire.
'Re' means the cultivar is likely to rebloom.
'JC' means the cultivar attracted attention by garden
visitors when it was still being evaluated in the hybridizer's
garden, prior to naming, prior to registration with the AHS,
and prior to distribution.
Other characteristics are often optionally listed,
but they are described better and do not rely as heavily
on esoteric abbreviations.
Guest plants are ones sent to other gardens to be
displayed and/or evaluated.
They are frequently sent as guests to host gardens
that will be on tour at National or, occasionally, Regional
conventions. This allows as many people as possible to have
a chance to see these new cultivars. Sometimes guest plants
are sent to a region with a different climate so the hybridizer
can learn how his daylily grows elsewhere.
Guest plants remain the property of the individual
who sent the plant (usually the hybridizer), although sometimes
the host gardener is allowed to keep one or two fans when
the plant is returned to the owner.
Different hybridizers give the grower different guidelines
for how the guests are to be treated, but these guidelines
are almost universal: give the plant the very best care you
can, label it clearly, plant it in a prominent position so
they will be seen, and do not divide, sell, share, or use
the plants for hybridizing.
There is obviously a significant ethical commitment
involved on the part of the host, and guesting plants involves
a mutual trust and respect between grower and hybridizer.
Well-known hybridizers rarely have sufficient stock to send
around as guests except to National Convention Tour gardens.
They will occasionally send plants to be evaluated in totally
different areas of the country, to see how their babies perform
in completely different growing conditions. In these cases,
the growers are usually ones with whom the hybridizer has
a long-standing relationship. Lesser known hybridizers, however,
are often eager to have as many people as possible see their
new cultivars, which they may be very proud of, and are often
much more receptive to requests for guest plants for regional
CONFUSED BY ANY TERM MENTIONED HERE
OR IN A CATALOG ?
Visit the following DAYLILY DICTIONARY, which is a part of
the American Hemerocallis Society's home site. DAYLILY