Care of Daylilies

(Information about Daylilies)


HEMEROCALLIS

common name DAYLILY from the Greek:

HEMÉRA (day) KÁLLOS (beauty)


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 Email Me.

Parts of a Daylily
Drawing by Cheryl Postelwait on behalf of the
American Hemerocallis Society


graph of bloon season in St. Louis
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.

AHS AWARDS

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 selecting plants.

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 ten.

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 bloom.

RPM Richard P. Miller Memorial Medal to the best nearest-to-white tetraploid.

RCP Richard, C. Peck Memorial Award to the best tetraploid daylily.

JC Junior Citation, a minor award to bring attention to promising seedlings.

CLICK HERE, for a Complete EXPLANATION of the AHS AWARDS, written by HAL RICE.

BASICS and FLOWER PARTS

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 a 'cultivar.'

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 parent.

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.

SEGMENTS....

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 in between)

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.

evengreen daylily in spring dormant daylily in spring

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 purposes only
  • 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 plant.

NOTE:
Not every conversion produces a tet version that looks better or is bigger than the dip version.

comparison of dip and tet versions of same cultivar
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 City."

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.

Objectives:

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.

Program Policies:

  • Any city that uses daylilies in a landscape or display manner in public access areas is eligible.
  • Display areas must maintain an acceptable appearance year round.
  • 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.

RVP Actions:

  • 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 and/or plaque.

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

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 other.

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 faster.

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 months elsewhere.

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 Dyna-Gro.

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.

MANURE

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 up nutrients.

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 C:N ratio.

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 high pH.

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 more colors.

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 color.

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 reflect light/sun.

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.

FORMS

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 shape.

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 more typical.

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

bicolor form
Bicolor
round form
Round

picotee form
Picotee

watermark sample
Watermark

triangular form
Triangular

recurved form

Recurved

spider form
Spider
double form
Double

banded eye
Banded

 

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 shaving.

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.)

pinched crispate form
STRIKE UP THE BAND
(pinched crispate)

quilled crispate form
WIGGLESWORTH
(Quilled Crispate. Floral segments turn upon themselves along their length to form a tubular shape.)

 

DISEASE

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 Lingo
(Adapted with permission from the works of A. W. Shucks, AHS Region 15.)

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.

Bluish --

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 blue'.
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 versa.

Attracts many garden visitors -- like aphids, thrips, mites, and Japanese beetles.

Very heavy substance -- The blooms are too stiff to open fully.

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 season.

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 it earns.

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 HUMOR)

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 to do.

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.

AHS JUDGES
(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 Judges.

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, etc.?

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 convention

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 Show Schedule.

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 the award.

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 tours.
* Be familiar with the contents of publication "Judging Daylilies."
* 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 been filled.

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 I)
7. Pass a written test on material covered in the clinic.

At this point you are not eligible to judge a daylily show.

To be accredited as a Junior Judge you must:

1. Wait a year as Judge-in-Training before taking Clinic II
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 daylily show.

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 in winners.

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, and thrips.

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 sick.

Anyway, here is a list of the most small pests which threaten daylilies. (For deer and buffalo, you are on your own.)

APHIDS -

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.

SLUGS -

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 practical.

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 alternate them.

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.

TALSTAR (miticide)

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 to pesticide.

THRIPS -

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 insects.

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 wrong time.

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 instead.

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 years.

OTHER PESTS -

There are some other non-insect pests that can damage daylilies.

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 them.

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.

PLANTING

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 leaves.

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 kind.

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 old.)

'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.

PROPAGATION METHODS

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 scape).

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.

WATER

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 plants.

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 blooms.

MISCELLANEOUS SUBJECTS

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.

WEEDS -

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 and sunlight.

 

pH -

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 separate tests.

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 beds. (Expensive)
  • Buy an inexpensive pH meter, take many many readings. (Questionable accuracy)
  • 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.

 

HERBICIDES -

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.

 

GROOMING -

Deadheading (removing yesterday's wilted blooms):

  • Makes your garden look good.
  • Forces you outside, into the garden (which is good for you).
  • 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 it.

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 have one.

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.

 

LABELS-

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 recipes.

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.

GARDEN MANNERS

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 this etiquette.

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 group.

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 cross.

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 Re JC

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:

EE-Extra Early
E-Early
EM-Early Midseason
M-Midseason
ML-Mid Late
L-Late
VL-Very Late

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

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 conventions, etc.

 

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 DICTIONARY

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