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Daylily Planting and Care Instructions

How do I know if my soil is right for daylilies?

Soil is the basis for good plant growth. And while daylilies will grow well in almost any soil, the best performance will occur in soil that is high in organic matter, drains well and has a neutral pH (around 6.5) If you are serious about optimizing your daylilies' performance, my first recommendation is to have a soil test done. You can simply purchase a test for pH at your local garden center, or you can send a soil sample off to your cooperative extension (look in the phone book or online at Yahoo!) and have the whole gamut of nutrients and the percentage of humus assessed. If your soil proves to be acidic (pH below 6.0), something quite common on the east coast and in the northwest, fall is the best time to add lime. Lime takes some time to work into the soil, so it's best applied in the fall and scratched in. By the time your plants are ready to start new growth in the spring, your pH should be up to an ideal 6.5. On the other hand, if you find that your soil is basic (has a pH higher than 7.5), something common in the middle and western sections of the country where limestone is the rule, you may need to add sulphur to reduce the pH. Use your test results to determine how much of each you need.

SILOAM JUNE BUG One other soil amendment that has a big impact on daylily growth is organic material. Naturally if you are building a new bed, you will want to till in loads of composted manure. By the way, composted manure is far and away the best organic material you can use, much better than peat moss. However, if your beds are already in place, it's not so easy to work in manure to replace that which is used during the growing season. My solution is to top dress the beds with compost, both in the spring and again in the late fall. I find that the worms will do a pretty fair job of working the compost into the soil, and along the way making more plant food in the form of worm castings. In addition, as you weed, plant, and transplant, you will be incorporating the manure right into the beds. The only caveat is that you shouldn't let manure cover the crowns of any of your plants. With a manure-enriched soil, you really won't have to add much fertilizer to keep your plants healthy and blooming their best, and you'll find you'll need considerably less water during drought times too.

What is the difference between daylilies growing in average soil and the same plants grown in enriched soil? It will be seen in more vigorous foliage, better foliage color, higher bud count, more scapes per clump, and more rapid increase. Flower size may be larger, too. High Performance Daylilies will look great under just about any conditions, but in order to see them at their peak, it's worthwhile to spend the time in the dirt!

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What size daylilies do you ship?

We ship large divisions (2-3 fans) of field grown plants, freshly dug and guaranteed to please.

I just bought my first daylilies! What should I know about planting them?

Daylilies are tremendously adaptive. That said, they'll get a much better start if you give them a little extra T.L.C. in the beginning. Open your box of plants as soon as you get them and put their roots in a bucket of water (NOT the tops, though!) to help them rehydrate a bit before planting. They can stay there while you prepare the soil, locate your tools, or catch a bite of lunch. If necessary, they can live in water in a shady place for several days, but that's not the best option.

Add some compost to the planting hole and work it into the soil. Next cut back the foliage on the plant by about half. You can leave any scapes in place so that you can enjoy the remaining flowers this year. The reason to cut back the foliage is to reduce the plant's need for water during hot weather. This allows the roots to become re-established. It's not necessary to fertilize at planting time, I usually only fertilize in the spring. When you plant your daylily, make a cone of dirt in the bottom of the hole. Spread the roots out over the cone, and back fill with that compost/soil mix. Make sure that the crown (where the roots join the top) is just at the soil surface. Daylilies don't bloom well if planted too deep. Tamp it down well and of course water it in. Keep it well watered for the first couple weeks until you see new growth starting. And that's it! Oops, except for one more thing. Label. If your new purchase is a registered variety, you should keep track of its name. One of these days you may want to share it with a friend, and knowing it's moniker would be a big plus. In the meantime, using a Sharpie pen (the indelible sort) write the name on a white plastic picnic knife and bury it near your plant. With any luck, it will remain legible until you get around to doing proper labels. It's also a good idea to keep a list of your purchases indoors in your garden notebook.

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How do you know when it's time to divide a daylily?

CHARLES JOHNSTON One rule of thumb says that when the flower size decreases and the number of flowers decrease, the plant has probably exhausted the soil and is overcrowded. Specifically, if SILOAM DOODLEBUG usually sends up 10 scapes and each has 20 flowers, but last year had 5 scapes, and only about 8 buds per scape, it might be time for some urban renewal. Likewise, if CHARLES JOHNSTON usually blooms at 5.5", but the flowers were down to just over 4" last year, it may be time for 'CHARLES,' or at least pieces of 'CHARLES' to do some traveling.

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When do you divide a daylily?

Well, that depends a lot on where you live. If you live in the South, meaning zones 6/7 and above, you do best dividing your plants in early fall when night temps are cool and days are a bit milder. Since Old Man Winter doesn't put in a serious appearance until Dec. in most of these areas, the daylilies will have at least 3 months to grow new roots before the soil freezes. If you live in the northern reaches of the hemisphere, you are probably best dividing in the spring, when the plants are just out of the ground a few inches. This will allow the plants a full summer of growth to prepare for the harsh cold that is certain to follow. It has been well documented that a larger well-established plant can withstand colder temps than a newly set one or a smaller division. If you must divide later in the season in the north, divide immediately after bloom finishes, and try to get everything in the ground at least 8 weeks before your first hard freeze.

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How do you divide a daylily?

Daylily top growth forms fans. Each fan is a separate section of the plant, containing its own root system. These roots may still be joined to other roots, but are easily separated. First thing to do is to take a strong hose-end sprayer and wash away all the dirt from the roots so you can see what you are doing. Once the dirt is gone, try wiggling the clump with your hands. Sometimes this is all that is needed, and the clump will fall apart into nice neat divisions. Other times you need to apply a bit more force. I've found the primo tool for dividing daylilies is the biggest screwdriver you can find. Plunge it down into the cleaned up clump, and wiggle it around a bit. Usually the clump will separate nicely into several pieces, which can then be broken down with your fingers into double and triple fans. If by any chance you break off a fan that has no roots attached, you might as well throw it away. Daylily crown tissue has the precursors for roots as well as foliage. A fan without crown tissure can't grow daylily roots. The same rule goes for roots. If you break off a thick rhizome, it has none of the cells needed to produce a fan, so there's no sense trying.

There's no way to recommend specific plants for increase as it is so dependent on specific cultivar, climate, and cultural conditions. All I can say is that if you are unhappy with a plant's performance in your garden, give it to someone else and let them have a try at it. Some plants that grow quite well for my friends in a similar zone just don't do well for me, and vice versa. It's important to be discerning. There's just too many good daylilies out there to put up with one or two that don't fare well in your garden.

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What is the best way to keep track of all your daylilies?

The solution is to label. There are any number of different ways, but some form of permanent marker is the best. Many garden catalogs offer metal tags with two wires that you push into the ground. I use one that has a single heavy duty wire. An inexpensive tag can be made from discarded plastic venetian blinds, the arrow slatted ones. Just cut them into one foot lengths. By making the cut on an angle, it's easy to push the end deeply into the ground to secure it.

The next problem is labeling the tags. You can use a Sharpie permanent marker or a China pencil, but I've found that over time these fade to the point of being illegible. My solution is to use my laser printer and print the name of the daylily, hybridizer, and year of registration on an Avery Clear Plastic address label. I've found that these hold up really well through all kinds of weather. In addition, the adhesive seems to be impervious to just about anything. I'm sure that the Avery labels would hold on the plastic blind tags just as well as they do on the store-bought metal ones.

For a temporary marker, a friend of mine uses a China pencil and writes on a plastic picnic knife! She says that she always has them left over, and that they make a good marker when she shares plants with friends. I certainly applaud her ingenuity!

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Are there any white daylilies?

JOAN SENIOR No. All daylilies would have to be classified as near-white. That is not to say that they won't appear white to your eye in your garden, but they are not going to approach the sparkling white of impatiens, geraniums, or petunias. But there are certainly some pretty close-to-white daylilies around. In full sun by afternoon they will appear very white indeed. The underlying color of white daylilies is either very pale yellow, pale pink, or pale lavender, and in certain circumstances (shade, overcast day, or the weaker sun of a northern climate) these tints will appear. Notable white daylilies include GENTLE SHEPHERD (SEv, very white, but somewhat weak as a garden plant), LIME FROST (Dor, late, vigorous, and quite white), JOAN SENIOR (Ev, quite white and very hardy even in the north), and WHITE TIE AFFAIR (Dor, low growing and white in full sun). My only recommendation is that you not try to mix them with true white perennials as they always come out on the short end.

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Are there any blue daylilies?

If you look through the AHS checklists, you'll find a whole slew of references to "blue." In the Red Book alone (1989-1993) I found 8 daylilies that began with the word "Blue" and used either "near-blue", "lavender-blue" or "blue-purple" in their descriptions. That's not counting all those that ended with "blue" or had it somewhere in the middle. Beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder, but I have yet to see a daylily that I would remotely classify as blue. Delphiniums are blue. Lobelias are blue. Iris are blue. Daylilies are not blue. The reason is simple. The compound that results in the blue color in other flowers is totally lacking in daylilies. There are geneticists who have considered the possibility of gene-splicing in some anthocyanin to produce a genuine blue daylily, but so far that hasn't happened. Truthfully, I'm not sure I'd like it if it did.

But let's look at some of the daylilies currently on the market that do have a blue tinge in their flowers. Some of the best have been produced by Elizabeth Salter. Liz concentrates on miniature flowers, many with complex eye patterns, and has produced some really outstanding daylilies that have a touch of blue. One of the first that comes to mind is BLUE MOON RISING (Salter, E.H. '91). It has pale ivory-peach petals and sepals, and a complex blue-violet eyezone. At 2.75", it's a wee little thing, and is known to rebloom several times in Florida. It's a semi-evergreen diploid. Introduced the same year and the reverse in coloration is MORRIE OTTE (Salter, E.H. '96). Little MORRIE is also a 2.75" diploid but has a base petal color of mauve lavender purple with a silvery frosted lavender eye. MO isn't recommended for the northern part of the country, but does well in the south. I guess Liz's most successful attempt at blue is seen in her '97 introduction IN THE NAVY. It is a pale lavender pink with a washed eye pattern of medium blue violet. None of these flowers could be considered blue in the garden sense, but they do have cool lavender tones in their eye patterns that make greater strides toward blue than previously seen. One other little one that deserves mention is Grace Stamile's BABY BLUES, a dormant diploid in pale lavender with a complex eye of washed grey-blue, lavender, and charcoal. This is a little plant, only about 20" tall, and quite suited to the northern garden.

So far, all the daylilies mentioned have been miniature diploids, and indeed, that seems to be where the lavender slate-blue color first occurred. However a hint of blue has crossed over into the large flowers as well as the tetraploids. PRISCILLA'S RAINBOW (Spalding-Guillory '85) is an award-winning large flowered diploid with a similar lavender-blue eye pattern. The tet conversion of PR is the ancestor of many lavender-blue-eyed large flowered tetraploids. One of the most recent that comes to mind is Patrick Stamile's MAGNIFICENT RAINBOW (Stamile '97). In my garden, its eyezone is best described as slate-lavender, but the blue coloration is readily apparent. It is indeed a beautiful flower, and performs well in most areas of the country, but due to newness is still pretty pricey. Another blue-eyed beauty is Mathew Kaskel's ETCHED EYES. This large-flowered tet has a background color of lovely soft yellow, loads of loopy ruffles, and the delicate bluish eye is quite distinct. Although EE is a full evergreen, it has done well here in Saratoga Springs, NY, zone 5.

The bluest self (single-color) daylily I've ever seen was in Lafayette, Louisiana at the 1998 AHS National Convention. At Goosedown Farm, I was treated to a truly "Oh Wow" experience when I caught a glimpse of Steve Moldovan's UNCHARTED WATERS. Admittedly there were fires in Mexico that caused serious smog throughout the Gulf States, but I have to believe that the bluishness of that flower was due to chromosomal make-up, not atmospheric conditions. UW is still quite scarce and very expensive, but there are other large-flowered daylilies that have a blue-tinge to their petals. BENCHMARK (Munson), RHYTHM AND BLUES (Stamile), and BRITISH STERLING (Moldovan) come to mind. One of the oldest flowers with a blue color is PRAIRIE BLUE EYES (Marsh, '70). This cultivar still maintains a special place in the heart of gardeners throughout the country by virtue of it's vigor, consistency, and all around attractiveness.

The advantage of daylilies with a touch of blue is that they blend so well in the perennial garden. You can pair them with true blue flowers as well as yellows, and they look especially lovely next to purple foliage plants like heucheras and perilla. Nevertheless, when you are browsing around through the possibilities for your garden, keep in mind that those descriptions of "blue" in daylilies can be misleading. In addition, photos often err in their color representation. Still, when the mid-winter blues descend, you can dream!

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What is a 'spider' daylily?

SPIDER MIRACLE Spider daylilies are defined by the ratio of their petal width to their petal length. If that ratio is 5:1 or greater, then you are beholding a true spider. Should the ratio be 4:1 but less than 5:1, then you are looking at a spider variant. Spiders can also come in all three sizes, but there are few to choose from at the small end. ITSY BITSY SPIDER (Bishop) and NUTMEG ELF (McCabe) are two that come to mind. Both are lovely, and both are dainty yellow versions of big brothers like KINDLY LIGHT (Bechtold), SPIDER MIRACLE (Hendricks), and CAROLICOLOSSAL (Powell) which happens to be 10" across! STOPLIGHT (Lester) is an older but still lovely and hardy red spider, as is MISS JESSIE, which is a bicolor lavender and cream. Newer spiders include YABBA DABBA DO (Hansen) in rose and lavender, CHIN WHISKERS (McRae) in shades of orchid and purple, and the appropriately named LONG TALL SALLY (Trimmer).

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So what is diploid and tetraploid? Why does it matter?

Diploid and tetraploid are words used to describe the numbers of chromosomes present in your daylily. Diploids have two sets of chromosomes, and tetraploids have four. Initially, way back when, all daylilies come from diploid parentage. By use of the mutagen, colchicine, hybridizers altered the ploidy of the daylily from diploid to tetraploid. Once converted to tetraploid form, the plant can be used to breed with other tetraploids. Any seed resulting from a tet x tet cross will be tetraploid. Likewise, and seed from a dip x dip cross will be diploid. No seed will result from a dip x tet cross.

Does it matter which is which? Only if you are hybridizing. Both plants can have outstanding scapes, large bud count, vigor, and good substance in their flowers. Tets in general are a bit thicker in the scape, leaves and petals, and perhaps a little coarser in appearance. On the other hand, they are more likely to be able to withstand heavy winds and hard rain. By converting a diploid to tetraploid form, the hybridizer has access to more of the genetic possibilities in each daylily.

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How come my FRANCES JOINER seems so different than my SCATTERBRAIN? They're both doubles, right?

FRANCES JOINER Yes, but they are doubling in different ways. FRANCES JOINER is known as a super-numery double, meaning that it has extra petals. It's also called a "hose-in-hose" double, sort of one flower inside another one. SCATTERBRAIN has additional tissue attached to its stamens and pistil. If you count the actual petals and sepals, it will be the same as a single daylily. The doubling form comes from this "petaloid" tissue.

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My SILOAM DOUBLE CLASSIC occasionally blooms single. Am I doing something wrong?

SILOAM DOUBLE CLASSIC Maybe, maybe not. In order for a daylily to bloom consistently double, culture should be optimum. That means even and adequate moisture, good sunlight (at least 6 hrs), reasonably fertile soil, and a plant mature enough to support doubling. My experience has been that some plants (cultivar specific) will bloom their first flowers single and all succeeding flowers double. Others will bloom consistently double until the very end of their bloom season, and then throw single flowers. Others will bloom double when plants are of a reasonable size, but will be single when first divided. These characteristics seem to be genetic. However, plants under stress usually will revert to single flowers.

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The foliage of my daylilies turns brown in late July and August. What am I doing wrong?

Despite frequent watering, you may notice your daylilies going into a decline following their initial bloom. We refer to this as "summer dormancy". In the northwest where temps stay more moderate and rain is frequent, this behavior is rarely noted. Similarly, summer dormancy is only occasionally seen in the northeast. However in the majority of the heartland and across the south, this is more or less the norm. Characteristics of "summer dormancy" are browning in the old foliage with little new foliage being produced. This is the plant's way of conserving moisture during the hottest and driest time of the year. With little leaf blade exposed, the plant carries on less photosynthesis, and therefore needs less water. All in all, your plants are being sensitive to climatic conditions. This is akin to us humans sitting in the shade and moving around a lot less. It puts less strain on our systems during hot weather. Once temps cool off and the rains return, the daylilies will resume growth.

This phenomenon is most often seen in dormant cultivars, and less frequently seen in evergreens. Evergreens are prone to producing new growth year round. Nevertheless, it can happen with just about any daylily if conditions are right, and you should be aware that it's a normal thing. Nothing to get too concerned about. It does seem to be cultivar specific. In other words, some cultivars will always exhibit summer dormancy, others will only show signs when conditions are especially stressful, and some will never show signs.

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I have a lot of STELLA DE ORO and it doesn't seem to me that it is reblooming like it's supposed to. I thought it was a non-stop bloomer. Am I doing something wrong?

STELLA DE ORO Maybe. STELLA DE ORO or "Stella" for short, is a great little daylily, but it doesn't do windows. It is genetically programmed for several periods of bloom, but it does need a rest period between them. In addition, it is imperative that you remove the spent blossoms to prevent seed set. If the plant is sending energy to making seeds, it can't be bothered making more flowers. For best repeat bloom, either dead-head Stella regularly, or else remove the entire scape when the last flower has finished. In addition, Stella is a very rapid grower. It will benefit from frequent division, maybe as often as every third year. Otherwise the fans become too tightly packed and compete for nutrients and water, preventing rebloom. If you have not been diligent removing the spent flowers or seed pods, some of these pods will ripen and spill their seed into your garden. You'll wind up with a whole lot of second generation Stellas that may or may not perform like their illustrious parent. Remember that children may closely resemble their parents, but never are exactly the same.

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What is the AHS Popularity Poll?

Each year the AHS (American Hemerocallis Society) asks its members (10,000 or so) to fill out their Popularity Poll ballots. This poll is quite independent from the kind of voting that is done by its official Garden Judges and Exhibition Judges. You don't need any special training, no particular number of years with AHS, and you don't even need to grow very many daylilies in order to participate. All you need to do is become a member of AHS at a cost of $18 per year.

BARBARA MITCHELL You might wonder of what use this sort of uneducated poll might be. Most people grow daylilies around their houses, in their perennial borders and their gardens. They don't fuss too much with fertilizers, watering, or soil amendments, at least not any more than they would for a normal garden. When you look at a list of the twenty-five most popular daylilies for your region, you'll find a lot of "golden oldies" like STELLA DE ORO, MARY TODD, JANICE BROWN, BARBARA MITCHELL and FAIRY TALE PINK. These plants are tried and true performers that have stood the test of time, and possibly even a bit of neglect, and continued to please their gardening owners. It's always interesting to see what new plants make the list each year.

Polls are tabulated according to region, with there being 15 different regions within the U.S. and Canada. Although there may be a range of climate conditions within each region, for the most part you can get an idea of whether a plant performs best in a northern or southern clime by which regions have listed it. Sometimes you see plants like STRAWBERRY CANDY and SILOAM DOUBLE CLASSIC that pop up on just about every one of the polls. Occasionally a relatively new plant jumps onto the popularity poll out of oblivion. This happened in 1996 in the Region 4 poll when George Rasmussen's KING GEORGE leapt from nowhere to the number 6 spot. It immediately went on my wish list!

If you are a beginning daylily grower, or are looking to add to your collection, your regional popularity poll is a good place to start. The plants that show up on this list have been tested and given a big 'thumb's up' by gardeners in your geographical area. You can find the most recent popularity polls at the AHS website at

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What is an 'AHS Award'?

Each year the garden judges of the American Hemerocallis Society (a society of over 10,000 daylily lovers) vote for the best daylily cultivar in a number of categories. Each category is designed to highlight a special size, form, characteristic, or pattern available within the genus hemerocallis. The diversity among daylilies is truly amazing. Sizes range from under 2" to over 10". Form can be round as a biscuit, long, thin and spidery, or doubled-up like a peony. Patterns can be truly marvelous too, and of course we shouldn't overlook fragrance. Judges also vote on a cultivar to be awarded the Stout Silver Medal. This is the highest award any cultivar can win and represents years of evaluation in gardens around the country. In a separate ballot, the AHS Board of Directors votes on a cultivar to receive the Lennington All American Award. Winners of this award are noted for their performance in a wide range of climatic conditions.

It is important to remember that some of the winners may not be well adapted to the full range of climatic conditions within the U.S. Nevertheless, there's a great selection of genuine Award-winning daylilies. Anyone who is looking for something special certainly can't go wrong looking at the AHS Award Winners.

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Many nursery catalogs advertise certain daylilies for their 'reblooming' ability. How reliable are these claims?

Many daylily buyers use the reblooming characteristic as their primary criteria in selecting a daylily, but my thinking goes in a different direction. Rebloom, whether it happens or not, and the quality of the rebloom flowers, is highly dependent on culture, rainfall, fertilization, sunlight, and a whole host of environmental circumstances completely remote from plant genetics. Many daylilies that regularly send forth three volleys of scapes in central Florida may cut back to two in Missouri and only one in Ohio based solely on the length of the growing season. If you add in factors like insufficient fertilization, poor sandy soil, failure to remove seed pods, shade and drought, you may drop the rebloom line back to Arkansas. In other words, rebloom may not be something you can count on to carry your garden into late summer and early fall.

When a plant is registered as reblooming all it means is that the genetic propensity is there and can show itself if all other conditions are right. My opinion is that one shouldn't count on rebloom to carry the garden through the end of the season. I would prefer to purchase late blooming daylilies that will be in their prime after the majority of the daylilies have finished. The exact timing of the late bloomers will depend on the latitude and climate of your area. Some daylilies that are registered as "late" will actually bloom mid to mid-late in some areas of the country. It's a very inexact science. The best thing is to observe how specific cultivars perform in your area.

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I've seen some fantastic too-good-to-pass-up sales offered by some southern growers in late September and October. I live in Michigan and wondered if it was too late for me to buy.

For my money, yes. You would receive beautiful plants, but they would be woefully ill-prepared to handle a Michigan winter. More than likely some would die, and those that survived would be set back by at least a year. If you really can't pass up on the bargains, I recommend that you pot up the plants and place them in a very protected spot away from the wind and preferably near your house foundation. Once temps start going below freezing frequently, mulch around the pots with pine straw or pinebark. Fill in all the spaces. Cover the pots completely to a depth of 6". An alternative would be to sink the pots up to their rims in a compost pile and then mulch thickly. I can't guarantee that this will work, but hopefully it will protect the roots and crown tissue sufficiently that they will come through the winter intact.

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Why are some daylilies so expensive? I've seen some very lovely ones that are only $5, and some other equally lovely ones that are $150!

Supply and demand rule in the sale of daylilies. When a daylily is very new to the market, its supply will be very small, and the demand (if the daylily's a good one) can be quite high. These daylilies can sell for up to $300, and occasionally even more. Most people who purchase the high end daylilies are hybridizers who want to introduce the new genetics into their lines. As the daylily grows and increases, and they tend to do that pretty rapidly, the market supply will increase. If demand also increases, the price will remain up there for a while. Eventually though, the supply will begin to outstrip the demand, and the price will drop. If you wait long enough, every daylily will become a $5 plant. Now the corollary to this is that the value of a daylily is not truly linked to its cost. Some of the finest daylilies I grow sell for $10-15. And sad to say, some of the poorest performers are the $150 ones. This is one of the reasons I recommend that you visit some of the AHS Display gardens to view different cultivars growing in a similar climate to your own. Not only will you be able to see the pretty flowers up close and personal, but you will also get a good idea of how well they perform in your area.

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What does it take to get into daylily hybridizing?

Daylily hybridizing is very easy... maybe even easier than breeding rabbits. Simply take the pollen off one flower and dust it onto the pistil of another. Nothing could be simpler. There are just a few caveats.

  1. Diploids and tetraploids don't cross. Even though they are both daylilies, they're like cats and dogs, so it's best if you remember which is which. I make a note of it on my labels. An asterisk before the name means it's a tetraploid (*PAPER BUTTERFLY).
  2. Crosses are most successful in the morning when the pollen is fluffy and dry but before the bugs and bees get to it.
  3. You'll have the most success and the largest number of seeds if your plants are growing well with good soil and plenty of water.
It's important to label the flower that you've just pollenated so that you don't accidentally pluck it off the next morning when you go out to tidy up the garden. It's best to leave that dead blossom in place and let it fall off by itself. You can identify the flower as well as keep track of which plant provided the pollen by attaching one of those little sales tags that have the string attached. Write the pollen parent's name on the tag and attach it to the neck of the flower. Make sure you use a good pen that will resist the weather.

By the time the flower withers and drops, you should have a tiny pod beginning, round as a pea and about as big. Over the next 6-7 weeks, it will grow to the size of a small walnut. A daylily pod is ripe for harvest when it begins to brown slightly at the tip and shows signs of cracking open when you squeeze it. Pluck off the pod and the accompanying tag and bring it into the house for shelling out. Squeeze the pod hard and it will crack open. Inside you will find anywhere from 2 to 30 shiny black seeds, very much like small kernels of corn. Daylily seeds need at least a three week cold spell for best germination, and longer doesn't hurt at all. I put my seeds in small zip-loc plastic bags and store them in a coffee can in the refrigerator. It's best not to freeze them.

I start my seeds in February, but after the three week cold treatment is over, you can start them whenever you need a spurt of spring optimism. Use the best potting mix you can find. Sunshine mix is good, so is Pro-Mix. Avoid any non-sterilized potting soil as it may carry damping off disease or fungus gnats. Moisten the soil before planting and stir it up to eliminate any dry corners. Plant seeds about 1/2" deep, cover them with soil, and tamp them down lightly. I plant my seeds in plastic shoe boxes with no drainage holes. That way I can put them wherever the sun is without fear of watermarks on the furniture. Each shoebox holds 4 coffee cans (13 oz. size) of soil mix, and I put about 50 seeds per box. I put the shoebox lids on for a week to keep the moisture in and aid germination. When the little seedlings start to germinate, I take the lid off and move the boxes into as much sun as I can find. The seedlings grow quickly, and as they get bigger, they will need more food and water. Use a water soluble fertilizer like Miracle Gro, 1 tsp. Per gallon every time you water. Before you know it, it will look like you have a lawn on your window sill!

It will be necessary to plant all these beautiful little seedlings outside when the weather warms. You can plant them as close as 6" and have them bloom just fine. They won't bloom that first season, but you should get a good number to bloom the following year. Some will be beautiful and definite "keepers," and some, in the words of daylily afficionados, will be "dogs." You'll need to transplant the good ones, and I hope you have the courage to toss out the bad. Regardless, you will have had a good time producing your babies and anticipating their first flowers. While you may not get any Stout medal winning daylilies your first try, I can guarantee that you will have enjoyed the experience, and you may wind up with some nice plants to add to your garden.

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I absolutely adore *SMUGGLER'S GOLD, but at $100, it's out of my price range. If I cross *GENTLEMAN LOU and *MATT (its two parents) can I produce more *SMUGGLER'S GOLD*?

Maybe, but probably not. Some folks think that all that's necessary to duplicate a flower is to duplicate the cross. Well, think back to your parents. Do all their children look alike? More than likely, some traits will be similar, perhaps blue eyes, brown hair, or olive complexion. But just as likely, each child will be unique. That's because each baby has its own distinct set of chromosomes inherited from its mother and father. These chromosomes combine in marvelously different ways to produce a phenotype (your appearance) that is very special. So if you especially like a plant, you can make the same cross that produced it. More than likely your seedlings won't look like the plant you originally wanted. But just as likely, you may get something completely different that is equally pleasing.

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