HAS THE DAYLILY BUG BITTEN YOU?
Sometimes trial and error is necessary to find what works
March 22, 2007
BY DORIS MARTINAK - VICTORIA COUNTY MASTER GARDENER
Are you thinking about planting daylilies this year? Now is a perfect time for planting them in our area- and for the daylily bug to bite.
If you don't already have a bed suitable for planting, consider your site and amend the soil with a good compost. Will your location get at least six hours of sunlight a day? Is the drainage good? If your daylily will be standing in water, you should be prepared to tell it goodbye. One year I planted a daylily that I just loved in a sort of dip at the edge of the flowerbed. It was lost because it was too low and, at that time, we had a lot of rain.
Tree roots are another consideration. Daylilies do well planted beneath trees that have a deep root but don't do well under trees with considerable surface roots. Your daylilies will appreciate mulching except right around the base of the plant. Cedar and cypress are not good choices for mulching daylilies.
A previous October 2004 "Gardeners' Dirt" article about daylilies has information that might be helpful regarding foliage, bloom seasons, planting and a bit of information regarding the origin of daylilies. The address to access the article is: http://www.vcmga.org/2004_Oct14.html. This will take you to an article titled, October—the best time to plant daylilies.
The little tags that come with new daylilies fade and disappear, so if you intend to keep up with your named daylilies, use plant markers. In addition, drawing a map of the flowerbed for future reference is beneficial.
Daylilies are good landscaping plants. One of my friends has lined her driveway with yellow daylilies. When they are in bloom, it is a truly beautiful sight. For best landscaping purposes, use daylilies with evergreen foliage. An example of a dormant daylily doing well here is the Stella de Oro daylily. You might notice in some places it is spelled Stella d'Oro. So many of the dormant cultivars have such gorgeous coloring that I am going to plant a few this year and see how they do. Like some fruit trees, various dormant daylilies might require more cold weather to thrive than our climate provides. Learning which ones do well here means trial and error unless you know someone who is already successfully growing dormants.
Daylilies are either diploids or tetraploids. Diploids have 22 chromosomes, while tetraploids have 44. According to the authors of "The Color Encyclopedia of Daylilies," John L. Petit and John P. Peat, the treatment of diploids with the chemical colchicine began in 1960. This treatment resulted in tetraploid plants having 44 chromosomes rather than the usual 22. The results were vigorous plants with larger flowers and more intense coloring. The shorthand word for tetraploid is "tets," which you will see quite often when reading daylily material. Also, an asterisk (*) behind or before a daylily name will be an indication that the plant is a tetraploid. No asterisk indicates a diploid.
daylilies have been known for their sturdiness and pest resistance through the
years, they are not immune to disease, the newest being daylily rust which
was apparently imported into the
We are so
fortunate to be able to garden this early in
The photo of
the unplanted area in the new section of the
The Victoria Public Library has several books about daylilies that can be checked out - and don't forget about interlibrary loan. Two books that I enjoy are "The Color Encyclopedia of Daylilies" by Ted L. Petit and John P. Peat and "Hemerocallis, The Daylily" by R. W. Munson Jr.
"An Illustrated Guide to Daylilies," a publication of The American Hemerocallis Society Inc., is excellent. All three have beautiful photographs and information on all facets of growing daylilies. Be careful, though, the daylily bug might bite you if it hasn't already done so.