Saturday, April 2, 2011

Getting That Increase

When you have all these new introductions that you paid $150 for this spring and you dont get any increase from those new plants whose fault is that? Of course we would love to blame the hybrididzer but it may not be their fault. When was the last time you had a soil sample tested from yyour garden beds? You have been adding chopped leaves this spring or maybe you have been adding composted pine bark to build up your beds, did you add lime? When you buy fertilizer do you buy the cheap stuff or the fertilizer with all the minors added? Is your fertilizer a slow release or just triple 13 like dad used to use in his veggie garden? Do you mulch? How much water do your plants get each year?

Every item i listed will affect your garden in one way or another and each will affect the performance of your daylilies. So i will tell you what i have learned over the past 15 years trial and error. When your plants increase like they should you will have plants to sell and have money to buy these things for your garden plus more plants.

When Mort Morris intoduced his Uppermost Edge plant for $250 several years ago, i think i was the only person in Arkansas to get it and several people laughed at me for paying this price. In the next 2 years i sold 9 plants from the original purchase and the laughers bought most of them. See what i am talking about getting increase now.

Get in touch with your County Extention Agent and get a soil sample kit and use it. When you get the results in a couple weeks it will tell you what you need. LIME, their are 2 kinds. There is the pelletized lime some call Brown Lime, this lime when watered in will go to work imediately, like right now helping your PH. The white powder lime, Hydrogenated Lime, can take up to 90 days to begin to work on your PH. When you add Chopped Leaves, Composted Pine Bark, Chicken Manure or any kind of Humus to your soil you have changed the PH. PH is the balance of your soil that lets plants take in Nitrogen and makes them grow. If you add these nutients to your soil without lime these nutrients(compost-humus) they rob your soils Nitrogen to break down these materials and will not release the nitrogen to your plants. When you add lime you slow down the composting and balance your soil and plants are happy again. Have you ever seen plants that looked lime green in a new bed? Well thats what is happening and they need lime.

Fertilizer. I use a 9 month slow release 15-9-12 with the minors, i mean like zinc, magnesium and other minor nutrients. When i make a new bed i add to the bed and till it in and after plants are planted i will top dress it with this fertilizer then mulch with pine needles. The following spring i will top dress again. I leave plants in my beds for 2 years then divide and replant. I get great increase especially in my seedlings. By the time seedlings bloom i will have around 7 plants to divide if selected. I have a friend up the road who buys the same fertilizer but without the minors and his price is about $20 a bag cheaper. I get twice the increase he gets using the same named plants and he says its my dirt. Go figure. Just one plant increase will pay for the bag or thats the way i look at it.

I have sandy loam soil to start with and i add all the composted pine bark and other nutrients i can get in there. Water is the key for any garden to work to its maximum. Two years ago i watered very little and we had the wettest summer on record plus cooler temps, i had bloom all summer until frost all across the garden. Most days, even in August i had at least 100 scapes blooming at a time. So last year came in dry and hot. I watered very little maybe 4 times all summer. The result was very little rebloom. Water is a biggy if you expect rebloom and you need to start when scapes start to show.

Everyone gets plant increase when the plants split from scaping up, but it is nice to get that extra couple plants before scapes come. I have shown a few examples of plant increase that i had taken today in the garden. The most increase in the picture on top of page is a plnt Dave Winter in northern Ohio sent me last fall. It is Dormant. He sent me a double fan and there are 8 fans now. I sent Dave an email telling him about the increase and he wants to know about scape size and bloom size. I told him his Never Ending Summer loves Arkansas and will have 8 inch blooms, he just laughed. Is it Just The Dirt? Jim Elliott


  1. Jim,
    Great post. Lots of good information.

  2. I didn't realize there was two different kinds of lime-will look for the brown kind. Thanks for all the information.

  3. Thanks Lee and Bev, it is that time of year when most folks are trying to get their beds redone so i hope this blog will make things easier to get it right. A lot goes into making a beautiful flower we so love. Jim Elliott