I decided that I would try to sprout seeds in some soil – daylily seeds. For a while I wondered whether they were good, because nothing was coming. I thought it would take only about six weeks but it took a lot longer. I got some shoots coming up but they don’t seem to be flourishing now – only 3 fronds per sprout. Is it just a matter of me relocating each plantling to a bigger container? I have them all in one so I really don’t know how to proceed with these – it’s already fall. Should I put them outside at this stage? They look too vulnerable to put outside right now.
Hello and thanks so much for your question.
There is such a lot of pleasure to be gained from growing plants from seed!
Late winter is generally considered the best time to start daylily seeds. While daylilies (Hemerocallis) are dependable and vigorous, most growers say that spring planting of seedlings is preferred, because fall planting in colder climates often doesn’t give the seedlings adequate time in which to form their roots before winter comes. However, if they take a long time to germinate and sprout, you are faced with the problem you describe – smaller seedlings that do not seem ready to be moved outside, and it’s already the end of the summer.
In this case, since you have come this far, it is worth taking a chance and planting them outside to overwinter, either each little plant in its own large pot, or straight into the garden. They will be vulnerable, as you’ve suggested, but if you plant them outside now in a sheltered spot, and use some mulch around them to protect them, they may well survive over the winter. When you plant them, make sure that the crown of the plant (where the stem and the root meet) is an inch below the ground line. Water them thoroughly, and apply the mulch. Planting in pots may be the preferred solution, since you will be able to place them in your most sheltered location, and the pot will also protect the young daylilies against competition from weeds, giving them a little more of an advantage.
Best of luck with your daylily seedlings – if we have a winter that is not excessively cold, I hope you may find that at least some of these hardy plants make it through.
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