Question and Answer
Q. Are there any other varieties of lilies that bloom for more than
just one day, besides the Stella D'Oro? Also, why is it necessary to dig
up the Canna variety but not others? Is it naturally tropical? I love
lilies! Thank you. -- Josie Kramer, Clear Lake, Ind.
A. The range of color, shape and size of daylilies is wonderful, but
breeders are working hard to create more reblooming daylilies. Most daylilies
bloom for a few weeks but, by selecting early, mid- and late season daylilies,
the season can be extended to cover much of the summer.
Most reblooming daylilies will bloom for around three weeks, rest a couple
of weeks, then send up another scape with forming buds. The rebloom will
usually last until frost, depending on the growing conditions. Short,
gold 'Stella D'Oro' is the most well-known rebloomer, followed by 'Happy
Returns,' a slightly taller, softer, yellow daylily. 'Happy Returns' can
easily send up more than 100 buds at the beginning of the season, and
its developer has used it to breed a wide range of other rebloomers. Look
for 'Apricot Sparkles' (peachy apricot), 'Red Hot Returns' (red), 'When
My Sweetheart Returns' (lemon with a rose-pink eye) and more in the Returns
series, which will hit the market over the next few years. 'Rosy Returns'
(pink) will be most readily available.
Do any of them bloom as much as 'Happy Returns' or 'Stella D'Oro'? Early
reports are mixed. Experiment if you'd, like but expect the price to be
steep for a few years. 'Happy Returns' originally sold for more than $25
per plant but can now be found for under $8. The others will reach the
market with a similarly high price tag. These plants are patented, so
propagation is prohibited.
Other good reliable rebloomers include 'Penny's Worth,' 'Penny Earned'
and 'Mini Stella,' all very small, yellow daylilies reaching only 14 inches
You also asked about Cannas, although you may have meant Calla lilies.
Both are tender here and must be lifted from the ground each fall and
stored for the winter. For more information on storing tender bulbs, go
or call the Purdue Extension office in your county and request a copy
of HO-85W, "Winter Storage of Geranium, Canna, Gladiolus, Caladium
Q. I hope you can give me some insight to
what type of vine or airborne type vine I have. I was looking at my hardy
mums and actually thought my husband had dropped old weed-eater string
on top of my mums and not thrown it away! But after looking closer, it
was an orange-colored vine attaching itself to the mums and choking them
out. I went to the stems, thinking I could pull it up and get rid of it,
but there were no stems in the ground anywhere. So I sat down and took
each one off; what wouldn't peel off, I broke the mum stem off just to
be rid of it. Within days, it was back. I cannot get rid of it, and now
it is blooming with tiny white flowers. Please try to find out what it
is so I can get rid of it. I am stymied. Thanks for your help. -- Sharron
Francis, Kingman, Ind.
A. You've discovered one of the most interesting and frustrating weeds
of the flower garden. Dodder is a parasitic weed that must obtain its
moisture and nourishment by attaching to a green, living plant. It belongs
to the Morning Glory family, but it bears little resemblance to the garden
types, other than its vigor.
Dodder is an annual that reproduces by seed. As the seedlings emerge,
they start to twine around any type of support that might be available,
especially garden plants. The yellowish-orange, string-like stems form
dense masses while sending root-like projections into the host plant.
The plant appears to be leafless but may, in fact, bear tiny bracts.
The clusters of tiny white flowers eventually give rise to small pods
containing seed, providing opportunity for dodder to invade your garden
in future years!
Now, for the really bad news. There is no herbicide that can be applied
to garden or landscape plants once dodder is growing on them. Hand pulling
and pruning are the only methods of control once the dodder is established.
Prior to germination, dodder can be prevented reasonably well with the
application of a pre-emergence herbicide called Dacthal or mention Trifluralin,
sold as Treflan or Preen. Be sure to read and follow all label directions
before using. A pre-emergent is a wise move considering the seed has a
very hard seed coat and can remain dormant and viable for many, many years.
Only a small percentage of the existing seeds germinate in a given year,
meaning that once you have dodder seed in the soil, you're likely to continue
to have a battle for many years.
Q. My mother bought me some iris bulbs last
summer. I planted them, and some started growing. Some would grow about
6 inches and then rot and die. Then, it would grow again just to rot and
die. This continued for the rest of the growing season. This year, I had
one that grew well, to the point where it had a shaft with flower buds
on it. This shaft then rotted and died before the flowers had a chance
to open. What is happening, and is there anything I can do about it? I
have these irises in a bed with others. Do I need to remove them so it
doesn't spread? -- Marianne Kromkowski, Rochester, Ind.
A. Iris rhizomes require good drainage and shallow planting to prevent
them from rotting. The rhizome should be planted so the top half receives
sunlight, and you should take care not to mulch over it. Do not plant
them in areas with poor drainage or heavy clay.
Iris borers can also cause the rhizome to rot. The adult iris borer is
a moth. In late August and September, the female moth lays her eggs in
clusters on the iris leaves, the base of stalks and other nearby plant
debris. The eggs overwinter in the plant material and hatch in April or
early May as the new iris leaves are expanding.
The small, young, larvae crawl up onto the new iris leaves and make tiny
pinpoint holes as they enter. Once the larvae enter the foliage, they
act as leafminers, tunneling to the base of the leaves throughout the
spring. This leafmining damage appears as water-soaked, brownish spots
and streaks on the leaves. By early to mid-July, the larvae reach the
soil area and tunnel into the rhizomes.
In the rhizome, the fat-bodied, pink larvae with brown heads grow to
be 1.5 to 2 inches in length. Their tunneling in the rhizome is particularly
damaging to a smaller-rhizomed iris, such as Japanese or Siberian iris.
A tall, bearded iris, with its larger rhizomes, frequently is able to
sustain this damage and still survive.
In late July to early August, the iris borer larvae move from the rhizomes
into the soil to pupate. Adult brown moths emerge in late August and September
to mate, lay eggs and repeat the cycle previously described.
Usually, the main problem with iris borer infestations is the accompanying
invasion of bacterial soft rot. Rhizomes infected with bacterial soft
rot become slimy, soft and foul smelling. The combination of bacteria
and borer can cause rapidly appearing serious injury.
With close, regular inspection of leaves from April through June, iris
borer larvae can be easily detected at the lowest point of the mine and
squashed while leafminers are within the leaf.
Fall sanitation is very important for iris borer control. Following the
first hard frost, remove and destroy old iris leaves, stems, rotted rhizomes
and nearby plant debris. This will help to get rid of the overwintering
egg stage. Insecticides labeled for iris borer control may also be used
in the spring of the year on new foliage.
Q. This summer, I purchased two plastic
patio containers with strawberry plants in them. I've pinched the blooms
off them over the course of the summer, but I'm unsure of what to do with
them for the upcoming winter months. We live in southern Indiana, and
any information you can give me would be appreciated. Thank you. -- Roz
A. I'm sorry this answer reaches you late
in the season! For future reference, the plants should be planted in the
ground and mulched with a 2-inch layer of straw. If straw is not available,
weed-free materials such as hay, fresh corn cobs or bark chips may be
used. Grass clippings and leaves are not suitable because they tend to
mat and form a layer that smothers the strawberry plants. The following
spring, at about the time when the first new leaves begin to develop,
rake off most of the mulch and put it around the plants. Complete growing
information is available at http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/HO-46.pdf
or call the Purdue Extension office in your county and request HO-46W