Archive | June 2017

Got daylilies?

Although daylily flowers last only a day (the genus Hemerocallis comes from the Greek hemera which means “day” and kallos means beauty), these no-fuss no-muss herbaceous perennials are the workhorses of the landscape. In fact, even the Department of Transportation uses daylilies. This summer as travelers cross the highways and byways of the Carolinas, look for sweeping beds of daylilies in medians and along bridge embankments. When the DOT grows daylilies, you know it’s a tough and attractive plant.

Daylilies provide a rainbow of flower colors that range from near-whites, pastels,IMG_0832 yellows, oranges, pinks, vivid reds, crimson, purple, nearly true-blue, and fabulous blends. Their clumps of arching sword-shaped leaves may be evergreen, semi-evergreen, or deciduous and vary in height from dwarf (under 6 in.) to medium (about 2 ft.) and tall (3 ft. and over). Their bloom season begins in mid-Spring and lasts into late summer.

Reblooming daylilies flower more than one time during a single season; some of them bloom early-May or June–and then repeat in the fall. Others have a succession of bloom periods, one shortly after another for several months. Reblooming types include the 3 ft. tall Starburst series, which come in a variety of colors, as well as the 2 ft. high ‘Black-eyed Stella’ (yellow with red eye), bright yellow ‘Happy Returns’ and ‘Stella de Oro’, and the red ‘Pardon Me.’Daylily6_19_05[1]

With over 58,000 cultivars of dayliles, you’re bound to find one that you like. There are selections with semidouble and double flowers. The tetraploid types have unusually heavy-textured petals. (Visit The American Hemerocallis Society for a gardener-to-gardener discussion of diploids vs. polyploids.)

Daylilies need about 6 hours of sunlight each day, although they will tolerate light shade but will produce fewer flowers. They spread from suckers to form a dense mat, so expect to divide them every 3 to 6 years.

If you have a drab-looking space that needs some sprucing up this summer, choose low maintenance daylilies for their versatility and their gorgeous flowers.

Bob Polomski  © 2017


Growing citrus outdoors

Raising citrus in USDA cold hardiness zone 8a–outside of the traditional citrus-growing regions–is made difficult both by minimum winter temperatures, and by fluctuations in temperature that interfere with citrus achieving maximum winter hardiness. However, a four-year evaluation of citrus cultivars in Savannah, Georgia when the winter temperatures dipped to between 13 and 18 degrees F. suggests several possibilities. (See “Field Evaluation of Cold Hardy Citrus in Coastal Georgia” by M. Rieger et al., HortTechnology Vol 13, No.3, 2003).  Among the survivors were  the mandarins ‘Owari’ (grafted on sour orange rootstock) and ‘Changsha’  (own-rooted),  a citrangequat ‘Mr. Johns Longevity’ (both own-rooted and grafted on ‘Carrizo’ citrange rootstock), and the orangequat ‘Nippon’ . These plants experienced some defoliation and minor shoot dieback, but they fruited consistently on an annual basis.Citrus 10_24_2013 BP

To improve any citrus plants chance of survival, plant in a well-drained location in full sun, preferably at the top of a southfacing slope with protection from prevailing winter winds.  Planting in raised beds will improve drainage and will encourage the soil to warm up more quickly.

Young trees are less cold tolerant than mature trees, so care during first three growing seasons after planting is critical for their long term survival.


Keep the tree well-watered and avoid fertilizing between Aug 1 and Feb. 15 to avoid encouraging growth that can be injured by frosts. For more information about growing citrus and other tender plants visit the Southeastern Palm and Exotic Plant Society web site. Also, see Hardy Citrus for the Southeast by Tom McClendon.  The following chart prepared by Tom McClendon appeared in the Southeastern Palms newletter (Spring 2011, Vol 19-1).  Reprinted with permission.

Variety USDA Hardiness Zone Evergreen Taste
Morton citrange 7B Mostly Sour
Benton citrange 7B Mostly Sour
Trifoliate citrangequat 7B Nearly Sour
Thomasville citrangequat 7B/8A Fully Semi-sweet
Dunstan citrumelo 7B/8A Nearly Sweet
C. taiwanica 7B/8A Fully Sour
Ichang lemon 8A Fully Sour
Yuzu 8A Fully Sour
Taichang 8A Fully Sweet/Sour
Yuzuquat 8A Fully Sour

Bob Polomski  © 2017