Due to numerous complaints about daylilies (not ours) we are including a short item on tissue culture daylilies. You cannot tell a tissue culture from a field grown when you purchase it and some retailers are saying their daylilies are field grown when they were originally tissue culture.
What is tissue culture? In brief, tissue culture plants are produced in a laboratory by taking a few cells from a mother plant and developing a plant in a test tube. This is a fast and inexpensive way to produce large numbers of plants in a short time. They are normally expensive plants that you will see at bargain prices (as compared to “field or garden grown daylilies”). Worse still they may even be sold at full price.
Most garden centres and plant catalogue operations are now selling tissue culture daylilies because the markup is so great.
What is the Problem? It has been found through the experience of many daylily lovers, that these plants, in most cases, do not perform like the original cultivars. Results of tests reported by the Ontario Daylily Society, Whitehouse Perennials, NASA and Anne and me, all indicate a problem with tissue culture stock.
Dr. Darrel Apps previously head of education at Longwood Gardens reports: “Tissue Culture (Cloning) can produce variants and I worry about the possibility of re-bloom features being lost”. (None of ours re-bloomed).
The Ontario Daylily Society in their news letter of 02/12/03 reported that out of 7 different daylilies, 2 were acceptable and 5 had major variations from the parent.
We purchased four tissue culture daylilies from various retailers in Lindsay and Uxbridge. Three turned out to be totally unacceptable. One died, and the other two lacked vigour, were small, off colour and nothing like the parent. The fourth was quite average, took 3 long years to bloom, and is no longer in our garden.
To quote Whitehouse Perennials: “There are a lot of gardeners who will never know the true beauty of a plant like Strawberry Candy because they have an inferior clone that they thought was a great bargain.”
We sell nothing but field (garden) grown daylilies