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Re: Daylily Vs. Hosta

  • Subject: Re: Daylily Vs. Hosta
  • From: halinar@open.org
  • Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 11:34:30 -0800 (PST)

Chick:

>In my world, if the prices the daylily people are getting for these 
>new plants are logical, it should be because there is a shortage of 
>plants available and a surplus of customers looking for such plants. 
>There should not be a large number of daylilies selling for $100-250 
>unless there are not enough excellent daylilies to go around.

I was intending to asnwer your original question about daylily prices 
compard to hostas, but it's been difficult to find some time the last 
few days.

As Bob said, daylily rust has pretty much destroyed the daylily market 
right now.  The wholesale market is way down.  Last year I sold close 
to 20,000 Stella De Oro daylilies.  This year I will feel real lucky 
if I sell 1,000.  Some of the big named hybridizers are still doing 
reasonably well, at least so far, but no one is predicting what the 
daylily market will look like later in the year.

The high prices that new daylilies commanded were the result of 
several factors.  The first is that the daylily society has a fairly 
high elitist element within the society and these people are generally 
financially well off.  They have been willing to pay the higher prices 
because owning these newer introductions first is a prestige factor 
for them. The high prices have also been artificially kept high by the 
hybridizers because they knew collectors were willing to pay the high 
prices.  However, there has also been a steady growth in interest in 
daylilies and over the last 20 years there has been a tremendous 
increase in hybridizing and these hybridizers have been buying the 
newest introductions.  The demand has been increasing, at least for 
the better cutting edge hybrids, and the hybridizers have maintained 
the high prices because they knew they could get the prices.  Also, a 
lot of these newer hybridizers have come to believe that they need the 
newest and latest daylilies.  Of course, the big named hybridizers 
haven't don't anything to dispel this impression.

The reason that hosta prices have come down considerably compared to 
daylilies is due to TC and also, in part, because the Dutch have 
gotten into hostas much sooner then they did with daylilies.  
Daylilies have not been as easy to TC as hostas, and there is a lot 
more variation in flower traits in daylilies then there is in leaves 
of hostas.  There is probably still a market for higher end hostas, 
but it is probably limited.  The higher prices for daylilies has been 
driven by a high level of hybridizing.  I doubt that the hosta world 
has as many people hybridizing as in the daylily world.  Actually, 
there are probably few real hosta hybridizers as compared to people 
who are just looking for sports.  Admittedly, looking for sports is 
important, but I wouldn't classify it as hybridizing as such.

I'm not sure how many people there are selling hostas, but I'm willing 
to bet it is a lot less then with daylilies.  There are very few 
people hybridizing daylilies who are making money and the secondary 
market is saturated right now.  If you wanted to sell daylilies you 
would have a hard time unless you are willing to spend a LOT of time 
promoting yourselve.  That's probably also true of someone who is not 
part of the hosta world who wanted to sell hostas.  

If, for some reason you still want to get into the daylily market, 
I'll be having a fire sale this fall on many newer daylilies.

Joe Halinar

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