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Re: Hosta foliage types

  • Subject: Re: Hosta foliage types
  • From: halinar@open.org
  • Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 00:16:32 -0700 (PDT)


>what climate did the evergreen daylily species come from?

There is only one truly evergreen daylily species (aurantiaca) and it 
comes from southern China.  It was used extensively by the southern 
hybridizers in the early days of daylily hybridizing because the 
deciduous daylilies didn't perform well in the very mild winter 
climate of the deep south - they didn't get enough cold treatment to 
break dormancy.

>How do they perform in temperate climates?  The modern day 
non-deciduous daylilies are mostly winter hardy up to zone 6, but are 
variable in colder climates.  It depends to a great deal on how 
dependable a snow cover there is.  One of the big complaints about the 
Florida bred hybrids is questionable winter hardiness, especially from 
some of the hybridizers.  The non-deciduous types stay green until a 
cold enough frost comes along and turns them into mush.  However, long 
periods of inclement weather can make them look pretty poor before the 
frosts do them in.  They never go truely dormant like the deciduous 

>What happens when they are bred with deciduous types?

The non-deciduous types are dominant over the deciduous types.  It 
behaves mostly as a simpe singe gene, but there are some modifier 
genes involved that influence when and how quickly a deciduous daylily 
goes dormant.

>Do you think hosta show any similar characteristics to daylily 

I really haven't looked at this all that critically.  I do know that 
when I'm down at Charlie Purtymun's place in mid to late November 
there are still some daylilies that will be reasonable green even with 
some light frosts while most of the others are well browned off.  When 
you read daylily catalogs you generally will see a reference to its 
foliage type, as either dormant, semi-evergreen or evergreen.  For 
some reason daylily people insist on using the incorrect term 
"dormant" for the correct term "deciduous."  However, I don't see 
hosta people giving any reference to foliage type in hosta catalogs.  
Its obvious that there is variation within the hosta genus for foliage 
traits.  One way to study foliage types is to grow them in a 
greenhouse and observe if they are photoperiod sensitive or not.  

Joe Halinar

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