Dopers who don't kill plants: save these lilies from my black thumb

Is this the forum for gardening threads? You’d think I’d know that by now.

My neighbor decided her lilies were clashing with her other foliage, and asked me if I wanted the plants. Hell yes, I wanted them. I went to get them tonight, and it was seriously about 200 pounds of plants. I got about half of them in the ground tonight before dark, and then came in to google how to grow them. Of course.

Apparently, they want light, well drained soil. We have very fertile, but dense black clay soil. The area I planted them is sloped and does not hold water. It gets good light. It is next to an iris and daffodil bed, which also contains other bulbs I’m not familiar with, planted by the previous green-thumbed owners. Those plants are thriving.

Do have have to dig the lilies up and amend the soil? If so, can I amend it with that mix of leaves and stuff that you find as the first couple of inches of forest floor, or must I go buy some sand/perilite?

The lilies thank you.

What kind of lilies do you have and where do you live? I mean, not in a stalkery way - we need to know what zone you’re in. Some lilies are good and tough - I grow them very successfully here in Zone 3.

I’m not sure you need to amend your soil - lilies are not a fussy plant.

Could we possibly get pictures? I like plant pictures. :slight_smile:

Presumably your neighbour was growing them in similar soil?

Here’s alink for growing zones. Click on your state to enlarge it. I agree with Cat Whisperer that lilies are quite adaptable, based on the fact that I’ve had them in several gardens in varying types of soil. But I’m no expert.

I bet they’re day lilys. They probably like mulch but I doubt they need it. Pictures!

She didn’t know what kind they were, only that they were peachy-pink. They had been sold to her as red, which they were not. We are in zone 5a (Missouri). They were grown in a raised bed, which we don’t have right now. We’re building a house, so raised perimeter beds will come later.

They are looking good this morning. They were a little wilty last night because they’d been out of the ground for a couple of days.

Here is a quick pic of one of the plants, the bed is a mess right now so I’ll get more/better plant pics later. Thanks!

Yeah, those are probably daylilies. Hardy suckers, you shouldn’t need to pamper them.

Excellent, thank you! If they survive, I’ll try to remember to come back to this thread and present pics of the blooms.

Daylilies are pretty tough and forgiving plants. If they have sun, and the soil isn’t “dense clay” to the point that it’s unworkable and/or stays soggy, they’ll probably be OK.

You can gradually improve clay soil by working in composted organic matter, but don’t add raw leaves or other non-broken down organic amendments. Sand in small quantities is OK as part of the general organic improvement program, but not good in large amounts. Perlite is a bad idea because it is very lightweight and will wind up at the surface and look crummy.

I grow daylilies in soil that’s basically red clay below 2-3 inches. The top 2-3 inches is brown due to years of mulching the top.
Generally I put a inch or two of more normal soil around new plants - make the hole bigger than the plant needs, throw in a dash of good soil, then put the plant in and put good soil around it. But I planted my first set of 21 daylilies by jamming them into the clay, cause I didn’t know what I was doing, and they’re still going strong…

I concur that they are probably daylilies. Peachy-pink ones are very nice - please do come back and post pictures when they bloom. :slight_smile:

ETA: I agree with everyone else that they’ll probably be fine - daylilies are an excellent starter plant. You get a lot of bang for your buck with them, too - nice green, interesting foliage, nice blooms, a spreading, hardy plant - it’s all good. Oh, you can eat the blossoms too, if you want to.

Thanks for the encouragement, everyone. I split them into 4 areas, so hopefully at least some of them will find their new quarters habitable. I divided some of the clumps up pretty aggressively into individual plants and spread them out, and some clumps I just left clumpy. We shall see.

This has been SUCH a fun spring. We just moved down to Missouri from Maine right before Christmas, and we bought this 25 acre property not knowing how much great stuff the previous owners had planted. Things are flowering all over the place! And there is a plant that I suspect is a grape vine! A tree that may very well grow real, edible cherries! Every day some new thing pops up. So fun.

That’s one of the great things about buying a new house - see all the cool plants the previous owners left. I didn’t have too many here, but there was a great heirloom peony in the front yard and some nice, big old trees in the front and back of the house.

I left tons of great plants at my last house, but unfortunately we sold to people who have rented the place out, so all my plants are going unappreciated (and un-looked-after now). Oh well.

The biggest black thumb problems are overwatering and overfertilizing, assuming that the plants that are planted are reasonably well adapted to your area (i.e. growing citrus trees in Canada isn’t likely to work, nor will growing trees with high chill-hour requirements somewhere like Corpus Christi).

So I’d say plant the daylilies, water them once a week or so, and let them grow without interference.

The renters might be loving them, Cat Whisperer. We have moved around so much (husband is military, plus our side business is renovating houses) that we haven’t really gotten around to landscaping anywhere. We’re kind of in love with this property, though, and think we will stay.

Most of the lilies are looking pretty good. The ones I divided look a bit off, but I suspect that’s largely shock and hope they will recover.

From the looks of all the neglect in the yard, I doubt it (we moved to a house in the same neighbourhood, so I can go back and see the craphole my yard has become).

Daylilies don’t mind dividing, either; they need it occasionally, so they’ll probably be okay.

daylilies are weeds. if you don’t want them everywhere then you need to take strong measures. if you don’t give them good conditions they might be more manageable.

A weed is a plant that is growing in an unwanted area. Renee’s lilies are not weeds. Why would you post this in a thread that specifically asks for advice on saving the lilies?

I hope they spread like wildfire! They have plenty of room, and more flowers is better.

not all weeds are ugly.

a weed or just an aggressive attractive plant still might need the same control methods to keep it from spreading. given a chance daylilies will take over lawns, other flowers, berry patches, any garden.

they can be controlled by putting in below soil barriers (edging) or mowing (they will still come up but not get higher than you mow).

if you put them in poor growing conditions they may also grow less aggressively.