Archive for the ‘Daylilies’ Category

Thrips in Platycodon flower

I have noticed lots of these tiny insects deep within the flowers of many of the daylilies in the gardens. As a result of their feeding, these pesky critters have caused some disfiguring of daylily flowers and foliage.

Apparently, a few years ago they were also very abundant! Here’s some info that I put together at that time …

Thrips on a daylily petal

Thrips on a daylily petal

So… what are thrips?

Thrips are small cigar-shaped insects with long, narrow, fringed wings. They are tiny; just visible to the naked eye. There are many different species and most of them cause injury to plant tissue. A heavy infestation of thrips can cause severe damage to foliage and even flowers and fruit as their rasping/sucking mouth parts scrape the tissue and extract plant juices.

Thrips damage on daylily foliage

Thrips damage on daylily foliage

What does thrips damage look like?

On foliage, thrips damage appears as brown stippling on the leaf surface and when damage is more severe, the leaves may appear silvery or papery in appearance. Flower buds can become distorted and sometimes fail to open. On open flowers, thrips damage appears as dead spots, blotches, or the flowers may be discolored or deformed. I find this a lot in some of my daylilies; it’s especially noticeable on the darker colored flowers like the reds and the purples.

Thrips damage on a daylily petal

Thrips damage on a daylily petal

In addition to the damage caused by their feeding, thrips are also vectors for the spread of some destructive plant diseases and viruses like tomato spotted wilt virus.
A double whammy!

You can sometimes see thrips on the flowers or foliage but you have to look carefully because they are very small. You may also notice black specks of their fecal matter on the foliage or flowers. According to Andre, though, the easiest way to tell if you have thrips is to shake the foliage or a flower just above a pad of white paper and see if any little cigar-shaped insects fall onto the paper.

Thrips tapped out of a hosta flower onto white paper.

Thrips (and pollen) tapped out of a
hosta flower onto white paper.

Controlling Thrips

In the past, thrips were controlled with applications of DDT. Yikes! There are much “safer” ways to control them now.

Minor infestations may not warrant any control measures. Healthy, vigorous plants are able to outgrow thrips damage so it is important to keep your plants healthy through proper fertilization and watering practices.

If you have a heavier infestation of thrips, one way to reduce their numbers without spraying is to prune off damaged flowers, buds, foliage, or terminal growth and discard it in the trash. This is kind of drastic and it doesn’t always get rid of the problem.

Thrips on a daylily showing their small size. Notice the damage to the petal.

Thrips on a daylily showing their small
size. Notice the damage to the petal.

A better way to control them is to spray your plants with highly refined horticultural oil such as Bonide All Seasons Oil. Horticultural oils are often used by organic gardeners and are effective in controlling thrips in the nymph (immature) and adult stages. The oil basically coats the insects and smothers them. Although oil sprays are often effective in smothering the eggs of many insects, thrips eggs are usually unaffected because they are laid inside the plant tissue where they are protected.

The nice thing about oil sprays is that they have little effect on non-target, beneficial insects like lady beetles and honeybees.

Thrips crawl deep into the flowers, good spray coverage is necessary for control.

Thrips crawl deep into the flowers.

Thrips can also be controlled using Bonide Captain Jack’s Deadbug Brew, a broad spectrum organic insect control that can be used on ornamentals and edibles. Always read and follow the label directions.

So if you have noticed small patches of color missing in your flower petals or stippling on the foliage, you may have thrips – but now you know what to do!


You should know!

Even natural or organic products can be deadly to pollinators like bees. Captain Jack’s Deadbug Brew is toxic to bees for three hours following treatment. If possible DO NOT spray when plants are in bloom. If this is not possible, spray early in the morning or later in the evening when bees are less likely to be foraging on the plants and ALWAYS read the label!

Until next time – Happy Gardening!

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Daylilies bloom across from the festival site.

It’s time for the 2012 Daylily Festival at Viette’s!

This is always such an exciting time of the year at the nursery and this year’s festival promises to be even better than ever.

Tasting wine from Peaks of Otter Winery

Tasting wine from Peaks of Otter Winery

In its 16th year, the Daylily and Wine Festival has a new partner and a new name! The Viettes have partnered with The Virginia Farm Bureau and Lewis Media Partners to present The Daylily Food and Wine Festival. This wonderful two day event held Saturday, July 21st and Sunday, July 22nd on the beautiful grounds of the Andre Viette Farm & Nursery has become one of the largest and most popular summer festivals in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. There are all kinds of wonderful activities going on at the festival from wine tasting and great food to gardening seminars, crafts, and beautiful music. Visit the Daylily Food and Wine Festival website for details.

Daylily Aunt Emma

The Viettes consider daylilies to be the “Perfect Perennial”

The Viettes are excited to be working with Virginia Farm Bureau to continue this unique festival that so many have enjoyed over the last 15 years. This year’s 16th annual event will provide something for everyone, including increasing our awareness of how horticulture and agriculture enhance our daily lives. In keeping with this expanded focus on agriculture, this year’s Daylily Food & Wine Festival will benefit The Virginia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom. We are excited about this program and Andre has been very involved as a member of the board of directors for several years. The mission of Agriculture in the Classroom is to educate Virginia’s children about the importance of agriculture.
AITC helps teachers integrate the study of Virginia agriculture and natural resources into their curriculum. Great stuff for our kids!

Miniature landscapes

Learn to create miniature landscapes

This year, the Virginia Farm Bureau has helped to heighten the event offerings by enhancing the Virginia foods, wines, and gardening education available at the festival. We have several unique seminars lined up for the weekend from growing hops to growing grapes to growing daylilies. There’s even a seminar on gardening for chickens and one on creating miniature landscapes!

Very interesting topics this year!

Lots of things to see and do at the festival.

Lots of things to see and do at the festival.

An exciting new addition to the festival is an extensive farmer’s market where local farmers will offer fresh, locally grown foods for attendees to purchase and take home. We’ve always wanted to expand on the agricultural/Virginia foods aspect of the festival and this year with the help of the Virginia Farm Bureau we’ve been able to do just that – and this is just the beginning. We hope to expand on this in the future and make the Daylily Food & Wine Festival even better and more exciting.

So if you’re in the area this coming weekend come out and enjoy our Daylily Food and Wine Festival. Better yet, plan to make a weekend of it! Visit the official Daylily Food and Wine Festival website for information and to purchase discounted advanced tickets that you can print out on your own printer and bring with you! Easy …

Oh and the weather? It’s supposed to be in the upper 70’s to low 80’s and sunny – glorious! Don’t forget your sunscreen!

I’ll be here – I hope to see you!

Until next time – Happy Gardening!

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Daylilies come in many vivid colors!

The daylilies are blooming in the Viette gardens and they are gorgeous as always. Unlike the daylilies of old, today’s daylily cultivars are available in an exciting range of colors from the softest yellows to the deepest grapes and most vivid reds. They provide fragrance and extended color and variety to your summer gardens.

I didn’t know a lot about daylilies when I first started working at Viette’s almost 24 years ago (wow that seems like a really long time when I put it in writing!). That first spring, I remember going crazy over tall bearded iris when I was given the task of putting together the iris photo labels for the garden center. I told Andre, “These are the most beautiful flowers I have ever seen!” He just smiled at me and said, “Wait until you see the daylilies.” “Oh, no”, I said, “Nothing could be more beautiful than these iris!” Again, he just smiled.

Well, I must say when the daylilies began to bloom a month later, he was right – I changed my mind!

Why does Andre call them the “perfect perennial”?

Daylily berm in JulyFor starters, daylilies are among the most adaptable of all perennials and are perfect for the low maintenance garden. They can be grown in the sun or bright shade, in clay, loam, or sandy soil, and they can tolerate wind, heat, cold, drought, and seaside conditions. All they ask for is a good amount of sun, some water, and a little organic fertilizer like Plant-tone in the spring and again in the fall.

But each bloom only lasts a day! Why would I want to plant a perennial with flowers that are only open for a day? Well, the answer lies in good breeding and the development of extended bloomers, repeat bloomers, and everbloomers! A good quality daylily cultivar will produce multiple well-branched flower stems, and each branch will in turn produce several flower buds. Voila! One quality hybrid daylily can produce many, many blooms which will open over a 3-4 week period. Every day a new, clean, crisp, glistening flower appears with no dust, no insect damage, and no storm damage – just fresh!

Over the years, the Viette family has carefully chosen the best producers (those with increased stem production and with excellent branching and bud production) as parents for their new hybrids and then thoroughly evaluated the seedlings before choosing the best performers to propagate – superior hybrids without a doubt!

Daylily 'Brilliant Cherry'

‘Brilliant Cherry’ was hybridized by Andre’s father, Martin Viette. This stunning tetraploid daylily has beautiful 6″ blooms.

Because of their versatility, you can use daylilies in many ways. As a mass planting, daylilies create a beautiful garden all by themselves.  They can also be used in gardens with other perennials, bulbs, and annuals, and as companion plants with trees and shrubs.

If you get a chance to take a walk through just one of André’s many beautiful daylily gardens, you will be struck by the beauty of their rich colors and regal blooms. Thousands of blooms!! At Viette’s, our daylilies come in all shapes, sizes, and colors with literally thousands of different cultivars. You can check out many of them on our daylily photo gallery pages but it’s much more enjoyable to see them in person! Stop in for a visit! We’re off the beaten path but well worth the visit – especially at daylily time!

Until next time – Happy Gardening!

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