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new to permies, daylilies as mulch

 
Posts: 30
Location: northwest vermont zone 4
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Has anyone used these for a living mulch? I know their roots don't go very deep but are they a legitimate source of mulch for the garden...I just picked up a ton of seeds and all since they won't produce flowers for a few years would they be useful some where else till they produce flowers.
 
pollinator
Posts: 567
Location: West Yorkshire, UK
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In my experience, daylilies don't produce a ton of leaf growth, though they may be more vigorous in your area. I would probably let them grow undisturbed at least a year, or until they fully establish and use them as a food crop; every part of them is edible, and I love to eat the new shoots in spring (they're producing now in my garden), as do my chickens.
 
Justin DeVico
Posts: 30
Location: northwest vermont zone 4
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O I certainly plan on pickling the buds, which I just recently discovered a recipe for. Now only if I can lacto pickle them is be much happier. Thanks for the reply...I live in northern vt, so zone 4 I just always see them so thick along the road sides....maybe it's not as much leaf as I thought.
 
pollinator
Posts: 261
Location: Vermont, annual average precipitation is 39.87 Inches
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You are right, here in Vermont they do grow in large patches when they are allowed to do so. They definitely seem to work as a living mulch, though I think some thought would need to go into the timing of a chop and drop use since it sounds like you do want the flowers too. I'm not sure what the answer might be to that question.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1459
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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The leaves of the daylily need to be allowed to die back to brown on their own in order to feed the bulb.

However….

I used to cut about half of the leaves from the plant after flowering – so that the remaining plant looked a bit like a ‘fan’. I did this so that I could tidy the area up a bit and get a good look at other plants that were growing in between them.

This didn’t produce a lot of mulch – but it did produce some.

I like the idea that the daylily serves multiple purposes: Food for people, birds, pollinating insects, beauty, and some mulch. And, in the right growing conditions they multiply fairly rapidly giving you a perennial resource. They can also be potted up and sold or traded.

I say tuck a daylily in every nook and cranny  -- Oh yeah, and I never watered mine. Another plus.
 
Posts: 415
Location: Georgia
16
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I have been growing day lilies for awhile now. They are pretty resilient in most
situations. The fun is to get some variety going. I have been crossing mine which
gives you a new cultivar. You save the seed pod and refrigerate the seeds for 3 weeks
or so and plant them. Somebody said just put "pretty on pretty". It takes a long while
to get a new bloom but once you have the pipe line full you get some new ones every
year. I keep records of the crosses I have made and attempt to get certain features and
colors and develop an enhanced flower.

You have to know what the ploidy of the flowers is because you can't cross diploids with
tetraploids. I prefer the old timey looking flower shapes and work mostly with diploids.
Because of the large number of new cultivars I have coming along each year they are
starting to get worked into the vegetable garden more as time goes on. They hold the soil
in place and if they get too large they are easy to transplant.
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