Foliage Habit Opinion

taurustendency(5 mid missouri)August 22, 2013

As a hybridizer, how important is the foliage habit?

As a buyer, i know that i couldnt care less about if the leaves stick around all winter or not. and im just in my second season of playing around and learning about hybridizing, and i realized that this is one trait that i dont really pay any attention to, when thinking of crosses to make.

should i? how important is this really? even if you live in zones that have really harsh winters or no winters at all...wont the plants still behave as expected (just on their own time schedule)?

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Foliage habit covers a lot of ground, meaning more than just Ev, Dor, or Sev. Even if you get only dormant cultivars, the foliage is going to have a garden presence even when the clumps are out of bloom, so the foliage had better look good!

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, in my own garden, and foliage traits are one consideration in whether a plant stays or goes, and whether or not to use it as a parent in my own pollen dabbing.

Here are some foliage traits for your consideration:

Does the foliage arch nicely, or does it stick upright? (Former good, latter bad.) Is the foliage unpleasantly coarse (wide), or form too large/too small of a clump in comparison to the scape and bloom? Does it do quirky (and unnattractive) things (like sometimes wrinkle or ripple)? Is it healthy, or is it prone to disease (rust, leaf streak, other fungal diseases)? Is it a pleasing color?

In short, does the foliage look good in and out of bloom season?

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 1:59PM
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taurustendency(5 mid missouri)

i understand what you mean when you say that the foliage needs to look good even when not in bloom. that makes sense and i would agree. but who determines what looks good? i guess that all depends on the buyers opinion really?

im not being snide when i ask this, but who set the standards and said that "foliage that aches is nice, while the spikey is bad?" is this an AHS thing...or just the general opinion of hybridizers? buyers?

me? i like whats different, and out of the plants that we have, i tend to like both the spikey and wide foliage...just because you dont see it as often. i get bored with seeing the same old thing everywhere i look. when it comes to a distant glance at foliage only, i think different textures are very nice.

at the risk of changing this topic into a whole different conversation...i want to say that i had the same question about the bud counts. someone had said that a crowded top was unappealing, while i find the explosion rather striking. i understand that in some cases each flower is not able to open to its full potential, but who set the standard and said that it is a "bad" trait that no one will want in their garden?

i guess my tastes are a little different. im curious though, (choosing an extreme example here) if i set out to make crosses with spikey and wide foliage with overcrowded heads...does that mean im wasting my time, and no one would want my plants...or that my efforts wouldnt be respected in the world of daylily hybridizing? trends change all the time, i guess i just dont understand why everyone wants their plants to look the same (aside from bloom color and form).

This post was edited by taurustendency on Thu, Aug 22, 13 at 15:33

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 3:29PM
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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In my opinion any grass that isn't in the lawn is a weed. Daylily foliage looks like grass to me. I assume, that like most plants, Daylily foliage is important for insuring the health of the plant the following year. If I thought that it wouldn't have a negative effect, I would mow them all down to about 3 inches after blooming. I realize that I am more than likely in the minority when it comes to this opinion and that is OK with me. If I were you, I would hybridize with a goal towards a plant you find appealing and is hardy for your area and not worry about what others would breed for. I really don't understand why anyone would do it any other way. The more variety, the better.

Good luck,

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 6:45PM
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If you're hybridizing only for yourself, then it doesn't matter what foliage is like or how the buds are arranged. But if someone buys your plant and takes it to an AHS accredited flower show, then how the buds (flowers) are arranged is very important. It's also important if you take your seedling to the same flower show and have it judged. It will then be judged based on accepted standards. Standards that have been adopted over the years, plant/flower traits that most people find pleasing. That said, lots of flowers are registered based on flower appearance only. Many of these plants might do well in the show, but have a poor garden appearance. It's up to the hybridizer and their goals.
Btw, foliage is not a big decision in selecting for crossing. I would recommend staying with plants that normally survive in your growing area, but the resulting seedlings that have foliage traits that do best in your growing area, will ultimately be the ones you select.
Good luck, Ed

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 7:58PM
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dementieva(Zone 9 - Houston)

Yeah, there are two reasons to make a plant appeal to others:

1. If you're selling it for profit, you want the customers to like it.

2. If it is in a show or a judged garden, you want the judges to give it good marks.

Beyond that, do whatever you feel like with your hybridization. In that way, it's really not much different from being any kind of artist.


    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 9:34PM
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taurustendency(5 mid missouri)

thanks guys! it looks like my tastes go against the grain with what is the norm. so for me, i guess hybridizing would be for my own personal pleasure. my boyfriend on the other hand, wants to sell and show and all that. between his interests and mine, my, we are going to have quite an interesting breeding stock going on!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 9:38AM
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