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Crown Rot....or What? Is It Catching?

Nancy Barginear
16 years ago

Several weeks ago, some of our new daylilies began dying. It was one there. It looked like crown rot. I didn't think too much about it, thinking a few losses were to be expected. But the losses continued. We were really busy at the time, and didn't have an opportunity to immediately check on the origins of the affected plants.

This weekend, I took inventory of all our new daylilies. As I was entering the information in my records, I began to see a pattern. Most of the dead or dying plants had been purchased from Brown's Ferry Gardens in Georgetown, SC.

I sent Charles Douglas, the owner of Brown's Ferry Gardens, an e-mail. He called me today. In my opinion, it wasn't a very pleasant conversation. I had hoped he would offer to replace the dead plants, but instead, he told me I would have to dig up all the plants, living or dead, and send them back to him in order to get a refund.

I talked it over with my husband, and he reminded me of the cost factor in having to pay our gardener to dig up all the plants and prepare them for shipping, plus, of course, the shipping costs. Since I really did not wish to return the living plants that I had purchased, I opted for just taking the loss, licking my wounds, and knowing better the next time.

The plants that died were not planted next to each other. They were scattered at random throughout our large field bed. They were surrounded by healthy, vigorously growing daylilies, all of which are like these, recent transplants. The only difference that I can think of is that they were delivered late one afternoon by UPS on a very hot summer day. Most of the other plants had all been shipped by USPS.

I am just sick about losing these daylilies. They are, as follows: Admiral's Braid, Always Afternoon, America's Most Wanted, Creative Edge, Diamonds and Pearls, Panther Eyes, Last Frontier, Good Morning America, Mama's Cherry Pie, Platinum and Gold and Rags to Riches, over $100 worth of plants.

I have some questions to those of you who know far more than I do about daylilies. Is crown rot infectious? Could there be something else that caused these plants to die? I am at a loss to try and understand why so many plants from one nursery would die like this, planted nowhere near each other, yet alongside very healthy, growing plants.

I will know now that when I place an order on-line for daylilies in the future, to ask in advance whether or not replacements will be sent in case the plants should die. Caveat emptor, I remind myself.

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    Ed Ball Landscape Architecture
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