Will Soap Or Ladybugs Help Potted Day Lillies That Had Aphids And Now Have Deformed Leaves With Brown Edges

Question From: E. Sands - Jeffersonville, Indiana, United States
Q: I have moved and I dug up my daylilies from the ground to large pots, where unfortunately they will have to stay indefinitely. I noticed in the late fall, when I was cutting back the foliage that they were infested with what I assumed were aphids. First of all, is it likely that I will continue to have an aphid problem this year because of eggs left to overwinter on the plant stubs left or in the soil? Secondly, some of the new growth on my lilies are deformed, have ragged edges that turn brown and yellow on them, and look unhealthy, while other leaves look fine. Is this due to the aphids also, or some other pest. Do lilies typically do well and bloom well in pots, or typically struggle and lack good blooming. In regards to the aphids, someone suggested spraying with soapy water. will that control them and is it safe for other visitors to my garden, such as birds, butterflies and bugs? Also, I saw on line that ladybugs will control aphids and can be purchased in quantities for that purpose. Is that a good idea? or do the ladybugs cause a whole other set of problems?

A: You could have many issues Elaine. I suggest you take pictures and samples of the damaged leaves to a garden center in your area for advice. Also check to see if there is local club affiliated with the American Lily Society. There may even be a grower in your area that can be helpful to you.Here's a link to the American Lily Society
www.daylilies.org/AHSfaq2.html . Lilies will grow in pots if they are not crowded and the tubers have room to spread and grow. The aphids will come back this year and they are hard to get rid of. The lily society recommends using a mild systemic in a granular form. Importing lady bugs into a garden is usually not practical. They work well in green houses but fly off when let loose outdoors. Best Nancy