The other day, while I was trying to look up why my L. tigrinum flore-plenos have white fuzz all over their stems and buds, I came across the following: “has double flowers, but, in my opinion, is rather coarse. The style and grace of a lily flower lies in its clean lines and simple architecture. Double-flowered lilies destroy such grace.”
That’s in Armitage’s Herbaceous Perennial Plants. Thankfully (as I suppose I should have known), he also informed me that the white fuzz comes with the plant. I am not so sure a single tiger lily is that much more elegant than the flore-plenos (above), which are not really fully double. I’m not sure I’d apply the word elegant to either, actually, though I like both.
There does seem to be some prejudice against double hybrids, depending on which authority you read. Here’s Christopher Lloyd: “Double daffodils may seem like an unwelcome aberration, …”,—although he does modify the statement.
I can see where a double Casa Blanca or Silk Road would make very little sense—the single forms of these are heavy enough on their slim stems and can seldom get along with staking. But the flore-pleno, rare among my lilies, can stand up on their own, and I prefer the fascinating henryi to a single tigrinum, which too often get confused with orange daylily types. That said, I would agree double forms aren’t a good idea for lilies.
As for daffodils, I’m fascinated by the doubles, but recognize their problems (mainly, too heavy, especially in wet spring weather). Mileage varies widely with attitudes toward extreme hybridization. Should it be anything the market will bear or are there limits? The only thing I worry about is the disappearance of the traditional cultivars or species from stores. (Imagine a world of nothing but Endless Summer hybrids with not an arborescens or oakleaf in sight.)
And then there’s the problem of all the crazy names under which lilies are sold. Tree lilies, anyone?