I wish to start a hot compost pile. I have access to a huge supply of free brown material (wood chips from the city).

I am looking for a source of green material and someone has offered me a trash can full of dead browned Hemerocallis (day lillies) leaves.

Is this green or brown compost material?

Garden waste is supposed to be green material but then again tree leaves are supposed to be brown. This Hemerocallis foliage is brownish leaves but it is garden waste so I'm confused as to what type it is... It seems to fit in both categories.

2 Answers 2


If the leaves are completely brown,they now count as browns. 'Browns and greens' is a simple way of talking about C:N ratio, which means carbon to nitrogen - there's plenty of nitrogen in green leaves, but once they're brown, the nitrogen has gone and what's left counts as carbon, so you'd be better off not taking the hemerocallis leaves and seeking out greens instead, meaning green foliage, vegetable and fruit scraps, some weeds (without seeds and not pernicious weeds).


Take the leaves as mature vegetation or browns for their structural carbon content, but you'll also need greens or immature vegetation for their nitrogen content. Use the wood chips sparingly as they are primarily digested by fungi and not bacteria, and bacteria are responsible for a hot pile. A large amount of wood chips will cool the pile.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.