I have often wondered what all the fuss is about where daylilies are concerned. Be forewarned. There are many thousands of named daylilies. If the “collect daylilies” bug bites you, you will be hard-pressed to stop with just a few. Daylily lovers tend to fill their gardens with these flowers. Some aficionados have even been known to cut down trees to give their obsessions more sunshine.
The American Hemerocallis Society lists seem never-ending so you will forgive me if I don’t know the names of the flowers I show you here. I confess that I am not a collector although I do admire daylilies when they are in bloom and have a few sprinkled here and there. My friend Holly Wilson is a new collector and two of the daylily photos here came from her garden.
When you first install daylilies, they will take a few years before they will be old enough and large enough to send up heavy stems of multiple flowers, called scapes. In 4-5 years, you should have a heavily blooming plant. Almost any color you can imagine is available in a daylily, except for blue. White, which has been elusive, is nearly here with the palest yellows looking white in the garden.
Hybridizers have created forms, colors, petal thicknesses, color blends, ruffled edges, skinny petals, wide petals, extra wide petals. What will be new under the sun? It looks like the race is on to create polka dots on petals, called spotted. Striations are also on the horizon.
Remember that there is a reason for these lilies’ name. Their flowers only last a day. Then they drop and the next bud opens on the scape. Some mileage has been made in developing reblooming daylilies. They will bloom again in the fall after their initial heavy early summer budding. Look for this trait on any daylilies you intend to purchase, if this is important to you. Not all will rebloom.
Spring or fall is the optimum time to plant daylilies, but they tolerate planting at any time as long as you keep them watered. Choose your daylilies when you can see the flower color and form. Then baby them just a little until they are established.
There are also three types of daylilies; dormant, semi-dormant, and evergreen making them suitable to grow in cold climates (dormant) or hot climates (evergreen) or anywhere in between (semi-dormant.) Visit local daylily gardens and farms where you are sure to find daylilies suitable to grow in your area.
Posted July 19, 2013
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