Daylilies form the baackbone of many summer plantings and provide easy care flowers for varying amounts of time depending on selection of varieties and their blooming characteristics. For those of you that do not know them, daylilies have fountanous arching narrow foliage of various heights from dwarfs only a few inches to standard cvs. of up to 3-4 ft and taller. Their foliage is evergreen, deciduous (dies down in winter) or semi evergreen. From these fountains of grassy leaves arise bloom stalks which carry several to many blooms. Each flower lasts only a day, but each bud opens consecutively everyday from when the commense blossoming until the buds are finished in the cluster. The blossoms are also variable both in size and in color, and some are fragrant. They tend to mostly open in the morning and fade by evening. There are 6 segments/3 petals and 3 sepals which give the flower a six petal appearance. There are also doubles which have more petals. Color range is heavily represented in the yellow and orange range, and there are additionally almost whites(ivory, creams), pinks, light lavenders and purples, reds, maroons and bicolors (the patterns varying greatly depending on what type of color pattern is present in the cv.) Size of plants vary also, miniatures are small, with some only inches tall, up to very large types which can have flower stalks to around 6 ft. The petals can present quite a different array depending on width and edges(some have very ruffled edges). Some petals can reflex back, presenting a graceful appearance.
Their culture is very easy. These are tough plants, hard to kill. Any good soil and average watering will produce nice plants, but if you indulge them with ample watering and feeding, they increase fast and produce big clumps which will then flower profusely, creating a very big display. The older cvs. tended to have faded blooms which did not drop off, so they had an untidy appearance. Some new cvs. drop cleanly and look neater. A sunny location is appreciated, although the plants will grow in part shade(they produce less flowers in this situation).
I particularly like those cvs. that repeat bloom. They give a cery long season of bloom. They bloom in May/June, then later again in July, Aug. or Sept., some even longer.
Colors I particularly like are the less common ones, pinks, marooons into almost blacks, purples and lavenders, and the bicolors. These are in different patterns. A popular type is darker centers with lighter petals. The reverse is also nice, (darker petals with lighter centers). These give a nice bicolor effect to the blooms. There are also now the picotee types. Here there is a base petal color, and the margins are marked in a bright contrasting color. With some of the new selections, these petals have very ruffled petal edges, and when colored in a different color, they are quite showy. For my preference, I like the dark colors, double if they have the cvs. available in those dark colors. The bicolors are quite nice with their petal colors contrasting to create drama in the landscape. Pinks and purples are also nice in combinations and the reds can be briliant attention getters. Using daylilies in groups of colors planted in drifts can be quite effective because you have groups of colors to give a bolder impact, rather than small patches of plants mixed together to give a busier effect.
Culture is easy. Even poor soil and low water will produce some blooms, but ample water, feeding, and full sun give the best results and a profuse floral display.
Cvs. number in the hundres(if not thousands) and new ones come every year, so take your time choosing. Look for characterisitics you like to help in the decision making. Repeat bloom, fragrance (if possible), colors that please you, size of plant (dwarf or larger)
I like some of the doubles, the dark Night Embers is different. Eye on America is eye catching, and represents that group with a large central eye zone of different color to attract your attention. The ruffled and picoteed cvs. are always showy and interesting both up close and from a distance. The spider types have long petals which are narrow petals, giving the ‘spider’ effect to the bloom. others are shaped in trumpet fashion, while others have reflexing petals, like some true lilies.
Division is an easy way to increase your plants. Dig up the large clump and wash some of the soil away so you can see the root mass. Cut back foliage (or do this during dormancy), cut through the root mass, leaving larger divisions (larger divisions size up quickly, producing a nice effect much sooner than if you divided your plant into tiny divisions. Replant and water in well. When growth commenses, after a good amount of foliage has grown, fertilize the plant and water it in well. Grow in full sun and keep up the watering and feeding and soon you will have masses of flowers on your new plants!
See some new ones at the nursery!