About Daylilies, the most popular perennials: It all started with the original wild orange Daylily. Many Americans think the tough old orange Daylily they see in old gardens and along roadsides is a wildflower, but it really isn't. No Daylily is native to North America; most hail from Asia.
Don't confuse them with the true lilies: Daylilies are not really lilies. In fact, they are quite different. As you know, true lilies grow on tall stems with flowers at the top. Daylily flower stems (called scapes) are generally much shorter, and grow from a fountain of grass-like foliage at ground level. Daylilies are members of the genus, Hemerocallis, not Lilium, which is the genus name of true lilies.
Daylily Roots, not bulbs As all good gardeners know, Daylilies don't grow from bulbs like true lilies. Daylilies form a mass of thickened, fleshy roots. These unique root systems hold so much moisture and nutrients, the plants can survive out of the ground for weeks. This survival system, making them tough, and really easy to handle, is one of the reasons they're so popular today. They're also dependably hardy, so once you have them, you have them for years.
Types of Daylilies for today's gardens: The famous old orange Daylily and the well-known old Lemon Lily are not the only wild Daylilies, just the most famous. There are 20 Daylily species, worldwide. Today from those 20 plants, more than 20,000 hybrids have been created, to satisfy gardeners who love Daylilies, and just cant get enough. Hybridizing Daylilies for various colors and styles is not new. Famous old reliable hybrids like Catherine Woodbury--the lovely lavender and yellow bi-color--have been around for decades.
The re-bloomers for twice the bloom. Today's craze for re-blooming Daylilies all began with Stella D'Oro, the now-famous yellow dwarf Daylily that blooms once during late spring (the regular Daylily blooming season), and then again in late August and into fall. Today, there are hundreds of re-bloomers, from dwarfs to full-size beauties.
The latest and greatest: In any group of highly popular hybrids, there is always something newer and better. Some real break-through successes of new types for their times are Daylilies like Victoria's Secret and Big Smile, with elaborately ruffled petals and clear contrasts of magnificent colors.