Today: A Multitude of Cultivated Varieties
Over the last seventy-five years, these seventeen daylily species have become the basis for hybridizers everywhere to try their hands at creating new varieties of daylilies. Depending on their native habitat, daylily species exhibit a variety of traits that can be exploited by hybridizers.
For instance, some species come from the mountains, meaning they will be quite hardy and will most likely go dormant in the winter. Others dwell in low lying areas and, while less hardy, keep their leaves year-round.
Some species have quite tall flower stalks (scapes), whereas others are extremely short. And their flowers range in color from pale yellow to strong orange and reddish, all the way to deep maroon.
Daylily hybridizers, both professional and amateur, have created the array of cultivated varieties of daylilies that are available to gardeners today. These include multi-colored extravaganzas as well as daylilies with extra-long bloom times. It is estimated that the number of different cultivated varieties (or cultivars) of daylilies now runs in the hundreds of thousands!
Daylilies Make Your Garden Come Alive
One of the easiest ways to energize your garden is to combine daylilies, with their huge blooms, and other favorite perennials that will bloom at the same time. And, with their striking flowers, daylilies create a dramatic textural contrast when grown alongside ornamental grasses and other perennials. Their strappy green foliage makes a garden look full and lush throughout the season.
Some varieties of daylilies are quite petite, so that two or three plants grouped together would make a lovely accent near the front of the border. Plant these with other short plants such as Nepeta (Catmint), Blue Fescue and Blue Oat Grass to produce a beautiful, enduring contrast of both color and texture for the front of the border.
Other daylilies have flower stalks that grow over 30 inches tall, and these will stand out in the middle of the border alongside Echinacea and Rudbeckia, all mixed in among some clumps of airy ornamental Grass. The whole composition can then be completed with a backdrop of taller Switch Grass.