All About Daylilies

all about dayliliesall about daylilies

By Judith Irven, gardening expert, landscape designer and writer.

Daylilies: Stars of the Summer Garden

Daylilies are the gardener’s dream come true! Luscious flowers come in a kaleidoscope of colors, blooming from early summer to early fall. Easy to grow and long-lived, most varieties are hardy throughout the United States and southern Canada (Zone 3- through Zone 9). Plus, thrive in a wide range of conditions— from cool hollows to dry hillsides. 

An Ancient Plant Becomes A Gardener’s Delight

All the daylilies we grow in our gardens are descended from just seventeen species of ‘original daylilies’ that are native to eastern Asia, primarily in Japan, Korea, Mongolia and China, where they were also cultivated for many years.

These seventeen species (which are only distantly related to ‘true’ lilies, or Lilium) are grouped into the single genus Hemerocallis, which means ‘lovely for a day’ - a reference to the fact that each individual flower blooms for just a single day. About 400 years ago, plant explorers introduced a number of these daylily species to Europe and eventually to North America.

One introduced species is the familiar ‘Orange Daylily’ (Hemerocallis fulva) that now blooms with ease along country roadsides all across North America. But beware: in some states it is considered invasive. And it's not advisable to plant Orange Daylilies in your garden since, with the help of their strong underground runners, they will soon overrun everything else. They are, however, a perfect choice for hiding ugly building foundations and filling ditches.

Another introduced species is the old-fashioned ‘Grandma’s Lemon Daylily’ (Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus) which still can still be found growing around the old farmsteads and cellar holes in the mountains of New England. With its early bloom time and lovely lemony fragrance, a small patch of Lemon Daylilies makes a welcome addition to any garden.

Orange DaylilyOrange Daylily
Orange Daylily

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!

A hummingbird visits a daylily bloom.

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.

 

 

American Meadows Flower Power Daylilies

The latest advances in daylily hybridization has brought us a whole range of new varieties which bloom multiple times in the course of the season - vastly increasing the number of flowers that each plant creates each season. These are known as repeat blooming daylilies, or reblooming daylilies.

With these new daylilies, plus a little extra care (additional fertilizing and the removal of spent leaves and seed capsules, plus irrigation during dry periods), gardeners can enjoy flowering daylilies all season long.

At American Meadows, we are incredibly excited to bring you twelve different re-blooming daylily varieties with beautiful colors and amazing flower production. After a few years, as your plants mature, you can look forward to enjoying hundreds of blooms on a single plant over the course of a single season.

A rainbow of colors to excite your imagination

Our Flower Power varieties come in a multitude of gorgeous colors to stimulate your creative genius.

For instance, all our single-colored Power Bloomers—Space-coast Early Bird, Lacy Doily, Heavenly Pink Fang and Bakabana— grow less than 2 feet high and introduce soft warm colors like pink, peach and yellow to the garden. 

 

Or how about creating a long-blooming multicolored extravaganza by planting some or all of these multi-colored beauties en masse:

Daylily Variety Coloring
Night Whispers Red with yellow throat
She’s Got the Look Pale pink fading to creamy center
Simmons Overture Pink outside, burgundy then yellow throat
Moroccan Sunrise Crimson red with yellow throat
Magic Dancer Crimson red, burgundy and yellow throat
Irresistible Charm Red frilled outer rim, yellow and red center throat
Lavender Tutu Yellow frilled outer rim, peachy lavender then yellow throat
Entrapment Lilac with yellow highlights

 

Shop Daylilies

  1. Orange Daylily Original Orange, Hemerocallis fulva, Old Orange Daylily, Close Up

    Easy growing Daylily Original Orange is famous for its vigorous, orange blooms along roadsides nationwide. This Daylily is carefree, adaptable, and tolerant of any soil. (Hemerocalli...

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    Original Orange Daylily Original Orange Daylily Hemerocallis fulva
    As low as $13.98 Sale $6.99
    Per Bag of 3
    Easy growing Daylily Original Orange is famous for its vigorous, orange blooms along roadsides nationwide. This Daylily is carefree, adaptable, and tolerant of any soil. (Hemerocallis fulva)
    Learn More
  2. Frosted Vintage Ruffles Reblooming Daylily, Hemerocallis Frosted Vintage Ruffles

    Full of personality, 'Frosted Vintage Ruffles' Reblooming Daylily will grace any cottage garden or blousy border with vintage charm and prolific blooming. Large flowers are c...

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    Frosted Vintage Ruffles Daylily Frosted Vintage Ruffles Daylily Hemerocallis Frosted Vintage Ruffles
    $15.98 Sale $7.99
    Per Bag of 1
    Full of personality, 'Frosted Vintage Ruffles' Reblooming Daylily will grace any cottage garden or blousy border with vintage charm and prolific blooming. Large flowers are cream-colored with yellow-green throats and a ruffled pink margin. This reliable reblooming variety combines a compact habit with beautifully formed flowers, earning an Honorable Mention in 2008 by the American Hemerocallis Society. (Hemerocallis)
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  3. Reblooming Daylily Stella D'Oro, Hemerocallis

    Early to bloom and easy to care for, 'Stella D'Oro' Reblooming Daylily is a compact plant and a great choice for edging the front of the garden. Rich, golden yellow blooms come in st...

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    Stella D'Oro Reblooming Daylily Reblooming Daylily Stella D'Oro Hemerocallis Stella D'Oro
    As low as $19.98 Sale $9.99
    Per Bag of 3
    Early to bloom and easy to care for, 'Stella D'Oro' Reblooming Daylily is a compact plant and a great choice for edging the front of the garden. Rich, golden yellow blooms come in strong in early to mid summer, and a reblooming habit brings them on again later in the season. Fragrant. (Hemerocallis)
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  4. Low Maintenance Daylily Collection

    The Low Maintenance Daylily Collection features 6 different eye-catching and easy-to-care for perennial daylilies. Ranging in color from clear yellow and peachy pink to touches of or...

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    Low Maintenance Daylily Collection Low Maintenance Daylily Collection Hemerocallis
    $119.98 Sale $59.99
    Per Collection of 18
    The Low Maintenance Daylily Collection features 6 different eye-catching and easy-to-care for perennial daylilies. Ranging in color from clear yellow and peachy pink to touches of orange and brilliant red, this medley of bright bloomers shows off stripes, ruffles and bicolor petals. (Hemerocallis)
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About the Author: Judith Irven is an accomplished Vermont landscape designer and garden writer, and she delights in helping people everywhere create beautiful gardens. You can visit her online at: OutdoorSpacesVermont.com.

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