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.  Daylily Crimson Pirate, Hemerocallis

    'Crimson Pirate' Daylily blooms in clear red with golden yellow accents and a sunny yellow throat. Narrow, elongated petals give this easy-care plant a refined look, especially when ...

    Learn More
    Crimson Pirate Daylily Daylily Crimson Pirate Hemerocallis Crimson Pirate
    'Crimson Pirate' Daylily blooms in clear red with golden yellow accents and a sunny yellow throat. Narrow, elongated petals give this easy-care plant a refined look, especially when planted in large groups, surrounded by masses of their own strappy foliage. Ultra-hardy and ready to multiply if allowed, fragrant daylilies are tolerant, forgiving plants. (Hemerocallis)
    Learn More
  2. Daylily Moroccan Sunrise, Hemerocallis Moroccan Sunrise

    'Moroccan Sunrise' Daylily has deep, rose-pink petals that surround dramatic, ivory-yellow throats. Once established, you can expect 400 flowers in early summer on stems that rise ab...

    Learn More
    Moroccan Sunrise Reblooming Daylily Moroccan Sunrise Reblooming Daylily Hemerocallis Moroccan Sunrise
    $23.98 Sale $11.99
    Per Bag of 1
    'Moroccan Sunrise' Daylily has deep, rose-pink petals that surround dramatic, ivory-yellow throats. Once established, you can expect 400 flowers in early summer on stems that rise above mounds of arching green foliage. Like most daylilies, this one is tolerant of a wide range of conditions and willing to spread and naturalize its showy blooms wherever you let it. (Hemerocallis)
    Learn More
  3. Daylily Mix, Hemerocallis

    This stunning Daylily Mix includes 5 well-bred Daylilies that top the list of gardeners' favorites time and again. Perfect for large plantings, taking over banks, or any spot in the ...

    Learn More
    Daylily Mix Daylily Mix Hemerocallis Mix
    This stunning Daylily Mix includes 5 well-bred Daylilies that top the list of gardeners' favorites time and again. Perfect for large plantings, taking over banks, or any spot in the garden that needs a burst of reliable color! (Hemerocallis)
    Learn More
  4. Fragrant Returns Daylily, Close up of Yellow Daylily Flower

    ‘Fragrant Returns’ Daylily blooms again and again with sweetly scented lemon-yellow flowers, adored by butterflies and hummingbirds on blooms from mid-summer to fall. Petals are ...

    Learn More
    Fragrant Returns Daylily Fragrant Returns Daylily Hemerocallis Fragrant Returns
    ‘Fragrant Returns’ Daylily blooms again and again with sweetly scented lemon-yellow flowers, adored by butterflies and hummingbirds on blooms from mid-summer to fall. Petals are lightly ruffled along the margin and gracefully curve back. Low-growing ‘Fragrant Returns’ is perfect for containers and the front of borders. These plants stand up to high heat and humidity in full sun to part shade gardens. (Hemerocallis hybrid)
    Learn More

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.

© 2021 AmericanMeadows.com All rights reserved