Daylilies for Your Garden


I have liked daylilies from the moment my mother showed me how to make flower ladies out of the bright, trumpet-shaped, orange and yellow flowers. She gave me toothpicks and I would put the dazzling blooms on my toothpick and pretend they were fancy ladies dressed for a ball. Mom told me that I couldn’t hurt the flowers because each blossom is only open for one day. However, each flower stalk had many flowers, so the daylilies lasted a long time.

As an adult, I have had fun growing daylilies and have found them to be a profusion of color in the summer garden as well as easy to grow.

Daylilies, Hemerocallis, come in a myriad of colors from lemon yellow to deep maroon, orange, pink, and purple. Some are multi-colored. For example, ‘Orange Crush’ has a bright yellow center, a red band of color called the eye around the center and rich orange petals. ‘Frau Alls’ is a bicolor daylily that boasts inner petals ranging from red to orange and outer petals that are yellow. Bi-tones have light colored outer petals and inner petals of a darker hue. For example, the creamy white outer petals of ‘Cindy’s Charm’ subtly blend with the peach-pink inner petals. Other daylilies are a single, vibrant color, like ‘Star Struck’, which flaunts rich, golden-melon flowers.

Daylilies thrive in full sun to partial shade. In northern climates, plant daylilies in full sun for best results. In southern regions, daylilies may be planted in partial shade with at least four to six hours of sun. Daylilies prefer a neutral soil pH.

With all of the different kinds of daylilies, how do you choose the daylilies that are right for your garden? Mail-order nurseries offer a wide selection of top quality plants from which to choose. As you look at the catalogs, you will see a written description of the plants, often with a picture. The written descriptions tell you the color and height of the daylily as well as when the daylily blooms.

Consider where you want to plant the daylily in your garden and think about the other plants that will be blooming at the same time as the daylily. Select daylilies that have colors that will blend in with your other plants or provide a striking contrast.

Also think about the height of the daylilies. Some daylilies are about 18 inches tall, while others can grow to be more than three feet high. Use the smaller daylilies near the edge of your garden and plant the taller ones near the back.

Using mail-order catalogs makes it easy to plan a sequence of blooms with your daylilies. The descriptions give you the approximate time of year when the daylily blooms. Using this information, you can select daylilies so that you have blooms from early spring to fall. Common terms you will see are: EE – extra early, E – early, EM – early to midseason, M – mid season, L – late and VL – very late.

The best time to plant daylilies in northern areas is in the spring. Daylilies planted too late in the fall may not have enough time to become established before winter, thereby reducing the plant’s chances of survival. In southern areas, it is best to plant daylilies in the fall. Since the ground does not freeze, the daylily can grow and becomes established before the stress of the summer heat. In areas that are in between, plant daylilies at least 60 days before the first hard frost or 60 days before the temperature is consistently 90 or higher. Ordering from a mail-order catalog can ensure that you receive your daylilies at the best time to plant in your area.

The mail-order nursery from which you order your daylilies will provide you with complete planting instructions. These directions take the guesswork out of planting your daylilies. By simply reading and following the directions you can successfully plant your daylilies and receive many years of enjoyment from their colorful blooms.

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