Daylily, the common name for Hemerocallis, is an important genus of showy perennial herbs of the Lily family.
They bear large yellow, orange, or red flowers in the newest hybrids, chiefly in June and July.
Characteristics Of Daylily
The name Daylily is also sometimes applied to the Plantain-lily of the genus Hosta, which is characterized by the following features:
- Broad plantain-like leaves
- Fibrous roots
- Flat winged seeds
- Flowers of white, blue, or lavender in simple unbranched racemes
The flowers of Hemerocallis occur on either branched or unbranched stalks.
The black seeds are either round or angled, never winged, and the roots are often tuberous.
Extremely hardy and free from the many diseases which attack most true lilies, Hemerocallis is a favorite with gardeners who find the former challenging to raise.
These daylilies are effective in borders, specimen plants, and naturalizing.
Beyond a well-drained soil, they demand little attention, thriving almost anywhere, sending up a good clump of sword-shaped leaves and a leafless stalk of large lily-like flowers.
While each flower of the Daylily stays open only for one day, there is always abundant bloom on the plant throughout the flowering season.
Increasing Daylily Stocks
Daylilies that produce seeds (which not all do) may be easily increased by sowing these in the open ground in May or June.
Two or three years are generally required to produce flowering plants, and then, because most of the garden forms are hybrids, they are not likely to resemble the immediate parent.
The common practice, therefore, is to increase stock by division of the roots or rhizomes, setting them out in August or September for the following summer’s bloom.
Daylilies are known that range in height from 7” inches to 7’ feet.
The small ones are not yet in extensive cultivation but may prove valuable parents for new rock-garden subjects.
While most varieties are at the height of their bloom in early summer, some fall-flowering varieties are being gradually introduced.
Rose-pink, crimson, and mahogany are some of the tones of red featured in recent Hemerocallis hybrids.
Hemerocallis lava, also known as Lemon or Custard-lily or Tall Yellow Daylily, is an early-flowering, robust plant with fragrant, uniform yellow flowers showing above the mass of foliage.
The scape of this plant is about 3’ feet tall.
Hemerocallis fulva, also known as Tawny or Fulvous Daylily, is a tall, vigorous flower scape that ascends far above the lax spears of foliage, the soft orange-colored flowers (July) having a fulvous cast.
It is propagated entirely by the division of the fast-growing rhizome.
Hemerocallis aurantiaca, also known as Orange-fulvous or Golden Summer Daylily, resembles the Fulvous Daylily, blooming at the same time but paler in color.
It’s not quite so tall with the petals narrower and the foliage darker and, in the South, evergreen.
Hemerocallis thunbergi, also called Thunbergs or Late Yellow Daylily) have clear lemon-yellow flowers on the outside.
It blooms in July on scapes of about 3’ feet tall. In addition, this plant is intolerant to heat.
Hemerocallis middendorfi, also called Broad Dwarf, Middendorf’s, or Amur Daylily, have orange flowers 3” inches across, clustered at the top of an unbranched scape 3’ feet high and overtopping the leaves.
Buds and seed capsules are prominently ridged, and the roots are slenderly cylindrical, not fleshy.
Hemerocallis dumortieri, also called Narrow Dwarf or Dumortiers Daylily, features clear orange flowers, 2 to 4 clustered compactly, opening from brownish-red-tinged buds in May.
The coarse leaves and flowers both stand about 2’ feet high. Hybrids derived from this species are more vigorous.
Hemerocallis citrina, also called Long Yellow or Citron Day-lily, is a tall night-blooming species with many fragrant pale yellow flowers, the outer segments of which are tinged with green and tipped with purplish.
The hybrids of Hemerocallis offer the most interesting subjects for garden use, though some of the new reds are not yet on the market.
Varieties now available and to be recommended include:
- Anna Betscher – large empire-yellow flower, late July and early August
- Apricot – early-flowering and semi-dwarf
- Aureole – with abundant large flowers of rich cadmium-yellow, July
- Bijou – a new race with an abundance of small flowers in orange and fulvous-red on 2’ feet scapes, mid-July
- Cinnabar – cadmium-yellow overlaid with a unique dark red
- Dawn – large bell-shaped flowers combining sulphur, crimson, and rose-buff
- Estmere – graceful, semi-dwarf plants with medium flowers of orange-yellow
- Florham – large flowers 6″ inches across in yellow and orange
- Gay Day – tall plant with yellow flowers, August and later
- Gold Dust – compact plant, semi-dwarf, the yellow flowers long-blooming
- Lemona – large plant, night-blooming, with yellow flowers
- Mikado, large flowers of rich orange with mahogany-red blotch, vigorous, July
- Ophir – tall, showy, clear orange-yellow, July
- Queen of May – tallest of May-flowering varieties, with yellowish-orange flowers
- Soudan – gold-glistening yellow, blooming later than the Lemon Daylily
- Sunkist – large rose-bronze flowers, August
- Tangerine – semi-dwarf plant, dark orange flowers, redbuds, opening early
- Wau-Bun (Winnebago name for early morn) – light cadmium-yellow veiled with fulvous-red, large flowers with petals folded back and twisted