Daylilies are a must-have in any perennial flower garden.
With a vast number of varieties, these adaptable, rugged, beautiful plants can make up an eclectic appearing flower bed all on their own.
However, many other types of beautiful perennial plants share daylilies’ love of the bright sun and well-draining soil.
In this article, we share tips to help you choose the right Daylily companions to create a colorful, appealing perennial flower garden that will attract pollinators and delight with bright blooms throughout the spring and summer and into the autumn.
There are more than 80,000 different Daylily varieties, and they like well-draining soil and lots of sun, yet they vary widely in color, size, petal configuration, and bloom time.
For example, some are early spring bloomers, while others may bloom later in the summer or the early fall.
Some “ever-bloomers” bloom throughout the growing season and some “re-bloomers” present two full flushes of blooms.
Some are day bloomers, while others bloom in the late afternoon and early evening.
With all of these choices, it’s clear that you could easily create a very diverse yet easy-care flower garden with nothing but daylilies.
Daylily Companions Add Even More Interest
A sunny flower garden with good quality, well-draining soil is the perfect setting for a wide variety of flowering perennial plants that bring delight with beautiful blooms and interesting foliage. By choosing a combination of plants that present their best appearance at different times during the growing season, you can be sure of having color and interest from early spring until mid-to-late autumn.
Some of the best choices in flowering plants include:
- Echinacea is also known as Purple Coneflower. It is a native of the North American plains and makes a delightful, valuable, easy-care addition to cutting, pollinator, and herb gardens.
- Perovskia is also known as Russian Sage. It blooms in the late summer and early autumn with clusters of lovely bluish/lavender flowers.
- Coreopsis is commonly called Tickseed because of the shape of its seed capsules. This tall, carefree North American native comes in several varieties and produces masses of blooms in shades of white, pink, or yellow from mid-to-late summer.
- Dianthus comes in various choices in colors, plant size, and bloom size. Some are annuals, and some are perennials.
- Buddleia is also known as Butterfly Bush. This flowering shrub produces colorful panicles of flowers in shades of pink, red, blue, or purple in late summer and early autumn.
- Achillea is also known as Yarrow. This versatile, hardy plant produces large and attractive flower heads made up of closely packed, tiny blooms in shades of white, yellow, pale pink, deep pink, red and more.
- Peonies are available in a wide range of colors and species. They produce big, showy blooms in every color imaginable, year after year, with little or no care.
- Salvia or Sage is a relative of the mint family. This useful herb comes in many different sizes, colors, and shapes, and all of them will thrive in the conditions needed by daylilies.
- Phlox is a native of the central and eastern United States. It is easy to grow and indeed grows wild in many areas. Garden Phlox grows upright, standing about 3’ feet high. It blooms mid-summer with fragrant, pretty white, pink, lavender, magenta, or red flowers. Creeping Phlox is a mat-forming ground cover that lays a blanket of blooms amongst your daylilies throughout the growing season.
- Irises of all sorts are easy to grow and thrive in the same conditions as daylilies. There are over 300 different iris varieties to choose from.
These bright bloomers are extremely attractive to butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators.
Depending upon your setting, wild and naturalized flowers, such as Indian Paintbrush, Black-eyed Susan, Butterfly weed, and the like, may also be a lovely addition to your daylily garden.
Ornamental Grasses Provide Contrast And Interest
As a privacy addition and as an interesting backdrop for daylilies, create a border of tall ornamental grasses, such as:
- Fountain Grass (Pennisetum Alopecuroides) is a warm-season grass that does well in various settings. It has deep green foliage and attractive blooming, grain-bearing heads. It can grow to be 4’ feet high.
- Chinese Silver Grass (Miscanthus sinensis) comes in several varieties that are easy to grow, have interesting arching foliage, and produce dramatic, feathery plumes in the late summer or early fall. The largest varieties can grow to be 8’ high. Before planting, be sure this plant is not listed as invasive in your state.
- Porcupine Grass (Miscanthus Sinensis ‘Strictus’) is a variegated version of Chinese Silver Grass. It is beautiful with its yellow and green foliage. This plant is rabbit and deer-resistant, yet it attracts birds.
- Pampas Grass (Cortaderia selloana) is an extremely dramatic addition to any garden. It has sturdy, upright foliage and stems topped by large, white, beige, or pink plumes. This ornamental grass can grow to be 12’ high.
- Purple Majesty Ornamental Millet (Pennisetum glaucum) is extremely interesting with its deep purple foliage and dark brown or purple cat tail spikes. This rugged, sun-loving plant provides excellent contrast with daylilies and other floral plantings. It is very popular with birds!
These grasses (and many more) can provide interest in the form of foliage color and shape as well as attractive seed heads.
Interesting Foliage Prettily Contrasts Daylilies’ Strap-Like Leaves
Other foliage plants that bring interest when planted amongst or around daylilies include:
- Artemisia ‘Silver Mound’ is a useful herb sporting aromatic, silvery green, frilly foliage. The plant grows in small, tidy mounds and is resistant to rabbits, deer, and common insect pests.
- Perovskia (Russian Sage) is a beautiful plant resembling lavender. This member of the mint family has square stems, grayish-green leaves, and tiny, bluish-purple blooms arranged in a whorl pattern up the stem.
- Heuchera or Coral Bells are available in approximately 50 species. All have pretty, rounded, variegated foliage in many different shades. This stunning ground cover produces small, bell-like flowers in shades of white, pink and red at various times in the summer, depending upon the species you choose.
- Sedum is an extensive genus of flowering, succulent members of the Crassulaceae family of plants. There are between 400 and 500 different types of sedum to choose from. All have attractive succulent leaves and unusual blooms. All love ample sun and well-draining soil. Make your choices according to availability and your USDA hardiness zone.
Tough, Sun-Loving Plants Are Good Daylily Companions
The bottom line is that daylilies are tough.
Despite their elegant, colorful appearance, they can survive and thrive in a wide variety of settings as long as they have lots of sun and well-draining soil.
Luckily, many other plants love precisely those conditions.
o choose the perfect Daylily companions for your garden, consider your hardiness zone and check the availability of tough, pretty perennials in your area.
Then, follow the tips presented here to create a beautiful, carefree flower garden that will delight you for years to come.