Dependable Daylilies

Daylilies will grow almost anywhere. They will grow in full sun or under trees in every type of soil, from sand to clay, either wet or dry, and under every kind of condition.

They produce beautiful masses of striking colors: yellow, orange, pink, rose, raspberry, red, maroon, brown, purple, and almost black.


There are flowers of all one color – bicolors, banded varieties, mixtures in stunning combinations, and some with flowers like overshot silk. Where else can you get such an array in one flower?

Daylilies have a long blooming season. Even in the northern states, you can select varieties that start blooming in the middle of May, some that open in early June, those that bloom in summer, or even fall-bloomers.

Some have delightfully curled and twisted petals, while others have a decided eye.

Or, if you like fragrance, daylilies will give it to you, not one kind but many, whatever your taste may be.

Landscape Point Of View

Whatever your likes or the use to which you want to put them, you’ll find a size that fits your needs. Deciduous types die down at the end of the season, and evergreen ones carry on from a landscape point of view.

The latter is particularly popular in the South and is better adapted than in the northern states. And there are all sorts of sizes – pygmies for the front or small-scale garden, moderate-sized plants for general purposes, and giants for the back of the border or to interplant among shrubs.

The hemerocallis is one flower that can satisfy more of a gardener’s wants with minimal effort than any perennial I know. However, in their enthusiasm for the modern hybrid daylily, a few have overstated the facts regarding its freedom from pests.

Daylilies are indeed much freer from disease and insect troubles than most plants, but it is only fair to admit that thrips and Japanese beetles enjoy a daylily diet. Spray for thrips at the same time the iris are sprayed. Malathion should do it.

Present-day hybridizers produce tens of 1,000 seedlings each year; obviously, not all are discarded. There is much variety in both plants and flowers.

Consequently, I have listed the following characteristics not only as an indication of what the professional hybridizers are looking for but also as a guide to what to look for when buying daylilies and a guide for the amateur plant breeder:

Clear and vibrant colors are preferred; either selfs, banded, or strongly bicolored patterns. They must not bleach during drought or prolonged heat.

Size and Shape of Flowers

Single or Double

  • Less than 2 inches to over 71/2 inches in diameter
  • Spidery, bell-like, or trumpet-shaped with long segments
  • Segments may be even, recurving, pinched, ruffled, twisted, or fluted

Additional Good Qualities in flow-ers are a pleasing fragrance, long blooming season, night blooming’ and long-lived flowers (some now last two days).

Size and Character of Plant

  • All are acceptable, from one-foot dwarfs to giants over 7′ feet tall.
  • Flowers should be erect.
  • Flowers are firmly held on well-branched flowers, one with up to 67 flowers on one stem before the season is over, but in proportion to the size of the flowers and leaves.

Foliage should be attractive, pleasing green or bicolored, remain in good condition until freezing weather, and not wilt during hot spells.

Further, plants should be resistant to cold and disease and multiply rapidly.

Currently, there are 1,000 registered varieties and hundreds of new ones being offered yearly. Every daylily fancier has their favorites, and there is a significant difference of opinion among the judges.

It is impossible to keep up with such a large number of introductions, so an effort is being made to discourage indiscriminate introductions by classifying them according to color and blooming season.

But, if yours are not all you expected, be patient. It takes two to three years to establish their new location fully.

6710 by by Ed Claar