When Did Pink Daylilies Become New?

Pinterest Hidden Image

They’re pink! And there’s a variety to match every shade in the color chart.

Many garden writers still speak of daylilies “in so-called red shades.” However, if they haven’t seen any of the several hundred red varieties now widely distributed, they are probably unaware of the existence of pinks.

the new pink dayliliesPin

Suppose you’d like a pink daylily. They are available, and I don’t mean “so-called” pinks. Nor do I care what you mean by “pink” because we have a pink to match every shade in the color chart.

You may recall daylilies offered a few years ago as “pink this” or “pink that,” which were disappointing because you found they were salmon, light rose, and every color but what you considered pink.

Let’s decide what we mean by “pink.” Most people think of the color of baby ribbon when using the term pink—this is rhodamine pink (Ridgeway’s deep rose pink). It is somewhat on the blue side of the spectrum.

But other shades are also bona fide pink, many on the yellow side, such as shell pink, azalea pink and coral pink. 

Some are even farther on the blue side, such as phlox and fuchsine pink. We have daylilies that match all of these shades.

Best Of The New Pink Daylilies

Before I tell you about the best of the new pinks and where they came from, I will be perfectly frank in say­ing that most daylilies are regional per­formers. 

They are quite variable in their performance, even in the same garden, and the pink varieties are the most un­dependable!

We are not yet cer­tain what part is played by such factors as temperature (both daytime and night temperature), humidity, soil type and reaction, sun, shade, fertilizer, groundwater, etc. Probably some daylilies are affected more by some factors than others.

Flowers “baby ribbon pink” in the garden where they orig­inated might bloom with lavender tones in other areas. Unfortunately, in many regions, the older pinks fade badly.

Dr. Albert N. Steward sent the pink species Hemerocallis fulva rosea from China to Dr. Arlow B. Stout and the New York Botanical Garden. A selected clone of this species was named Rosa­lind and introduced by Dr. Stout in 1938. Although Rosalind is truly pink, it is not a large flower with narrow petals.

Its offspring are usually even smaller, although the color is easily transmitted. Leading hybridizers, such as Mrs. Thomas Nesmith, crossed Rosalind and its offspring with larger flowers and evolved a strain of much larger pink daylilies; Pink Lotus, for instance, often exceeds 8” inches in diameter.

Mrs. Bright Taylor of Florida has pursued a line breeding from F, seedlings of the cross of the orange-colored evergreen species H. aurantiaca major x H. fulva rosea. 

She has produced wide fine evergreen varieties in pastel tones, many of which are in the pink range, such as Penelope, Salmon Sheen, and Pink Bowknot.

Mrs. Hugh Lester of Atlanta went the other way, backward from red flowers. Two of her best pinks are the deciduous Maid Marian and Laurel. From crosses of these two, she has many fine pink seedlings under study.

William Wood of Georgia used a rare clone of H. fulva rosea, which he calls Chinese Rosea, in his breeding for pinks. 

The color of his seedlings was much pinker than those of other clones of H. fulva rosea. His Marie Wood is a full-petaled true pink of great beauty.

Working For Better Pinks

Almost all of our daylily hybridizers are now working for better pinks. Mrs. J. F. Emigholz of Cincinnati, Mrs. Wil­liam Bach of Bloomington, Illinois, H. M. Russell of Texas, Henry Sass of Omaha, and hundreds of other hybrid­izers now have excellent pink daylilies.

Exquisite though they are, in addition to the variability of their performance, it should be mentioned that they are mostly midseason- or late-flowering and rarely repeat their bloom during the same year. 

The next move is to cross them with the early varieties to produce early and remontant pink daylilies.

Some of the best “baby ribbon pink” daylilies are as follows: 

  • Marie Wood (Wood)
  • Evelyn Claar (Kraus)
  • Pink Radiance (G. Douglas), illustrated on the cover
  • Laurel (Lester)
  • Pink Queen (The Merrys)
  • Helen (Sass)
  • Penelope (Mrs. Bright Taylor)

If you like a little yellow in your pink, putting it on the coral or salmon side, try these:

  • Pink Bowknot (Mrs. Bright Taylor)
  • Salmon Sheen (Mrs. Bright Taylor)
  • Chamois Pink (Nesmith)

On the blue side, in rose tones, are the following:

  • Maid Marian (Lester)
  • Pink Petticoats (Nesmith)
  • Pink Paradise (G. Douglas)

Under favorable conditions, some older pinks may surpass those named above in producing clear pink flowers. 

I have seen the following varieties with blooms as pink as the most particular connoisseur could ask: 

  • Rosalind (Stout)
  • Georgia (Stout)
  • Sweetbriar (Nesmith)
  • Pink Lass (Nesmith)
  • Killarney Lass (Nesmith)

Although the flower would hardly pass a color chart test, the garden effect of the following varieties is pink, and they are to be highly recommended for such use:

  • Linda (Stout)
  • Dolly Varden (Nesmith)
  • Dresden Doll (Nesmith)
  • Dresden China (Nesmith)

44659 by Dr. Philip G. Corliss