What are Daylilies?
Daylilies are herbaceous perennials that bloom from May to
September in this area. Each bloom is only open for one day, thus the name
Daylily. They are valued for both their aesthetic and practical qualities.
Most people think of the orange ditch lily when they think
of daylilies. But daylilies are much more than that. Daylilies have many qualities that
make them a wonderful addition to a garden. One little known fact about daylilies is that
they come in a large array of colors. They can be found in every color except true blue
and true white. Colors vary from near white to all shades of pastels to the brightest and
darkest colors. There is a color to satisfy everyone!!
Another aesthetic quality about daylilies is the variety of
flower sizes and shapes. Daylilies range in height from 11 inches to over 3 feet! The
blooms also range in size from the minis which are under 3 ½ inches to large flowers of 8
inches or more. In addition, the blooms have many various shapes. There are spiders which
have long narrow petals and sepals which often curl and twist. Some daylilies have wide
ruffled petals and some have more petals than normal(referred to as doubles). There are
also multicolored daylilies which have contrasting petal and eyezone colors, watermarks,
contrasting petal edges, and much more. As you can see, there is much more to daylilies
Daylilies are not only beautiful, they are also a very
practical choice for many garden situations.
First, daylilies are a perennial. This does mean that they
may initially cost more than a cell pack of annuals. However, they more than make up for
the cost! Since, they are perennials, you will not be pulling them up and putting them in
the trash at the end of the season. Daylilies live for many years. Not only will they
survive, but another positive aspect is that over the years, they will multiply. They can
be dug up in spring or fall, divided, and replanted in several places. So your investment
will increase with daylilies.
Also, daylilies are very hardy. They have a very long
blooming season and they can tolerate many harsh conditions: Hot, dry weather, poor soil,
and cold weather to name a few. Although they will grow best in ideal conditions like most
other plants, they will do well in places where you would not dream of planting less
Daylilies make a great groundcover in sunny areas where the
soil is washing or on a slope that is too hard to mow. Some states even use daylilies
along the roadsides for their color as well as their ground-holding capabilities.
One last unusual but true practical quality about daylilies
is that all parts of the plant are edible. The flower petals can be put on salads or the
unopened blooms can be fried. There are many other recipes for using daylilies.
Now that you have your new daylily home, it is time to
plant it. Daylilies prefer full sun for as much of the day as possible. If the foliage of
your plant has not been cut back, then cut it back to about 6 to 8 inches with a pair of
scissors or a sharp knife. When a plant is dug up some of the roots are damaged, so the
amount of foliage should also be reduced to lessen the amount of stress on the plant.
First, dig a hole for your plant and break up the soil. The
soil can be amended if you wish with some type of organic matter like shredded pine bark
or rotted sawdust. Remember, if you use fresh organic matter like new sawdust, you will
need to add some extra nitrogen to counter what the fresh organic matter will pull from
Once the soil is broken up, make a mound of soil in the
center of the hole for the plant to sit on. Place the plant on the mound spreading the roots out in a circle. The crown of the
plant should be on the
top of the mound. Push the soil back into the hole so that
the crown is just below the surface of the soil. Water your plant thoroughly. You can also
fertilize with a liquid fertilizer or spread a granular fertilizer on the ground around
If you are interested in learning more about daylilies,
there are local clubs and a national society that you can join. There are also local
gardens that sell daylilies and welcome visitors.
The American Hemerocallis Society is a national society
devoted to daylilies. Its publication, The Daylily Journal, is sent out quarterly.
It contains articles about daylilies, pictures, and advertisements. There is also an
interesting feature called the Round Robin which is a collection of letters from members
on various topics about daylilies. There is a national convention held annually in
different locations where members gather to go on garden tours, hear speakers, socialize,
and of course, buy daylilies.
By: Joanna McKinley