A beginner' guide to Daylillies...

Daylillies (Hemerocallis sp.) come in a wide range of sizes colors and bloom times..

The genus is considerable broader by far than the familiar "ditch lily" that blooms orange along roadsides in mid summer.

Colors range from nearly pure white to a deep intense purple and nearly every shade in between except blue. Reds, yellows, pinks, apricots, lavenders and variations of them..

Breeders use the term "self" to describe the flowers' petal color and "throat" to describe the inner color of the flower.

They also have a wide arnge of bloom times ranging from mid/late may in the case of Hemerocallis flava, a native form with tall stems and small bright yellow flowers to well into August with some of the late blooming hybrids. There are also "everblooming" hybrids such as Stella d' oro (star of gold) and happy returns which is more yellow than Stella.. Some varieties are called "repeaters". These varieties will give a repeat performace sometime after their first show of flowers. "Staging" your selections with a combination of early, mid, late, repeats and an everbloomer or two will yeild almost an entire summer of show in your Daylilly bed!
A good "no brainer" companion plant is Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) which likes the same conditions and blooms with blue flower spikes atop 3-4' feathery silver gray foliage from July through frost.

One of the best features of the species is that they are extremely easy to grow and require little, if any maitainance. They prefer full sun but will flower in as lillte as 4 hours of sun. Good garden soil helps performance but I've seen them perform and survive even in our typical midwestern clay!

It's hard to beat them for sheer durabilty!

What are "fans"?
Besides the die hard individuals who continue to follow Cincinati sports teams? Now those are fans! hehe....
Maybe those things that you put in the window to move air in the summer? :)

When speaking of Daylillies fans are the individual fan shaped plants that form the clump. When purchasing Daylily plant the rule of thumb is the more fans the bigger and more mature performance you'll get from the plant the first year. Each fan will send up a flower spike with 2 to 5 blooms depending on variety. So a three fan plant should yeild three spikes for a total of 6 to 15 blooms the first season. Some varieties multiply more rapidly than others but doubling in size from one year to the next is pretty much par for the species.

Dividing Daylillies......

The fans (yay team!) are attached to finger like roots.. Hey, finger your own fans eh?! hehe...
Any fan with fingers still attached is a viable division. Must've been a heck of a game if the the fans lose fingers huh? :)

The best performing divisions however, are those with multiple fans. Kinda makes sense since more fans usually shout, or in this case, bloom, louder than one :) The clumps can be split successfully nearly any time during the growing season but dividing while in bloom may abort the flowering for that season.

Daylillies due to their wide range of varieties (hundreds if not thousands) are a popular sepecies amoung collectors. There is a link to the American Hemerocallis society on the links page of our site at www.funkes.com.

I will also have printouts available at the front counter of the varieties we carry with descriptions of each to help you find your hearts desire amoungst our selection of about 80 or so varieties.

The common name of "Daylilly" actually comes from the fact that each flower lasts for about a day (24-36 hours). They also open up at sunrise and close up at sunset.
After the flower has polianted the bloom will drop allowing a seed pod to form. If allowed to mature and dry on the plant the pod will yeild small black seeds which seem to take forever to germinate but can be sown back into the garden or in conatiners to produce new and often different plants. Cross polination is a common form of new variety development with this species.

That's it for this beginner's guide to Daylillies which I guess could've been called "Daylliles in a nutshell". If the nut were big enough or the plants small enough I guess they'd fit.. ya think? :)

I think you'll enjoy exploring the potential for this common but often overlloked genus in your perennial garden :)

'Til next time,

Happy gardening!

Alice

 

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