Daylilies, or Hemerocallis, are perennials with fleshy, bulb-like roots that are so incredibly easy to grow and super hardy, it is no wonder that nurseries have hybridized and expounded on a dizzying assortment of colors, shapes, forms and sizes for our enjoyment! Tough as nails, highly adaptable and so easy for the novice gardener to use when first getting started!
The name Hemerocallis translates from the Greek language and means 'beauty for a day' and from there we get Daylily since each flower only lasts for 1 day.
Daylilies bloom in the summertime. A typical ‘scape’, or the stem with the flowers, can bloom anywhere between 1 week and 1-½ months. Each bloom takes its turn in the spotlight, before fading and letting the next in line take its place.
They are among the first green to begin sprouting in the spring, forming fountains of arching graceful green blades of foliage that create mounds of long elegant leaves.
All parts of the Daylily plants are edible though the flowers are most often used as a garnish or the buds stuffed and fried. Flower buds may be cooked and are said to taste something like green beans. The flower petals can be used in salads and are quite tasty. Usually considered a survival food source, they’re not meant to be used in large quantities. Older blooms may cause some gastrointestinal discomfort, so as always CAUTION is advised if you are new to eating them!
Hemerocallis differ from Lilies as they do not grow from ‘true’ bulbs. The genus is comprised of about 20 species plus there are literally hundreds of named varieties. Daylilies now exhibit a color array in oranges, yellows, pinks, purples, salmons, some near white and many other combinations. More are being hybridized every year so the color options of this plant just keep growing!
Typical Daylily has 3 long petals and 3 similar sepals that fan out in a starburst, similar to other lilies. Each bloom is among several buds that take turns opening. Usually all one color or with a band that separates the eye from the petal tips. These can be in a fantastical array of color combinations that can make your head spin!
Double petalled forms such as Night Embers Daylily and Moses' Fire Daylily in burning red double blooms and the creamy yellow dream Siloam Peony Display Daylily. Then there are the broad petals of the Rainbow Rhythm® selections!
Growing in an incredibly wide range of growing zones, the cold-hardiest are:
These can tolerate down to USDA zones 2 arctic winter conditions and cold, then these same plants can grow up to zone 9 heat and summers with just as much ease!
While other selections handle zones 10 with ease:
Just give hot growing zone Daylilies an extra thick layer of mulch and some afternoon shade to look their best throughout the worst of the summer’s sun.
Often utilized for commercial landscaping use because of their endurance and hardiness to all sorts of environmental adversity. This means they’ll thrive in the cushy garden conditions you have in your home landscape with ease! Go ahead and plant them along a walkway or your driveway, they’ll shrug off salt and be brushed passed. Plant them along that hell-strip by the road, they’ll still look spectacular!
Use them in xeric plantings and throughout your firewise landscape designs! Plus they’re one of the few plants that tolerate Juglone from Black Walnut Trees!
In the home garden, they are useful in the butterfly and perennial flower border, for massing and planting in long rows as a graceful edging as their lovely foliage spills over garden edges. These same spilling abilities and graceful filler make Daylily ideal in large pots, patio planters and porch containers!
Their slow spreading and clumping habit makes them wonderful groundcover and ideal for use on hard-to-mow hillsides and slopes. Quickly forming a dense mat in just a few years.
In early spring remove any remaining debris from the clump before the plant begins to green up.
Daylilies are so versatile that they perform under almost all conditions except in heavy waterlogged soils. They are happiest in soil that is rich and moist. Once established, their roots are surprisingly drought-tolerant and can handle harsh conditions for a decent amount of time!
The plants require a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight per day, although they will prefer full sunlight. They flower more profusely in a bright sunny area but they will tolerate quite a bit of shade and heat.
There are 2 important things you should remember to do for your Daylilies to keep them healthy and stress-free.
Early spring is a great time to divide your plants! Even after the June bloom they can be cut back and divided, and others like to divide them in early fall so they have plenty of time to re-establish. In a pinch, Daylilies can be divided most anytime as long as they are carefully watered after planting.
Because of their clump-forming nature, Daylilies are one perennial that appreciates being divided every few years to maintain a foot-wide clump. When Daylily clumps get too wide they lose some vigor and may reduce flowering, crowding out the stems and roots in the center of the mound. So to keep them stress-free, get your spade out and reduce the size of the clump every few years.
This of course just means more plants for you to use elsewhere in your garden, or to give to a friend!
Larger clumps can be divided by slicing down into an existing clump with a sharp shovel and only removing part without disturbing the entire clump. Dividing them can be done in early spring just as they come out of dormancy, or you can wait until they are done blooming in late summer and then divide them then as well.
Daylilies are very forgiving when it comes to transplanting. The next step is actually transplanting your divided or new Daylilies! When transplanting, it is important to make sure that the new location is prepared to provide the best growing conditions for the life of these long-lived plants.
The plant should be given ample room to have its roots spread out and be very careful not to plant them any deeper than they were originally growing in the large clump. The roots should be spread out into the hole and, backfilled around the plant and then completely soak the soil well to avoid any air pockets. We prefer filling the hole with water and letting it drain, then once your roots are planted, water again until it pools, let it soak in completely, tamp down the soil around the planting area gently, then water again until you see water pooling. This thoroughly hydrates the soil around your new transplant.
Then, of course, Daylily and any new or established plant, appreciate a 3-4 inch thick layer of mulch around the roots to hold that moisture in, protect the roots and insulate them from heat and chill!
Nearly impossible to kill, available in all shapes and sizes, fantastic color options and landscape versatility? What are you waiting for?
Let NatureHills.com help you pick out the new Daylily for your garden, or go ahead and indulge by starting your own Daylily collection today!
Which Daylily do you have growing? Let us know in the comments and as always, don’t hesitate to reach out to our knowledgeable horticultural staff with any questions or concerns you ever have about gardening!