Hemerocallis or daylily is a perennial plant that grows trumpet like flowers on stems that rise above large clumps of leaves. The long strap like leaves create a mounding plant. Each leafless flower stem, called a scape, will have multiple flower buds. Each flower bud will open and bloom in one day, hence the common name, daylily. The fibrous roots grow thick and intertwined.
Botanical and Common Name: Daylilies have the scientific name Hemerocallis but are usually called daylilies.
Plant Category: Daylilies are perennial plants.
Companion Plants: Daylilies are an excellent plant selection for butterfly gardens, so gardeners can combine them with other plants that attract butterflies.
Bloom Time and Color: Daylily blooms can be almost any color and are available in bicolor or tricolor. Daylilies begin blooming in late spring with the latest blooming cultivars beginning their flowering weeks in midsummer or late summer.
Seasons of Interest: Daylily plants flower from spring through fall.
Foliage: The strappy, grass-like foliage is also considered semi-evergreen as it stays colorful year round in moderate climates.
Zone: Daylilies are hardy from USDA zones 3-9. Gardeners should check with local or regional growers for specific cultivar names that have good success. Plants grown in warmer climates, unaccustomed to very cold regions, may need additional care to survive.
Growth Habit: Daylilies grow in large grass-like clumps of leaves with several flowering stems rising up over the foliage.
Dimensions: Daylily plants are available anywhere from 1 to 5 feet tall and about 1 to 3 feet wide.
Light: Daylilies grow in full sun but will tolerate part shade.
Soil: They like moist well-draining soil amended with organic matter. Daylilies will tolerate difficult soil conditions such as heavy clay or competition with tree roots. Established plants will tolerate temporary drought conditions, although a layer of organic mulch will improve success.
Fertilizing: Daylilies require minimum fertilizer for flowering and are healthier when dug, divided and replanted approximately every three years. Daylilies will grow quickly, easily filling in garden space.
Maintenance: Divide daylily clumps every two or three years to keep them flowering at their peak. Gardeners should also provide even moisture throughout the growing season, however, daylilies are not fussy plants so little other maintenance is needed.
Pests or Diseases: Daylily plants have few pests or diseases to worry about and none are major problems.
Propagation Methods: Plant breeders develop new cultivars by growing daylilies from seed, however most gardeners prefer to purchase plants already one or two years old for immediate blooming. Propagation through division is another great way for gardeners to obtain inexpensive plants for their gardens.
Hybrids are daylilies with inventive names, called cultivars, like ‘Stella de’Oro,’ ‘Barbara Mitchell’ or ‘Dill Pickles.’ They are the result of work by hybridizers who use the diploid or tetraploid chromosomes to create new daylily hybrids.
Dwarf, miniature, spider and unusual form daylilies were developed using the criteria established by daylily hybridizers . For instance, the length of their petals determines spider daylilies. The individual petals must be four times or more long as they are wide.
An unusual form daylily will have petals that look folded, curled or tubular shaped and can be curled or wider at the end of the petal. These characteristics must be found on at least three petals or three sepals. Gardeners who like spiders or unusual forms of daylilies like the showy dance they give to a flower garden.
The term miniature daylily refers to the flower that must be three to four and one-half inches in diameter. Dwarf daylilies require a scape of up to 12 inches tall. These daylilies are useful for small gardens or in container gardening.
Daylilies have been popular for a long time for good reasons: colorful flowers, easy care, fun to grow, long-lasting flowering season, and hundreds of daylily choices to choose from. There are so many reasons to try growing a daylily plant that everyone should try a plant or two. In fact, some gardeners plant their entire garden only in daylilies and with so many options, that would never get boring.