Plant at a Glance: Daylily
Common Name: Daylily
Botanical Name: Hemerocallis spp.
Hardiness: Most daylilies are hardy in Zones 3–9.
Conditions: Daylilies grow best in full sun to partial shade. Plant daylilies in spring in well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter, such as compost. Water well, especially when they are in bloom. Mulch to help preserve moisture in the soil and control weeds. Pests are not a serious problem. The plants grow quickly and should be divided every few years—it’s a great opportunity to share your favorites with friends.
Flowers: Flower size is 3 to 5 inches across or more. Daylilies produce many showy blooms over a long period in summer, and many new daylilies are rebloomers, flowering prolifically in early summer and then periodically through the season. Each showy flower lasts only one day, but a flower scape holds multiple buds, and the bloom season might last weeks—or months, if you have a collection of early, midseason, late, and reblooming cultivars. Most open in the morning and last all day, but a few daylilies begin to open in the evening and bloom all night. Some reblooming cultivars produce flowers into the fall, up until frost.
Colors: The flowers can be flaming red, vivid yellow, tropical orange, pale pastel pink, or almost any variation of these, with smooth or ruffled edges. Bicolors are popular, too. There are thousands of daylily cultivars.
Foliage: Daylilies have lush, strappy green leaves. Some daylilies are evergreen, but usually the leaves die to the ground in winter. Flower scapes typically stand from 6 to 60 inches tall.
Best features: Daylilies are vigorous perennials known for their long bloom season and dramatic flowers. They grow in luxuriant clumps, and a single healthy plant blooms profusely. Designing with them is a pleasure. Daylilies are good companions for other sun-loving perennials.
Cost: You can buy excellent daylilies for $5–$10 a plant. Daylily enthusiasts and hybridizers sometimes pay hundreds of dollars for a division.
Have a bite: Daylily buds and flowers are edible. Try them chopped in a salad, or stuff the flowers with herbed goat cheese.
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