Hemerocallis is the genus name for daylilies. In the Greek words that this term is derived from it translates to “beautiful day”. This is a fitting name for a group of plants with beautiful blooms that each last 24 hours, hence daylily. The plant is native to Asia including the eastern countries of China, Japan, and Korea. There are over 80,000 registered cultivars so you have a lot of choices! Plant breeders love generating new cultivars.
At the garden center I think that some customers lack interest in the plant because the bloom length of each flower is short. But with multiple flower buds on each stalk or scape, the total bloom time is generally around 3 to 4 weeks. Some varieties even have the potential to re-bloom if the weather cooperates and you cut off the spent scapes. I frequently hear customers requesting plants with low maintenance requirements so this is a group to consider if that is what you are looking for. Customers trying to maintain lake properties or areas of their property that may not get as much attention should definitely consider them for their show of color mid-summer.
Daylilies are tough plants that will grow well in many different conditions and are quite hardy during our winters. The only color not yet produced is blue in their flowers. Their ideal growing conditions include full sun and moist, rich soil with a lot of organic matter. They will tolerate some dry conditions, however, and don’t have to have perfect soil. Mulch will go a long way to help them retain their moisture. They have very few pests but can struggle with aphids and spider mites at times. They are also not highly prone to disease.
Those of you who like to explore using edible flowers may want to pursue the Hemerocallis citrina species as they are edible and frequently used in Chinese cuisine. They can often be found fresh or dried in Asian markets. (Of course, if you grow your own, be sure to limit your use of chemicals on the plant as it is grown for food safety.)
Many kinds of daylilies form clumps of shoots that get more crowded as time goes on. About every 3 years you can dig them up, separate the shoots and replant smaller groups to reduce the crowding. This usually improves the bloom power of most cultivars. You can share the rest with your garden buddies! Sit back and enjoy their mid-summer beauty!
This article is sponsored by McNamara at Sand Point, which has 2 acres of production greenhouses, retail florist and gift shop, as well as retail garden center and wholesale plant business. Contact McNamara by calling 260-747-4131 or visit 4322 DeForest Ave, Ft. Wayne, IN 46809.