In my gardening blogs I always try to keep it simple for beginners. With this in mind I decided to start a series of blogs on different flowers for the garden. I couldn’t think of a better place to start then with a plant that is not only easy to grow, but comes in thousands of varieties, types and colors.
The humble Daylily, or Hemerocallis, has to be my favorite plant. I have grown thousands of these over the years, including around six hundred different named varieties. I also dabbled in hybridizing them.
For now I’m going to discuss how to plant, grow and propagate them and which ones I consider to be the ’12 best daylilies to grow in your garden.
What Is A Daylily?
The Modern Daylily is a highly developed fibrous rooted hardy perennial. It isn’t a bulb, tuber or rhizome, as often thought. It’s botanical name Hemerocallis, is a Greek word meaning ‘beauty for a day’.
The Daylily originated from Asia and was used there for both food and medicine. The flower from this plant can be used fresh in salads or sauteed and utilized in Asian dishes.
The plants flowering season extends from early spring to Autumn with early, mid, and late species available. In our own garden we have different varieties that bloom continually for months on end.
Daylilies come in an enormous range of colors, shapes and sizes, including singles, doubles, mini’s and spiders. They are an extremely adaptable plant that can be grown in most conditions from cold to tropical climates.
In a previous garden we owned in the mountains, we grew dormant, semi dormant (or semi ever green) and evergreen varieties. All worked well in the conditions we provided them. However, its better to get some expert help when deciding which types to purchase for your gardens. For Example, dormant varieties would not do well in hot climates and evergreen types may struggle in very cold climates.
Established clumps of daylilies are fairly maintenance, disease, and pest free, and can often withstand droughts and floods. Although, they can be grown in most garden situations I recommend that you place them in an area where they will receive at least six hours of sunlight.
Like most plants, they prefer a fairly rich, well drained soil, or at least one that has had manures, compost or fertilizers added.
How To Grow Daylilies:
There are a number of ways to propagate the hemerocallis plant. I have listed several methods below:
Some types have ‘pups’ grow on the scapes of the flowers. Pups are little plantlets that can be removed once you notice a small white root developing underneath.
Sometimes they have difficulty producing these roots, it is possible to encourage them to develop by tying some peat moss, or core to the base of the little plant using a piece of stocking to keep it in place. If you keep the area moist the roots should grow quickly.
Plant the pups in a pot or tray using good quality potting mix. Once they have grown a good root system you can transplant them into your garden beds.
Your plants should multiply every year, if you started with one plant you could have up to twenty plants in about four years time. For the health of the plant or if you’re after rapid development of numbers, you should divide the clump every three to four years.
There are several ways to do this.
a). Push a sharp spade through the clump twice, cutting it up into quarters. You can then leave one quarter where the original plant was placed and plant the other clumps anywhere that suits you in the garden, or give some to friends. Make sure you give each clump, including the original, a half a shovel of a good quality compost mixed with aged animal manures.
b). Dig out the complete clump and carefully take it apart, separate each plant from the next one using a sharp knife. Please be careful when using sharp implements. Cut the foliage off the top of the plants leaving about a four to six inch fans. Clean all the dirt off the roots.
At this point I like to completely submerge the fans in a container holding a mixture made up of 1 part bleach to 20 parts water. Leave the plants in this mixture for about thirty minutes. I like to place a brick or rock carefully on top of the plants to make sure they stay submerged.
By doing this you will kill any bad pathogens, fungus or rust, hence giving your daylilys the best possible start in their new location.
You can then plant them into pots, or in the garden, or give away to family and friends.
Daylilies are not only easy to grow from seed, it is also quite easy to develop your own seed bank. There are two ways to obtain your seeds.
a). Grow Your Own.
This is quite a simple procedure that is the best performed in the early morning when the flowers are just starting to open. This time is the best so that you can beat the bees and other insects from pollinating them for you. Doing this yourself gives the added benefit of having a rough idea what colors will come out. I’m not going to go into detail around this as that would become a blog on its own.
Go to the flower you wish to use as the pollinator and remove the stamen with the anther attached (see diagram below), If you haven’t arrived to early it should be full of pollen. Take this to the flower you wish to cross pollinate with and rub the anther onto the stigma, making sure the yellow pollen sticks to the end of the stigma. You can then label the plant if you like using the names of the two plants you used.
You can now leave the flower untouched, it will die and fall off (don’t be tempted to pull it off). After a few days you will notice a small green lump, this will grow into the seed pod.
Once the seed pod looks like its starting to split open, you can collect the seeds. I store mine in little zip lock bags and place them in the bottom of the refrigerator. When they start to develop a small white root, I plant them in a seed raising tray, and then eventually into pots or a seedling bed.
They will usually flower within a years time and you can then take note of any new colors you might have produced.
Now this is only a very basic description and doesn’t allow for selecting of variants, colors and types. As I said earlier, that’s for another article.
b). Buy the seeds from a reputable seller who can provide you with the details on the parent plants. This is the easiest method for a beginner gardener. Then you simply do as I mentioned above.
Now For the ’12 Best Daylilies To Grow’
There are an amazing assortments of color, varieties and types available for your selection. Some of them are absolutely spectacular. For the 12 best daylilies I have given you a list comprised of Singles, Doubles, Mini’s and spiders. These are named varieties that have been around for many years now and they are ones that I consider the best in their particular style and range.
1) Beloved Ballerina.
This large ruffled daylily has rounded petals of beige pastel colors and is an early to mid season daylily, meaning that it commences flowering early in spring.
It is an evergreen plant that will flourish in most climatic zones apart from very cold regions.
2). Cherry Eyed Pumpkin.
If you’re looking for an eye catcher in the garden, then this is the daylily for you. The scapes are tall and the flowers are a large soft orange color with a plum eyezone and gold throat.
The cherry eyed pumpkin is an early flowering plant, meaning it will greet you as one of the first daylilies to open in early spring. The plant is semi evergreen.
3). Cindys Eye.
All I can say about this gorgeous flower is WOW. This one is a real show stopper, and consists of an ivory cream color with a medium purple eyezone above green throat. The purple even appears as edging on the outside of the petals.
Cindys eye is a mid season plant so it won’t start flowering for you until mid spring. However it does rebloom around mid autumn and is a semi evergreen variety.
4). Green Widow.
This time I will be showing you my favorite spider variety. The colors are a combination of bright green and yellow with a dark green throat.
Green Widow is an evergreen spider that starts flowering in early to mid spring, on mid length scapes.
5). Jason Salter.
This cute little daylily is a mini and it develops into a spectacular clump over time. The color consists of a yellow cream with a striking etched eye pattern.
Jason salter is a medium height, evergreen plant that would look great planted just behind shorter annual plants in the garden. It is an early to mid spring variety.
6). Just Celebrate.
WOW!! is all I can say about this magnificent daylily. It was hybridized back in 1987 by Yancey and still remains one of the best of the white flowers available.
This plant is a very elegant semi evergreen white, with a green throat and flowers from early to mid spring.
7) Kents Favorite.
Kents favorite is an old time red colored plant that looks great in any garden setting. The tall scapes can grow to 28 inches in height . This one looks great as a clump when planted further into the garden bed.
If you’re looking for a hardy, early flowering, semi evergreen red, then this is the plant for you.
8). Layers Of Gold.
Layers of Gold, as the name implies, is a gorgeous gold colored double flower. The plant grows to about 24 inches in height.
This is another early to mid season evergreen plant that will rebloom later in the season, usually around mid fall (autumn).
9). Olympic Showcase.
If you’re looking for a dramatic, large flowering gold color that will brighten up any area of your garden, then this is the flower for you. It is a majestic, well ruffled, gold dusted daylily with a green throat. The flower almost seems to be illuminated during a sunny day.
Olympic showcase is a early to mid flower, semi evergreen with a medium scape length. It is also one of my favorite colors.
10). Pixies Parasol.
Here we have another cute little mini flower for you, and this one really is mini. The blooms are a pretty apricot, peach, pink tone with a green throat.
Pixie Parasol is an other Early to mid, semi evergreen daylily, with very short scapes rarely reaching to 14 inches in height. Plant this one at the front of the garden bed where everyone can admire it.
11). Reverend Traub.
Reverand Traub was hybridized way back in 1959 and is still a favorite with many landscapers. The Large golden orange flowers stand out as a great feature when mass planted.
It is a mid season, evergreen plant that has been known to rebloom when in ideal settings. Do yourself a favor and check this one out.
12). Twin Dragons.
I thought I would add another brilliant double for you to look at, and what a beauty it is. Twin Dragons is one of those ‘show stopper’ flowers that hold your attention the moment you glance at it. The superb, clear red blooms stand out like sentinels in the garden.
This Daylily is a mid season flowering plant and is an evergreen variety. The scapes are of a medium to tall length , making them an ideal clump to locate further back in the garden bed.
There you have it, the “12 Best Daylilies to Grow”
Those Daylilies above are just a small sample of the thousands of varieties available on the market. Many of these can be purchased online from Nurseries both in America and all over the world.
The list I have provided is just a basic one and I will construct a more comprehensive one in the future. Those plants that I selected are restricted to ever green and semi evergreen types as these are the ones that perform well in most climatic conditions.
However, if enough people ask me, I just might be persuaded to complete another blog with more Daylily colors and types.
Should you want any further information on daylilies please don’t hesitate to either leave a message below or on the ‘Contact Us’ page provided in the tab above.
Happy Gardening. Jim