Daylilies (Hemerocallis) are great bangs for the buck. There is no way any southern garden should be without them! The genus is hemerocallis – and daylilies come in all sizes, shapes and colors. You cannot beat them for easy growing. They tolerate any type of soil, will sit all day in the full sun or not. They’ll grow in clay, sand, wet soil or dry soil. Daylilies will survive and bloom even in the worst dry, rocky soil. USDA indcates that daylilies grow in zones 3 – 10. They tolerate our heat and humidity without skipping a beat. Form can be frilly, plain, scented, small or large. Choices are pretty much endless.
It is not unusual to see the orange daylilies blooming on roadsides, completely neglected and quite common looking. This is a testament to how hardy they are! On the other hand, they can be quite exotic with double or even triple blooms, sweet fragrance, deep throats with wild color, curling petals, frilly edges. They come in all colors except blue. Their only shortcoming is that each flower opens for just one day.
Daylilies can be evergreen, semi-evergreen, or go dormant in the winter. This means they can be a good addition to a mixed border without leaving a bare spot when not in bloom. On the other hand, a dormant selection will be useful in “layered” gardens, one where daffodils might come up first and then are overgrown with daylily foliage to mask daffodils’ waning. They can bloom early in spring, mid-way through, or in late spring. They can re-bloom. If chosen carefully, a daylily show can last three months or more, and then add grassy texture to mixed borders for the rest of the year.
There is some discussion on division of daylilies with some advocating dividing them once every three years. However, this may not be necessary. While it is true that some will bloom better if divided every so often, it is also true that some never need dividing, and a drift of daylilies blooming all at once in large quantity is stunning. If you notice a decline in blooming, the daylilies need dividing and likely lifting a bit. As long as they are blooming well, leave them be. I’ve included some photos of some of my selections growing in my yard.
Vendors for daylilies are so easy to find it can be overwhelming. I’ve had very good luck with Oakes Daylilies. These daylilies arrive as very healthy plants with great root systems. The best daylilies I have in my yard have come from Singing Oakes which is near me in Blythewood, SC. The advantage to shopping there for me is these plants have been raised in my climate. I even have a daylily named after the owner of Singing Oakes, Peggy Jeffcoat. And that daylily is a beauty – its featured at the start of this post as the pale peach bloom!
A “scape” is the tall stem that the flower sits on. When you select daylilies, scape height will be indicated so you can choose tall or short daylilies. “Rebloom” and “Evergreen” will also be designated on whatever daylily you select. A catalogue or website will offer information on Early, Mid or Late season bloom, repeat bloom, evergreen, dormant or semi-evergreen. Your difficulty will be in deciding!
These little gems are an easy, sure way to add color and texture to your garden. Planted in drifts, they are stunning. Choose complimentary colors and alternate bloom times for maximum effect. They fit anywhere there is a bit of sun, including in containers. In my opinion, it is not possible to have too many!