Daylilies

Daylilies

Also known as: Hemerocallis

Daylilies, or hemerocallis, are one of North America's most popular garden flowers. Despite their name, they are not true lilies, but actually belong to the amaryllis family. Hemerocallis means "day beauty" in Greek, and as the name suggests, daylily blooms only last one day, but they certainly provide a riot of color for the one day that they live, and you'll see new blooms opening up the next day.

Originally grown in Asia, the Chinese used daylilies for food and medication, since different parts of the plant will relieve pain and are edible. There are centuries' worth of writings on different medical uses of the plant. The great botanist Linnaeus discovered the daylily in the 1753 and a number of new varieties and cultivars were grown in North America and England. In fact, the daylily is so prolific that it's possible to join a horticultural society and breed a cultivar unlike any other daylily in existence.

Daylilies can come in every color except pure white and blue, and have pointed pale green foliage with a showy, sometimes striped, fragrant blossom. One of the most adaptable perennials for growing, the plant can be divided many times and spread itself all over your garden. Normal flowering time for daylilies is late spring to summer.

Growing Daylilies

Daylilies should not be propagated from seed, as they don't grow true to form. However, if you do grow them from seed, plant them 12 to 48 inches apart. The plants can grow up to 48 inches high and provide a wonderful spot of color in any border garden. Daylilies can grow in any light, so don't worry about where you plant them; however, the deeper the shade, the fewer flowers will be produced. Plant them in well-drained soil that's kept moist. A word of caution about daylilies: they are extremely hard to kill and can be invasive.

Recommended Varieties

There are literally dozens of daylily varieties and colors, so what you plant depends on your taste. You can talk to your garden center professionals to pick out what varieties will do well in your garden. "Stella de Oro" is a popular variety.

Landscape Design Tips

Daylilies can be planted anywhere, but make a nice border plant. Be careful – they do spread easily, so plant them where there will be enough room for growth. Always buy more than one daylily to create a clump, rather than a spot, of color in your landscape design.

Gardening Zones

Daylilies are hardy perennials and do well in zones 2 to 9.

Problems & Pests:

Hemerocallis rarely has a problem with disease, but can be prone to rust, fungal spots and thrips, aphids, spider mites and slugs.