The Daylily (Hemerocallis) is actually a herbaceous perennial found naturally in China, Korea and Japan. Over the years hybridizers have registered over 70,000 varieties. Not surprising, the modern daylily comes in many sizes, colors and forms.
Many daylilies are very hardy making them a great choice for Canadian gardeners. Modern daylilies are clump forming and have very few diseases or predators. They can be used in a variety of applications from drifts, borders or in containers.
Daylilies prefer an average to fertile soil with good drainage and adequate water. They will however perform quite well in less than ideal conditions. Most enjoy full sun (4 to 6 hours per day). Many do well in part shade, some of the darker colors remaining more intense if given dappled light. Although quite drought tolerant once established, very dry conditions will likely reduce flowering and size. A mulch of organic material in late fall or early spring is always welcomed. To maintain the plants vigor divide every 3 to 5 years depending on your growing conditions.
Daylilies can be planted from May through September spaced 1 to 3 feet apart depending on cultivar size. Loosen the soil to a depth of 12 inches and dig a hole large enough to accommodate the roots when spread out. Add compost, well rotted manure, blood or bone meal to your planting hole and mix with the soil. Form a cone at the bottom of the hole and spread the daylily roots out evenly over the cone. Water and cover the roots with soil no higher than 1 to 2 inches above the crown, where the roots and foliage meet-often shows as a white mark. Gently firm the soil around the plant, mulch lightly and keep well watered until established and new growth emerges.
Receiving Your Bare Root Daylilies
Plant your daylilies as soon as you receive them. Soak the roots in water for a few hours or overnight before planting, leaving them in a cool and shady place. Do not let them freeze or dry out. All orders receive written planting instructions.
A Quick Word About Zones
The gardening zones are not exact, many daylilies overlap and fall between the zones and many gardens have micro climates within their main zone. In general, dormant daylilies are hardier than semi evergreen daylilies and semi evergreen daylilies are hardier than evergreen daylilies. For our purposes zone 2 is the coldest zone and zone 5 is the warmest zone. Therefore:
Zone 5 plants are hardy for zone 5 and up
Zone 4 plants are hardy for zones 4 and 5 and up
Zone 3 plants are hardy for zones 3 and 4 and 5 and up
Zone 2 plants are hardy for zones 2 and 3 and 4 and 5 and up
The hardiness of many daylilies "fall into the gray zones", a fact which is often to the gardener's advantage.
These are a few of the terms used when describing daylilies:
Award - Each year several awards are given out by the American Hemerocallis Society. Categories include flower size, eye zones, forms, fragrance, performance, beauty, distinction and more. The highest award given is the Stout Silver Medal.
Band - A darker colored area just above the throat, on the petals only.
Bi-color - A flower which has petals and sepals of two different colors.
Bi-tone - A flower which has petals and sepals which are different tints of the same color. A Bi-tone has lighter sepals and darker petals.
Black or Near Black - There is no known gene in hemerocallis for the color black, black daylilies are either very dark reds or purples.
Blend - A flower with an intermingling of 2 or more colors.
Border - A different color found on the outer edges of petals and sepals.
Cascading - Narrow petals or sepals which curl.
Clump - 3 or more fans of a single cultivar.
Crispate - Pinched segments, twisting or quilling.
Crown - Where the plant roots meet the foliage, a small white core.
Diamond Dusted - Flowers which have structures that produce a glittering quality on the surface of the petals.
Diploid - A daylily plant with 22 chromosomes.
Dormant - Daylilies that loose all their foliage after frost.
Edged - A distinctly different color on the outer edges of the petals and sepals.
Edges - The outer edge of the petals and occasionally the sepals which can have knobs, braids, fringes or teeth.
Evergreen - Daylilies which keep all their foliage throughout the year. Foliage usually dies back in colder climates.
Eye Zone - A darker area on petals and sepals surrounding the throat.
Extended Bloom - A minimum of 16 hours.
Fan - A single daylily plant containing leaves, crown and roots. Within a clump each fan is genetically identical to the parent.
Halo - A lighter area surrounding the throat.
Hybrid - The offspring resulting from the cross pollination of two parent plants.
Mid Rib - A line or vein running down the middle of the petal, sepal or leaf, usually lighter.
Petal - The inner whorl of flower segments.
Picotee - A petal edge where the edge is a different color than the flower's base color.
Pods - The fruit of the daylily where seeds develop and ripen. Pods form when a daylily flower has been fertilized.
Polychrome - A flower which has petals that contain a blend of more than one color.
Recurved - The flower's petals reflex back towards the base, giving a round ball like appearance.
Scape - The whole flower stalk above the crown.
Segments - The 3 inner segments are petals and the 3 outer segments are sepals.
Self - A daylily having segments of all the same color. The throat may be different.
Semi-Evergreen - Daylilies which neither keep or loose all their foliage.
Sepal - The outer whorl of flower segments.
Spiders - Daylilies with thin long petals with at least a 4 to 1 ratio with the petal width.
Tetraploid - A daylily plant with 44 chromosomes. The doubling of the chromosomes leads to larger flowers, heavier substance and intense colors.
Throat - The inner center of the flower where the pistil and stamen join to the back of the bloom.
Unusual Forms - Daylilies whose thin petals are pinched, twisted or cascading. Often spiders.
Water Mark - A lighter area surrounding the throat, also called a halo.
Wire Edge - A very narrow contrasting petal edge.