Daylily – Hemerocallis: Hot Summer Color

A daylily (Latin name Hemerocallis), is popular in western gardens due to its success in cold temperature gardens. Its low maintenance, easy culture attitude of performing in a wide range of soils, and living almost forever are all reasons that it’s a favorite in the west.

The distinctive strappy foliage of Hemerocallis sets it apart in the garden. The stalwart, all-season clumps of graceful, arching, grass-like leaves are attractive even without flowers, and add a contrasting garden texture.

daylily scapes and blossoms
The ready-to-open “buds” of a daylily are called “scapes.”

Stems (called scapes) loaded with buds, push above the foliage and will open into a wide trumpet of unbelievable colors. The flowers last only a day but each scape (seen in the above picture) produces a succession of flowers. Removing these scapes at the end of the blooming season is the only maintenance daylilies need. Fall clean-up of daylily foliage can be left to hungry deer who will graze the dead foliage in spring.

The hot sections of the color-wheel are the colors Daylilies bring to the garden. Most perennials bloom in the cooler shades, but not Hemerocallis. They bloom in every shade of reds, oranges, salmons, pinks and yellows.

Scarlet daylily
Daylilies are available in a rainbow of “hot” and “warm” color tones. (Image: Walters Gardens)

Hemerocallis has hundreds of garden plants that bloom in the hot color spectrum shades. Their petals can be recurved, overlapping or often ruffled. Many new varieties are labeled long-blooming and are the result of hybridization using the genetics from the first re-blooming Daylily, Stella De Oro’.

Daylily Stella de Oro
‘Stella de Oro’ is a wildly popular daylily variety in Western and high-altitude gardens.

Most re-blooming Daylilies are smaller plants with finer, more grass-like foliage and are not dependable re-bloomers in the high mountain gardens of the west. Daylilies love our intense sun where they flower more freely, but perhaps our seasons are too short. The most dependable daylilies in my gardens are long-blooming not re-bloomers. The hybrid Candy Series, particularly ‘Strawberry Candy’ blooms into August and of course ‘Stella De Oro’ will throw out a few new flowers in fall.

strawberry candy daylily
This daylily, known as “Strawberry Candy”blooms into August.
red daylily hemerocallis
These crimson daylilies will add the hot red color that is so hard to find in perennial plants. Photo: Walters Gardens

Dividing Daylilies

Propagation of Daylilies is simple. They are lily roots, not bulbs, and the plants increase by forming new shoots from the root. Division is probably only needed every five years and needs to be done in early fall. New Daylily starts divided in spring will not bloom the same year, so late-summer is a better time. You’ll learn exactly how to do it in this great video by Rose Hill Gardens:

More about Nedra Secrist