Daylilies are delightful summer blooming herbaceous perennials that come in a rainbow of vibrant or soft colors, some double bloomers and some with long elegant petals.
Their name says it all, the flowers open every morning and bloom all day long, closing in the evening and falling off before the next morning.
But don’t despair, daylilies always have multiple buds that provide color to the garden for weeks!
All of the flowers are in parts of three, with three petals on top of the bloom and three sepals on the bottom of the blooms.
The flowers can be one color or multiple colors that match or complement.
The plants from a clump with long slender, dark- to medium-green leaves.
They are heat and drought resistant, thriving in high humidity, and grow in full sun with some thriving in part shade.
There are daylilies that bloom very early, in April or May like “Rosey Returns.”
Early daylilies bloom in May to June like “Happy Returns” a bright yellow re-bloomer.
Early mid-season plants will flower on to three weeks ahead of the time when most of the daylily cultivars bloom and mid-season is when most of the daylilies are at their peak, usually around June like “Strawberry Candy.”
Late blooming daylilies open their flowers after the peak season like “Angels Realm,” and very late daylilies will continue with the rainbow of colors in the autumn.
Knowing when a daylily blooms can help when planning the gardens for flower color that covers the full range of summer.
Some daylilies have evergreen foliage, staying green through the cold winter weather and adding green to soften the tans and browns of the dormant plants.
There are a lot of daylilies that are semi-evergreen depending on how cold the winters are, and others go dormant, allowing the gardener to clean up the old foliage in late fall.
Plant breeders are always looking for something new and, to gardeners, exciting!
New breeding has created plants that have an extended booming period with stalks that hold multiple flower buds.
Some daylilies are delightfully fragrant, while others will open in the evening, bringing even more color into the gardens.
A new favorite is daylilies that are repeat bloomers or re-bloomers.
These beautiful plants will flower early and bloom again in late mid-season like “Buttered Popcorn.”
Each daylily brings something special to the garden. Some have soft colors, others have vibrant strong colors.
Some are all on color while others have two or more colors, and some have ruffles to add texture to the flowers.
Some daylilies have diamond dust with the top of the sepals and petals sparkling in the sunshine like ‘“Marque Moon.”
One of the earliest daylilies to bloom is ‘Marked by Lydia’ with flowers that open 8 to 8 1/2 inches across that grow on strong stems that hold them up 29 inches tall.
The petals are elongated and curl under as if dancing.
Daylilies with petals longer than they are wide are called spider petals.
The three sepals are soft golden yellow with a shadow of a “V” in a soft red, while the 3 petals have a strong red purple colored “V” marking the soft yellow.
The red-purple mark is called an “eye,” and within the eye is the throat, which is lime green in “Marked by Lydia.”
The flowers are repeat bloomers, flowering again later in mid to late summer.
The foliage is semi-evergreen, and in mild winters stays green all year.
“Black Stockings” blooms in midseason when the majority of the daylilies bloom.
“Black Stockings” stand out with 6 inch blooms in rich purple black with a bright gold throat.
Both the sepals and petals are edged by the same colored ruffles to add texture and interest.
The plants are also tetraploid or a plant with four chromosomes, which gives them thicker, stronger and larger flowers that have more vivid and clear colors than the original daylilies.
The “Black Stockings” flowers are held up on sturdy stems 24 inches tall and the foliage is semi-evergreen.
“Unlock the Stars” has beautiful double flowers in a soft pink lavender color edged with elegant ruffles trimmed with gold.
Its is called a double because the plants are tetraploid, and the stamens have been bred to look like ruffled petals in the center of the flower.
The flowers are held up by 25 inch stems with multiple bud, blooming mid-season and the foliage is semi-evergreen.
Butterflies love to visit the colorful blooms of daylilies adding to the gardens delight.
With so many colors and combination of colors, so many textures and times of blooming, it may be difficult to pick out just one daylily, so plan to plant at least three to start with.
(Editor’s Note: Ginny Rosenkranz is a commercial horticulture specialist with the University of Maryland Extension.)