Daylilies:  Beauty for a Day

Hemerocallis, the generic classification of daylilies means ‘beauty for a day.’ Each flower only lasts a day, but there are many buds to open on multiple stalks, or scapes, for a long succession of bloom. 

Hemerocallis x 'Hyperion'Hemerocallis x 'Hyperion'

These perennials are very versatile.  They can be used in mass groupings, or as individual specimens in the mixed perennial border.  They come in many sizes from tiny miniatures to large blooms of over 5” wide.  The grassy foliage is neat and attractive all season.  The color range is astounding from near white, cream, melon, orange, pink, rose, red, purple, wine to almost black.  The only colors eluding hybridizers are true white and blue—and they will probably achieve those.  And the patterns and color combinations of recent introductions are incredible.  It’s hard to imagine that all this variation has come from crossing a few species, and then re-crossing selected cultivars.  No wonder daylily hybridization is so popular!   Everyone wants to find that next break-through.

The ranking of diploid or tetraploid refers to the genetic makeup of a particular cultivar.

Tetraploid means that the cultivar has four sets of chromosomes in each cell causing sturdier growth, larger flowers, more budscapes and greater vigor.

Diploid means that there are two sets of chromosomes in each cell.  Diploids make up the majority of daylilies and are said to be easier to cross.

There are thousands of cultivars available in almost any size, shape and color to work with any garden scheme or location.  To choose your favorites, visit local garden centers, botanical gardens, online specialists, and daylily growers at the peak of bloom.  For more information, the American Daylily Society has an excellent, information-packed website, www.daylilies.org.

A Few Choice Daylilies

‘Autumn Minaret’ is a very tall cultivar (to 66”), and the orange-yellow, narrow-petaled flowers with darker eye zone blooms from mid-summer into fall. 

Hemerocallis x 'Autumn Minaret'Hemerocallis x 'Autumn Minaret'

‘Edith Sliger’ is a lovely rose pink with wide very ruffled petals edged in gold.  Tetraploid, semi-evergreen.

Hemerocallis x 'Edith Sliger'Hemerocallis x 'Edith Sliger'

‘Fairy Tale Pink’ was the Stout Silver Medal Winner 1990, the highest daylily award.  Pink self with green throat, ruffled petals and sepals.  Diploid, semi-evergreen.

Hemerocallis x 'Fairy Tale Pink'Hemerocallis x 'Fairy Tale Pink'

‘Francis of Assisi.’  One from the Trophytaker® series of daylilies, ‘Francis of Assisi’ is a lovely bright wine red with a white picotee edge and green throat.  This semi-evergreen tetraploid is very vigorous.

Hemerocallis x 'Francis of Assisi'Hemerocallis x 'Francis of Assisi'

‘Joan Senior’ is a near-white self with green throat often used by hybridizers in the search for the elusive pure white daylily.  Diploid, evergreen.

Hemerocallis x 'Joan Senior'Hemerocallis x 'Joan Senior'

‘Nosferatu’ is another of the Trophytaker® series of daylilies.  Very strong and vigorous, this semi-evergreen tetraploid is a deep purple self with chartreuse throat and very heavy substance.

Hemerocallis x 'Nosferatu'Hemerocallis x 'Nosferatu'

‘Palace Garden Beauty’ is a ruffled lavender with white midribs and darker lavender watermark and yellow throat.  Evergreen, tetraploid.

Hemerocallis x 'Palace Garden Beauty'Hemerocallis x 'Palace Garden Beauty'

‘Persian Pattern’ has a simpler form that harkens back to the species, but yellow and purple bitone adds a striking chevron pattern on the petals and fainter echo on the sepals.  Diploid, dormant.

Hemerocallis x 'Persian Pattern'Hemerocallis x 'Persian Pattern'

‘Red Rooster’ struts its bright red color with panache.  This late season bloomer is tetraploid and goes dormant in winter.

Hemerocallis x 'Red Rooster'Hemerocallis x 'Red Rooster'

‘Royal Frosting’ is from the Trophytaker® series of daylilies.  A pale cream near-white self, with green throat, ruffled and diamond-dusted.  It is early to open and late to close in the evening.  ‘Joan Senior’ is in its parentage.  Diploid, dormant.

Hemerocallis x 'Royal Frosting'Hemerocallis x 'Royal Frosting'

‘Ruffled Apricot’ was the Stout Silver Medal Winner for 1982.  Beautiful apricot self that glows in the garden.  Tetraploid, dormant.

Hemerocallis x 'Ruffled Apricot'Hemerocallis x 'Ruffled Apricot'

‘Strawberry Candy’ was the Stout Silver Medal Winner for 1998.   Unusual strawberry-pink with striking darker eyezone.  Tetraploid, semi-evergreen.

Hemerocallis x 'Strawberry Candy'Hemerocallis x 'Strawberry Candy'

‘Temple Goddess’ is a soft peach ruffled self with golden throat.  Tetraploid, evergreen.

Hemerocallis x 'Temple Goddess'Hemerocallis x 'Temple Goddess'

‘Winning Ways’ was the Stout Silver Medal Winner 1974.  This is probably the oldest plant in my garden having come with me on several moves over the years.  It is a large soft yellow self with somewhat recurved petals and sepals.  Diploid, dormant.

Hemerocallis x 'Winning Ways'Hemerocallis x 'Winning Ways'

Zee’s Dot’ is a cute miniature yellow self with blooms of about 1 ¾’ in a rounded shape.

Hemerocallis x 'Zee's Dot'Hemerocallis x 'Zee's Dot'

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