Growing Daylilies

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This article provides information and helpful tips for planting and growing daylilies.
by Brett · Zone 4A · -30° to -25° F to Zone 10A · 30° to 35° F · Growing Basics · 3 Comments · June 28, 2010 · 5,813 views

Daylily Stella De Oro BloomDaylilies are truly bullet-proof plants as they are most likely the easiest of all perennials to grow. They are resistant to most pests and diseases, they are drought tolerant, and they can take lots of abuse while continuing to happily grow and bloom.

Their genus name, Hemerocallis, means "beautiful for a day" in Greek, hence the name day lily. The blooms only last a day, but thankfully each plant puts forth continuous flowers over the course of several weeks. Some newer varieties, such as Stella De Oro, rebloom throughout the season.

Daylilies originated in East Asia and have been cultivated for thousands of years. They were first mentioned in a Chinese text by Chi Pai in 2697 BC. At that time they were grown as a food source, later used as an herbal medicine for increased willpower, and then for their beauty as a gift. In the 16th century, they were brought to Europe to be traded like tulip bulbs. In the 1920's Dr. Stout of the New York Botanical Garden brought many species to the United States through his associate in China, Dr. Steward. Dr. Stout started modern hybridization and began the knowledge base for growing daylilies today. Now, there are more than 40,000 registered varieties of daylilies in the commercial trade and they come in a vast assortment of colors, sizes and forms.

The colors of the first cultivated daylilies were only yellow, gold or orange, but now hybrids come in a myriad of colors and color combinations. They can be found in shades of almost all colors - red, pink, apricot, tan, purple, near-white and lavender. All colors except pure blue exist, as solid blue is the Holy Grail of daylily breeding and has yet to be attained. The hybrid flowers vary in size by variety and can range from 1 inch to nearly 8 inches in diameter. Varieties like 'Mini-Stella' (1" blooms) are considered to be miniatures, other small varieties such as 'Little Business' (3" blooms) are considered small flowered and large varieties like 'Yellow Mammoth' and 'Big Bird' (7" plus blooms) are called giants. Also, flowers of new varieties come in many forms. They can be simple single blooms such as the well known 'Stella de Oro,' double flowers like 'Siloam Double Classic' which can look like a carnation, spiders with elongated petals like 'Spiderman,' or unusual forms (UFOs) such as the recent award winning variety 'Primal Scream.'


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Nancy Badertscher

Nancy Badertscher · Gardenality Seed · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Is it typical that daylilies get a fair number of brown leaves, or is it an indication of a problem with them? Can you remove them without harming the plants?

7 years ago ·
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Gardenality.com

Gardenality.com · Gardenality Genius · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Yes, as with many other perennials and shrubs, the older leaves of many daylilies will naturally turn brown, especially after expending the energy to produce a flush of blooms. Daylilies can be "cleaned up" any time of year. Removing brown leaves and spent flower stems after all the buds have opened and finished blooming will often allow daylilies to repeat bloom. Of course, some varieties, such as Stella De Oro, repeat flower whether cleaned up or not. This being said, browning of leaves could be caused from environmental factors such as lack of or too much moisture in the soil, disease or insects. Make sure to provide supplemental water during prolonged period of dry weather, especially when plants are budded and in flower. I haven't had many problems with insects on daylilies but some varieties are prone to rust. Check the leaves to make sure there aren't orange spots on them. Whenever purchasing daylilies make sure to check the leaves closely for rust and don't buy if you find it.

7 years ago ·
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Nancy Badertscher

Nancy Badertscher · Gardenality Seed · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Thanks for the reply to my question, and the extra info in your article on daylilies. I might be needing to add them to our plants sooner rather than later!

7 years ago ·
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