More Daylilies?

I know it seems crazy to think about adding more daylilies to your garden, but for me, it is not a stretch. Back in 2000 when I first thought about becoming a landscape designer, I constantly studied plant materials and their use in American landscapes. Here is what I noticed: Americans have a love affair with simple, uninteresting plants. These include boxwoods, yews, junipers, hostas, yellow daylilies, upright grasses, and hybrid maple trees. While this statement is not true for everyone and every species, we have a real problem here.

‘Stella D’Oro’ daylily is one of the most overused landscape plants in North America

The overuse of daylily ‘Stella D’Oro’ and others like it led to my habit of not using any daylilies in either my designs or my home landscape. As a designer, nurseryman, and plant care specialist, I cannot stand Stella daylilies. Also, they are not good rebloomers, but only decent. In July and August we cut Stellas to the ground to encourage new growth and flowering in September. 

Daylilies have edible flowers and flower buds

However, there is a lot to be said for daylilies. I now have several varieties in my own garden, however, none are yellow. Daylilies are adaptable. They can grow in a wide range of conditions, from sun to part shade, in well-drained to heavy clay soils. They are drought tolerant. Many are rebloomers. They are pollinator friendly and the flowers and flower buds are edible. I have tried the flower buds and find them to taste like garden peas. There are tall and short ones and can be used in borders, massings, in the back of gardens, and much more!

Daylilies come in a wide range of colors

Would I recommend daylilies? Yes, but not ‘Stella D’Oro’. There are over 1200 varieties of daylilies, if you can find them. There are huge university collections of daylilies given by daylily collectors and societies. They come in every color but blue and pure black. Many are multi-colored. In my own garden, I have added red, red/orange, and several purple and multi-colored varieties. In 2019 I will be looking to add several red varieties to a new garden bed for red flowers. 

The author has added several purple flowering daylilies to his gardens

Choosing a daylily is easy when you know your favorite colors or the color scheme of your garden, and you have a good nursery like Grimm’s Gardens nearby. We carry several cultivars of daylilies, including the dreaded Stella for those who just have to have it. But you can also get daylily starts from friends and neighbors. A “fan” is a single set of leaf blades attached to some roots of the plant. These fans are easy to separate from a large clump of daylilies. It may take 2 years for the new plant to be ready for flowering, but it is any easy way to go.

 

Happy planting!

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