Garden Views: Daylilies – the almost perfect perennial

by Bob Vaughn

Daylilies originate from China. The scientific name is Hemerocallis. Hemera is Greek for day and kallos Greek for beauty. There are more than 70,000 registered hybrid daylilies. Many will grow in our temperate zone 3 or 4 even zone 2. Interestingly, they are not truly a lily as they don’t belong to the family lilium.

These beautiful and easy to manage flowers grow in soils from sand to clay. Organic amendment does help them flourish. Compost fills the bill nicely. Daylilies require little maintenance other than water and rain is usually enough. Dividing them every three to five years helps them remain healthy. They are relatively pest free and with so many varieties available they can have a long blooming season.

Full sun is the preferred spot but they will tolerate some shade. They are available in many sizes 12 inches to over 4 feet tall. The flower sizes are also varied from 2 inches to more than 8 inches. Round, triangular, star, double, spider and unusual shapes are available. The color scheme is almost endless ranging from near white to almost black (no true blue, but hybridizers are working on it) with many combinations, single color, blends, bicolor, bi-tones, eyes, bands and contrasting edges and ribs, to name a few. Different textures with ruffled edges and thickness of petals are also options.

You will often see daylilies along the boulevard in shopping and city centers due to their bright colors and that easy maintenance.

So look around your yard or garden to see if you can find a place for some of these versatile plants. Take care… they can be addictive.

Bob Vaughn is an Anoka County Master Gardener.

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