Get that mental picture of the ubiquitous, narrow-petaled golden daylily right out of your mind. Today’s daylilies are so much more than that.
To begin with, prepare to be bowled over with ravishing color. Cranberry red, dark purple, vivid pink, blackish-red, butterscotch, burnt orange, ivory cream, and startling combinations of other “never-before” daylily colors.
Next, check out the new hybrids’ thick, wide, waxy petals. These exciting daylilies deliver much more floral firepower the wimpy ones of yesterday. Some have double flowers, some extravagant ruffles.
You’ll also be surprised with the length of bloom season. Some new daylilies are rebloomers and can bloom right through fall.
Small Plants for Small Spaces
Consider also that the new hybrid daylilies come in compact sizes from 10- to 18-inch tall cuties such as ‘Happy Returns’, ‘Little Grapette’, ‘Little Business’, ‘Purple de Oro’, and ‘Mini Pearl’ to scaled-down 2-footers like ‘Fairy Tale Pink’ and ‘Chicago Apache’.
These are perfect plants for pots, small courtyard or patio gardens. They are also tidy plants to edge walkways and flowerbeds with.
Finally, imagine a “never-before” quality in daylilies--fragrance. Top scented varieties are ‘Daring Dilemma’, a cream-tinted pink with plum edges and centers; ‘Happy Returns’, a very floriferous dwarf yellow daylily; ‘Hyperion’, with large yellow flowers; and the magnificent, fully double, salmon ‘Siloam Double Classic’.
Daylilies are a valuable component to mixed flower borders and shrub borders. The graceful, arching, grass-like clumps are a welcome contrast to the foliage of most annuals, perennials and shrubs. The large, trumpet-shaped flowers rising well above the foliage are an excellent complement to the spikey flowers of sages, lavenders, and other summer perennials.
When the Going Gets Tough
Don’t forget that daylilies are a great choice for California gardens because they’re tolerant of extreme heat as well as partial shade, and can bear some drought when you need them to. Few perennials are as low-care, free of disease and insect problems and all-around tough.
Where to Plant
Daylilies grow and flower best in full sun but will take some shade—especially in the hottest areas. They’re not fussy about soil type but will do better in well-amended soil.
Watering & Feeding
The fleshy roots will survive drought although plants will look better and flower more with weekly watering. Feed them every other month (starting in March) with an organic rose and flower food.