Dictionary of Flowers: Hemerocallis (Daylily)

Daylily (Hemerocallis) is a beautiful open trumpet type flower. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of Manuel and Flickr
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Daylily (Hemerocallis) is a beautiful open trumpet type flower. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of Manuel and Flickr

  • Hemerocallis
  • Common name: daylily
  • Family: Hemerocallidaceae
  • Category: perennial in USDA zones 3-9, check cultivars for hardiness
  • Height: 12” to 36”
  • Width: 16” to 24"
  • Sun
  • Blooms: late spring, summer
  • Growth habit: clumping. Used as a filler or thriller in container combinations
  • Maintenance: easy
  • Soil: fertile, well drained. Water regularly if grown in containers.
  • Garden uses: containers, front of border, edging plant, cutting garden
  • Diseases: fungal diseases, rot
  • Pests: generally pest free

The genus hemerocallis includes 18 species and over 60.000 registered cultivars.

They are native to China, Korea and Japan.

Most are summer bloomers.Daylilies' leaves are long, narrow and form clumps from which the flowers grow on long stems above the foliage.

Flowers only last one day. Daylilies normally bloom once in summer, but there are reblooming varieties available.

There are early, mid and late season cultivars, depending on time of bloom during the season. Daylilies are fast growers and they can bloom the first year they are planted.

Flower color and shape depends on variety, ranging from white to purple, yellows, oranges, pinks and reds. Bloom shape also depends on variety.

They all like a full sun spot in the garden that receives at least six hours of sun a day. Daylilies grow well in fertile, well drained soil, amended with compost or other organic matter.

Fertilize once in spring with a low nitrogen fertilizer. A slow release granular fertilizer works well. Fertilize again in midsummer. 

They require well drained soil, but they need to be watered consistently to produce good blooms. The scapes need to be cut down to ground level after they are finished blooming. In fall, clean up the clump by removing all the dead foliage. 

IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Daylilies can be purchased either as dormant bareroot starts in spring or fall or as full-grown divisions in spring.

Propagation can be done by division of the clump, after it has finished blooming or by seed. If growing from seed, soak seeds in a solution of hydrogen peroxide and water (1/9 ratio) to soften the seed.

Keep them in water until the root starts showing, then plant them in moist starting mix, covering seed about 1/4 inch. Keep starting mix moist. They germinate in about three to four weeks.

Place seedlings under bright light. When the seedlings reach three or four inches, they can be potted up. Transplant after all danger of frost has passed.

It takes two years for daylilies grown from seed to bloom, and because so many varieties are hybrid, new plants might not resemble the plant that produced the seeds.




IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

If pest problems appear, treat with insecticide, though daylilies are not likely to get many pest problems. If fungal diseases appear, apply fungicide to control.

Rot can happen when drainage is a problem. Correct the drainage in containers. Daylilies are deer resistant.

A few short varieties:

  • Daylily 'Happy Returns' - light yellow, eighteen inches. Early bloomer. Fragrant
  • Daylily 'Stella D'Oro' - yellow gold, one foot tall. Midseason bloomer. Fragrant
  • Daylily 'Rosy Returns' – rosey-pink, fifteen inches. Rebloomer. Fragrant
  • Daylily 'Dragon King' - red, twenty inches. Midseason bloomer. Fragrant
  • Daylily 'Little Grapette' - purplish-red. One foot tall. Early to midseason bloomer

IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Full List of Dictionary of Flowers Entries

Annuals For Containers

Perennials For Containers

Go from Achillea (Yarrow) to the Dictionary of Flowers

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