Sunday, May 18, 2014

In Defense of Daylilies

Hemerocallis, the Daylily, is now placed in family Xanthorrhoeaceae, subfamily Hemerocallidoideae, and formerly was part of Liliaceae (which includes true lilies). It's enough to make your head bizzy, trying to sort out all the families.

 These two are either Kent's Favorite II or Superlative. I tend to forget because they look so much alike. I have a seedling that also looks like them, but keep it in a spot where I can remember which is it.
 The local Daylily Society had a show and sale last weekend. I decided to stay home because I would be so tempted to buy lots and lots of fans for which there was no space prepared. When I list all my daylilies, there are plenty for my purposes. Daylilies are so easily propagated. There would have been fancy cultivars available at reasonable cost with ruffles and eyes and all kinds of interest. Sigh.
 Sammy Russell, an old landscape favorite because of its tendency to bloom for a long time. Little Sammy was mis-labeled when I bought him. He was supposed to be something big and showy. 

This larger darker red, probably a relative of Sammy was here before me. MIL called it 'my red Daylily' which is a good garden name. I call it 'Old Red' but it isn't a dog.

Little Business is as near to the color of Knockout Roses as I've found in a Daylily and a perfect size for edging.

Siloam Ury Winniford. I call it by a garden name of 'Miss Winnie' in honor of my dear friend Winifred. I am quite sure of my identification; something yellow was listed on the tag when I bought it. 


Two views of Salmon Sheen. It must be only a few generations away from the ditch lily or H. fulva but is a well-behaved evergreen prolific grower. Registered in 1950, it won the Stout Medal in 1959. I plant Salmon Sheen with Hydrangeas for contrast with blue and with Echinacea where the golden centers of Coneflowers pick up the color of the Daylily.

My favorite yellow, Brocaded Gown. Another favorite yellow, Elysian Fields, has already bloomed and I failed to make a pic. Elysian Fields is fragrant.

A true Lily just to point up the difference. True Lilies grow from a bulb, a single stalk with leaves up the length of the stem and buds at the top. The blooms last for days, rather than opening for only a day. The stamens are bigger and more prominent. Not all lilies are fragrant but some have a very pronounced scent. 

The season is just beginning here for both Lilies and Daylilies. I look forward to every blossom. Lilies have a shorter season, extended by planting different types: Asiatic Lilies, Longiflorum/Asiatic hybrids, Oriental, Regale and Oriental/Trumpet lily Hybrids. Somehow some of the LA Lilies beat the Asiatics.

Inner View Daylily.

These are the early season bloomers. Most will rebloom and put on new scapes all summer. 

I want to see and hear about your Daylilies, True Lilies, too.


  1. I love both lilies and daylilies. I bought a bunch of daylilies online a couple of years ago, with no plan really. They were on sale, which is hard to resist, and I ended up just throwing them all into a bed together, then last year I separated them all and scattered them throughout the entire garden. Ours won't start blooming for a while. I don't think I got photos of them last year, although I think they all bloomed. I'll have to take care to get good pics this year.

  2. I went a little daylily crazy after we moved into our current house - my old garden was too shady for them. I inherited 40+ clumps of an unknown red-orange dormant variety, which I think you suggested might be 'Sammy Russell.' I've since collected almost a dozen evergreen and semi-evergreen varieties. I also acquired my first oriental lilies and they've done so well, I'm unsure why I didn't pick up more this year. Plants can be addictive...

  3. You are ahead of me on the lilies of all kinds...

    I do see some buds on the early ones but the true lilies aren't even that advanced.

    I had way too many Kwanza but can't bring myself to eliminate them.
    I should transfer them to the front ditch and maybe that would take care of my weed problem out there.

  4. Daylilies are the main reason I could never limit my garden to native plants only. I have dozens of different varieties. It's too early to have any in bloom, but I noticed a flower scape on the early rebloomer, Happy Returns. I love the crescendo each summer from the first scapes to the first blooms, to suddenly daylilies everywhere! Thanks for sharing yours while I'm waiting. -Jean


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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