The bell or funnel-shaped flower rises above the arching blade-like leaves born from a dense clump. The characteristics of the daylily, such as the size, color, blossom shape, and bloom period are dependent on the variety chosen. There are thousands of cultivars. Shown here is ‘Stella de Oro’ which is approximately 12 inches tall and has one of the longest bloom periods. The name simply indicates that each blossom dies at the end of the day but is replaced by another the following day.
Daylilies grow best in well drained soil that is high in organic matter but not over fertilized which will result in poor blooms and excess foliage. Bare-root plants can be set out any time during the growing season. Preferring full sun, they will tolerate partial shade and are moderately drought tolerant. Extra water or a little shade during the very hot temperatures of July will keep your plant looking nice. Removing spent blooms is encouraged for continuous flowering of many varieties. Although not required, you may consider dividing your plant in fall or early spring after 3-6 years in the ground. Cut leaves and stems to ground level each year in the fall to clean up the garden.
Hardy in Zones 4-10, daylilies have edible blossoms and attract butterflies. A very versatile plant, incorporate it into the garden as a mass, in mixed borders, on slopes, as an informal hedge or in a cluster. Good companion plants are Blue Flax, Yarrow, Blanketflower and Hyssop.
Contributed by Joan Nusbaum, Colorado Master Gardener. For answers to your horticultural questions, contact the Master Gardener Help Desk at 636.8921 or CSUmg2@elpasoco.com.
Photo courtesy of Joan Nusbaum.