(Our guest in The Neighborhood Garden today is Pat Underwood.  Pat was Plant Manager of Sam Hill Gardens in Malcolm, NE until 2009 and is a former Master Gardener.)








            “If you want to cover a lot of ground, include daylilies in your landscaping plan," she said. "But I don't like daylilies," I said. 

          You've seen them, haven't you?  They're those tall orange flowers that grow everywhere in country ditches.

          I saw nothing special about daylilies 30 years ago, but my husband, Dan, and I were taking a landscaping class, trying to figure out what to do with our 7+ acre weed patch besides just planting a wind break.  Our acreage seemed to own us back then instead of the other way around so I was willing to try just about anything to make my country life easier--even daylilies.

                   I knew daylilies were a perennial--plant once and forget.  I knew daylilies were relatively low maintenance--water during dry spells.  I knew daylilies had few pests--even grasshoppers like other things more.  And I also knew daylilies were orange.

                   I've learned a few things since I started growing daylilies.  Myths do exist.  Last week I wrote about three of the common myths. Today we will look at 3 more. Let's see if you have heard any of these.


MYTH NO. 4:  Daylilies love full sun.

                   Not exactly true.  It is true daylilies are considered a "full sun to partial shade" plant.  That classification does not mean, however, that daylilies MUST be in full sun all day long.  Any time a plant is classified as full sun, it simply means the plant needs a minimum of six hours of sun a day.  At the Gardens, we had some daylilies in full sun all day long; some got only morning sun; and some were planted under evergreens and deciduous trees and received filtered sun.  What they have in common is they get at least six hours of sun a day.

                   Many cultivars of daylilies, particularly the pinks, do very well in full sun all day long.  But dark colored blooms (i.e., reds, purples) prefer a little afternoon shade, thank you very much.  Without some relief from the sun, these dark blossoms tend to "overheat" and loose color.  They fade, look washed out and just plain drag. 

                   A striking plant in all-day sun is Brass Cup.  With its smooth, sturdy texture and color blend of brass, yellow and red, it seems to glow at dusk, calling to you to come and rewarding you for your attention with a wonderful fragrance.


MYTH NO. 5:  Daylilies don't bloom very long.

                   If there is a major downfall of daylilies, it is the blooms last only one day.  Because of that they don't make a particularly good cut flower even though I've seen fantastic floral arrangements incorporating daylilies created by floral arranger and master gardener, Hope Robb. 

                   An established plant, though, can be in bloom for several weeks.  It depends on the cultivar and the bud count.  Some seasons we would see exceptionally high bud count, which I attribute to the previous season’s snow falls and lots of spring rains. 

                   While most daylilies open early in the morning for the early-to-rise, early-to-bed bunch, some cultivars actually start to open early evening and don't close until the next day.  These guys are for us night people.

                   One advantage to having daylilies in your garden over some other perennials such as iris is that different daylily cultivars bloom at different times.  Because of this characteristic, you can find cultivars that bloom in June or July or August or September.  With careful selection, you can have plants blooming all summer long.

                   Some cultivars, called repeat bloomers, bloom more than once during the growing season.  The commonly used one here is Stella de Oro.  I have seen it bloom as early as April and still have blooms in October.  Another good choice is Happy Returns.


MYTH NO. 6:  I don't like daylilies.

                   I must admit that it didn't take me long to change my mind about daylilies.  With my first shipment came a catalog filled with beautiful 4-color pictures of striking, incredible daylilies.  I didn't get the ultimate ground cover for my acreage; instead I have beautiful blooms in a wide range of colors, with low maintenance and few pests.  A visit to the any daylily garden during peak bloom time will show you, without question, that not all daylilies are orange.

Happy gardening.

Copyright 2011