By. Jill Yost
Did you realize that a daylily bloom only lasts one day? Even so, the morning treasure hunt for those cheerful, waxy blooms is a thrill I never tire of. And did you know that, with careful planning, you can enjoy continuous daylily bloom in your garden for three to four months?!
When buying daylilies, do your research. It’s easy to be beguiled by a pretty face or the term ‘rebloom’. You also need to consider foliage, bud count, branching, bud placement, increase and bloom period.
The Daylily Database at the American Daylily Society webpage will help you research the information provided by a plant’s hybridizer. By the way, buying from hybridizers or reputable nurseries is recommended since many box stores sell tissue cultured plants which may not be true. Also keep in mind that plants introduced by southern hybridizers often lose bud count, rebloom, and hardiness when planted further north. So northerners need to avoid many of the plants whose foliage is categorized as ‘Evergreen’ in the database. It’s safe to buy hardy ‘Dormants’.
‘Herbgirls Cherry Moonshine’ is a great example of a plant that will give you a lot of ‘bang for your buck’. It is a dormant with a bud count of 40 and consistent rebloom. Each plant is capable of producing 80 blooms! 5 way branching (Daylily scapes can be branched like trees.) helps to insure good bud placement. What good are 40 blooms if they are crowded on two branches and don’t open properly? Good increase means that fans multiply quickly, yielding more scapes per fan.
Bloom period in your garden is easily prolonged if you buy Extra Early, Early, Mid, Late, and Very Late bloomers. For example, ‘Sandra Elizabeth’ is the marker plant for Very Lates and is a great season extender.
Too much shade, drought, wet feet, and overcrowding can decrease your daylily’s bud count. Keep your plants happy with at least 6 hours of sun per day, an inch of water each week, and well drained soil. Dead heading your daylilies keeps seeds from forming and sapping energy from the mother plant. Daylilies benefit from division every 5 years. It’s a great opportunity to trade, share, or rearrange.
Pampered daylilies will reward you with maximum bloom. But, in reality, daylilies are one of the most forgiving plants on the market. And hybridizers continue to awe collectors with new patterns, forms, color combinations, teeth, and feathering. Even the purchase of daylilies can be a treasure hunt!