Choosing Daylilies For Dependable Summer Bloom

Ilona Erwin

Daylilies are dependable. Yet, not all are created equal. Quite apart from the obvious difference in looks, there are also variations in vigor or even hardiness.

Sort through the obvious disqualification a certain variety might have in your conditions before choosing height, color or bloom time.

Conditions Your Daylilies May Face

  • strong competition with other plants
  • cold hardiness
  •  tolerance of pollution
  • competition for moisture

Dormant, Semi-Evergreen, and Evergreen Types

Dormant means they have a period (winter) when they die and stop active growth.These are the hardiest types and grow well in cold climates.Conversely, they may not do well in the deep South.

Evergreen types stay in active growth even during winter. These varieties do well in the southern United States, but may not be reliably hardy in the North.

Semi- Evergreen is a compromise between the two.

How to Choose a Healthy Daylily

  • One that grows well in your conditions
  • Has qualities you like, “reblooming” will give additional flowers later in the season.
  • “Named” variety has made the cut for a number of breeder’s criteria.
  • Flower color remains sunfast in hot sunny spot
  • If subject to freezing, should not be susceptible to spring sicknessrot that sets in causing yellowed sickly leaves
  • Buying from reputable grower.

How To Buy Your Plants

Many nurseries sell daylilies potted in containers, often small plants; but they have very sturdy roots and can survive delivery through the mail without soil.

Such bare rooted plants may be the better choice.

If you live in a northern clime the plants grown in a zone further south may not prove hardy in your garden. If you find a locally grown source the hardiness is likely to match your yard.

daylily proliferation

A plantlet sometimes grows at the junction of a bract and the scape. These can make new plants if started in pots.

Garden centers sometimes sell less seemly plants at a discount.

Even if the blooms or leaves look tatty, they could be a good purchase at bargain prices.

Another way to save money is to buy a plant that fills a container and then divide into smaller divisions when planting.


Daylily org FAQ

Hemerocallis fulva
Years ago, I had visited a local daylily farm. My father was a great admirer of daylilies and had a planned scheme of filling the “hellstrip” area between the sidewalk and curb with daffodils for spring and daylilies for summer-fall.

He also had a shady back yard that he had planted with numerous choice Hemerocallis cultivars. On one of our trips to the daylily grower, we went out into the rows to choose among the varieties he had researched. After deciding on the ones most desired they were dug from the field and carried home to plant.

Buying locally like that allows two benefits: seeing the flowers and plants first hand, and knowing that they will grow well in your area.

Planting Tips

If you are planting a field dug plant, cut back the foliage to compensate for lost roots and shock.
Bare root plants should be soaked for a short time and then planted into prepared spot.

For both, spread roots over central mound in planting hole and carefully cover with soil, tamped down. Be sure to water thoroughly to get rid of air pockets. Be careful not to plant crown too deeply. at or just below soil surface.

For container grown plants, prepare soil and dig hole wide enough to spread out the roots a bit. Plant no deeper than was grown in pot. Tip plant out and look for congested roots. If they are bunched at bottom of pot, or curling around side of root ball, tease them out with claw tool or fingers.

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Ilona Erwin, author

Meet the Author

Ilona Erwin

I started working on this website beginning in 1998, when it was part of Ilona's Reflecting Pool. Since then I've branched out into a number of online endeavors and work at writing lots of content for my sites. "Ilona's Garden" remains my primary site and is dedicated to home gardener's success.