Try some new daylily varieties

Richard Bogren, Owings, Allen D.  |  5/15/2015 11:37:00 PM

Goldie Locks daylily, a new variety in the Southern Living Plant Collection, was developed in Louisiana by Dale Westmoreland at Westfarms Nursery in Franklinton, Louisiana. (Photo provided by Southern Living Plant Collection)

Nursery grower Matt Westmoreland stands in a field of daylilies in Franklinton, Louisiana. (Photo by Allen Owings, LSU AgCenter)

News Release Distributed 05/15/15

By Allen Owings

LSU AgCenter horticulturist

HAMMOND, La. – Daylilies are one of the most popular flowering plants for late spring and early summer Louisiana landscapes. They have reached peak bloom about three weeks early this spring because of the lack of significant cold weather in February and March.

Gardeners always seem to want daylily information, and many new flower forms and colors are now available.

Serious gardeners know daylily by its scientific name of Hemerocallis – Greek for “beauty” and “day.” As the name implies, daylily flowers open for just one day. The best daylilies for today’s landscapes, however, make many buds and can bloom for upwards of three months.

Daylilies are low-maintenance plants in the landscape. Planted in full to partial sun, daylilies prefer a well-drained bed but can tolerate poorer soil conditions. At planting, make a slightly raised bed for daylilies by incorporating organic matter. Adjust the soil pH so that it is slightly acid – pH 6.0-6.5 – and fertilize in early spring and again in early summer, if needed, to promote plant vigor.

You can find many flower colors. White and blue are about the only exceptions. Flower shapes also vary, and multiple colors are common on a single bloom.

Daylilies reach a mature height of 1 to 5 feet, depending on the variety. Flower size can range from small flowers no more than 2 inches across to large flowers 8 inches across.

Daylily varieties are classified based on flower color, plant size and other factors. One important classification now commonly used is hardiness type – dormant, semi-evergreen or evergreen.

Dormant daylilies offer little if any resistance to cold temperatures, and foliage will disappear in winter until new growth emerges from the soil the following spring.

Semi-evergreen varieties will have foliage that dies down briefly in early winter, with new growth beginning slowly until more rapid re-growth starts in early spring.

Evergreen daylilies are common now in commercial landscaping. These varieties maintain foliage through winter in the warmer climate of the Gulf South.

One valuable benefit of daylilies is their ability to multiply. Avid daylily grower Dale Westmoreland, owner of WestFarms Nursery in Franklinton, Louisiana, says most daylily plantings peak in flowering performance about four years after the initial planting.

Daylily plants multiply from year to year and can be divided at almost any time of year to produce new plants. A clump of two to three plants may not flower the first year after division –although they generally will – but a clump of five to 10 plants will flower well.

You may want to try the new Joy of Living daylilies from Southern Living Plant Collection. These were developed in Louisiana by Westmoreland. These are new in 2015 and include five varieties – Butterfly Bliss (lavender flowers with white midribs and a yellow-green throat), Celebration (orange pink flowers with rose-colored eye zones), Goldie Locks (ruffled golden yellow flowers), Family Reunion (yellow flowers with green throats) and High Voltage (bright red flowers). Many independent garden centers and other retail nurseries in Louisiana carry some of the Southern Living Plant Collection.

It’s hard to provide a recommended list of daylily varieties, however. Many are available, and most varieties recommended for Louisiana can be found at local retail garden centers.

Now is a good time to shop for new daylilies when plants are in bloom and you can select the ones you prefer. When you look for daylilies, select for resistance to daylily rust.

You can see more about work being done in landscape horticulture by visiting the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station website. Also, like us on Facebook. You can find an abundance of landscape information for both home gardeners and industry professionals at both sites.

Rick Bogren

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