Richard Bogren, Huffstickler, Kyle, Gill, Daniel J., Owings, Allen D.
Daylilies are one of the most popular flowering plants for late spring and early summer landscapes in Louisiana. They have reached peak bloom about three weeks early this spring due to our 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 – 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 1-5 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, and new growth begin 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 Folsom, 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.
It’s hard to provide a recommended list of daylily varieties. Many are available, and most varieties recommended for Louisiana can be found at local retail garden centers. When you look for daylilies, select for resistance to daylily rust.
Visit LaHouse in Baton Rouge to see sustainable landscape practices in action. The home and landscape resource center is near the intersection of Burbank Drive and Nicholson Drive (Louisiana Highway 30) in Baton Rouge, across the street from the LSU baseball stadium. For more information, go to www.lsuagcenter.com/lahouse or www.lsuagcenter.com/lyn.Rick Bogren