Truth time: We feel pretty “meh” about daylilies. However, there is no denying that they are tough, low-care plants that have lovely large blooms. They are also relatively disease-free and can grow in a myriad of places. But for some reason they never seem to make our heart skip a beat when we’re shopping at the nursery. Perhaps it’s because certain cultivars (we’re talking to you, ‘Stella Doro’ and ‘Happy Returns’) have been so overused in commercial landscapes that they ruined it for the whole genus. In this episode, we put our preconceived notions aside and delve deeper into daylilies, revealing several cultivars that not only are beautiful but are worthy of a spot in your borders.
Expert testimony: Nikki Schmith, Past President of the American Daylily Society
Steve is partial to red daylilies with a touch of yellow, and for that reason ‘Baja’ (Hemerocallis ‘Baja’, Zones 3–9) is at the top of his list. The blossom size is fairly impressive, too, at nearly 6 inches across.
Although ‘Blueberry Breakfast’ (Hemerocallis ‘Blueberry Breakfast’, Zones 3–9) isn’t a true blue, it is best described as a “slate-lavender” hue in catalogs. It tops out at 22 inches tall and wide, so be sure to give it some room to shine.
Daylily flowers come in a surprising array of shapes as well as colors. Several of Danielle and Steve’s favorites have spiderlike blooms, including ‘Lady Fingers’ (Hemerocallis ‘Lady Fingers’, Zones 3–9), a name that seems to refer to the long yellowish cookies, not human hands.
Confused about which of the thousands of varieties to try? Danielle recommends trying ‘Try It’ (Hemerocallis ‘Try It’, Zones 3–9), perhaps the best name/choice for a hesitant gardener.