The botanical name for the versatile and much-loved perennial commonly known as the Daylily is Hemerocallis. This comes from the Greek ‘hemera’, meaning ‘day’ and ‘kallos’, meaning ‘beauty’. So this is a beautiful variety of plant whose individual flowers typically last for only around 24 hours. Don’t be misled by a name! The reality is that each Daylily flower spike (known as the scape) presents numerous flower buds. What’s more, each Daylily clump also contains multiple scapes, and so the reality is that each clump can typically flower for several weeks at a time – all of which makes the Daylily an ideal way to add lasting beauty to your garden!
There’s even better news: many varieties of Daylily, (known as cultivars) have a tendency to re-bloom, which extends the flowering season even further. There are over 60,000 registered cultivars; a truly bewildering variety, so whatever your tastes you’ll never be short of choice.
The Daylily is native to Asia, with the first recorded reference dating back to China in 2,697 BC. Since then, things have moved on a great deal in Daylily cultivation, and since the 1930’s hybridizers in the USA and UK have made great leaps in evolving the Daylily for modern needs and tastes.
These innovations have produced what could easily be called the ultimate, low-maintenance, hassle-free perennial. Daylilies are nothing if not ‘forgiving’, famous for their hardiness and for their ability to grow in most soils, in most climates, with minimal care.
Despite needing little of your time and attention, there are definitely ways in which you can optimise the pleasure you get from your Daylilies. They will of course tolerate light shade, but to see them at their best they thrive on sun, sun, sun! This means they’re best-sited where they’ll receive at least six hours of direct sunlight. This is especially true of the lighter coloured blooms, such as yellow, pink and delicate pastels. (Please note though, that darker shades, such as reds and purples definitely do benefit from partial shade at the hottest time of the day).
Daylilies are fairly resistant to most pests & diseases; Gall-midge, thrips and slugs and snails can cause a bit of a headache, but if present, these nuisances usually inflict only minor damage on the plants. Daylily rust, a fungal disease which is prevalent in the USA, doesn’t seem to affect daylilies in the UK.
Daylilies can of course be hybridized to create new varieties, and this is generally far easier than you might have imagined. What’s more, since ancient times the buds of Daylily have also had culinary uses. That’s right, you can actually eat them!
These are specialist subjects to some extent, and so we encourage you to look out for our ongoing series of blogs for further information!
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