orange daylily, Hemerocallis fulva 'Europa,' that is seen in bloom all
over Southern Maryland beginning the first week of June, is not a native
plant. It was brought here by the early settlers in the 1600s.
"Hemerocallis fulva actually originated from the colder climates of
Eurasia and was transported throughout Europe with no more care than a
dry bag," said Marianne Harms, member of the Calvert Garden Club. They
are known as daylilies because in most species, they open late in the
afternoon and die the following day.
Daylilies are low maintenance making them a good choice for the busy
gardener. Southern Maryland is a comfortable climate for the 60,000 plus
hybridized daylily cultivars currently available.
"During the last 40 years, the perennial daylily fulva has been
hybridized to create variations that range from color and form to bloom
time and fragrance options," said John Burger, plant specialist for The
Greenery Nursery Center in Hollywood, Md.
"The original daylily has a single row of petals in the flower head, but
the hybridized varieties offer both single and double petals," Harms
said. "The doubles are so ruffled and full they look like carnations. I
also like the height variations of the new daylilies. There are
miniatures that grow only to a height of 12 inches, and a few
Janet Clements, president of Heaven's Garden in La Plata, said there are
several blooming options for daylilies. "Bloom time choices include
one-time blooms, which last about 14 days; repeat bloomers, which
produce a few flushes of flowers in season; and continuous bloomers,
like the Stella family," Clements said. "For optimum continuous blooms
on a Stella daylily, removal of dead flower heads and stalks is
"Whatever the variety of daylily, it is a hardy plant provided it's
placed in the right spot and in the proper way," said Burger. "When
planting, choose a sunny to partially sunny spot and make sure it has
well-drained soil. If your soil is clay based, mix in a small amount of
compost or topsoil to amend it. Spring or autumn is the best time to
plant or divide. By dividing your daylilies, you achieve a fuller garden
by carrying the divided segments to other deserving places in the
garden. When replacing the original clump back in place, use fresh soil,
it adds nutrients to feed the roots and in turn provides larger blooms
the following summer."
Additional maintenance of a daylily will simply require dead heading the
spent flower bud and stalk before a seed pod forms. In the spring and
fall, a general plant fertilizer should be applied. A green methodology
choice would be a time-released product such as Plant-tone or Osmocote.
When placing daylilies in your garden, full green foliage will be seen
until they die back in the late fall. That feature makes daylilies a
good companion plant in a mixed bed.
"I have large planting beds with a mix of perennials in my garden for
continuous color," Harms said. "When the daylilies aren't blooming, I
have others that are, such as Siberian Iris, Shasta Daisy, Cosmos, or
Russian Sage. When planting in a mixed bed or on a hillside, I think it
best to use at least three plants of the same color to create more
impact. If you use plants in every color, viewing your garden from a
distance produces a polka dot effect that is not as appealing. By
repeating a color scheme with just a few color choices, you create a
rhythm to your landscape."
If you're a weekend gardener or an avid gardener, daylilies meet every
need, want and desire. Whether ease of maintenance, disease and pest
resistant, height, color, form or fragrance, daylilies deliver.
Daylily Gardening Tips:
o Good as an edging plant or for a hillside area.
o Visit a nursery when the sun is out to pick a daylily.
o An excellent companion plant.
o Not deer resistant.
o Deadhead daily.