Hemerocallis hybrids

Updated: Aug 30


Ubiquitous comes to mind. Maybe not as common as lily-of-the-Nile, but daylilies are a favorite filler for landscape designers. Why? A lot of bang for the buck. Despite flowers only lasting a day (hence the name), daylilies are profuse bloomers, insuring a splash of color through early days of summer. And choices! There are over 60,000 cultivars available in the full range of colors, single or double blooms, scented or unscented, and plant sizes. Some are easier to grow than others, but one thing that is often missed is that some are deciduous (dormant over the winter) while others are evergreen or semi-evergreen, even in California. What a disappointment when designers specify a type of daylily that does dormant in the winter when an evergreen specimen is expected. If you are choosing a specific cultivar, know its habits.


NOTE TO DESIGNERS: With over 60,000 known cultivars, availability does not mean that nurseries will have all cultivars within a garden cart's proximity. More likely, nurseries might have a dozen cultivars or less. Consider contacting several nurseries in your area, patronized by landscape contractors and professional gardeners. Ask which cultivars they carry. Once you have the list, do a search and learn more about their unique characteristics.

The Master Gardeners of Virginia and others from the East Coast have noted orange daylilies, Hemerocallis fulva, as invasive, but California gardens typically do not have that experience. We are just too dry! If left alone, coupled with a moderate availability of water, Hemerocallis hybrids will continue to multiply and enlarge their clumps. Once they reach a size too large for the area, then it is time to lift, divide, replant (not to be confused with "bend and snap"), an opportunity to share divisions with others or discard extras.


Over the years I have known people who either adore daylilies or detest them, so keep that in mind when proposing their use. For the detractors, their displeasure may stem from how common daylilies have become, a starter plant for beginning gardeners. Their disappointment might come from thinking their plant died over the winter, not realizing their cultivar would go dormant at the first sign of frost. Maintenance may be another issue, considering how often flowers are dropping off and old leaves should be removed (if the client has a gardener or maintenance contractor, this should not be an issue). Whatever the reason, the shear spectrum of available colors and forms means that there should be at least one out there that would be acceptable to naysayers, no?


To learn more, check out the American Daylily Society.

facts

Botanical Name: Hemerocallis hybrids

Hemerocallis: Greek, hemeros for day and kallos for beauty

Common Name: Daylily

Family Name: Asphodelaceae


Origin: Asia


design considerations


Positioning: Moist areas, foreground to middle ground (depending on cultivar size), slopes

Garden Themes: Pollinator, edible, perennial, rock (dwarf cultivars), kitchen

Uses: Edible flowers, border, container, mass, edging


identifying characteristics


Type: Evergreen, semi-evergreen, or deciduous perennial (depending upon cultivar)

Form: Arching, clumping

Texture: Medium

Size: 1'-2' (dwarf cultivars) to 4' (large cultivars) and spreading


Outstanding Feature(s): Flower, scent (some cultivars)


Leaf:

  • Type: Simple

  • Arrangement: Rosulate

  • Shape: Linear

  • Margin: Entire

  • Color: Medium to dark green (depending upon cultivar)

  • Surface: Smooth

Flower: Summer. Clustered of varying sizes and stem lengths, with 6 petals. May be single, double, or more unusual such as spider types are available; simple or ruffled margins, most colors, scented or unscented. Trumpet shape. Flowers are edible.


cultural requirements, tolerances & problems


Sunset Zones: 1-24; H1, H2 (temperature will determine winter dormancy)

USDA Zones: 4-9


Light: Full sun, partial shade in hottest climates

WUCOLS SF Bay Area Hydro Zone: Moderate

Soil:

  • Texture: Well-composted loam

  • Moisture Retention: May briefly dry between watering

  • pH: Neutral

Tolerances: Rabbits, drought, heat, humidity, minor erosion, poor soils

Problems:

  • Insects: Spider mites, aphids, thrips

  • Disease: Not recorded


citations & attributions


Bayton, R. (2019). The Royal Horticultural Society's the Gardener's Botanical: An Encyclopedia of Latin Plant Names. London: Mitchell Beazley.


Master Gardeners of Virginia. "Invasive Plant Factsheet: Common Daylily (Hemerocallis fulva)." Accessed on July 11, 2021 from https://mgnv.org/2020/06/08/invasive-plant-factsheet-common-daylily-hemerocallis-fulva/.


Missouri Botanical Garden. "Hemerocallis 'Lady Rose'." Accessed on July 11, 2021 from https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=254307&isprofile=0&.


NC State Extension. "Hemerocallis fulva." North Carolina State University, Raleigh. Accessed on July 11, 2021 from https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/hemerocallis-fulva/.


Norris Brenzel, K. (Ed.). (2012). The New Sunset Western Garden Book. New York: Time Home Entertainment, Inc.


Water Use Classification of Landscape Species. "WUCOLS IV Plant List." University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Davis. Accessed on July 11, 2021 from https://ucanr.edu/sites/WUCOLS/Download_WUCOLS_IV_List/.


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