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Selecting Daylilies

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A few things to consider when selecting daylilies

The color of the daylily - Daylilies are available in almost every color (there are not yet any true blues or pure whites).

  • Basic color style-If the entire flower (both petals and sepals) is of one color, it is described as a "self" (as in "red self"). Blends, bitones, polychromes, and bicolors, describe daylilies that are of more than one color. See definitions.

  • Patterns and throats-In addition to one of the above, a daylily may have an eye or eyezone, a band, a halo, or a watermark. The throat will most likely be a different color from the rest of the flower, usually yellow, yellow-green, or green. There may be a difference in the midribs, the petal tips, or an edging, as well.

We try to have the photographs in our catalog accurate, but we are not professional daylily photographers. Differences in computer monitors and how they are adjusted also affect the way the colors appear. Always pay more attention to the color description than to the color in the photograph.

The flower form-Trumpet, spider, double, etc. See definitions.

The size of the bloom-it's width in inches.

The height-which refers to the height of the bloom scape, not to the height of the foliage. The heights of the scape and the foliage are often, but not always, similar.

The blooming habit-diurnal, nocturnal, or extended. If you want to use a daylily in an evening garden, for example, you don't want a diurnal daylily because it will "wilt" at the end of the day.

The bloom time-or bloom season.

  • EE-Extra Early
  • E-Early
  • EM-Early Midseason
  • M-Midseason
  • LM-Late Midseason
  • L-Late
  • VL-Very Late

Just where these seasons fall on the calender, however, depends on where you live. Here, midseason is July, extra early season is the end of May or the first of June.

Whether or not the daylily is a rebloomer- This is more important for growers in warmer regions. In colder climates these daylilies may not have a chance to rebloom before cold weather, or might not perform as well the second time around. Our rebloomers are not as showy in the fall as they were the first time they bloomed, but we think they are still worth having.

Whether or not it is fragrant (daylily fragrance is generally not strong, especially in those not described as very fragrant).

The location of the garden it is to be planted in (Zone)-Although daylilies will grow almost anywhere, individual cultivars differ in their tolerance for heat or cold. Unfortunatly, there is no official word on which daylilies do best in which zones. Here are our recommendations:

  1. If we're selling it, that means we've found it to do well in our zone 6 garden.
  2. Be more careful if you have very hot summers and, especially, if you have very cold winters (or worse, freeze-thaw cycles). Some daylilies are very tender! Check with other gardeners in your region or zone to see what they have successfully (or unsuccessfully) grown.
  3. Otherwise, you may still want to do your research before buying, but if your climate is not known for killing hardy perennials, you may simply want to take a risk. At our prices, in the unlikely event that a cultivar does not survive, it won't hurt much. However, if you are going to buy a more expensive daylily, at $30, $50, $100, or $200, we urge you to make some inquiries first. You bank account will thank you!

An interesting consideration - Darker daylilies, when rained on significantly or when spent, stain anything they touch. They are, therefore, not good choices for any place where you or visitors to your garden are likely to brush against them. If you won't walk past them after a rain (or you won't get rain during their bloom season) or you deadhead daily, this should not be a problem. Otherwise, they are safer set back from paths a little.

Tips for matching daylilies with other daylilies and to other flowers:

  1. It is impossible to match perfectly without having the things you are trying to match right together. When buying, make your best guess and check the combination when they bloom. Fortunately, daylilies do not resist moving!
  2. Since daylily blooms last for only one day, don't feel bad about picking a bloom and carrying it around the rest of your garden to see what it looks good with. The blooms you pick will last almost as well as they would on the plant. Be sure to write down your discoveries!
  3. Daylilies with the same color throat (both green, for example) will look better together than daylilies with different colored throats (such as a green throat with a yellow throat).
  4. Try pairing a daylily with another daylily or other flower that is the same color as the first daylily's throat.
  5. Match a daylily with an eye (or other pattern) to a plain daylily the color of the pattern.

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