Dazzling Daylilies

By Kerry Ann Mendez

If you haven't checked out the world of Daylilies (Hemerocallis) recently, you are in for a mighty surprise. 'Stella de Oro', a small flowered golden cultivar, has dominated the daylily stage for years. "She" certainly deserves accolades for being the first repeat blooming daylily, but now there are MANY other cultivars that far surpass her in beauty, bloom size, consistency of rebloom and fragrance.

Daylilies are available in all colors except blue. They range in height from petite (10-12") to veritable skyscrapers (72"). Blooms can be tiny (1.5" across) or huge (9" across). Most flowers have little or no fragrance, but there are some that emit a heavenly perfume. Daylilies can bloom early, mid or late season (similar to spring blooming bulbs). Each flower only lasts for one day, but with numerous buds opening on multiple stems, the average flower span ranges between 30 to 40 days.

Daylilies designated as repeat bloomers produce flower-loaded stems continually over several months, providing a longer show. Repeat blooming varieties benefit from cutting back stems (scapes) to their base after all the buds have finished blooming.

Daylilies are also drought and heat tolerant, enjoy sun to part sun, are distasteful to rabbits (this cannot be said about deer), attract birds, bees and butterflies, have edible blooms, and are hardy to Zone 3 (30 to 40 degrees below zero).

Estabrook's carries a dazzling array of these no-fuss perennials. We have almost 45 varieties at last count (quantities vary). Some of my favorites include:

'Alabama Jubilee' - Brilliant red-orange with a deep red band; 30"-32" tall; 7" blooms; fragrant; early-mid season bloomer

'Sunday Gloves' - Near-white with a pale yellow eye (area around the flower's 'throat'), 27", 5" blooms; highly fragrant, repeat bloomer

'Always Afternoon' - Dusky-rose flowers with a plum-purple eye; 22", 5.5" blooms; repeat bloomer

'Blueberry Candy' - Near-white flowers with lovely dark purple eye; 22"; 4" blooms; fragrant; repeat bloomer

'Ruby Spider' - Ruby-red flowers that stop traffic; 34"; 9" blooms, early season bloomer

Stop by our Yarmouth and Kennebunk stores to pick out your favorites and add brilliance to your garden!

Kerry Ann Mendez KERRY ANN MENDEZ is an award-winning garden educator, author and design consultant based in southern Maine. Her latest book is The Budget-Wise Gardener. You'll now find her at our Kennebunk store consulting on garden design, answering your gardening questions and much more.