Archive for July 7th, 2009


Hemerocallis fulva growing by the roadside.

Note: You can see more daylilies on their own page. Click on the tab labelled Daylilies above the Willow House Chronicles header.

The common daylily (Hemerocallis fulva) is a native of Asia. These rusty-orange dayliles were often found around old homesteads. They are tough, hardy plants, and can now be seen here and there, growing along roadsides, a habit that has earned them the name of Ditch Lily. The name ‘daylily’ is a simple description of the flowering habit: each bloom lasts for one day.  Long scapes hold the flowers above the sword-like foliage, and even though each bud blooms for but one day, the abundance of buds on each scape means the plant offers an extended display of bloom. The scientific name, hemerocallis, is from the Greek: day (hemera) + beauty (kallos). Originally the genus Hemerocallis was placed in the lily family, Liliaceae, but more recently it has been moved to the family Hemerocallidaceae.

Hemerocallis fulva spreads by fast-growing rhizomes and can be an aggressive garden plant. Modern hybrids developed from the species have a much more well-behaved clumping habit. And while the rusty-orange of the fulva sp is not unappealing, daylily hybrids are now available in a wide range of colours, from pinks and purples to creams, yellows and yes, even bright oranges, that makes the old standby drab by comparison. There is also a wide variety of plant and flower forms available. Flowers may have long petals and sepals (‘spiders’) or be flat and round (‘bagels’). Plants may be compact, with blooms held on short scapes or have tall scapes that reach as high as 60 inches. There are more than 10,000 hybrids registered with the American Hemerocallis Society, so gardeners can find a plant to please every taste. In Ontario, the daylily is celebrated by the Ontario Daylily Society.

The first few weeks of July mark the height of the daylily season, although a range of hybrids extend the season from spring through fall. Here are  photographs of a few that are blooming in my garden today. Included is the name of the hybridizer and the year the hybrid was registered.

galena gilt edge

Galena Gilt Edge (Blocher)


Suzy Wong (Kennedy 1962)


Helter Skelter (Lambert 1981)


Earth Angel (Stamile 1987)


Broken Heart (Kroll 1993)

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