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The Hemerocallis Article


Further to some of the kind comments on my blog ‘Friday Night Wurble #2’ posted 12th June ‘09, the following is the article I wrote which was accepted but never published. I have edited it a little, as the original was close to 2000 words, but this will still be quite a long read, so I hope you’re sitting comfortably.
Unfortunately the original accompanying photos are on negative so I have substituted some others that are relevant.
It’s too early in the year to get a pic. of a proliferation, and as Yours truly was born under the sign of sod, it’s guaranteed that they won’t develop when you want them to.

How many gardeners grow the well-known Asiatic lilies so beloved of mail-order catalogues, while remaining unaware of the splendour and diversity of Hemerocallis?
Better known as the Daylily, these clump forming hardy perennials, belonging to the lily family, are not true lilies. Growing from a rhizome rather than a bulb, they are sturdier and more reliable than the bulbous lilies.
Available in a stunning range of colours and colour blends, from near pure white through yellows and orange, to soft sugar pink down to deepest reds and purples, they can be anything from the unpretentiously self-coloured with a small, contrasting throat, to bright, flampoyant specimens with contrasting eye colours, frills and edges.

Hemerocallis x ‘Alaqua’

Ideally suited for colour scheming, although there is no true blue, with careful selection it would even be possible to use daylilies in a themed garden, as many of the registered names are either descriptive of the flower or indicative of its character. Names like ‘Ivory Cloud’ or ‘Tuscawilla Tigress’ need little explanation, and it is not beyond the bounds of possibility to find ‘Bela Lugosi’ rubbing shoulders with ‘Madame Butterfly’ near the ‘Edge of Paradise’.
Giant strides are being taken by today’s plant breeders, and each year more eyecatching and mouthwatering new cultivars are registered.
To add to this diversity the Daylily flower takes various forms, from the classic trumpet, to a broad, flat star, frequently with recurved petals. Some have a simple, rounded appearance, while others draw admiring glances with extravagant ruffles, frills, and pleated edges.

Hemerocallis x ‘Ballyhoo’

There is also a wide range of fully double varieties, reminiscent of the most beautiful carnations, and for lovers of the bizarre and unusual there are the spider types, with their long, narrow twisting petals that can be anything up to 11 inches long.
This versatile plant even has size covered. There are big bold ones with blooms of 7 inches across, that shout from the middle of the garden, down to demure and charming miniatures of little more than an inch across, that will grow happily in a large pot on the patio.

Hemerocallis x ‘Night Beacon’

Perhaps it is the name that discourages people from growing these cousins of the Asiatic Lily, as each flower does indeed last only a day, sometimes beginning to unfurl their thick waxy petals during the night, so that their beauty is on full display by morning.
However, a mature plant will produce a number of ‘fans’, the individual clusters of long, overlapping leaves that make up the clump.

Hemerocallis x ‘Malaysian Monarch’ showing typical fans.

Each of these fans, when mature, will produce two or more stems, properly known as ‘scapes’ and each of these in turn will carry a number of buds which will open in succession over many weeks.
Among the over 40 thousand cultivars registered, mainly in America, are a considerable number known as ‘bud-builders’. While the plant is still blooming, they will continually produce new buds on the flower scape throughout a season that can last from early May to September or even October. Among the more modern cultivars are also some known as re-bloomers which, after their first flush, will produce a second later in the year. In milder areas, such as Cornwall, established clumps can frequently be seen bearing a few small blooms as late as December.

Daylilies in the herbaceous border.

….to be continued.

To avoid boring you completely out of your tree, I’ll finish this ‘dreckly’. This is roughly the halfway point. The second part deals with propagation.

More blog posts by bigbumblebee

Previous post: It's a Family Affair

Next post: The Hemerocallis Article. Part 2



Not bored at all Bbb ,I found this very informative and the photos-love the Alaqua- are beautiful.I have three day lillies which flower after each other and they have many more buds than last year.Many thanks :)

1 Jul, 2009


Hi BBB i found the beauty of Hemerocallis when i moved into my home just over 2yr ago now :) Iv now got 4 different colours which im waiting Patiently 2 open :)

1 Jul, 2009


I thought this was extremely interesting Bbb, I like the idea of all the different colours, sizes etc. Can't wait for part two

H & K's........Ian

1 Jul, 2009


They are a lovely flower Bbb, I,m never bored when reading about gardening and your blog is very imformative, many thanks...........

1 Jul, 2009


Lovely blog BBB - thoroughly enjoyed it and looking forward to Part Deux.

2 Jul, 2009


I love lily's, stargazer being my most favoured one, and I found your blog very interesting and informative, who would have thought that the one called 'night beacon' will actually only last for one day. Look forward to the next part.

2 Jul, 2009


Thank you. That was very interesting.
I had a daylily in my old garden but I left it there because it grew huge and I have a small garden now. Well now I know there are small varieties so I can get one.

2 Jul, 2009


Lovely, informative blog, BB! I didn't find it at all long or boring! Looking forward to reading part II.

I've never grown them myself & didn't know there were small varieties that can be grown in pots!

8 Jul, 2009


Iv Large & Small Day Lillys in Containers Balcony to give some height 2 back of my Borders& them seem very Happy :)

8 Jul, 2009


Very informative Bbb.....brilliant...thank you...:>)

22 Jul, 2009

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