Characteristics of a Good Daylily
I’m sure you’ve seen the orange tiger lilies (also called ditch lilies) growing by the roadside. But would you consider planting them in your garden? Many people do, because they’re incredibly hardy plants that bloom reliably each year. However, hardiness is just one feature of a daylily that you should consider in deciding which ones to plant. Here are a few more considerations –
Number and spacing of scapes – Scapes is the daylily term for flower stems. Generally speaking, the more scapes the better. But be sure that they’re well spaced, rather than all crowded together.
Height and strength of scapes – If the scapes are tall, make sure that they’re strong enough to support the mature flowers without staking. The height of the scapes should also be proportional to the foliage height; tall scapes on short foliage looks strange and unbalanced, while short scapes can get lost in tall foliage.
Number of flower buds per scape – The primary reason for growing daylilies is their gorgeous flowers. Look for plants that have at least a dozen buds on each scape. Because each daylily flower only blooms for one day, you can get an idea of the number of days the plant will bloom by counting the number of buds on a scape. One of mine (see photo) had 27 buds (on average) on each scape, meaning that it will bloom for about a month.
Spacing of flower buds per scape – You don’t want all of the buds to be clustered at the tip of the scape. Instead, scapes should be well-branched so that buds appear at different heights and over a wider area. This will make the plant look fuller when it blooms.
Size, color, and shape of flowers – Flower size can range from tiny, 1-inch little jewels to stunning, 7-inch show-stoppers. Read the plant tag/information carefully so you know what you’re getting. They also come in a variety of interesting shapes, such as spider-shaped (long, narrow, widely-spaced petals), ruffled, and double. Then, there’s also color to consider, with flowers ranging from almost pure white, to yellow, pink, salmon, orange, red, purple, and even green.
Flower substance – It’s important that the flowers hold up throughout the day. The petals should be sturdy and should not wilt, brown, or melt at the edges.
Ultimately, the best daylily for you is the one you like best. But keep the above points in mind so that you won’t end up with a plant that simply doesn’t perform.
Sources of Daylily Information