I want to start growing daylilies. Can you recommend any in particular?
Daylilies (Hemerocallis), originally native to eastern Asia, are a garden mainstay. Thousands of named varieties now exist, radically transforming them far beyond the old, beloved, orange “tiger lily” (Hemerocalis fulva) that grows wild along our country roadsides. Because of their abundance and ease of cultivation, some gardeners may regard them as commonplace and give them a miss. However, my message to those folks is: “Hang on, you ain’t seen nothing yet!” A relatively new group of daylilies, the contemporary tetraploid hybrids, is setting the daylily world on fire. Although I usually don’t like using the term “orchid-like,” it is the only way in which I can describe them; their large size, often intricately frilly shapes and outrageous color patterns rival the most exotic of tropical flowers. These innovative daylilies also tend to be re-blooming and can be wonderfully fragrant to boot. Happily, they are just as easy to grow as their more humble brethren, and I don’t know anyone who has seen them that hasn’t wanted some for their garden.
One caveat: in the early days of their introduction they were very expensive, with some selling for hundreds of dollars each. These older contemporary tetraploid varieties are becoming a lot more reasonably priced, but they may still cost a little bit more than standard daylilies … and avid collectors could be struck by sticker shock with prices for some of the latest and greatest.
To learn more about these fantastic plants and find sources for them, try checking out the website for The American Hemerocallis Society at daylilies.org.
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