By Debbie Clark
One of the most beautiful flowers found in abundance in the South is the daylily. You see them in yards, gardens, along the roads and highways. There are over 35,000 daylilies that are named, registered and marketed.
Daylilies are not true lilies. They are in the genus, Hemerocallis. The word is Greek, hemera meaning day and kallos meaning beauty or simply day beauty. Yes, each of these beautiful flowers only last a day. Luckily the plant produces an abundance of blooms and continues to bloom over a long period of time in the garden.
Daylilies grow in Zones 3 to 9. They establish quickly, grow vigorously and can survive winter’s cold. They prefer to grow in sun, but can tolerate light shade. Soil that is slightly acidic, high in moisture and well drained is best. Amend your soil with organic material like manure or compost. Every three to five years you will need to divide your daylily clumps.
Daylily flowers come in many different sizes and shapes like single, double, spider, unusual forms and polymerous. Their bloom scapes (stems) can range from 6 inches to 60 inches in height. When purchasing daylilies, consider bloom time which can be early, mid or late in the season. Always consider color, height, flower form and if it is a rebloomer.
You can purchase daylilies from nursery grown stock or as root divisions. Each plant should be spaced 18 to 24 inches apart. When planting daylilies, plants should be planted in a 12 inch deep hole with a 12 to 14 inch diameter. In the middle of the hole form a cone. Place the plant on top of the cone and lets the roots hang down and over the dirt cone. Refill the hole with remaining soil and water. Plants should receive one inch of water each week and be mulched for the summer. Fertilize in the spring.
If you would like to see a beautiful assortment of daylilies in bloom, visit the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge. The Foothills Daylily Society donated a collection of daylilies to the bridge last fall.
The Foothills Daylily Society hosted their first AHS (American Hemerocallis Society) show on June 10 at the American Legion Post 74 in Rutherfordton, North Carolina. The general public was invited to attend and view a large assortment of beautifully displayed daylilies that had been judged by AHS judges, Becky Hinshaw, Ray Quinn and Lynn Broderius. Congratulations goes to Nancy Milleman for Best in Show and John Martin for Sweepstakes. Other awards winners Extra Large Flower, JohnMartin, Large Flower, Joe Phillip, Small Flower, Kirk Milleman, Miniature Flower, Chuck Deyton, Double, Polymerous, Multiform Flowers, Kirk Milleman, Spider Flower, John Martin, Unusual Form Flower, Steve Earnest, Regional Popularity, Victor Santa Lucia and Seedling, Nancy Milleman. Winner’s for the “People’s Choice Award” in design for Small Division, Joe Phillip, Large Division, Hilda Moore and Barbara Peterson for Best in Show. You can find out more about the Foothills Daylily Society and their meeting times at foothillsdaylily.weebly.com.