Daylilies

12 Interesting Facts About Daylilies

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Daylilies (Hemerocallis species) are popular perennial garden plants known for their colorful flowers and hardy nature. Here are 12 fascinating facts about these plants that you may not know.

1. Daylilies Are Not True Lilies

Despite their common name, daylilies are not true lilies (Lilium species). They belong to a different genus called Hemerocallis. Some key differences:

  • True lilies grow from bulbs, while daylilies grow from tuberous roots and fibrous roots
  • Daylily flowers only last one day, while true lily flowers last longer
  • Daylilies have long strap-like leaves, while true lilies have shorter wider leaves

So while daylilies may resemble their lily cousins, they are very different plants.

2. Each Flower Only Lasts 24 Hours

A single daylily flower only lasts about 24 hours – hence their name. But during peak bloom, each plant can produce dozens of flowers in succession over several weeks. So daylilies give the impression of a constant floral display.

3. Extensive Hybridization Has Created Thousands of Cultivars

Originally there were only about 15 species of daylilies native to Asia and Europe. But thanks to over a century of extensive hybridization, there are now over 80,000 registered cultivars to choose from.

They come in almost every color except pure blue and pure white. Flower sizes range from miniature 2-inch blooms to giant 8-inch blooms.

4. Daylilies Are Nearly Indestructible

Daylilies are incredibly tough plants. They tolerate:

  • Poor soil
  • Drought
  • Flooding
  • Extreme heat and cold
  • Neglect

Their vigorous root systems allow them to survive where other plants would perish. This resilience makes them almost indestructible!

5. Perfect For No-Fuss Landscaping

Thanks to their durability, daylilies require very little care once established. This makes them ideal for:

  • Low maintenance gardens
  • New gardeners
  • Areas hard to access (slopes, under trees, etc)
  • Curb appeal plantings
  • Erosion control

They will thrive and bloom reliably with minimal attention.

6. Flowers Are Edible

Not only are daylilies beautiful, but the flowers are edible! Both the petals and buds have a sweet mild flavor.

Popular ways to eat them include:

  • Fresh in salads
  • Sauteed as a vegetable side
  • Dried and added to soups
  • Infused into tea or lemonade
  • Used as a garnish

Just be sure to consume flowers from plants that have not been treated with pesticides.

7. Extensive Fibrous Root System

Daylilies develop a dense mat of fibrous roots that effectively hold soil in place. This makes them an excellent erosion control plant.

They are often used on slopes, banks, highway medians and other areas prone to soil erosion. The roots stabilize and reinforce the soil structure.

8. Easy To Propagate

Mature daylily plants develop crowded clumps that benefit from division every few years. The good news is daylilies are very easy to propagate by division!

To divide daylilies:

  1. Dig up entire plant
  2. Shake off loose soil
  3. Pull apart rooted sections with a garden fork
  4. Replant divisions

This simple process allows you to create more plants easily. It also rejuvenates older plants and encourages new growth.

9. Extended Bloom Season

While individual daylily flowers are ephemeral, the total bloom season for a plant can extend for months:

  • Early cultivars begin blooming in late spring
  • Most varieties peak in early to mid summer
  • Late cultivars continue into fall
  • Some “reblooming” varieties flower repeatedly

By planting early, mid and late season bloomers, you can enjoy daylily flowers for up to 5 months!

10. Tolerant Of Almost Any Soil

Daylilies will thrive in most soil conditions including:

  • Sand
  • Clay
  • Rocky
  • Poor
  • Rich

As long as the soil drains reasonably well, they will flourish. Their adaptability makes them an ideal plant for difficult sites.

11. Grow Well In Containers

In addition to growing in garden beds, daylilies also do well in containers. Their fibrous roots don’t require much space.

Dwarf and miniature varieties are especially container-friendly. Container daylilies are perfect for:

  • Small space gardens like balconies
  • Movable color
  • Accent plants
  • Gifts

Just be sure the pot has drainage holes at the bottom.

12. Used In Chinese Medicine

In traditional Chinese medicine, daylily flowers are believed to have various health benefits. Practitioners use them to:

  • Treat inflammation
  • Improve digestion
  • Detoxify the body

The flowers, buds and tubers are used in various preparations from soups to tea.

So in addition to being beautiful in the garden, daylilies may also provide medicinal benefits!

Conclusion

As you can see, humble daylilies have a fascinating story! From their misleading name to their edible flowers and medicinal properties, hopefully you’ve discovered something new about these delightful plants.

With their vibrant, carefree flowers and indestructible nature, daylilies deserve a spot in any garden. Try some different varieties this year – you won’t be disappointed!


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