Here in the Pacific Northwest, we’re blessed to live in a mild climate–our winters are anything but harsh and our summers are rarely what most of the rest of the country would call “hot.” Because of our mild weather, we can grow just about anything our green thumbs would desire; in the glut of plants we have at our disposal, however, we often forget about one of the most forgiving, adaptable and beautiful perennials we could plant: the daylily.
|‘Mighty Chestnut’ daylily|
In both the cold winters of the midwest and the hot, dry summers of central California, you’ll find daylilies thriving. In fact, two growers I know of come to mind: Walters Gardens, one of our main perennial suppliers for the nursery, grows a beautiful selection of daylilies in the harsh conditions of western Michigan. On the other end of the climate spectrum, the Amador Flower Farm in the arid Sierra foothills of California grows nearly 1000 varieties of the perennial in hot, dry summers.
If you’re picky about what colors of flowers you plant in your garden, you have no excuse with daylilies–with literally hundreds of varieties available, there’s a color or texture for every taste. One of my favorites this year is a new variety called ‘Mighty Chestnut.’ Just released last year, this variety boasts huge, deep orange flowers set above the vibrant green foliage.
Of course, the longest-blooming and most popular variety of daylily is ‘Stella D’Oro,’ a classic yellow variety that blooms repeatedly all summer long. But if you’re looking for something that blooms with a different color yet still has the great characteristics of ‘Stella,’ try ‘Purple D’Oro.’ With rich purple flowers, it’s a great compliment to its golden cousin.
Daylilies are truly an underrated plant–they’ll adapt to just about any soil type and once established, need little moisture. They bloom prolifically and only need to be divided–free plants!–every few years. If you have a sunny spot in your garden that could use an extra burst of summer color, consider planting a daylily. You’ll love how easy it is to grow and soon understand why in other parts of the country it’s so admired.