HARDY PERENNIALS: HEMEROCALLIS

HEMEROCALLIS ‘Stafford’

The Day Lilies have come in for a great deal of attention in recent years from hybridists, both amateur and professional, in both Europe and N. America. The result has naturally been to evolve varieties with larger flowers and to enhance the range of colour, but on the debit side, would be cultivators of them have become bewildered by the proliferation of so many to chose from—which now runs into hundreds and this process is continuing unabated. Several nurserymen carry a stock of a number of varieties and in total there is more than ample range available. Hemerocallis are very hardy and very adaptable plants, for sun or partial shade and though revelling in rich, fairly moist soil, they will grow and flower where drier conditions prevail, but fall short of the beauty of which they are capable. The rushy leaves of Hemerocallis are fully complementary to the trumpet flowers, coming on smooth stems from 1 ½ to 3 feet tall. The earliest show colour in May, in the early and dwarf species H. dumortierii, which has yellow flowers for several weeks, and another species H. multiflorus is orange yellow from June to September in great profusion at V/i feet.

Those illustrated are all modern varieties and although H. ‘Hyperion’ was introduced 20 years ago, it is still much in demand for its clear colour and large flowers. A newer and outstanding yellow is H. ‘Lark Song’. Other outstanding varieties of proven merit are H. ‘Black Magic’ deep ruby mahogany, H. ‘Conlessa’, light orange, H. ‘Bonanza’, soft yellow but very dwarf, matching well with the deeper coloured H. ‘Golden Chimes’ which is also dwarf. H. ‘Golden Orchid’ is superb, growing 3 feet, H. ‘Nigrette’ is mahogany purple, and H. ‘Pink Damask’ still holds its own as one of the closest to true pink. H. ‘Primrose Mascotle’, is pale lemon and H. ‘Stafford’ is an outstanding bronzy red. Hemerocallis can be planted at any time from early autumn till April. Soil should be enriched in advance, and when fully established some organic fertiliser or mulching in spring will help in producing fine flowers. Plants become large and difficult to lift when old and I have sometimes spaded through a clump in situ either to reduce size or to obtain sections with which to enlarge a group. Such a drastic course has never resulted in causing harm, and is certainly easier than digging up a big plant and then dividing it.

HEMEROCALLIS dumortierii

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.