close up shot of a daylily


Daylilies are cheerful, easy to grow, they prevent erosion and shade other garden plants – and the price is right!

Common Orange Daylilies

I didn’t always love Daylilies. They weren’t my first choice for my perennial garden. I started with a love of all plants pink, white and blue. I was too garden-snooty for the common Daylily.

Daylilies along my sidewalk fence
Daylilies along my sidewalk fence

First of all, I didn’t like the colour orange, (I had lived through the orange shag carpet and rust coloured appliances of the 1970s) – I just wanted flowers in the cool colours of pink, blue and purple. In those days, I didn’t even appreciate foliage – and didn’t understand the benefits of hostas and groundcovers.


As I planted my country garden – I appreciated the price tag of common Daylilies. Free! I dug a few from my local ditch, and planted them along the border of our property. Being called Lillie, I got hooked on my Daylily collection, and it grew from there. After a while I began to share perennials with my neighbours and relatives and expanded my collection of Daylilies to include reds and yellows.

Daylilies on my farm fence
Daylilies on my farm fence

Daylily or Hemerocallis?

The Daylily or Day Lily is not really a Lily. True Lilies are Lilium- the Asiatic Lilies that we plant from bulbs have a very similar looking flower but the foliage is different.

Daylilies have fibrous roots (unlike Lilies which have bulbs), and long straight leaves.

Daylilies, scientifically known as Hemerocallis, are perennial flowering plants belonging o the family Xanthorrhoeaceae. Originating from Asia, daylilies have spread their vibrant presence across continents. They are recognized for their unique characteristic of producing blooms that last for (usually) just one day, hence their name.

The flower typically blooms in the morning, closes and withers at night, and can be followed the next day by another bloom on the same plant. My husband, who wakes up early to water my garden enjoys watching the plants bloom in the morning.

Daylily and companion
Daylily and companion

Hemerocallis Fulva or Tiger Lily

The Orange Daylily commonly found across North America is Hemerocallis Fulva. My mother noted that they always bloomed just in time for her July birthday, and we called them Tiger Lilies, but they are also called Tawny, Fourth of July and Corn Lilies.

I had thought they were native North American plants, but in fact they are native to Asia from the Causcasia, China, Japan, Korea and the Himalayas. Daylilies have been cultivated from the Hemerocallis Fulva and the yellow Daylily Hemerocallis Flava into more than 80,000 cultivars.
The Fulva, is an invasive species, and is quite hardy in ditches and roadsides as well as in my garden.

Tiger Lily daylilies in background with geraniums, coreopsis and Stella Doro Daylilies in foreground
Tiger Lily daylilies in background with geraniums, coreopsis and Stella Doro Daylilies in foreground

Cultivated and hybridized Daylilies exhibit an extensive range of colors, offering an abundance of choices to garden enthusiasts. From radiant reds and oranges to serene yellows and pastels, their petals create a stunning visual spectacle. Some popular cultivars include ‘Stella de Oro’ with its golden-yellow blooms and ‘Pardon Me’ with its vibrant red flowers. – and quite amazingly – there is now a daylily “Brand” called Everydaylily. (I’m pretty sure I was here first but no matter! I confess that I haven’t yet acquired any of these).

Everydaylily from Breck's
Everydaylily Collection from Breck’s

Daylilies are nearly impossible to kill in my garden, and when I dig up a clump and drop them somewhere else – they tend to grow where I drop them.

Great plants for Steep Slopes

In our Southern Ontario village – each house has steep slopes to deal with – heading down to the river below. The Tiger Lilies – are everywhere – but they serve a very useful purpose here – they hold the ground well – and prevent erosion. So elsewhere they may be considered an invasive weed – but on a slope they are wonderful landscaping plants that keep our yards from slipping down the hill. AND July is pretty darn spectacular when they start to bloom.

Sidewalk daylilies
Sidewalk daylilies – hold the ground on a steep slope

Daylilies are Sturdy and Hardy

Last spring, when we started cleaning up our Island Cottage yard – I experimented by taking a division/sample of each of my southern Ontario perennials. I wasn’t sure what would survive the harsh winter, and lack of soil. The island soil is a thin layer of acidic decomposed pine needles over rock. Well – the first perennial that I can declare a success is the Tiger Lily! They survived the cold and held the ground. I have planted many more this spring to hopefully preserve the shoreline and add some greenery and blooms.

yellow daylily flower in green grass
Yellow daylily – Photo by Peter Fazekas on

Daylilies enjoy Sunny locations

Daylilies thrive in areas with full or partial sunlight. The like a well-drained location that receives at least six hours of sunlight per day. These versatile plants can adapt to a wide range of soil conditions, but a slightly acidic to neutral pH soil is preferable. My southern plants bloom and grow wildly in full – all day sun. My northern plants will have to make do in part shade in my pine forest. They have rooted well and produced healthy foliage – the verdict is still out as to whether they will bloom with less sunlight.

Watering Daylilies

Daylilies have moderate water requirements. It is recommended that we water the plants regularly during dry spells, providing about 1 inch of water per week. Mulching around the plants helps retain moisture and control weed growth. While my husband enjoys watering our in-town garden – last summer we were away from home for months and didn’t water at all. The daylilies were doing just fine – and I believe they help retain the moisture in the garden for the neighbouring plants.

Daylily Maintenance – Deadheading

Deadheading the flowers when they have finished blooms will extend the bloom time of the daylilies and prevent seeds from forming. My neighbours stop by the garden and ask what to do with the plants in the fall when the flowers are done and the foliage is fading. To be honest, if I like the foliage, I just leave it. If I want to tidy the area – I whipper snip the whole area and compost the leaves. If the plants were precious and sensitive specimens I wouldn’t do that, but they aren’t – so I whipper snip away!

close up shot of a daylily
Daylily closeup – Photo by alex ohan on

I have grown to appreciate and love Daylilies – and in particular the orange Tiger Lily. They are cheerful, hold the ground and are just plain easy to look after. Apparently they are even edible – but I have no plans to eat them – they just look nice!

Enjoy the blooms of summer!

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16 thoughts on “Daylilies

  1. We have a daylily too. I totally ignor it and despite or because of that the daylilies do quite well. In fact they seem to flower better than anything else in our yard.

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