No matter how much Beth Veldey loves a type of daylily, she would never purchase multiples of it.
I would never buy two of the same kind,” said the president of the Metropolitan Columbus Daylily Society. “Who would ever do that when there are so many varieties to choose from?”
Veldey, an avid gardener who lives in Lewis Center, loves planting daylilies in her yard because of the amazing variety of choices available. Daylilies, so named because each flower on the plant only lasts one day, come in a wide array of colors, shapes and sizes. In fact, there are thousands of named varieties – many created by Ohio-based hybridizers.
About 250 varieties are represented in Veldey’s garden. She finds new cultivars through her membership in the American Hemerocallis Society, by visiting hybridizer’s websites and attending daylily shows and events. Plants range in price from $5 to $200 with newer varieties fetching the most money.
The plant pollinates easily, making it possible for enthusiasts to create their own varieties, said Montgomery County Farm Bureau member Doug Sterling, who has been hybridizing daylilies for 20 years.
There’s no rule book,” said Sterling, a partner at Pleasant Valley Gardens in Dayton. “You do what you like. Sometimes you get lucky. Most of the time you don’t.”
He normally registers about 26 new plants a year with the AHS, which sets the guidelines for the process. Sterling enjoys trying to create daylilies with ruffled or spiky edges. Other hybridizers focus on creating colored edges, extra petals, patterns or other traits.
One of the best parts is coming up with the names,” said Sterling, creator of “Armed to the Teeth” and “Interview with a Vampire.”
Daylilies are not only easy to hybridize, but they also are easy to grow, gardeners say. The plants are so maintenance-free that AHS has dubbed them the “perfect perennial.”
The nickname is well earned because of the daylily’s ability to survive with little care, said Bill Collins, director of horticulture at Kingwood Center in Mansfield. The plants will adapt to various light and soil conditions, have a long blooming season and work in a variety of landscaping projects. In addition to featuring the plants in a daylily garden, Kingwood uses them throughout the property, Collins said. The center has a mix of early, mid and late bloomers, meaning visitors can enjoy daylilies from mid-June to mid-August.
I think every perennial garden should have them,” he said. “They are a reliable plant that produces a lot of color during the summer.”
Although it’s possible to plant them in summer or fall, spring is the ideal time, Sterling said. “They are very easy to plant. It’s no fuss,” he said. “Just make sure you dig a big enough hole so the roots can spread out.”
The main requirement is sun, Veldey adds.
They’re easy to take care of. Daylilies will even survive dry seasons. They just won’t bloom as well,” she said. “Anybody can grow them as long as they have sun. Sun is major.”
Green throated – The same genes that produce a green throat also seem to enhance the other colors.
Teeth – Projections on the edge that are pointed and may be curved like claws.
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Double – Flower has an extra set of petals or stamens.
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Patterns – Variations in hue, value or saturation of the base color that create a pattern.
Things to Consider When Buying Daylilies:
Size – Plants will produce flowers ranging from miniature (less than 3 inches in diameter) to large (4.5 inches in diameter or bigger).
Height – The height of the scape or stalk of the plant can range between 6 inches to more than 3 feet.
Blooming sequence – Bloom times range from late May to September depending on the variety and where it’s planted.
Lucas County Farm Bureau member Wade Smith, owner of Whitehouse Daylily Farm, is offering Farm Bureau members 10 percent off both farm and online purchases from June through August. Whitehouse Daylily Farm flowers are featured in the feature image with this story.
Photos by Dave Liggett and Beth Veldey