Title: Daylilies in Florida
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00084284/00001
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Title: Daylilies in Florida
Series Title: Daylilies in Florida
Physical Description: Book
Creator: Watkins, John V.
Publisher: Agricultural Extension Service
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Bibliographic ID: UF00084284
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
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Resource Identifier: oclc - 81190173

Full Text

(A revision of Circular 88)


Associate Professor of Horticulture, University of Florida

Fig. 1.-Dauntless has broad, overlapping petals.


Circular 106

August 1952

Daylilies in Florida

Gardening has become a top-ranking hobby in the suburban
life of America. Not only are suburban property owners anxious
to develop beautiful and functional landscape plantings but
many specialize in certain groups of plants. For some the flower
of the hour is the camellia, others like to grow all available
varieties of azaleas, some specialize in zinnias or chrysanthe-
mums, and many have discovered that the modern Hemerocallis
fills their need for an easy-to-grow, pest-resistant hobby plant.
Daylilies are of interest to many men gardeners because their
blooming period in early spring follows the camellias. Then, too,
busy commuting, part-time gardeners have found that daylilies
can be left strictly alone for much of the year without the least
Few herbaceous perennials are better adapted to Florida than
are the ever-popular daylilies. No other plants furnish so much
spring color with so little expenditure of money and effort as
do the Hemerocallis. Once established, these perennials bloom
each season with increasing splendor, making strong color notes
against the deep greens of the evergreen shrubbery borders.
Daylilies are thoroughly at home in Florida and will thrive
and multiply in a most encouraging manner with a minimum of
care. One of the best reasons for the ever-increasing popularity
of this genus is their freedom from insects and diseases. Many
old plantings are known where daylilies bloom profusely each
season without any care whatsoever save for one spring feeding
and an occasional soaking during periods of drought.
One reason that daylilies prosper under adverse conditions is
because of their remarkable root systems. A substantial pro-
portion of the roots are thickened, rope-like or almost bulbous
structures. These huge roots strike deep into the earth. They
are so numerous that they encompass a relatively large volume
of soil and they are tenaciously entrenched. The remainder of
the roots are small fibers which are abundantly furnished with
feeding tips. These thickened, rope-like roots are storehouses
for water and nutrients that enable the daylilies to survive en-
vironmental conditions that would prove fatal to ordinary her-
baceous plants.
Most varieties of daylilies are cosmopolitan plants that thrive
in the muck of the Everglades, the oolitic rock of Dade County,
the light sands of central Florida and on the red clay hills of the
western part of the state. Some of our most dependable old

varieties were developed in England, a land that has a climate
quite different from our own.
Over much of Florida the daylily season opens the first of
March with the early yellows, reaches its climax in April and
extends well into June. The older deep-hued blossoms came at
mid-season and an important job for Florida plant breeders has
been the creation of reds, purples and pinks that bloom depend-
ably in March and eary April.
Since the nineteen-thirties several Floridians have been en-
gaged in selective breeding of Hemerocallis. From the hands of
these gardeners have come many worth-while daylilies. Some are
widely distributed garden favorites, others are rare collector's
items, elusive and hard to get, while some Florida originations
have been highly rated by writers in garden magazines of na-
tional circulation. Outstanding Florida originations are included
in the list on page 9.
Selective breeding has been in progress in our state for less
than a quarter century, yet much has been accomplished. The
daylilies of today show great improvement over favorites of
former years. Yet it must be admitted that as a garden plant,
Hemerocallis is far from perfect. The ease with which the plant
may be grown from seeds and the multitudinous forms which ap-
pear in each succeeding generation indicate that much can be
done in the refinement of this marvelous group of plants.
While the fancier is concerned with the perfection of detail
of the individual blossom, by far the majority of home owners
are interested in garden aspects. Preferred by these people are
strong, upstanding evergreen daylilies with branched stems that
make striking, bright color masses. Listed on page 9 are many
inexpensive garden types that will fill these requirements.
It is well known that because of the great diversity of climate
and soil over the United States, sectional lists must be relied
upon. Practically all of the daylilies from gardens in the far
North and Midwest are deciduous. Outstanding clones originated
in Nebraska and rated very high by writers in garden magazines
of national circulation fail miserably in central Florida. Certain
varieties that are excellent on Long Island are mediocre at Or-
lando, while, conversely, one of Florida's most successful intro-
ductions winter kills in New England and Midwestern gardens.
This matter of hardiness is closely tied up with continuous
growth. For the far North plants must shed their leaves and
become fully dormant early in the autumn. We who garden in

Florida have come to appreciate the evergreen types as most
valuable because of their year-around greenness.
Recurrent blooming is quite marked in certain varieties, both
old and new. After the spring bloom the plants have a short
rest period, then, when the rains start, they grow again and
from this second flush some types produce flowers in June and
July. True, the blossoms may not be as large and the colors
may be less striking than those of early springtime but, never-
theless, blooms from these hardy perennials have considerable
garden value during mid-summer.
In northern Florida daylilies will bloom about two months
ahead of dates published in Northern catalogs. As might be
expected, the sequence of flowering is just the same, although
performance charts will never be identical because many of the
Northern favorites are being superceded by new home-bred seed-
lings. In western Florida the dates will be a week or two behind
those for Gainesville, while toward the tip of the peninsula all
types will bloom a couple of weeks or even a month earlier. By
carefully compiling one's varietal list these hardy perennials can
be enjoyed for a period of some three months or even longer.
Perhaps you have noticed that new plants from the North
bloom unusually early the first season. Explanation of this
phenomenon might be as follows: Research has shown that
flower spikes are differentiated in late summer or autumn. Early
frosts at the Northern nursery induced complete dormancy be-
fore digging and then the cold-conditioned plants were ready to
grow and flower much ahead of schedule when they were sub-
jected to the warm weather and adequate moisture in your
Southern garden. In a normal Florida year comparable chilling,
if it occurs at all, will come in January or February, thus assur-
ing good blossoms at the regular time in April or May. It must
be pointed out that chilling is not required by our modern ever-
green Southern-bred types.
Prevailing temperatures in January and February will in-
fluence the daylily season. A mild, almost frost-free winter will
not necessarily assure early bloom. Cool, overcast weather
means cold soil and therefore, late blooming. Frost in January
followed by warm, moist weather in February can make for
early flowering. Dry weather in February and March will result
in slow growth, weak scapes and late flowering.
No research has been reported on the influence of day length
upon flowering in Hemerocallis. It is quite possible that this
environmental factor, together with mean temperatures and

rainfall, might influence the time of flowering of some, or pos-
sibly all, varieties.
Although many of us have tried to create perennial borders
like those we see during summer vacations in the North, after
bitter experiences, we must admit that this kind of gardening
is not for us here in Florida. The climate, the soil and the
rapidity with which grasses and weeds grow and the types of
plants that are at home here do not lend themselves to the
rc-creaticn of the old-fashioned perennial border. Let us acknowl-
edge this situation and think, rather, in terms of tropical fo!iqg2,
long-season effects and lush evergreen shrubberies highlighted
by spots of warm color for interest.
Daylilies are most effective when grown in clumps of three or
more plants in the bays of informal shrubbery borders. While
a field of Hemerocallis, such as one views at plant breeding sta-
tions, is a colorful, exciting scene, the effect is unrestful and such
a tapestry of mixed types and colors cannot be considered a
garden picture. Nor yet can a lone plant standing by itself
make a good garden composition. Spotting a plant here, an-
other there is usually not successful with most perennials and
especially with daylilies, so clump or drift planting is thought
to be best.
If colors are grouped separately in these drifts perhaps the
best effects will be attained. Thus, daylilies become harmonious
color notes of accent in front of the deep green of the permanent
shrubbery that forms the backdrop of the garden. In this
method of planting the forms of order known as unity, harmony,
rhythm and sequence will be served and your garden scheme
will be greatly benefited.
A telling way to use yellow daylilies is to combine them with
shrubs that bloom coincidentally in complementary colors. Color
gardening is subtle, elusive and difficult to do well, it is true, but
simple combinations in complementary colors such as Hemero-
callis GOLDEN BELL near blue plumbago or purple violas are
effective and universally popular.
In Florida daylilies will hold their colors better if they are
grown with afternoon shade. The plants will thrive and their
flowers will be of deeper hues if they grow on the east or north
sides of a fence, building or shrub border, or under high, broken
pine shade. The pale lemon sorts, the heavily pigmented reds
and purples, the light pastel pinks and buffs are best when they
are given partial protection from the sun.

Most effective are the displays in which 50 or more plants
grow together. Yet these dramatic beds are possible only to
those of us who have been gardening with daylilies for some
years. Perhaps at the outset two or three generous beds could
be made up of the older, less expensive varieties, to be replaced
later with choicer kinds when it has been possible to work up
good stocks.
Plant breeders are using the following important characters
in their selective breeding projects.
EARLINESS.-Today the earliest daylilies have orange or
yellow blossoms. Pinks, purples and deep, glowing reds that
bloom during the first week in April are appearing and the en-
tire daylily season is being pushed forward.
FRAGRANCE.-A few choice pale lemon varieties, such as
PATRICIA, have a delightful spicy fragrance. Unfortunately,
but few of the popular dark-colored kinds do; so scent is a
character high on the list in plant breeders' books.
KEEPING QUALITY.-Hemerocallis blossoms are notably
ephemeral, usually lasting but a single day. Much has already
been accomplished in lengthening the life of the lily-of-a-day.
Some popular varieties open in the evening and remain in good
condition through the following day. The ability to stay up
all night will be a characteristic of a portion of new seedlings.
SUNPROOF PIGMENTS.-Hemerocallis flower pigments are
unstable in strong light. Deep-hued kinds must be enjoyed in
the morning because by lunchtime they will have faded con-
siderably. Another undesirable habit of the deep reds is the
tendency of the petal margins to roll inward in bright light.
By selective breeding many fine new introductions have been
endowed with the ability to hold their deep hues with petals
fully expanded.
COLOR.-Of primary interest, it is being improved constantly.
Reds, pinks, maroons and purples are coming out of the care-
fully planned, long-time breeding projects. In these color classes
lie the greatest possibilities for improvement. Flowers of good
full form in any of these colors, that will stand up well in the
sunlight, that are borne freely in early April and that are distinct
from all others in the trade, are always being sought.
BRANCHED SCAPES.-Many yellows, browns and small bi-
colors have well branched wiry, upstanding scapes, but mucn

remains yet to be done in improving the flower stems in the
pinks, maroons and purples.
EVERGREEN FOLIAGE.-Not only are daylilies quite di-
verse in flower form and color but their type of foliage is quite
variable as well. In Florida evergreen types are preferred be-
cause of their year-around greenness. That southern hybri-
dizers are vitally interested in the evergreen character is attested
by the fact that a very high percentage of the varieties intro-
duced by Florida plant breeders are fully evergreen.
After flowering, at the beginning of the rainy season, is the
best time to transplant daylilies. The beds that they are to
occupy should be well enriched in advance of the planting date.
A liberal mulch of rotted compost fortified with a sprinkling of
a balanced commercial fertilizer should be turned under, one
spade deep, a couple of weeks before you plan to expand the
Hemerocallis section. If you expect to grow these perennials
directly in front of vigorous evergreen shrubs the roots of the
border must be cut back carefully when the beds are prepared
and again several times during the growing season. Galvanized
or aluminum roofing may be installed on edge, underground,
to restrain the marauding roots of the woody plants of the
shrub border.
Dig matted daylily clumps with generous root systems, lift
them from the ground and, as you shake them vigorously, the
earth will fall away and you will note that each clump is, in reality,
a colony of individuals. Carefully separate these ramets one
from the other, until the entire clump has been divided down to
single pips. These single divisions can be trimmed both top and
bottom so that they may be handled easily, or they may be
planted without this reduction of either tops or roots. In set-
ting daylily divisions in their new garden sites have them exactly
the same level that they stood previously. They may be slightly
deeper, perhaps, but never less deep than they stood in their
former positions. Water the beds liberally but do not worry
about shading, as this extra precaution is entirely unnecessary
for success with these hardy perennials. If you want the best
possible lilies and you are not dismayed by the prospect of intro-
ducing weeds and nut grass, spread a liberal mulch of cow manure
over the beds when the plants start to grow. A mulch of peat
or oak leaves will serve almost as well, yet weeds will not be

When daylilies have been set into beds that were properly
enriched, supplementary feeding is not needed until the follow-
ing January.
A night bloomer is a daylily that opens its blossoms after sun-
down, then remains attractive during the following day. Hemero-
callis citrina, the species which displays this characteristic, has
many descendants among present-day hybrids which open their
flowers in the evening. In temperate climates, where it is pos-
sible to sit out of doors during the long summer twilight, night
bloomers are very useful for planting near a terrace or porch,
particularly since some of them are fragrant. In the Gulf South
at times it is not pleasant to sit out of doors after dark, and here,
evening bloomers are not of paramount interest.
An extended bloomer is a daylily that opens its blossoms as
usual in the morning but these flowers do not fade or disintegrate
at sundown, remaining open in good condition well into the night
or even into the following day. In Florida and the Deep South
the intense summer sun bleaches and curls daylily blooms so
badly that extended bloomers lose their effectiveness. In tem-
perate regions, on the other hand, they have great merit and
extended blooming is a characteristic which many hybridizers
are striving to incorporate into their new, deep-toned seedlings.
The vegetative shoot which develops on the flower stalk of
certain daylilies is called a proliferation, simply a professor's
word for leafy shoot or offset.
After flowering, cut the scape an inch or two above and below
the bract-protected proliferation and then place this fragment,
with offset attached, in a box of moist sand with a label bearing
the name of the variety. This little propagation case should be
shaded, of course. During the summertime strong root systems
develop very quickly and the plants should be ready to pot off
as individual daylilies in about two weeks.
You may be assured that these new acquisitions will be identi-
cal with the older plants from which they were taken, because
they have exactly the same genetic makeup.
Spell bound, I watched an old timer break proliferations care-
lessly from stems, open holes in the earth with his boot toe,
drop the slips and then return the soil and stamp it firm with
his heel. Perhaps this method would be satisfactory under some
conditions, but it always appealed to me as being wasteful of
good propagating material. Carefully made slips should be set
into labeled rows in boxes of moist sand or sand and peat.



Pale Yellow
Golden West
Mrs. B. F. Bonner
Pale Moon
Star of Gcld

Bertrand Farr
Helen Wheeler
Killarney Lass
Miss Houston
Pink Charm
Pink Prelude
Rose Gem
Salmon Rose
Sweet Alice

Medium Yellow
Emily Hume
J. A. Crawford
Sally O'Neal
The Gem
Wau Bun

Deep Yellow
Florida Gold
Queen Mary
Sun Queen
Theodore Meade

Bess Vestal
Blanche Hooker
Garnet Robe
Morocco Red
Ruby Supreme

Chrome Orange
Joanna Hutchins

Black Falcon
Black Prince
Emperor Jones
Persian Princess
Purple Waters
San Juan

With Contrasting Eyezone
or Halo
Fiftieth Anniversary
Helen Fischer
Queen Wilhelmina
Tiger Eye

Petals and Sepals
Cluny Brown
George Kelso
Hai!e Selassie


Crystal Pink
Easter Morn
Fred Howard
Hazel Sawyer
Peach Blush
Prima Donna
Sunset Glow
* Compiled by Mrs. Bright Taylor, Ocala, Florida.

Deeper Shades
Dr. Stout
Olive Baldwin
Painted Lady


1. What is responsible for the present widespread interest in dayliiies?
While daylilies have been grown since the beginning of gardening,
early flowering types in new colors and distinctive shapes have been
available only since the nineteen thirties.

2. What soil does the daylily prefer?
Thriving in muck, sand cr c!ay, daylilies are not particular as t3 the
soil type so long as it is reasonably fertile and supplied with moisture
during periods of excessive drought.

3. Are daylilies tropical plants?
Some wild species came from temperate Asia, others are indigenous
to warmer sections. Modern garden types developed in Florida are
especially well suited to our semi-tropical climate.

4. Will daylilies thrive in the shade?
The plants will grow, but foiiag- will be spindling and flowering will
be sparse. Full sun, at least half of the day, or shade from high pines
makes for best growth and heaviest flowering.

5. Are daylilies gcod plants for bog gardens?
While daylilies will grow well along a shore line, there should be enough
slope so that the crowns will be well above possible high water.

6. Why are some daylily roots large and tuber-like?
These are storage organs which act as reservoirs to help the plants
survive periods of drought.

7. How and when should daylilies be fertilized?
In January apply a balanced lawn and flower fertilizer in holes around
the clumps. Again during the rainy season put out more fertilizer
broadcast or in punch bar holes.

8. When should daylilies be transplanted?
During the post-flowering, dormant season in June and July. Novem-
ber-January is the next best period.

9. Do thrips discolor daylily blossoms?
Usually not in Florida. Although flower thrips will destroy roses,
glads and dahlias during May, Hemerocallis blossoms usually pass
through their single day without showing thrips injury.

10. What is a proliferation?
This is the small plant that arises on a flower scape. Some varieties
produce one or two proliferations on each scape, others never have

11. Why is evergreen foliage considered an asset in Florida?
The lush foliage is useful in our winter gardens, even though the plants
are not in bloom.

12. When should daylily clumps be thinned?
When established plants become heavily matted (about five years after
setting) they may be lifted, divided and re-set about one foot apart into
enriched beds.

13. Is there a white daylily?
As this is written a daylily that bears white blossoms has not been
reported. Every hybridizer hopes to find one in his seedling beds.

14. Do double-flowering forms occur in attractive shapes and colors?
No. Occasionally one will find a daylily in which the stamens have
become petaloids. The only fixed double available is the well-known
widely distributed double Kwanso.

15. What are evening bloomers?
Daylilies which open about seven or eight p.m. to be ejoyed that evening
and through the next day.

16. Is there a 72-hour daylily?
Not yet, but hybridizers have much improved the keeping quality of
the lily-of-a-day and two- and three-day daylilies will probably be a
reality in the near future.

17. What flowers combine well with Hemerocallis?
Blue or purple violas, purple petunias, plumbago, candytuft, white
crinums, blue sage, lily-turf, moraea and native irises.

18. Can a novice hybridize Hemerocallis?
Certainly. Simply apply pollen from one blossom to the single, out-
pointing stigma of another and sow the black seeds as soon as the pod
turns yellow.

19. How soon before a daylily seedling will bloom?
Seedlings should bloom at the start of their second growing season.

20. Can I buy varieties that have been bred for Florida conditions?
Yes, Florida nurseries have excellent home-bred varieties for sale.


AJAX, yellow
BEACON, orange-yellow
ZOUAVE, yellow with mahogany eye zone
BABETTE, orange
JUBILEE, yellow wth eye zone
MODESTY, yellow
EASTER MORN, orange dusted cinnamon
BARONET, Brazil red
RADIANT, orange

MIKADO, orange with mahogany eye zone
WINSOME, yellow
JACK, Burmese ruby
WAU BUN, orange dusted with cinnamon
FLORHAM, yellow
BERTRAND H. FARR, grenadine pink
KANAPAHA, cardinal red
ALLAPATTAH, maroon red
SACHEM, wine red
EMILY HUME, yellow
PATRICIA, lime yellow
PAINTED LADY, polychrome

SWAN, cavalry yellow
CABELLERO, bicolor
TAMIAMI, Pompeian red
PORT, wine red
SU LIN, pastel bicolor


Fig. 2.-Flowering sequence of Hemerocallis in Florida gardens.

(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
University of Florida, Florida State University and United States Department of
Agriculture, cooperating. H. G. Clayton, Director

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