Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Though the stems of daylilies aren't available commercially, they are very useful for floral design. These plants are one of the most popular flowering perennials.
The vase life is rather short, only about a day or two for each individual blossom. However, the stems usually contain multiple buds. So, new ones open to replace the faded blooms.
Because of their interesting shapes and colors, daylilies are used as form flower. They are also used for accent. The actual shape of the blossoms varies from one variety or kind to another. Some are star shaped, while others are circular or triangular in outline. Others are spider shaped. In some cases, the flowers have a ruffled appearance. This is especially true for the ones with double-type blossoms.
The sun will fade some kinds of daylily flowers. For that reason, you may want to keep your arrangement out of direct sun unless you know the kind you are using is fade-proof.
The name daylily comes from the fact that the flowers really do open for a single day. The Latin name for this plant, Hemerocallis, comes from an ancient Greek word, which means ‘beauty for a day.’
For most floral designs we would usually use daylilies grown in our gardens. One species of this plant has escaped and naturalized in much of the U.S. This will be the ordinary orange daylily. It would be fine for informal summer bouquets. But for most purposes we would use the fancier kinds. Daylilies come in a wide array of solids and bicolors. Orange and yellows are very common. The red-flowering ones come in every shade, some of which have a velvety appearance. Daylily flowers also come in other colors, including white and cream as well as every kind of pink from delicate to strong. There are even purplish ones as well.
Daylily blossoms vary considerably in size from one variety to another. In ones like Stella d’ Oro, they may be petite. Other varieties bear very large blossoms. The scale and kind of floral arrangement you are making determines what size is most appropriate.
For the most part, the original daylilies come from Asia and Europe. They were brought to England in the early 1700’s. They have been introduced to many other locations as well.
Long lived in gardens, they can grow to form good sized clumps. When a clump gets too crowded it tends to produce fewer flowers. So the plants do benefit from dividing about every five years or so. This does depend upon the cultivar. Some grow faster than others.
Once a daylily is established, you can pretty well forget about it. These require very little attention. Though they normally are insect and disease free, the relatively new daylily rust has changed that. If you are concerned, buy varieties that are resistant to the disease.