Daylily Plant Care Guide ~ Hemerocallis
Daylily is the general nonscientific name of a species, hybrid or cultivar of the genus Hemerocallis /ˌhɛmɨroʊˈkælɪs/. Daylily cultivar flowers are highly diverse in colour and form, as a result of hybridization efforts of gardening enthusiasts and professional horticulturalists. Thousands of registered cultivars are appreciated and studied by local and international Hemerocallis societies. Hemerocallis is now placed in family Xanthorrhoeaceae, subfamily Hemerocallidoideae, and formerly was part of Liliaceae (which includes true lilies).
Daylilies are perennial plants. The name Hemerocallis comes from the Greek words ἡμέρα (hēmera) “day” and καλός (kalos) “beautiful”. This name alludes to the flowers which typically last no more than 24 hours. The flowers of most species open in early morning and wither during the following night, possibly replaced by another one on the same scape (flower stalk) the next day. Some species are night-blooming. Daylilies are not commonly used as cut flowers for formal flower arranging, yet they make good cut flowers otherwise as new flowers continue to open on cut stems over several days.
Hemerocallis is native to Eurasia, including China, Korea, and Japan, and this genus is popular worldwide because of the showy flowers and hardiness of many kinds. There are over 60,000 registered cultivars. Hundreds of cultivars have fragrant flowers, and more scented cultivars are appearing more frequently in northern hybridization programs. Some cultivars rebloom later in the season, particularly if their capsules, in which seeds are developing, are removed.
Most kinds of Daylilies occur as clumps, each of which has leaves, a crown, flowers, and roots. The long, linear lanceolate leaves are grouped into opposite fans with arching leaves. The crown is the small white portion between the leaves and the roots. Along the scape of some kinds of daylilies, small leafy “proliferations” form at nodes or in bracts. A proliferation forms roots when planted and is often an exact clone of its parent plant. Many kinds of daylilies have thickened roots in which they store food and water.
A normal, single daylily flower has three petals and three sepals, collectively called tepals, each with a midrib in the same or in a contrasting color. The centermost part of the flower, called the throat, usually has a different color than more distal areas of its tepals. Each flower usually has six stamens, each with a two-lobed anther. After successful pollination, a flower forms a capsule (often erroneously called a pod).
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