The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s hardiness zone 5 covers a wide swath of the central U.S. It reaches from upstate New York through the Great Lakes into the mountains of northern New Mexico, and through the western mountain region to Salt Lake City. Zone 5 gardeners have a wide choice of daylily cultivars, but several appear regularly in the American Hemerocallis Society’s (AHS) popularity polls and awards for best producers from 2007 to 2010.
Not quite a spider shape, this orange daylily has unevenly ruffled petals and bright yellow that seems to pour forth from its throat. It appears on popularity polls for all five of the AHS regions from 2007 to 2010. It is the winner of 1997 Honorable Mention, 2000 Award of Merit and the 2001 Lambert Webster Award for most outstanding unusual form, all AHS awards based on various qualities having to do with plant vigor and bloom quality and production. The mid- and late season bloomer took the society’s highest award, the Stout Silver Medal, in 2003. Blooms are 8 inches across on 34-inch scapes over sturdy green leaves. Like other zone 5 daylilies, it is a "dormant," meaning that its leaves die down in winter and re-grow in spring.
Ruby Spider is an early bloomer that, with Primal Scream, provides a complete season of unusual shape bloom. Ruby-tipped, open petals and matching corkscrew sepals open around a yellow throat with yellow and white rays. Blooms are 9 inches wide atop 34-inch scapes. AHS honors include Honorable Mention 1999, Award of Merit, 2002 and a 2002 Lambert-Webster Award. The dormant spider variant appears on four out of five regional favorites lists in consecutive years.
Two other daylilies appear on lists of several zone 5 regions in consecutive years. As with other award-winning cultivars, honors are based on years of performance and proven bloom. All American Chief bears 9-inch bright red blooms with broad yellow throats beginning in early mid-season. It won the AHS 1999 Honorable Mention, 2004 Award of Merit, 2006 Extra Large Diameter Award and the 2008 Stout Silver Medal. Red Volunteer has broad mahogany 7-inch blooms with heavily veined petals and a yellow throat on 34-inch scapes. It blooms mid-season and has won the AHS 1989 Honorable Mention, 1994 Award of Merit and 2004 Lenington All American Award for best performer over a wide geographic area.
Two other plants that appear on several zone 5 regional popularity polls are also Lennington winners for best performance over a wide area. Bela Lugosi, a 34-inch mid-season violet bloomer with ruffled petals and yellow throat, won the award in 2007. Peggy Jeffcoat, with its creamy white double 6-inch bloom at mid-season, is the 2010 Lenington winner. The compact plant with 22-inch scapes is also winner of the 2001 Ida Munson Award for outstanding double flowers.