The daylily is a perennial plant that comes in a huge assortment of cultivars. The daylily is the "perfect perennial," according to the American Hemerocallis Society, because it can grow in many climates, requires little care, comes in so many varieties, resists drought and blooms for a long time each year. The plant takes it name from the fact that the flowers last for one day; the plant producing multiple buds and possessing more than one flowering period per year offsets this.
Daylilies grow in clumps and feature leaves that resemble those of grass. The leaves can be as long as 40 inches on some daylilies, and they emerge from the bottom of the plant, growing on opposite sides of the stem. The scape, a stalk with no leaves, towers over the leaves and is the portion of a daylily upon which the flowers appear. The scapes will typically have more than one branch and the buds develop on them. The flowers consist of three petals and three sepals–parts of the flower which resemble petals.
The Floridata website says that as many as 30,000 different hybrids of daylilies now exist, coming in all colors with the exception of blue and pure white. In the wild, daylilies are a dull red-yellow, orange or yellow, but crossbreeding has produced colors ranging from pale lemon and bright gold to creamy pink and deep grape. When a gardener refers to a color of a daylily, she is talking about the outer portion of the flower. Inside the flower, known as its throat, daylilies are often different from the outer hues, with many being some shade of gold, yellow, green or apricot.
The daylilies are from the genus known as Hemerocallis, which includes about 15 different kinds of daylilies. These plants originated in Asian nations such as China, Japan and Korea. The daylily came to other countries as an ornamental, where hybridizers worked to create flowers of different colors, shapes and sizes. Daylilies often will escape cultivation, growing wild in many parts of the United States. You will frequently spot daylilies existing on the sides of the road in areas between the highway and woodlands.
Although daylilies will grow in a partial shade environment, the plant does best when getting a full modicum of sunshine. Most types will need no less than six hours of direct sunlight each day to do well. Daylilies prefer soil that is neutral or with a slight acidity and need well-drained ground to prosper. A raised flowerbed keeps the daylilies from becoming waterlogged.
Some of the pests that will cause minor damage to the daylily include aphids, thrips. snails, slugs and spider mites. Aphids are a threat in cooler weather, and daylilies are vulnerable to a certain species that feed on them. Hot weather can bring out the spider mites, while thrips can occur in numbers large enough to infest daylilies. The damage caused by slugs and snails will be on the young tissue of a daylily, with these creatures chewing holes in the foliage.