Ever-flowering daylilies are a dream come true for gardeners who annually bemoaned the early passage of these much-loved favorites from their springtime gardens. The problem with daylilies in the past was that they bloomed once in the spring and then left behind desolate clumps of lonely leaves as a reminder of the glory that was. Thanks to horticultural advances, this scenario need not repeat itself in your garden.
‘Stella D’Oro’, the first ever-flowering daylily
According to Rutgers University Agricultural Extension Service, the first ever-flowering daylily was Hemerocallis cultivar ‘Stella D’Oro’, bred by the late Walter Jablonski in the early 1970s. A stalwart in the garden, ‘Stella D’Oro’ has a lengthy bloom time of May to August. Reaching a height of only about 1 foot, it sports 2.75-inch golden yellow blossoms with deeper yellow throats. Flowers have ruffled petals held aloft on bare scapes or stems above clumps of slender, bladelike leaves. ‘Stella D’Oro’ enjoys popularity because it is compact, easy to grow and provides nonstop color for the entire season. It is hardy in zones 3 through 10. ‘Stella D’Oro’ is not fussy about soil, grows in sun or partial shade and tolerates heat and humidity.
‘Happy Returns’, a relative of ‘Stella D’Oro’
Hemerocallis ‘Happy Returns’ is another popular ever-flowering daylily. A lighter yellow than ‘Stella D’Oro’, ‘Happy Returns’ is a soft shade that will complement everything in the garden. Developed from ‘Stella D’Oro’ by Dr. Darrell Apps, ‘Happy Returns’ shares many of the same traits as that garden favorite. Stunning 3-inch blooms appear in profusion from spring to fall. Clumps grow 12 to 18 inches tall and 12 to 28 inches wide. ‘Happy Returns’ is hardy in zones 3 to 9 and, like most daylilies, is very easy to grow. Though it prefers partial shade, ‘Happy Returns’ tolerates full sun; it successfully adapts to a variety of soils. Trim spent flower stems to keep plants looking neat. Remove dead foliage in the fall when blooming is over and divide as plants become overcrowded.
Another outstanding example of ever-flowering daylilies is Hemerocallis ‘Just Plum Happy’, which was also developed by Dr. Darrel Apps. This colorful dwarf is a giant among ever-blooming daylilies with blooms that are 6 inches wide. It is one of the few ever-blooming daylilies available to gardeners in the north. Known to be hardy in zones 4 through 9, it may also prove hardy in zones 2 and 3. ‘Just Plum Happy’ grows to a height of 12 to 16 inches and produces dramatic bright pink blooms with a purple eye center. Blooming period is late June to frost. This daylily follows the usual clumping habits of the Hemerocallis family. Its outstanding blooms are accompanied by deep green leaves and typical bare stems. It is not particular about soil types and accepts full sun or partial shade.