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Vermont Garden Journal: Hardy, Everblooming Daylilies For Your Summer Garden

Daylilies bloom best in full sun on well-drained, moist soils. They're vigorous plants that will expand over time.
Daylilies bloom best in full sun on well-drained, moist soils. They're vigorous plants that will expand over time.

Daylilies or Hemerocallis, are one of the easiest flowers to grow. They're hardy, reliable bloomers and tough as nails. I was moving one summer, and I dug out and left a bunch of daylilies on black asphalt for a week or so. When I came back not only were they still alive, they were blooming!

With thousands of varieties on the market it's hard to choose the best ones for your garden. Personally, I'd start with everblooming or repeat-blooming varieties. These all started more than 30 years ago with the yellow-flowering "Stella D' Oro."  If you like "Stella D' Oro," now there's "Purple D' Oro," "Ruby Stella" and "Black Eyed Stella." There's been a lot of breeding work on newer everblooming daylily varieties that bloom longer and more reliably on better looking plants. Look for newer varieties such as "Strawberry Candy" with coral-pink flowers, "Going Bananas" an improved version of "Happy Returns" with canary yellow blooms, and "Apricot Sparkler."

Daylilies bloom best in full sun on well-drained, moist soils. They can bloom in partial shade, but the flowers will be fewer and the blooming period shorter due to lack of light and competition from nearby trees and shrubs. They're vigorous plants that will expand over time and get overcrowded. Divide daylilies every three to four years in spring to rejuvenate them and produce more plants to spread around.

You can also extend the bloom season even further by deadheading properly. As you know, daylily flowers last only one day, but can produce hundreds of blooms. To extend the flowering period deadhead and remove not just the spent flower, but also the ovary or swollen area right below the flower. Just letting spent blooms fall off isn't enough because the ovary is left behind which will form seeds. Once the daylily starts forming seeds, it stops flowering.

Now for this week's tip: harvest bush beans, cucumbers and summer squashes on the young side to encourage more production and have better textured and tasting veggies.

Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.
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