Plant of the Week ~ Hemerocallis (Day Lily)

Hemerocallis botanical art
Hemerocallis botanical illustration

This week we are taking a closer look at Hemerocallis which is commonly known as Day Lily. The name day lily refers to the duration of the blooms on this plant with each flower opening in the morning and then closing in the evening. The botanical name, Hemerocallis, originates from the Greek words hēmera “day” and kalos “beautiful”, an obvious reference to the duration of the beautiful flowers. While the blooms of this species are transient, the plant itself is perennial, so you can look forward to enjoying the beautiful flowers year after year.

Cultivation

Hemerocallis are probably some of the easiest herbaceous perennials to grow. They aren’t particularly fussy when it comes to growing media, quite happily growing in all soil types, so long as they are moist and rich in nutrients. They prefer neutral or slightly acid soils but will suffer in very acid or alkaline soils.As for light exposure, while they will produce more flowers in sunny positions, they will still flower in shade and the blooms will actually last longer.

Varieties

While Hemerocallis  originates in Asia, it has been cultivated in Britain for centuries and so unsurprisingly there are many varieties and hybrids to choose from, each with their own quirks. Below are a few shining examples of this beautiful plant.

Hemerocallis ‘Marion Vaughn’

rhs-hemerocallis-marion-vaughn-01
Hemerocallis ‘Marion Vaughn’ – RHS

Even when the fragrant, pale yellow flowers are gone, you can enjoy this cultivars narrow, evergreen foliage throughout the year.

Hemerocallis ‘Burning Daylight’

rhs-hemerocallis-burning-daylight-01
Hemerocallis ‘Burning Daylight’ – RHS

The cheerful, intense orange flowers of this cultivar, not only provide a feast for the eyes, but also a lovely fragrance for the nose to appreciate.

Hemerocallis ‘Berlin Red’

Hemerocallis 'Berlin Red' - RHS
Hemerocallis ‘Berlin Red’ – RHS

Though this cultivar is not fragrant, it more than makes up for this with its striking crimson flowers which are bound to attract attention.

 Good enough to eat!

Surprisingly Hemerocallis flowers are edible. They can be enjoyed raw or cooked and have a sweet taste with a crunchy texture. Generally speaking, the red and brown coloured cultivars have a more desirable taste than the yellow or scented varieties. The leaves and young shoots have a deliciously sweet flavour which can be enjoyed cooked, however it is advised that only very young leaves and shoots be consumed otherwise they become fibrous.

Wildlife & Eco Gardens can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants.  Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Wildlife & Eco Gardens can help you create a vibrant wildlife garden for you and your family to enjoy all year round. Contact us for more information.

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