- 'Carnival in Mexico' - A beautiful award winner that is a solid performer. The seven-inch blooms have great substance and during peak bloom it's not unusual for it to have 25-30 blooms in one day.
- 'Coleman Hawkins' - I bought this plant from the recommendation of another gardener. Boy was he right on! This big plant is just what I was looking for. I've always been partial to orange daylilies and the large eight-inch blooms are gorgeous. It never disappoints.
- 'Coral Majority' - I love this daylily because of its unusual, vibrant coral color. It's very bright and showy - another one of my dependable August daylilies that blooms like crazy.
- 'Fall Remembrances' - An uncelebrated daylily, but I love it dearly. One of my late bloomers that really puts on a show in August. It's tall, sturdy and prolific. The blooms start the morning as a rusty copper color and mellow to a warm gold as the day progresses.
- 'Holiday Party' - The photo pretty much spells out what I love about this plant. It's definitely a showstopper. I read about the attributes of this plant in another gardener's daylily blog and decided I had to have it in my garden too. Great decision!
- 'Jerry Hyatt' - What I love best about this plant is how it looks different depending on the weather conditions. I venture to say there's about six different faces that Jerry Hyatt puts forth. I especially like the leopard spots that it exhibits some days.
- 'Mister Lucky' - He's as old as the hills (1975), but still holds a prized spot next to my back door. Every bloom is perfect, the clump is well-behaved, has a nice foliage and the color is exquisite.
- 'Omomuki' - A fluorescent yellow daylily that is a beacon in my garden, in addition to being an early, prolific bloomer. This plant is one of my husband's favorites, as well. The original two fans came to my garden from a dear friend, so that makes this daylily even more special.
- 'Primal Scream' - A multiple award-winner that literally glows on sunny days. The unusual form 7.5" blooms are brilliant. Every northern gardener should grow this superior daylily.
- 'Ruby Spider' - The large, velvety nine-inch blooms are breathtaking. I had heard for years from other gardeners how wonderful this plant was, but it wasn't until I started growing it myself that I fully understood what they were talking about.
- 'Time Stopper' - The color combination is what I love most about this plant, not to mention its tall, vigorous nature and large blooms - a definite wow!
- 'Waxed Legs' - This daylily is not my biggest bloomer, nor is it the most prolific, but I'm obsessed with the beautiful 13" waxy, green blooms. I'm continually compelled to take photos of this one, despite the dozens I already have.
After having my friends choose their favorite daylily dozen, it's only fair that I create my own list for my Wisconsin - Zone 4 garden. This was harder than I expected, as all the daylilies are my favorites on different days. But I do have a common theme here -- big, bold colors and/or large flowers.
I challenged my friend Mary to come up with a list of a dozen favorite daylilies from her garden. If you grow daylilies you know that a favorites list is very fluid, so this particular list is comprised of Mary's top 12 as of TODAY. You can bet that tomorrow's list may look a little different. We love all of our plants for different reasons and it's hard to pick favorites. Mary's list is alphabetical, so there's no preference for one plant over the other. Her garden is in Wisconsin-Zone 4 so these cultivars are all winter hardy plants that thrive in a northern climate.
Mary's Guest Blog:
Wow, I can't believe how fast the summer has gone. The mosquitoes almost ate me alive at times while trying to garden and deadhead my daylilies. It's funny how, as we grow older, our same young self is still there inside of us. The realization that I work a bit slower nowadays doesn't get in the way of my gardening addiction. I'll never quit gardening as long as I'm able. I love coming home from work and strolling through my gardens for instant relaxation.
I challenged my friend Sally to come up with a top twelve list of favorite daylilies from her garden. I thought it would be fun for you to get someone else's take on what grows well in their yard. Sally’s garden is in Wisconsin-Zone 4 so, like me, she needs hardy daylilies that thrive in a northern climate.
Sally's Guest Blog
I am not oblivious to the wonderful attributes of award-winning daylilies that I have seen in other gardens or even grown myself. This group alone could fill up my top twelve. Instead, I wish to offer twelve solid favorites that I have grown for at least three bloom seasons. Some of them may be considered "off the beaten path," older award winners or are uncelebrated, but in my opinion worthy of a "shout out."
My list is in alphabetical order as it was difficult enough to narrow it down to twelve plants. After all, isn't that why we are daylily collectors? We love all of our daylily children...each for a different reason!
Photos in this blog are all courtesy of Sally
Frances Joiner is a beautiful, delicate rose blend that is reminiscent of a tropical sunset. This reliable double is perfect for the front-of-the-garden border. The blooms are both consistent and prolific. Hybridized in Savannah, Georgia by Enman Joiner, Sr. and introduced in 1988, this award-winning daylily was named for his wife, Frances.
This dormant diploid daylily grows 24" tall and has 5.5 inch blooms. Frances is a midseason bloomer typically starting in early July and blooming into August. She is hardy in Wisconsin's northern climate. This daylily's genetics have been used to create 114 child plants that are registered in the American Daylily Society database.
American Daylily Society Awards:
Some plant nurseries and big box stores have been known to sell daylilies with 'garden' names or no names at all, with perhaps only their color printed on the sales tag. Does it matter if you buy unnamed or unregistered daylilies, or should you only buy those registered with the American Daylily Society?
There are three schools of thought on this topic:
As you can probably tell from my blogs, I fall into the #2 category. Where do you stand on this topic?
Daylily pictured: Bill Tonn
Here's the ultimate party girl, 'Holiday Party,' showing off her stuff. This vibrantly colored daylily is planted in a flower bed close to our driveway, and just about everyone who drives up has to stop and take a closer look.
Holiday Party is a hardy dormant tetraploid that thrives in Wisconsin. Hybridized by the late Frank Kropf in Missouri, and introduced in 1996, this consistently double daylily grows 32" tall and has 6" blooms in my garden. Holiday Party started blooming on July 4, and will no doubt continue into August. She's a keeper!
American Daylily Society Award: Honorable Mention: 2007
'Scarlet Pimpernel' came to me from my friend Priscilla. I had always admired this daylily in her garden, so I could hardly contain my excitement when she gave me a division of her plant, all potted up. This cultivar has grown in leaps and bounds and clumped up in no time for me. The 10" garnet red and yellow blooms are showstoppers! Everyone who sees Scarlet for the first time usually gasps in astonishment, and asks "What is THAT?"
Hybridized in Iowa by Nan Ripley (2006), this semi-evergreen tetraploid is winter-hardy in Wisconsin. Scarlet Pimpernel is an Unusual Form (UFO) crispate, which means it has pinched, twisted, or quilled floral segments. Sometimes the blooms appear as polymerous (more than the usual amount of segments). In one of my photos, note that it has four petals and four sepals. Although the scape height is registered as 35 inches, after three years in my garden it only grows about 30" tall. This award-winner is one of my early bloomers. This year it started blooming on June 22 and I expect it to continue through the end of July.
American Daylily Society Awards:
'Dancing Summerbird' is in full bloom right now reminding me, once again, how much I love this dainty lilac-lavender daylily. Hybridized by Marc King-Lamone and introduced in 1997, this dormant diploid never disappoints. Every 5.5" bloom is consistent and looks picture-perfect, rain or shine. Dancing Summerbird is categorized as an Unusual Form (UFO) crispate (includes floral segments which have sharp folds giving a pinched or folded effect) and spatulate (segments are markedly wider at the end like a kitchen spatula). This gives all the flowers a very unique look -- they seem to be happily dancing in the breeze.
My plant grows 27" tall and although it is registered as a midseason bloomer, here in Wisconsin it is one of my earlies. Typical bloom time is from late June through the end of July. What a great way to start the season off!
Here's an eye-catcher that I grow named 'Hey Sue's Crispey.' This daylily is not well-known, nor is it award-winning, but I'm crazy about this beauty. I grabbed it from the Wisconsin hybridizer table at the annual Daylily Society Sale in Madison. To me, the Wisconsin hybridizer table means *sure thing* when it comes to northern gardening. When I planted my two fans at home, they never missed a beat and took right off growing.
Hybridized by William (Bill) Powell, this 2009 dormant tetraploid daylily grows 32" tall with six-way branching. The 6.25" blooms are consistent with thick substance (bud count: 31-35). The reddish-orange-gold polychrome color paired with the delicate ruffled gold edge is exquisite. In 2020, bloom time in my garden was from July 21 through August 19. This daylily is very striking in a clump; what's not to love?
'White Eyes Pink Dragon' is one of those daylilies that commands your attention in the garden. This unusual form (UFO) crispate was hybridized in Ohio by Jamie Gossard (2006). Its genetics are from two very notable parents, 'Cameroons Twister' and 'Webster's Pink Wonder.' WEPD is a dormant tetraploid that grows well in Wisconsin. It's not the fastest multiplier, but give it some time -- once it settles in, it's worth the wait. I promise!
In my yard, White Eyes Pink Dragon grows 37-38" tall. The fragrant 8.5" blooms are definitely head-turners (bud count: 21-25). Last summer's bloom time was from July 20 through August 25. Even on cool summer mornings, the blooms are early morning openers. I love this multiple award-winning beauty!
American Daylily Society Awards:
I purchased WEPD (and a few other cultivars) from Oak Hill Daylilies in Illinois. This is a great place to buy daylilies! Check it out: https://oakhill.plantfans.com/
'Moses' Fire' is a beautiful, hardy and consistent daylily for northern gardens. I have grown this double in my garden for over 15 years. Hybridized in Georgia by Jan Joiner (1998), this dormant tetraploid thrives in our unpredictable Wisconsin winters. The six-inch red blooms have a subtle gold edging that really adds emphasis to the delicate ruffled look. The flowers double 95% of the time and the bud count is 16-20.
Moses' Fire is a perfect front-of-the-border plant that grows 24" tall in my garden. Bloom time last summer was from July 2-28. The length of bloom time is typically less than most of my other daylilies, but this plant looks so amazing at peak bloom bursting with such large, dramatic flowers that I don't really mind the shorter bloom.
American Daylily Society Awards:
Award of Merit: 2005
Honorable Mention: 2001
Ida Munson Award for Outstanding Doubles: 2008
If there's ever a classic daylily, 'Fooled Me' qualifies for that title. This vibrant masterpiece is one of those perfect plants that is a sure thing in every northern garden. It's a reliable, vigorous bloomer that consistently looks beautiful on any given day. The cheerful, bold bloom colors are a standout in the landscape.
Close to twenty years ago my sister-in-law, Sandra, gave me a division of Fooled Me from her garden. Over time I've been able to pay it forward and give my friends divisions of this plant to enjoy. It's one of those plants that every gardener should have.
Hybridized by Philip Reilly and Ann Hein (1990), this dormant tetraploid grows 30" tall in my garden (registered height is 24") and bloom size is 5.5 inches. Fooled Me has extended bloom and occasionally re-bloom. In my 2020 garden, bloom time was mid-season, from July 7 through August 6. It's also worthy to note that Fooled Me has 202 child plants on the records, which indicates genetics that many hybridizers value.
American Daylily Society Awards:
Stout Silver Medal: 2005 (the most prestigious award a daylily can win)
Award of Merit: 2001
Honorable Mention: 1998
Meet 'Banana Freeze,' one of our Wisconsin Daylily Society plant sale purchases. While shopping at the sale, it was recommended to Ange by one of the Society members who grew it in his garden. What a great tip! We've only had this daylily for a couple of years, but I can already tell it's going to be a rock star! This front-of-the-border unusual form (UFO) embodies every characteristic I look for in a daylily. From the day we planted our two fans they took right off. The 7.5" blooms are thick and waxy, consistent, and plentiful. At 7 am or 7 pm the flowers look exactly the same, whether it's rainy, hot or windy. The foliage is really nice, in addition to the amazing the greenish bloom color. And you've gotta love the cute curls on the sepals!
Hybridized in Wisconsin by Jean Bawden (2007), this 24" tall, dormant diploid can handle any extreme weather thrown its way. In my 2020 garden, Banana Freeze bloomed from July 9 to August 12. This is not a well-known, celebrated daylily cultivar, but it is definitely one of our garden favorites.
'Wilson Spider' is a wonderful dormant diploid daylily that was introduced in 1987 by Bill and Stewart Oakes at Oakes Daylily Farm in Corryton, Tennessee. I have grown Wilson for over 25 years and it is consistently beautiful and winter-hardy in my Wisconsin garden. I originally received a division of this plant from a friend and over the years I have been able pay it forward by sharing divisions with my friends.
The spidery 7.5" blooms are registered as a bitone or reverse bitone. In the landscape it's a valuable later-season bloomer. In 2020 bloom was from July 22 to August 23. Scapes are registered as 28" tall, but in my yard they grow about 35" tall. (Happy plant!)
Wilson Spider has 98 child plants on the books that include Concorde Nelson, Desperate House Cats, Long Legged Cowboy, Politically Incorrect, Shoo-Fly Pie, and Small World Jack in the Box. If you love spiders, this daylily is definitely a sure-thing and will not disappoint.
American Daylily Society Awards:
Award of Merit: 2009
Honorable Mention: 2006
Harris Olson Spider Award: 1994
For a Valentine's Day blog, this vibrant red daylily is the perfect subject. 'Via Dolorosa' checks all the boxes for a must-have daylily. At the beginning of the day the bloom color is darker as in the first photo. Towards the afternoon it resembles the second photo. I think both the am and pm colorations are equally beautiful. My plant grows happily in 100% sun.
Via Dolorosa was hybridized in Minnesota by Karol Emmerich (2009). A dormant tetraploid, it grows 30" tall and thrives in a northern climate. The lovely green foliage is a nice contrast in color to the rich red flowers. Blooms measure 6.5 to 7" in size and are fragrant, early morning openers (bud count: 21-25). Last summer Via Dolorosa bloomed from July 9 to August 9 in my garden. This daylily also exhibits instant rebloom.
American Daylily Society Award: Honorable Mention 2020
'Wow Factor' is a perfect name for this striking daylily. I was definitely 'wowed' when the huge 8.5" - 9" blooms first appeared in my garden (bud count: 16-20). You've also got to love the cream/white shark teeth that appear on both the petals and sepals of this flower.
Nan Wilkerson hybridized this showy, dormant tetraploid in 2010. It is categorized as a UFO crispate (an unusual form cultivar with petals that give a pinched or folded effect). Wow Factor is registered as being 34" tall, but it must be exceptionally happy in my flower bed because it grew 42" tall for me. Wow Factor bloomed last summer from July 13 through August 9. The bloom time should increase as my plant matures. At peak bloom, you can't miss this tall, beautiful daylily in the landscape.
Wow Factor was a serendipitous 'pretty photo pick' for me from the Wisconsin Daylily Society Sale in Madison, a few years back. I am 100% happy with my impulsive choice. It's a keeper!
'Willow Dean Smith' had been on my wish list for a long time before she arrived in my garden a few years ago. This Kentucky girl has a feminine vibe with lovely pink-edged ruffles. The ruffles fade to a lighter pink in the afternoon. Both versions are equally beautiful.
Hybridized by John Rice in 2007, Willow Dean Smith is a dormant tetraploid that grows from 36-38" tall. As delicate as this daylily appears, it is winter-hardy in Wisconsin. The pristine blooms measure between 6-6.5" in size and are very consistent, waxy, and sturdy in all types of weather. A late-season flower, Willow Dean Smith bloomed in my garden last summer from July 17 through August 23.
Willow Dean Smith does not have the most rapid increase, but that doesn't bother me in the least...I'm willing to wait. I love this daylily! It's a tall, dazzling stand-out in any garden.
American Daylily Society Award: Honorable Mention 2011
'Bloom Where You're Planted' is a perfect metaphor for all of us as we begin the new year.
This hardy daylily does exactly that! 'Bloom Where You're Planted' was hybridized in Minnesota by Karol Emmerich in 2013. I think this dormant tetraploid is just about perfect in every way possible. The showy 5.5" blooms are consistent and have good substance (bud count: 21-25). On cooler days the colors remain just a bit darker. The fragrant flowers are early morning openers, even when the temperatures are in the 50's and 60's, and the plant is a reliable re-bloomer, even in Wisconsin.
Last summer, Bloom Where You're Planted grew 32" tall in my garden and bloomed from July 13 through August 21. This peach and red beauty was planted in our front roadside garden for the last couple of years. It was so stunning that last fall we decided to move it up by the back door of our house so we could appreciate it up-close.
'Blueberry Breakfast' is a very unique, distinctive daylily. Its coloration tends to vary with the weather. Some days it looks chalky lavender/purple and other days, vibrant pink. Occasionally it even exhibits spots, as you can see in the second photo. This beautiful dormant diploid cultivar is perfect for the front of the border as it only grows 22" tall. Hybridized in 1988 (Rose), Blueberry Breakfast has five-inch flowers and is a midseason bloomer. In my garden, last summer's bloom was from July 7 through September 16. (The latter date included late-season rebloom.) This daylily is very hardy and grows very well in Wisconsin. It's a perfect northern daylily!
American Daylily Society Awards: Honorable Mention: 2002
A spider daylily has flowers whose petal length is four times the petal's width or more, a ratio of 4.0:1 or greater. The long, narrow petals give the blooms a spidery-like appearance. Spider daylilies are currently more prevalent in diploid daylilies. Diploids appear more delicate and graceful in their appearance (as opposed to tetraploids that are more sturdy with heavier petal substance).
My experience tells me that most gardeners either love or don't love spider daylilies. There is rarely ambivalence of opinion. Spiders can, however, become an acquired taste, much like black coffee. I do know gardeners who have slowly come around to appreciating them over time. I really love spiders; the more bloom diversity I can have in my garden, the better.
Here are photos of seven beautiful spiders. The pictures will speak for themselves.
Daylilies Pictured: Red Ribbons, Heavenly Flight of Angels, Holly Dancer, Miss Jessie, Suzie Cream Cheese, Waxed Legs, and Wilson Spider
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