Although I grow all three foliage types of daylilies, my western Wisconsin garden is predominantly filled with dormants. Over the years the dormants have thrived the best in our northern climate. Nothing seems to faze them…even a polar vortex. I grow many semi-evergreens that do very well, but I have had much more difficulty growing evergreens. Of the daylilies I would lose each winter, most would be evergreens. So obviously, I am much more cautious when it comes to growing evergreens. With a little extra TLC, like protection by the house or a location by a warm sidewalk or rock border, my six evergreens grow wonderfully and I have had them for many years –– they include J.T. Davis, Joan Senior, Lotus Position, Mister Lucky, Wings of Chance, and Waxed Legs.
Foliage habit definitions from the American Daylily Society:
- Dormant/deciduous –In science, dormancy describes the temporary suspension of visible growth of any plant structure containing a meristem. The term “dormant” is not restricted to deciduous plants but also applies when plants that retain some, or all, of their foliage suspend growth and have dormant buds. All daylilies, regardless of registered foliage habit, suspend growth when it gets cold enough.
- Semi–evergreen – The foliage of semi-evergreen daylilies dies back nearly to the ground in very cold climates. Some green will be seen near the base. Generally, semi-evergreens wait until spring to resume growth.
- Evergreen – The foliage habit of daylilies that retain their foliage throughout the year. In cold winter climates, evergreen daylilies over-winter as a mound of frozen pale green foliage. Evergreens may resume growth during a mid-winter thaw in mild climates. Evergreen daylilies do not set resting buds.
Pictured is the dormant daylily Dean Corey