Daylilies are a tried and true landscape plant, but why do we tend to limit ourselves to planting the same cultivar over and over? There are over 89,000 registered cultivars of daylilies, so let's get started!
If you have ever been outside before, you are probably familiar with the cheery yellow of the ‘Stella de Oro’ daylily. You can find these reliable yellow faces in the summer in abundance at shopping malls, restaurants, and in subdivisions. Today, there are more than 89,000 cultivars of daylilies. So why does everyone plant the same tired cultivar over and over? Don’t get me wrong, Stella de Oro is a fantastic plant, but so many improvements and variations have been made. This would be like continuing to use an iPhone 4 even though we have the iPhone 8 available to us. The variation of plant size, bloom size, and flower color is incredible, and honestly, can be a little bit overwhelming. Where do you start when you have 89,000 choices? Perhaps that is another reason people tend to stick with ‘Stella de Oro.’ If you feel like mixing things up, this blog post cites 5 great daylily cultivars to plant instead of ‘Stella de Oro.’
But first, lets take a quick look at ‘Stella de Oro’ to see what we are up against. ‘Stella de Oro’ has bright yellow slightly fragrant flowers that are considered miniature since they are only 2.75” across. The plant itself is rather small as well only getting about 1’ tall and wide. It blooms early, beginning in May and reblooms throughout the entire summer.
- Hemerocallis Rainbow Rhythm® Going Bananas
Proven Winners® has some great selections for daylilies in the Rainbow Rhythm® series. They currently have 9 beautiful selections, so this is a great place to start if you want to narrow that 89,000 down to 9. Of this series, Going Bananas is visually the closest to ‘Stella de Oro.’ The flowers are yellow and slightly fragrant, but the yellow is a lighter lemon-yellow. The flowers are larger measuring 4” across. The plant itself is larger as well at about 1.75’ tall and wide. It blooms a bit later than ‘Stella de Oro,’ beginning in June and lasting for most of the summer. If you are familiar with ‘Happy Returns’, this is said to be an improvement of that variety.
- Hemerocallis 'Purple d'Oro'
As you could probably guess from the name, this cultivar is very similar to ‘Stella de Oro,’ except it is purple. ‘Purple d’Oro’ also has miniature flowers measuring 2.75” across. The flowers are a light purple with a bright yellow throat. Subsequently, it would pair nicely with ‘Stella de Oro’ since their yellow flowers would bring out the yellow throats of ‘Purple d’Oro.’
- Hemerocallis Lacy Doily
Lacy Doily is lovely and delicate. The flowers are medium sized measuring 3.5” across, and the light coral petals are slightly ruffled with a lime green throat. The overall effect is very sweet. The plant is slightly larger than ‘Stella de Oro’ measuring at 1.75’ tall and 2’ wide. The flowers bloom through the entirety of summer, however not quite as early as ‘Stella de Oro.’
- Hemerocallis 'Red Hot Returns'
Red Hot Returns is a fiery and vibrant cultivar. The plant size is similar to ‘Stella de Oro’ measuring a little over 1’ tall and wide. The flowers, however, are larger measuring 5” across with an incredible scarlet color and yellow and green throats. The flowers bloom all summer starting in June.
- Hemerocallis Rainbow Rhythm® Primal Scream
Last but not least, we have another Proven Winners® selection, and possibly my favorite daylily cultivar on the market right now. The blooms are massive measuring up to 8.5” across. The flowers are a glowing orange with gold overtones and twisted petals. The whole effect is incredibly eye catching. To support a larger flower, the plant itself is larger measuring at 2.5-3’ tall and about 2’ wide. The bloom time is slightly reduced, only blooming in July, but I think it’s worth it for the flower display the plant puts on.
Don’t mistake this blog post as a condemnation of ‘Stella de Oro.’ She is a great performer and incredibly reliable. I merely suggest that you add some more cultivars to your daylily palette. ‘Stella de Oro’ would look great planted alongside some vibrant red, purple, pink, and orange cultivars.
If you are interested in a complete list of daylily cultivars sold by Home Nursery, contact your sales representative or Chloe at email@example.com!
“Daylilies: Plant Care and Collection of Varieties.” The National Gardening Association, garden.org/plants/group/daylilies/.
“Dazzling and Diverse.” American Daylily Society, daylilies.org/.
“Find Your Plants.” Proven Winners, www.provenwinners.com/plants/search.
“Plant Finder.” Missour Botanical Gardens, www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/plantfinder/plantfindersearch.aspx.
“Proven Winners® Perennial Collection.” Walters Gardens, Inc., www.waltersgardens.com/perennial_collection.php.