Want something unique? Try daylilies–Easy to grow, too!

daylilies in garden bed in Orchard Park NY
Beds at Lasting Dreams Daylilies in Orchard Park. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

If you’re looking for a flower that’s easy to grow and different from what your neighbors have in their gardens, try one of the 1,100 varieties of daylilies available at Lasting Dreams Daylilies, 6425 South Abbott Rd., Orchard Park.

eskimo kisses daylily from grower in Orchard Park NY
Eskimo Kisses daylily. Photo courtesy Lasting Dreams Daylily

If you need more variety, hang in there. Carol and Anthony Haj, owners of Lasting Dreams Daylilies, are working on hybridizing their own brand new varieties, too.

There are so many reasons to love daylilies. Topping the list is daylilies’ beauty and variety. Daylilies range in height from 12 inches to six feet. They get spectacular flowers with a vast range of sizes, shapes and colors. There are more than 70,000 registered varieties of registered daylilies.

Daylilies can provide color throughout the summer. Early daylilies come up in late June; middle daylilies, mid-July, and late daylilies, the end of July. Reblooming daylilies can get a second stem of blooms, which prolongs the length of time that the plant will flower.

String Bikini daylily from grower in Orchard Park NY
String Bikini daylily. Photo courtesy Lasting Dreams Daylily

If you don’t like watering, daylilies are a great choice because they’re drought tolerant. Drought is becoming more of a concern for Western New York gardeners because our climate patterns are changing. (See how climate change affects Western New York Gardens and how  drought affects trees in our area.

When I visited Lasting Dreams Daylilies during the worst of last summer’s dry weather, I saw fields of healthy, beautiful, blooming daylilies– but the Hajes don’t water!

“We couldn’t water; we’re on a well,” Carol said.  “This is the middle of a drought and this is how good they look. These are very drought-resistant plants.”

Another advantage is to daylilies is that Japanese beetles don’t like them.

Sinister Minister daylily in Orchard Park NY
Sinister Minister daylily. Photo from Lasting Dreams Daylilies.

Daylilies are actually edible, too.

“The lighter colors taste better,” Carol said. “The darker colors are spicier.”

Daylilies get their name because each flower lasts just one day. The scientific name, Hemerocallis, means “beauty for a day” in Greek. Each stem gets several blossoms, and as one blossom dies, a new one blooms.

Tip: You can pluck a daylily blossom and set it on a tabletop to display. It will look beautiful all day without water, said Carol.

There’s still plenty of time to plant daylilies. Carol tells people they can plant anytime from May through the end of September. She will plant into October, but she makes sure she waters the plants in very well and babies them so they will make it through the winter.

magnificant hummingbird daylily in Orchard Park NY
Magnificent Hummingbird daylily. Photo from Lasting Dreams Daylilies.

The plants the Hajes sell are field grown.

“All the plants live on my property for a year before I sell them,” she told me. “They go through the winter. I’ve got to be sure they’re going to bloom for you and grow for you.”

You can browse through the fields to see what appeals to you, and when you see a plant you like, Carol will dig it up for you. They also have plants already potted up, and you can look through a catalog to find a particular specimen. Lasting Dreams Daylilies is open for group tours and Carol can give an instructional talk there or at your venue.

She noted that if you let your hybrid daylily go to seed, the new plant won’t be the same as the parent. If you want a plant that looks like the parent, you have to transplant the baby plants.

Carol is working to expand the number of varieties by breeding her own and creating a variety that is worthy of being registered. The new plant can’t just be different from the parent plants; it must be brighter or bolder or bigger or in some way better, she explained. She aims to create new reblooming varieties with good branching so that the flowers are spread out. They should open well, the color should hold up in a light rain, and they shouldn’t “melt” or get mushy on a 90-degree day.

rapid eye movement daylily in Orchard Park NY
Rapid Eye Movement daylily. Photo from Lasting Dreams Daylilies.

This year she planted about 3,000 new seeds that she will see bloom in a year or two. About 1,000 seedlings that she planted previously will bloom for the first time this year.

“I get up at 6 a.m. to see my babies,” said Carol Haj. “It’s the first time anyone has ever seen that flower bloom. It’s thrilling.”

Of those plants, perhaps plants will be selected to see how they bloom again next year. She hopes in the next three years to have a few new outstanding daylily varieties to sell.

10 Comments on “Want something unique? Try daylilies–Easy to grow, too!

  1. Nice to find another daylily source. My garden club and myself just purchased 10 unusual varieties in quantity from another source having 700 varieties in Orchard Park, so it may be some time to check out Carol’s daylilies, but great to know she has so many varieties.

  2. Sorry, I forgot to include a link to their website in the story; I’ll fix that. Starting Wednesday 6/12/13 through Sunday 6/16/13 they will be open 10 AM to 6 PM, other times are by appointment. You can see more at their website.

  3. This is probably a question that has been addressed many times, but how do you prevent the deer from eating all the buds before anything blooms?

  4. Yes, the question of how to keep deer from eating plants has been addressed many times because, unfortunately, there is no foolproof solution. You can see many suggestions by going to the “Topics” section and clicking on “Pests and Weeds.” http://www.buffalo-niagaragardening.com/tag/pests-weeds/ Even if a technique works for awhile, the deer generally get used to it and you have to try something else. Good luck!

  5. In response to Paulette, Connie is correct when she states there is no foolproof solution to deer control, but your concerns need to be looking at changing their habit long term, as well as protecting your plants in the short term. This is more of an issue for those gardens with wooded areas nearby, or areas where development has displaced wildlife habitat. Since we are open farmland, we just have the occasional one or two passing through; yet we take proactive measures because even a single deer can cause huge damage. If anyone wishes call us, we would be happy to share the techniques we use, as well as methods used by other growers, who deal with herds of deer.

  6. I picked my day lily seeds about three weeks ago have been trying to grow them but have had no luck, I read online about the paper towel method, and the hydrogen peroxide and perlite method tried them both no luck.i need some help.i live in westchester county New York.

  7. Hi Vincent, What it primary for daylily seeds to grow is cold stratification. If they are planted directly in the ground, the colder winter temperatures will let nature do that on its own. It sounds like you’re trying to grow in containers, so at some point these seeds are going to need 5 to 6 weeks in the refrigerator to accomplish this step. When you search online, everyone has their “method” for germination of daylily seeds, and we have tried different methods ourselves and have yet to agree if those additional steps make any difference. My personal opinion is that plant seed was created before we were around, so the closer we keep to what naturally occurs the better. So if you decide to start those seeds in a couple months, remember that you will need a place to have them germinate and grow, and later a window area with good light. The one risk to using perlite/water to soak the seeds prior to planting, is that you want to catch them before they start growing or rotting in the container, because once it starts sprouting, you now need to handle that seed carefully when planting because that is your first leafing coming out. Good Luck with your planting, and you can contact us directly at LastingDreams@verizon.net if you have any additional questions.

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