Late Season Daylilies
Breeders have been very busy for several decades churning out multitudes of new Daylily cultivars. Most of this work has focused upon the mid-season bloomers. These garner the distinction of offering a host of spectacular color forms at a time of the season when there tends to be a lull in gardens. However, a gardener would not encounter difficulty if one wished to piece together a collection of Daylilies that would initiate flowering in June, swelling in numbers of selections into the middle of summer and result in a surprising number of colors that would follow through into October in eastern Connecticut, even longer down south.
Late season elegant trumpets afford striking contrast to the end-of-the-season daisies, flying carpets of Ironweeds, clouds of Joe-pye Weed, spikes of Persicaria and wands, sprays and explosions of Goldenrod. They are boastful with berries, gorgeous with grasses. Those trumpets are such exceptional textural contrast late summer into autumn that I have found it curious that more attention has not been given them.
Bulb lilies have clashed with the very terrible problem of Lily Leaf Beetle decimating the members of Lilium - the genus, not the florist on Main Street, Danielson! Daylilies are not troubled by this difficult pest and the voles tend to ignore the tubers though will delight in the gourmet treat of a lily bulb should they sniff one out in their relentless quest for underground edibles.
Late flowering Daylilies vary in height lending elegance to almost any and every design. All of the following cultivars are dormant growers - they will perform beautifully for us in the north. All are diploid unless otherwise stated. Disposition is easy; after all, they're daylilies.
'Autumn Minaret' is a terrific Arlow Stout introduction with a breathtaking succession of flowers. The cross is H. altissima x H. fulva. Beginning in midsummer and continuing until early autumn each 4" trumpet is composed of narrow yellow petals just touched with orange sporting a subtle pink-red eye. The bud count is very high on each scape which may achieve a stratospheric height of eighty-four inches tall. When flowers open they emit a light, sweet fragrance.
The deep butterscotch gold flowers of ‘Butterscotch Harvest’ are just touched with orange. Upon opening each 4.5" trumpet displays a warm reddish halo that fades as the hours pass. This is a quick increaser with loads of flowers and an extended bloom season with many scapes growing to twenty four inches.
'Jean' is comparatively an old selection, the magic conjured by McDade-Schreiner in 1943. The dark orange-red petals, each with a golden midrib, alternate with deep golden orange sepals, magic upon a virtual pinwheel patterning. This is a very late bloomer in the Daylily spectrum with flowers handsomely displayed on scapes growing to thirty-eight inches tall. Deep, rich autumn tones arrive just in time for a fall show.
Growing twenty-seven inches tall is ‘Olallie Keith'. Tubular buds open to 4.5" flowers, the three purple petals extending from the light, warm yellow heart display a showy broad creamy midrib. Petals recurve strongly and are each nicely ruffled. The alternating three sepals are lighter purple-cream. Each flower reminds us of a star... And as 'Olallie Keith' is a heavy producer of buds on multiple scapes this is a constellation of great merit in the late season garden.
‘Rose Persimmon’ is a deep, rich coral-pink blend with overtones of red and orange. Each 5.5" nicely formed flower is crepe-ruffled at petal edges. Flowers set up on scapes to eighteen inches tall.
The polychrome yellow of 'Sears Tower' offers extended bloom probably due to its tetraploid genetics on tall scapes to seventy-two inches. Flowers are 7" large, of thick substance and pleasingly fragrant.
Also with tetraploid genetics is ‘Shocker’. Each 4.5" flower is a pale warm creamy cantaloupe with an expansive pool which might be considered a variation on the traditional eye zone just touched in light pink. Petals display a crepe paper-like texture flaunting gently ruffled edges. On scapes to thirty-two inches this lovely selection is not so much a shocker as a subtle beauty. We consider this is one of the prettiest very late season bloomers.
Upon opening the 4.5" flowers of ‘September Star’ are saturated dark red-pink which quickly moderate to a lovely clear pink. Accompanied with lighter petal midribs, paler sepals with a rich golden yellow heart 'September Star' trumpets the shortening days of summer on scapes twenty-four inches tall.
We have a special affection for 'The Last Melon', a beautiful pastel cantaloupe. Single fans often produce multiple thirty-two inch tall scapes creating a huge bud count. Each flower measures 5.5" on this quickly increasing plant.
With so many color forms and heights available might you not herald the autumn season with magnificent trumpets? Dig in. Have fun.
penned by Wayne Paquette in March, 2015
'The Last Melon'