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Connecticut Garden Journal: New daylilies to grow—and eat

Borage, Borago officinales, Nasturtium, Day Lily, Hermerocallis petals, Chives and herbs in an edible flower and herb salad in a white bowl.
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Daylily flowers are edible and delicious in salads or stuffed like squash blossoms.

Everyone knows the orange tawny daylilies growing on the roadsides or in meadows. They seem to be everywhere in early summer, but their show is brief. Also, many gardeners have some hand me down and some older varieties, such as 'Stella D' Oro' and 'Lemon Lily', in their gardens. But if you're just growing these older varieties you're missing out on some newer daylily types with better flowering habits.

Hemerocallis or daylilies are tough perennials that can grow in a variety of different soils and in part to full sun. New varieties have higher bud counts on sturdier scapes, rebloom more consistently, and have a wider range of colors with thicker petals that hold up better during summer rains. Many of these new varieties have at least two colors on the petals and picotee, ruffled edges. Some new varieties that are good replacements for existing varieties include 'Buttered Popcorn' instead of 'Hyperion'. Both have large yellow flowers, but 'Buttered Popcorn' produces more flowers, longer into the summer and reblooms. 'Going Bananas' is a good replacement for 'Happy Returns'. It reblooms more consistently throughout the hot summer from July until frost with larger flowers. 'Bright Sunset' is a good replacement for 'Frans Hals' because it has bigger flowers with a fragrance. Plus, there are new varieties, such as 'Siloam Peony Display', that have apricot colored, double flowers that really look like small peony blooms.

Give these new varieties a try but don't necessarily throw out the old types. They still have beauty and if all else fails, remember daylily flowers are edible and delicious in salads or stuffed like squash blossoms.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.
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