Plant Preview

Welcome to Plant Preview, a blog dedicated to helping gardeners learn about gardening techniques and preview new plant cultivars. Read about new plants here first and hear how your "comrades in compost" are making use of new plant introductions in their gardens and landscapes. Blog author Geri Laufer is a life-long dirt gardener, degreed horticulturist, author and former County Extension Agent. Plant Preview is copyrighted by Geri Laufer.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Companion Planting with Daylilies

About a decade ago, I devised a strategy to interplant tough, drought-resistant daylilies on an embankment, although my idea will work in any garden situation, in sun or part shade. My objective was to prolong the bloom season from January until June.  I selected two other perennials of approximately the same size with similarly-shaped leaves for this companion planting.  
Several types of daffodils were selected, and planted in groups of about seven bulbs (all the same for maximum impact) next to each daylily clump. I chose some of the earliest yellow bloomers for January, as well as mid-sized white and pink varieties to extend the flowering season into February and March. Narcissus are long-lived, and since they are in the Amaryllidaceae, they are poisonous and therefore unappetizing to chipmunks and pine voles. 

Next, I planted starts of Siberian Iris and non-bearded iris next to the daylily clumps to follow the daffodils and continue the flowering season into March/April. Iris siberica are every bit as tenacious as Hemerocallis in terms of toughness and drought resistance. Although their sword leaves look a lot like the fans of slender daylily leaves, the flower spectrum is in the blue-to-violet-to-white range and the iris flower shape is completely different, providing variation.  

Finally, the old varieties of daylilies took center stage. Before the new repeat-blooming hybrids, my daylilies would begin flowering about Father’s Day – mid June—and give a burst of color for about a month.

Today, by replacing the old varieties with continuously-blooming daylilies like those  from the Enjoy 24/7 Daylily Collection from Garden Debut®, my daylilies start blooming in early April and don’t quit until Thanksgiving!
  •          A strong-growing bi-color Kokomo Sunset™ PP22181 provides brilliant color with blazing gold and a burgundy-red eye.
  •          Montego Melon™ PPAF is a compelling soft yellow on a short plant that increases rapidly and has triple the number of flower scapes. 
  •          Ruffles and frills of Bermuda Peach™ PPAF are irresistible, with low-growing, rust-resistant foliage on a rapid increaser.
  •          The haunting Jamaica Sunrise™ PPAF, delivers an eye-catching lavender-rose hue.

These daylilies were developed by award-wining daylily breeder Dr. Ted Petit for incredible bloom cycles stretching from April through late fall and healthy, rust-resistant foliage with low, grassy-like leaves and flowers held above compact plants. I find planting in groups of the same variety gives the biggest impact, particularly those with bright- or light-colored flowers, with each plant becoming a attention-magnet or “visual bouquet” in the landscape.

So share a photo if you give my daylily companion planting strategy a try and let us know your own long-blooming efforts! You’ll have flowers from Januany through November by including daffodils, Siberian iris and choices from the new iEnjoy 24/7™ Daylily collecton from Garden Debut®. Or perhaps you have a different set of plants to include for a continuous bed of blooms?  Let’s hear it!

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