Daylilies and dogwoods

Kathy Henderson

Garden Columnist

This is a favorite time in my landscape garden - the time of daylilies (the easiest and hardiest perennial ever!) and the Ever-green Korean Dogwood.

A flowering dogwood tree in Kathy’s garden. Special photo

Daylilies (Hemerocallis spp.) have been hybridized thousands of times for color of flower, size of flower, petal variations, number of flowers on a stem, the way the flowers are arranged on a stem, the length of the flower stem, the size of the leaves and the length of the leaves. I am sure there are varietal characteristics that I left out. My criteria is beauty and reliability. If it is pretty, healthy and I have the money, I want it!

The one pictured here was on sale and I loved the picture. I love the real flower even more. It is not an “everblooming or re-blooming” cultivar. It will bloom magnificently about 2 weeks and then I have to wait another year with anticipation for it to bloom again. In the meantime it will multiply about two times its number of plants in the clump and thus will have even more blooms next year.

After about 4 years, I will divide it in the late summer or early fall and have more plants for my landscape (If I can find the room).

This cultivar is ‘Primal Scream’ and the flower is 9 inches across on a plant about 30 inches tall. It blooms in early to mid-June.

There are many re-blooming varieties. These are usually smaller and less dramatic than those that do not re-bloom in the same season. Re-blooming depends a lot on how often you remove the seed heads, water and fertilize. Also, you need to divide these fast-multiplying clumps about every 3 years.

Daylilies may be evergreen (retaining some foliage through the winter) or they may die back completely during the winter months.

Daylilies in Kathy’s garden. Special photo

While most people think of daylilies as lilies, the name is a misnomer - they are not lilies and do not come from a bulb. They are a perennial plant that has strong fleshy roots which make it a great erosion plant, even in droughts. However, their best show is when the soil is properly managed and they get sufficient moisture and fertility. If the foliage starts to look bad from disease or insects after the flowering time, remove it by cutting back the dead leaves, give it a light fertilization and some water and the plant will come back until frost.

This is a great time to find the flowers you want at your local garden center or grower because they are in bloom.

My Korean Dogwood (Cornus kousa var. angustata or sometimes Cornus angustata) is in full bloom. Unlike the Flowering dogwood that is found in our woodlands in the south and is a standard in our landscape, this dogwood has very few disease problems. Over the last few years, we have noticed an increase in dogwood problems ranging from petal blight, leaf blight to root and stem cankers. The Flowering dogwoods with which we are so familiar is deciduous (loses its leaves in winter) whereas the Evergreen Korean (or Chinese or Japanese) Dogwoods do not lose their shiny dark green leaves.

The petals of the Cornus kousa (both the deciduous and the evergreen ones) are pointed and form on the top of the limbs. My evergreen one tends to put on so many flowers that it makes the plant “weepy” and hangs where you can see the flowers so well. It is amazing this year! I fertilize it in winter most years and remove any dead limbs that may form and that is about it. Planted in good soil and watered during droughts, and given filtered shade, it will live for many years and provide blooms in June.

This is not an easy plant to find, so search for it, the results of hard work will be worth it. Call your local nursery and let them help you find this wonderful tree.