What To Do If You’re Daylily Crazed

\'Reflections in Time\'

‘Reflections in Time’ (Salter 2002)

Up front, I’ll tell you . . . if you’re already there, I can’t help you. The first two years I was seriously “into” daylilies, I nearly lost my mind, and the children’s inheritance, but I do know the signs:

  • You join the local Hemerocallis club and pester everyone looking for a particular cultivar.
  • When not hitting them up for a plant, you wander amongst the members trying to absorb all their knowledge. It is hard. You wish you could do mind meld a la Star Trek.
  • You invite yourself to their gardens and walk around with pen and pad to write down all the names. They don’t mind. They’re addicted too. Hours pass, and your family wonders if you’re ever coming home.

\'Ivory Parasol\'

‘Ivory Parasol’ (Apshear 1991)

  • You ask your new friends if they sell out of their gardens. They say “Sure,” and ask you which one. You point, and they tell you it’s a $100 or $250 plant. They would love to sell it to you, but they only have a double fan. You’re relieved, but plot to get one too.
  • You see another. Gulping, You ask them if they will trade. They kindly smile and ask what you’d like to trade, and you thrust out an unnamed orange daylily you dug that morning from your garden bed. While trying not to laugh, they tell you it’s a ditch lily. They kindly give you a fan or two of ‘Fairy Tale Pink’ to take home. (It’s a great increaser and an old favorite.)

\'Raspberry Winter\'

‘Raspberry Winter’ (Trimmer 1999)

  • Undaunted, you leave with daylilies dancing in your head, and that night, you dream the sweetest of dreams.
  • You hear about the Lily Auction, and you begin to troll it every morning at 6:00 a.m. for a “deal.” After all, it’s still dark outside, and you can’t take photos. When your children ask you for breakfast, your eyes never leave the computer screen as you motion vaguely with a hand toward the refrigerator and mumble “cereal.” (Wait a minute, that sounds like blogging.)

No More Tears

‘No More Tears’ (Emmerich 2003)

  • You begin traveling on tour buses once a year to regional meetings where you scoop up the latest cultivars given to attendees. Better yet, you start bidding on regional auction plants.
  • You lovingly plant these jewels in containers and watch over them like an anxious mother until September when it will be no longer be too hot in Oklahoma to plant them. (Plant them in mid-summer, and you’ll be shading their tender roots with all kinds of materials like cardboard boxes tilted on chairs and plastic trash can lids.) Your garden now resembles the local dump, but you don’t care.


‘Outrageous’ (Stevens-D 1978)

  • Your fondest dream is to travel to the National Convention (held in Houston this year.)

If you already have two of the signs, there’s still hope. An intervention may be needed. Does anyone know of a daylily hotline? A twelve step program?

If you have three or more signs, there’s no medicine. The only cure is time.


  1. I’m pretty sure I’m not daylily crazed, Dee. I have 7, no 8, wait maybe 9 cultivars. Well, except for those two this year that bloomed that I’m not sure where they came from, maybe it was from that guy’s garden where he sold some from his home….or it could have been that night I stayed up half the night reading the descriptions of each daylily on sale…or, well, uh maybe I am a little crazed. But I have a pretty yellow one to swap to you! Stella something or other 🙂
    Gotta go get some more…need that red one…

  2. Eric Moore says:

    Dee you have outlined the daylily “sickness” perfectly. All summer long the first thought in my head each morning is I have to get outside and see if whatever daylily I am anticipating is in bloom that day. I find myself midday without having eaten yet. It’s terrible but enjoyable. It all started with the thought I wonder what would happen if these two daylilies were crossed. A well known daylily hybridizer familiar with our illness questioned “are you sure you want to do this, once you start it can get out of hand?” I now know what he meant. Daylilies are like eating potato chips, you cant just have one. Enjoyable article!

  3. chey says:

    Dee~~Your post made me smile:). You’ve certainly got the symptoms well documented. Another terrible symptom is when you start to dab pollen to produce hundreds of seeds ,which of course must be planted, often at the expense of other garden plants!

    Chey, I don’t need to be doing that. I don’t have room now.~~Dee

  4. Louise says:

    I was given some daylily divisions last year. I am now looking forward to seeing what colour they are?

    Hi Louise, lucky you! Let us all know how pretty they are when they bloom.~~Dee

  5. You mean some people *aren’t* daylily crazed?! Geez, Dee! What’s wrong with them?!!! Maybe they’re the ones who need the intervention…

    Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking.~~Dee

  6. linda says:

    I loved all the pictures of the daylilies….I had no idea how beautiful they could be, and the colors!!! now I may get crazed about them….linda

    That’s what happened to me.~~Dee

  7. Dollybelle says:

    Really pretty photos of our favorite flower Dee! I’m up so late ’cause I worked
    in the garden on the daylilies all day until dark thirty and now am sore as a
    boil. Definitely daylily crazed!

    Hi Dollybelle dear, I know what you mean. Your garden is fabulous, and it’s because you work so hard in it.~~Dee

  8. Sheila says:

    I too am a daylily lover. Just planted about two dozen starters throughout my garden and I can’t wait to see them bloom. We could have worse afflictions!

    Hi Sheila, absolutely.~~Dee

  9. Bebe says:

    Hi Dee,
    Thanks for coming over to visit my blog!! You are so sweet! It is nice to meet you! I have enjoyed looking at all your beautiful daylilies ~ we are gardening kindred spirits! I have a lovely Stella D’Oro that never fails to delight me every year. I love that “No More Tears” with it’s sweet pink flower. Bliss!
    Southern Smiles, Bebe 🙂

    Hi Bebe, you are so welcome. Karol Emmerich’s daylilies like ‘No More Tears’ are amazing. She’s a northern hybridizer who creates plants that rival the Florida hybridizers. That’s very difficult to do in a dormant daylily.~~Dee

  10. Vanillalotus says:

    I thought I was daylily crazed but I don’t think I have any of these symptoms. I have more daylilies than I really should have. On top of the 14 I have I keep on looking at more. So far I have been good and haven’t purchased any since last year in like october or november. If only I had a yard I would love to get more.

    Vanillalotus, maybe you’ll get more when you can get them out of pots, although daylilies like pots.~~Dee

  11. Aisling says:

    Dee, I have it mildly, I think. I’m only up to 4 cultivars….wait, 7 cultivars. And, there is the fact that I’ve already been contemplating purchasing a new variety this year. But, there are other plants that have a similar draw. Each in its season, I guess.

    Great post. Lovely photos of beautiful flowers. Thanks for visiting my blog. It is nice to meet you! I’ll be back. 🙂

    ~ Aisling

    Aisling, thanks for coming by. Everything should have its own season. My favorites, by far, are when the early roses bloom, and daylily season.~~Dee

  12. As much as I love that apricot colored daylily, I’m really not a daylily person. Giveaway clue: what’s a fan? 🙂 I was out in the garden this very morning clip, clip, clipping the spent blossoms of some kind of daylily (bluish, indescribable variegated blossom) wondering, “Are these fans? Is this ‘bad’ to be ‘deadheading’ daylilies? Should I be mailing these to Dee???” (See, don’t have it.) 🙂

    Kathryn, I should have explained. A fan is one section of a daylily. If you dig up a clump and separate it, you’ll see it’s made up of leaf sections which look like Chinese fans. You should deadhead daylilies. You can just snap off the old blossoms. Maybe I’ll rub some of my daylily love off on you. Watch out.~~Dee

  13. eliz says:

    Ha! Even though I never succumbed (doesn’t work as a cut flower–that is what bugs me, as well as the crappy foliage) this is too, too funny. Well done!

  14. Cindy says:

    Oooh, now I want some daylilies! Look what you have done! I can’t possibly get hooked on another plant to start collecting! 🙂

    Those are some absolutley beautiful pictures.

  15. Hi
    I have succumbed and responded to a tag left on my blog by the lovely Karen at Artists Garden. However I have had to now pass the tag on to six bloggers and I have included you. http://patientgardener.wordpress.com/2008/06/12/tagged-by-artists-garden/
    Hope you feel like playing along.

    Helen, thank you so much for including me, but I just did a tag like that the other day. It was my I’m Pretty Random post. I can’t do it again so soon, but I’m very flattered. Thank you.~~Dee

  16. Pam/Digging says:

    I’ve never suffered from the daylily addiction, but I’m glad to know the warning signs! Your post is too funny, Dee. Especially the part about waving your children to the cereal boxes without lifting your eyes from the computer screen. Yes, blogging can be a similar addiction. 😉

    I figured my blogging friends would love that one.~~Dee

  17. Yeah, well, them ditch lilies are awesome. I call them Steptoe Butte lilies because I dug them up near a falling down barn near Steptoe Butte. But I still think you are kinda twisted…….in a good way.

    MA, don’t get me wrong. I love ditch lilies. I have some in a meadow bed by the road. They are beautiful, but I would be sneered at if I tried to trade.~~Dee

  18. CurtissAnn says:

    Beautiful flowers! And photography. I planted two cheap varieties of daylilies this year. I think my general love of money and thriftiness will keep me safe. Whew! Thanks for the warning. I do Not need any more addictions. LOL!
    hugs, CurtissAnn

    You’re welcome.~~Dee

  19. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Oh yes, I have had this illness hit me a couple of times the past few years. I fight it off then WHAM I have a set back
    as soon as I see one of the latest and greatest.

    Hi Lisa, you better stay away from me. I might infect you again.~~Dee

  20. linda says:

    Dee, you’ve got some beautiful daylilies. I love them, but they don’t bloom well in my shady garden. So I’m not daylily crazed, but I think I’m starting to develop heuchera syndrome and hosta madness. Fern fever and anemone anemia are secondary conditions.

    Linda, I’ve had heuchera syndrome too. Have you seen ‘Mahogany?’ What a beauty. I like hostas, but I’m not mad about them yet. There’s still time.~~Dee

  21. Aunt Jo says:

    I’ve got the symptoms.

    I have a new one, to me, blooming this year and I don’t know what it is. It sure is pretty next to the orange ditch lily and the yellow ones that were planted at the same time.

    Aunt Jo, I feel for you. Don’t come to me for help though. I’m such an enabler.~~Dee

  22. Zoë says:

    I love them too, you should take a peak at Chey’s place, A Maritime Gardener, she even breeds them! So far I haven’t any in flower yet, that’s a treat for me to look forward to in July.

    Hi Zoe, I will go over there and visit. Thanks for the heads up.~~Dee

  23. deb says:

    I have it, but not that bad 🙂

    So you say.~~Dee

  24. Mr. McGregor's Daughter says:

    I never had it quite that badly, but I’m over it now. (Having a shady garden will do that to a person.) I went to hear Roy Khlem talk about Peonies a few years ago. I remember him saying that the prices of Peonies were in line with the amount of time it takes to breed & propagate them. He then said that there was no way to justify $100 for a Daylily, as they divide so easily & increase so rapidly. At the height of my madness, I did consider ordering a $75 Daylily, but sanity won out & that plant is probably about $25 now, when I no longer want it.

    MMD, I interviewed Roy Klehm about his friendship with Brother Reckamp once. I’ll write about it on the blog sometime. He was such a gentlemen. He sent me three Reckamp daylilies. I still have them all. He made me a customer for life. I’ve bought several of his peonies, and I’ll be sending in an order for the fall. He’s right about the prices on daylilies IMHO. I’ve never spent more than $50 on any daylily, and that was only twice. I can wait a few years for them.~~Dee

  25. I have just one daylily that I inherited from one of our landscaping clients who moved away from this area. I love it, and had been thinking that I needed some more to keep it company 🙂 Yours are so beautiful and unusual. I can see how they might become an addiction.

    Love the humor in your post. Made me smile and laugh. Gardening is such a sweet obsession.

    Take care.

    Hi Carol, if you want some suggestions, let me know. I know of some great ones that don’t cost that much. Hey, that’s a post. Thanks for the idea.~~Dee

  26. Amy says:

    I fell very hard for daylilies about two years ago. They are pretty much the perfect plant for my growing conditions. I bought two new ones this year and still don’t know where I’m going to fit them!

    Great post!

    Thanks, Amy, they’re hard not to love aren’t they?~~Dee

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