Defining early bloom times in daylilies
Many consider Stella D'Oro to be the marker for the beginning of the early daylily season. Here in Vermont Stella D'Oro begins blooming some time during the third week of June. We consider any daylily that begins blooming before Stella D'Oro an extra early bloomer. Daylilies that begin bloom around the same time as Stella D'Oro are considered early bloomers
Early and Extra early blooming daylilies are limited in type and color
Particularly extra early bloomers. The vast majority of daylily cultivars bloom in mid July through mid August here in Vermont. Of the daylilies that bloom around the same time as Stella D'Oro or before, there was little variation in color, form or habit. The colors are mostly yellow and gold shades with a trumpet form.
Uses of early blooming daylilies
Early blooming daylilies and Extra Early bloomers can add a whole new dimension to the garden. Daylilies are excellent for forming a flower backbone or base from which to work around. Use them as you would a bulb; rely on them for consistent late spring bloom. Extremely hardy plants, they are not eaten by rodents and are very adaptable. The varied hues of yellow in the early daylilies contrast nicely with the blues, purples and whites of Siberian Iris, Campanulas , Tradescantia, and Centaureas which also bloom in June.
Daylilies that have been used in our early bloom breeding program here in Vermont include, VT 'Early Bird', H. dumortieri, H. middendorfii hybrids and several other cultivars. VT 'Early Bird' is useful for it's pigmentation and has helped to develop dark shaded early bloomers. The species add pigmentation to the scapes as well as extra early bloom. We have found that there is quite a bit of variation on when a daylily will bloom in the spring. Besides snowmelt; temperature, and frost can all play a factor. There have been years in which VT 'Early Bird' has bloomed as early as late May but typically VT 'Early Bird' blooms in early to mid June. H. dumortieri is consistently one of our first daylilies to bloom regardless of conditions. We have also used Olallie Lad because of its long bloom season (up to 6 weeks) and prolific increase .
VT Early Bird
Early Daylilies at Olallie Daylily Gardens
What we are doing at Olallie is vastly increasing the selection of early types. We are growing;
Colors: Yellows from butter to pale lemon yellow, Additionally recognizing the lack of other colors, we are working on reds and a variety of eyezone types.
Forms: Trumpet to star shaped to spidery.
Sizes: From 4" pony size to giant 6" blooms (rare in early bloomers).
Height: Scapes up to 38" with others at 18" are held just above the foliage.
As with many of the cultivars we are hybridizing, we like the simple clean lines of the species-like forms making the earlies we are developing easy to fit into a garden planting without looking too formal.
Another characteristic that has appeared on some of our early cultivars is dark reddish scapes and buds. This characteristic adds to the decorative feature of these cultivars. Even before the flowers open the red buds are like a garnet amongst the green.
Check out our webpage featuring pigmented scape daylilies we are developing
Early Flat form Yellow
Early Red type