NEWS, Va. — There are 70,000 registered daylilies,
according to gardening experts, and no two varities are
alike — thanks to breeders like Linda Pinkham and Bill
DuPaul, both of southeastern Virginia.
of those daylily gems is the new VT Spirit, which has
been out several years in limited supply but is now
widely available at nursery and garden centers
statewide, according to a news release from the Virginia
Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the
Beautiful Gardens plant introduction program of the
Virginia Nursery and Landscape
Association. Hobbyist and professional gardeners
statewide choose finalists that are annually spotlighted
at garden centers as specially labeled Plants of
Spirit daylily is maroon and orange, just like Virginia
Tech school colors. Like all daylilies, it’s a
perennial that will take a year or two to reach its
prime blooming potential in the home garden.
new daylily’s evolvement was an experiment on Linda’s
Spirit is a sterile daylily," says Linda, a member
of the Tidewater Daylily Society and an alumna of
Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. She’s also chairman
of the plant selection committee for the Beautiful
Gardens program, which has test sites throughout the
state. She and horticulturist husband Bill Pinkham also
grow many of the plants on her six-acre property.
does not produce any pods and the development of an
assortment of these sterile ones was undertaken by
myself and the VT lab in Danville, Va., at the Institute
of Advanced Learning & Research.
goal was to determine if creating sterility in the
plants would result in a longer bloom season as it did
with the Rose-of-Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus).
made the crosses in my yard using daylilies I considered
to be good rebloomers. When the pods were 12 days old, I
overnighted them to the lab in Danville and they
performed embryo rescue to create the plants.
is not how most daylilies are created — it was an
who puts out 2,000 new seedlings annually, strives to
produce more long-blooming daylilies with good bud count
and disease resistance.
wants one that the deer don’t like, but that would
require magic," she says.
of her latest babies is a daylily called the Purple
Lady, named in honor of a Suffolk, Va., woman who always
dressed in purple and painted utility poles to match her
Lady was from a cross I made in 2007," says Linda.
one point this summer, it had 22 blooms open on the same
day. It was quite a sight."
Gloucester, Va., Bill DuPaul became interested in
daylilies about 13 years ago when he brought his first
plants in North Carolina while driving back from an
Outer Banks vacation.
they bloomed the following year, I was hooked," he
form and clarity of color surprised me."
just built a new home on three acres, Bill knew he
wanted more daylilies. Shortly, he met Jerry
Dickerson who has a daylily farm in Gloucester and
purchased many more plants. Then, he tried hybridizing
his own and joined the Tidewater Daylily Society. Today,
Bill has about 500 daylilies in pots and 75 in
year, Bill grows 200-300 new hybrids that he sells
through a local farmers market and displays in his
gardens, which are open to the public on advance notice;
to contact Bill about daylilies, email email@example.com.
are easy to grow and require little attention but they
are very rewarding with extra care with watering,
fertilizer and mulch," he says.
Daylily Society at www.daylilies.org.
Gardens at www.beautifulgardens.org.
name: Daylily. Yes, a daylily bloom is there today and
gone tomorrow, but you don’t notice it because
numerous new flowers arrive daily. The perennial
tuberous roots are cold hardy in the ground with
generous mulch, 2-4 inches, over them to Zone 3.
name: Hemerocallis (hehm uh roh kal’uhs)
need: Six hours of sun daily; afternoon shade is OK.
They do well in most soils — sand to clay — but
well-drained soil amended with compost is best.
Daylilies also tolerate occasional saltwater tidal
flooding and salt spray.
to divide them: The best to divide and transplant
daylilies is in the fall, before freezing weather,
according to Gloucester grower Bill DuPaul. The
transplanted plants need water and mulch — no
fertilizer right away. If new plants are in pots,
they can be planted almost anytime. In hot weather, they
need plenty of water and mulch until the roots have had
a chance to expand and become established. Planting
newly divided daylilies in the summer can be tricky and
if not divided correctly and properly cared for can be
severely damaged or die.
to plant them: Dig a hole deep enough to spread the
fleshy roots. Add organic matter. Place the crown —
the place where the roots meet the leaves — at the
soil’s surface; planting a daylily too deep can kill
to select them: There are early-, mid- and late-season
bloomers, as well as rebloomers, so choose an assortment
so you have daylily color late spring through August.
you select the plants you want to cross. Crosses must be
done with like chromosomes, as in diploids with diploids
and tetraploids with tetraploids. The selected
plants have a flower or plant characteristic you wish to
improve on. You then take the pollen from the
stamen of the flower of one plant and apply it to
the pistil of the flower on the other plant.
If the cross is successful, a seed pod develops.
When the seed pod ripens, it turns slightly brown and
splits open. The seeds are collected, dried in a
paper towel for 24 hours and then refrigerated for at
least six weeks. After the cold treatment, the
seeds can be germinated and the seedlings planted after
the last spring frost. They will then flower the
following year. The process can be shortened if
one has a greenhouse.