Search My Garden Blog with Google Custom Search


The Orange Daylily

Most gardeners would probably turn their noses up at this daylily and while I'm no garden snob I would too. The orange daylily can be seen planted just about everywhere around Chicago and this plant has escaped and become a nuisance in the wild. The cheerful flowers and grass like foliage along with the cheap price tag make this one popular perennial for the garden. The fact that they are tough and can handle an urban life doesn't hurt either. Honestly this isn't my daylily and it's not a garden escapee-it is more of a garden refugee.

Back in April I wrote an entry in this blog titled "A Tree Grows In Chicago" where I complained about the paving of the yard next door to make a parking lot. The area was paved over about seven years ago after the property changed hands and the last time these daylilies were seen blooming had to be closer to fifteen years ago.

Last year I noticed the familiar green leaves start to emerge on my side of the fence and I decided to leave them alone and let them grow. After all, if a plant has the desire to grow in a strip of land that is two inches across you have to give it a chance and I figured the flowers would look nice against the old fence. I took the promise of these old daylilies blooming as a good sign for my garden and got a little sentimental about them when I remembered the neighbor that planted them. The romantic gardener in me felt as if these orange daylilies had been brought back to life by me starting my own garden next door to them.

This year the realistic gardener in me figured out why these daylilies had sprung back to life in the tiny strip of dirt that had not been paved over. Last year I used a foliar feed from Miracle-Gro that is designed to make life easier for us lazy gardeners. Maybe you used it too or one similar to it. It's the kind that you attach to the end of the watering hose and you fertilize and water simultaneously. It's really an ingenious product that makes life simple and frees up your time to do more important things like surfing the internet or writing letters to HGTV about the lack of gardening programs on the station.

Since I'm lazy, the fertilizer attachment stayed attached to the watering hose all summer long and every time I ran the water hose from the back of the house to the front yard I unwittingly fertilized the daylilies and gave them the nutrients they had been starving for. It wasn't some foolish idea of blooms joining blooms, like birds in song, that brought them back to life. It was pure unadulterated ignorance on my part on the proper use of chemicals and what water runoff from my garden can do. Luckily I learned this lesson pretty early in my life as an urban gardener and I will try to do better in the future. I hope I don't turn into one of those gardeners but even if I did it wouldn't be the worst thing.


  1. Great story! Personally I like Day lillies. They are popular in many gardens for good reason --- easy care, beautiful flowers and foliage, hardy, few pests. What's not to like. Give me a well taken care of garden featuring tradtional favourites and accented by a few specialties, any day. There is nothing wrong with day lilies, geraniums, roses, shasta daisies, pansies, etc.
    Beautiful flowers and plants are all good!
    Glad you have the refugees :)
    All the best,
    Bob of

    p.s. I can be a lazy gardener at times too.

  2. I can't see how allowing that loverly flower to spring to life can be a bad thing. Its got great color, and stamina to boot.
    ...and don't you love being a lazy gardener? I know I do.

  3. That daylilly might be ordinary but is pretty.

    Lucky for you it got enough water and fertilizer for it to thrive.

  4. I'm so glad to see that I'm not the only one who is not crazy about orange day lilies. The funny thing is, after digging up 5 billion in my yard, I saw another gardener who had a few thrown in her garden and they looked beautiful.

  5. Hey all,

    Glad to see there are more fans of the Orange Daylily.

  6. Gina,

    You know when I see a few here and there they look nice but a lot of people never bother to thin them out and so they look too overgrown in most gardens. That's when I think they're too much.

  7. I have always called them ditch lilies as they are all over the back roads around here. I like them, after all they do brighten up the ditches and a long the interstate highways.

  8. Iowa Gardening Woman,

    I was going to mention that they were called "ditch lilies" by a lot of folks but couldn't remember if it was the nickname for these or the Stellas. Thanks for the info.

  9. I've got tons of them too, just wanted to mention that they're edible, the petals taste spicy and are good in salads and the buds are wonderful in a light tempura batter.

  10. Andrea,

    Thanks for mentioning that people eat the petals, I don't think I'd heard that before.



Feel free to leave a comment. You can always use the search box for my blog or the search "Google For Gardeners" if you're looking for gardening information. If you're looking for seed saving information check out "Seed Snatcher"search engine.

Do not have a blog yourself? Comment using the "anonymous" feature. If you have a Twitter or FB account feel free to use the "Name URL" feature so other people can find you.

Thanks for visiting.