"Ditch lilies" is one name for common orange daylilies (Hemerocallis fulva) because they can fend for themselves on country roadsides. Originally from Asia, daylilies have been bred into tens of thousands of varieties with summer flowers ranging from near-white yellows through oranges and reds to deep purples. Each flower lasts only a day but there are several on each stalk. Look for plants labeled "reblooming," which means they will flower again after the big burst in July. For smaller spaces, look for compact reblooming cultivars such as lemon-yellow 'Many Happy Returns' or 'Stella d'Oro' (the macaroni-and-cheese orange denizen of countless gas-station medians). "You can just about throw them in the ground and step on them, and they'll be fine," says Jennifer Brennan, education director at the Chalet nursery in Wilmette. Where to plant: In full sun in compost-rich soil that is well-drained but reasonably moist. Water weekly the first year. For more blooms, deadhead (remove spent blooms before they form seed pods). For daylilies, that means clipping off the whole flower stalk a couple of inches above the ground once all its buds have bloomed. Achilles' heel: Planting too deep. Set the plant in the garden at the same level as it was in the pot.
Charles Osgood, Chicago Tribune
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