Frequently Asked Daylily Questions

What Awards can Daylilies win?

The following awards are given by the American Hemerocallis Society (AHS) annually:

  • SSM--Silver Stout Medal. This is the highest honor a daylily can receive from the AHS. It is awarded to the most outstanding daylily.
  • AM--Award of Merit. Awarded to daylilies for outstanding beauty and performance over a wide area of the country.
  • HM--Honorable Mention. The AHS first official stamp of approval.
  • JC--Junior Citation. Awarded to the best new seedling.
  • DFM--Donn Fischer Memorial Cup. Awarded to the best miniature daylilies.
  • AGA--Annie T. Giles Award. Awarded to the best small-flowered daylilies.
  • RCP--Richard C. Peck Award. Awarded to the best tetraploids.
  • EFA--Eugene S. Foster Award. Awarded to the best late-blooming cultivars.
  • LPA--L. Ernest Plouf Award. Awarded to the best dormant and fragrant cultivar.
  • DSA--Don C. Stevens Award. Awarded to the best eyed cultivar.
  • LAA--Lenington All-American Award. Awarded to the best performers in all areas of the country.
  • AHS Popularity Poll. Conducted annually to determine the favorite daylilies among AHS members from each region of the country.

What do the abbreviation codes used in your catalog stand for?

  • VE = Very Early Bloom: Late May - Early June
  • E = Early bloomer In Michigan, this means the daylily blooms in June.
  • EM = Early Midseason Bloom: Early July
  • M = Midseason Bloom: July
  • ML = Late Midseason Bloom: Late July
  • L = Late Bloom: August
  • VL = Very Late Bloom: mid to late August
  • RE = Usually Repeats Bloom
  • EXT = Extended bloom: flowers remain open for at least 16 hours
  • NOC = Nocturnal: buds open in late afternoon and remain open through all or part of the next day
  • FR = Fragrant
  • D = Dormant Refers to the type of foliage. Click on this link for detailed information: Daylily Foliage
  • SE = Semi-Evergreen foliage
  • EV = Evergreen Refers to the type of foliage. Click on this link for detailed information: Daylily Foliage
  • DIP = Diploid 
  • TET = Tetraploid

What is a Daylily?

A daylily is a perennial which is characterized by its long, narrow, strappy leaves and its flowers which each last only one day (hence the common name Daylily).

Its botanical name is Hemerocallis. Daylily is one word, not two, although even The New York Times regularly gets this wrong. These outstanding plants are now the best selling, most popular perennial in most of the United States. 

Daylily Anatomy

Daylilies have a crown which is the intersection where the roots and foliage meet. The foliage emerges from the center of this crown in fans. A three year daylily clump may contain 10-30 individual fans, most of which will produce a bloom scape. 

When the foliage matures in midsummer, the flower stalk emerges from the center of the fan. Each scape contains 10 to 40 or more buds, thus making a progression of bloom which may extend over three to four weeks. Some daylilies are repeat bloomers and others can flower all summer long, but these are exceptions. 

Daylilies have a specialized root system. They are not bulbs, tubers, or corms. Instead, they have fibrous, fleshy roots of all different sizes. The larger ones may be as thick as your finger! These roots store the nutrients and water which serve as the plants' energy reserves.

Most of the work in daylily hybridizing (coming up with new cultivars) has been performed in the United States. Major advances in improving daylily quality and diversity have been made in the past 50 years.

What are the different types of daylily foliage and why is foliage type important?

Daylily hybridizers and specialists typically classify daylily foliage in three categories:


Dormant means deciduous. Dormant daylilies lose their foliage completely when frost arrives in the fall. They then remain leafless or without foliage for some period of time that is variable both by cultivar and growing region. Dormancy may be affected by day length and temperature change.

Photoperiod-sensitive dormants develop yellowish foliage and begin a gradual die-back before frost as day length shortens in the fall. Temperature-sensitive dormants remain green until freezing weather arrives, at which time they stop growth and die back. Dormant daylilies overwinter with the next year's fans as buds or buttons of new foliage on the crown below the soil line. Upon receiving the signal from Mother Nature that the time to resume growth has arrived, the new growth emerges from these buds. New foliage that appears in the spring on dormant daylilies is typically very attractive, looking very healthy and green.


Evergreen actually means ever-growing or foliage-persistent. Evergreen daylilies continue growth year-round in mild climates that do not experience below-freezing weather in winter. Evergreen daylilies attempt to grow continuously in colder, northern climates, but their growth is interrupted by cold temperatures. In very cold climates, evergreen daylilies essentially halt their growth during the winter. In transitional climate zones, where the soil does not remain continuously frozen through the winter, evergreen daylilies may continue to push up new foliage on warmer days.

In northern gardens, evergreen foliage dieback is progressive with increasing cold weather. Unlike dormants, evergreens do not shed their foliage at a particular time. Each leaf on an evergreen fan tries to keep on growing. Usually only the tips of the foliage show damage of frost at first. Freeze damage subsequently causes dieback further down the leaves. Unless they are cut back to the soil line, evergreen daylilies will often show green foliage on several inches above the plant crown, even in mid-winter. While the spent foliage on dormant daylilies dries out and decays over winter, freeze-damaged evergreen foliage is often mushy and slow to dry and decay. It's not a bad idea to remove this yourself in the spring. 


By definition, a semi-evergreen daylily behaves like a dormant in the north but acts like an evergreen in mild, frost-free climates. Semi-evergreens theoretically perform reasonably well in both southern and northern gardens. In reality, the semi-evergreen classification may be considerably more complex.

Semi-evergreen daylilies possess foliage that is slower to die back in the fall than the dormants. Usually, a few green shoots, 2 to 4 inches tall, remain visible even after exposed to quite severe cold. These tips may be mushy from successive freezes but, unlike the evergreen types, the main body of old foliage on semi-evergreens dies back completely. Semi-evergreens are often quicker to re-emerge in the spring than are the dormant types. 

In northern regions...

  • Dormant daylilies are usually totally winter-hardy in the north.
  • Evergreen daylilies typically require mulching or other special winter protection to successfully survive northern winters. They are usually not suitable for open-field growing without winter protection in the north.
  • Semi-evergreen daylilies fall somewhere in between the dormant and evergreen types.