Beautiful array of daylilies display their variety in May

Published 2:22 pm Monday, May 16, 2022

By Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

May is one of my favorite months in the garden and landscape because so many plants are just starting to hit their stride. Bright-green, new foliage seems to be everywhere among my many hibiscuses and other flowering shrubs.

One of my May favorites is the daylily.

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These plants bloom only for a brief period, but they certainly put on a show. The trumpet-shaped flowers are available in a multitude of solid and bicolor selections. They also come in different sizes from 12 inches to over 40 inches tall.

Did you know there are over 30,000 named daylilies? The American Daylily Society,, has lots of resources and a great cultivar search engine.

One of the best daylilies I’ve grown in my home garden has been Suburban Nancy Gayle. This was hybridized by Earl Watts at Suburban Daylilies and was a 2015 Mississippi Medallion winner.

I’ve been growing this plant — actually quite a few plants — for over 10 years, and it doesn’t disappoint. The flowers start opening each year between May10 and 15. The red- and yellow-throated flowers are 6 inches across, and the variety has pretty good resistance to daylily rust.

This year, I transplanted all my Suburban Nancy Gayle plants into a 15-gallon container, hoping to make a big splash. I think it worked pretty well.

Living up to their common name, each of the flowers opens only for a single day. It’s a good thing that most daylilies produce 10 to 15 or more flower buds. I’ve counted over 85 flower buds on my Suburban Nancy Gayle plants that will bloom in my big container.

Daylilies thrive in our Mississippi gardens and landscapes.

While these plants are generally pretty tolerant of a variety of soil conditions, I totally endorse growing them in raised beds or big containers. Either growing style helps facilitate good drainage.

I believe that daylilies look best when mass planted instead of grown individually.

Daylilies grow vigorously, and it’s quite common for the plants to form a tight mat of roots. Because of this, you should divide the plants every three or four years. This can be done in the spring after flowering or in the fall.

When shopping for daylilies, you can readily find them in 1- or 2-gallon containers. Remember, the bigger the container, the bigger the plant and the more immediate garden impact it will have.

You can also shop for and order plants online during the fall and winter seasons. They will probably be shipped bare root, meaning there won’t be any soil around the roots.

The Suburban Nancy Gayle daylily may be hard to find, but there are plenty of other great selections available. These are waiting to go home with you to their new forever garden or landscape.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Gary Bachman is an Extension and research professor of horticulture at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi. He is also the host of the popular Southern Gardening television and radio programs. Contact him at Locate Southern Gardening products online at