Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Daylily Madness #5

Image of Hydrangea Arborescence Annabelle bush with a Hemerocallis Stella de Oro Daylily in the foreground.

After talking about $300 daylilies yesterday, I thought I'd give you the variety that has become the most used landscape daylily in the United States: The Stella de Oro.

The Stella was the first "continuous blooming" daylily. In 1975, the late Walter Jablonski (Merrillville, Indiana) registered the Stella. A popularity revolution started and today, this little yellow lily is seen in parking strips of commercial outlets, home gardens and horticulture displays. It inspired the development of other re bloomers.

Attributes of the Stella include compact mounded foliage, vigorous growth, re blooming, 3 inch blooms on 18-24 inch scapes. Very fragrant. Will do well in some shade. It won the 1985 Stout Medal - daylily's highest award. It was also chosen "Perennial of the Year" and the daylily Award of Merit.

Walter was a retired turkey farmer and named his new lily as he was taking a break from the garden sun. Picking up his favorite cookie, it occurred to him this was a perfect name because it means "Star of Gold." He had 53 named varieties in the sixteen years he actively registered his daylilies.

Where can you buy the Stella? Most every nursery carrying perennials will have this hardy plant. Once planted, it will be ready for division within two years. I have these little sun kissed plants tucked in most every bed in my yard. They all came from one plant someone gave me. Depending on the size, the average price is between $5-10. Many offer discounts for quantity purchases.

Care: The plants will bloom longer if they are deadheaded. Otherwise, they form seed heads that take the plant's energy. I do this about once a week during bloom season, pulling off spent flowers and any developing seed heads. This is also an aesthetic thing. With so many flowers, over such a long period, Stella will be messy looking if spent blooms and seed heads cling. Like most other daylilies, it does not like to sit in soggy soil-good drainage is important.

Whether a star of gold or a chocolate cookie - Count me in!

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