Day lilies are none of the easiest flowers to grow, and they come in all sorts of colors and patterns. What’s more, they range in size with some teeny tiny cultivars growing low enough to be in front of a border, and some that soar high with dramatic flair.
Another exciting and unusual use is to eat them! Day lilies are edible and can add charm and taste to your menus. Here are some tips on selecting day lilies that would be right for your garden, along with delicious recipes.
Consider color. Nowadays, day lilies are not like the old fashioned bright orange ones found growing along highways. They come in almost every color, and hybridizers and amateur gardeners are working hard to come up with the missing white and blue.
Do you like hot colors? Bright red, orange, lime, deep grape and yellow are all available and easy to find. Some may even have two tones in their petals, making for excitement and drama in the garden. Perhaps you prefer a more calm palette, these would include soft pink, cream. salmon, lilac and pale yellow. Or perhaps you can’t choose!
Some petals actually look as though diamond dust has been scattered across them, while others have a distinct green throat. Size does matter as well. All sizes are available, from tiny miniatures to mid height to tall, with petals that are thin like spider legs or thick textured and robust.
Most day lilies are open during the day, but there are also varieties that are nocturnal, opening in the evening. There are even some day lilies that are open for at least 16 hours, these are called extended bloom day lilies.
Day lilies do best in full sun. They will tolerate part-shade conditions, but require a minimum of six hours of direct sun per day.Light yellow cultivars, many shades of pink, and delicate pastels need full sun to bring out the colorings. Many red and purple cultivars do benefit from partial shade in the hottest part of the day because dark colors absorb heat and do not withstand the sun as well as lighter colors.
Here are a couple of recipes that highlight day lilies as an ingredient. The easiest way to enjoy the day lilies is to scatter across a green salad. Be absolutely certain they have not had any contact with herbicides or pesticides.
Sautéed day lily buds
1 1⁄2 cups daylily buds
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste
- Wash and dry daylily buds.
- Heat butter and olive in skillet and sauté shallot until lightly caramelized.
- Add daylily buds and sauté until softened.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Stuffed day lilies
10 open daylily flower heads
4 oz soft, herbed goat cheese or cream cheese
1 Tbsp raw honey
- Collect the daylily flower heads, the heads will pop right off.
- Trim off the pollen covered stamen with scissors.
- Also cut off any green still attached to the flower.
- Rinse the lilies thoroughly and gently under room temperature water.
- Thoroughly combine the herbed cheese and honey in a small bowl with a fork.
- Adjust seasoning as you see fit.
- With a spoon or a knife stuff the cheese deep into the center of each daylily.
- Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 hours.
- If stuffing is difficult, separate the petals, add a dollop of cheese on each petal.