Daylilies (Hemerocallis spp.) are flowering perennials used to create masses of color in the landscape. Although each flower blooms for only one day, the plant presents a new blossom each morning, often for a six- to eight-week blooming season, and some even rebloom for a second season each year. Cultivation directions for most daylilies recommend full sun to light, partial shade, but some daylily varieties are considerably more shade-tolerant than others.
The common roadside orange daylily (Hemerocallis fulva "Europa") is a tenacious plant, tolerant of a broad spectrum of growing conditions. According to Bloomingfields Farm, a Connecticut daylily purveyor since 1969, the common roadside orange daylily will bloom even without any direct sunlight through the day. Common orange dayliles can be dug, with landowner's permission, from roadside ditches or fields, although improved strains are available from daylily nurseries. According to Plants for a Future, a nonprofit information site regarding edible and medicinal plants, common daylily flowers are edible, and can be added in full bloom to salads as well as cooked. Because new flowers appear daily, it does not harm the plant to remove blossoms for culinary use.
Bloomingfields Farms also recommends a statelier orange cultivar, the Orangeman daylily, for similar shade tolerance. The Orangeman blossoms have longer, thinner, more evenly colored blossoms than the common roadside orange daylilies.
The University of Florida Extension service advises that deep-colored daylilies are the best choice for shadier locations, while pale-colored daylilies blossom more favorably in full sun. But this is not always the case. For example, Oakes Daylilies of Tenessee recommends the classic daylily Dallas Star, a midseason bloomer with pale lavender-pink blooms descending to a golden-yellow throat, as a superb shade performer. The Dallas Star daylily, hybridized by Ferris, was first offered for sale in 1976 and has garnered favorable gardener reviews for shade planting since its appearance on the market.
All-American Daylily Varieties
The trademarked All-American Daylily varieties include several strong shade performers. El Modeno Gardens of Irvine, California, distributors of All-American Daylilies, particularly recommends Lullaby Baby, a delicate ruffled pale-pink flowering variety, and Orange Crush, an orange-cream-pop colored daylily with a deeper orange ring around the throat, as being more shade tolerant than most daylilies. To enhance the frequency of daylily blooms, do try to plant them in as sunny a location as possible. Even shade-tolerant daylilies will increase their bloom quantities and blooming season length if planted in dappled sunlight, such as under tall trees with high lower limbs.