Thursday, May 8, 2014

My favorite plant this week: Hemerocallis 'Spanish Harlem'

Once again this week, I had a prolonged debate with myself about which plant to feature as my favorite.  I flip-flopped on my choice up until the point I sat down to write this post.  All my candidates won my respect by sailing through last week's heatwave with nary a tinge of leaf burn.  In the end, Hemerocallis 'Spanish Harlem' won out, mainly because it's up front and center - literally - waving at me every time I walk up to my front door.  I planted clumps of this daylily in the beds on either side of our front walkway in November 2011.






I didn't have daylilies at our old house and frankly had little interest in them until we moved into our current house over 3 years ago.  I inherited 3-4 dozen with the house, all the same dormant variety with red-orange flowers.  The vigor of the genus even under the hot, dry conditions here made be look into evergreen and reblooming varieties.  'Spanish Harlem,' advertised as an evergreen rebloomer with flowers that are "soot black underlaid with pink," was one of my earliest purchases.

In this case the camera doesn't lie.  The flower color is fairly represented in my photos.  The yellow-green inside the flower's throat adds to its appeal.  The flowers themselves are large, 5-6 inches (13-15 cm) in size when open.





I know that some people don't like the maintenance daylilies require but I don't mind snapping off their fading blooms.  Even with a dozen new flowers blooming each day, it only takes a minute on one of my many trips out the front door to clean the plant up.  However, I do have to be a bit careful with this particular daylily as sap dripped by the flowers can stain both hands and clothes.  In fact, I suspect the inky purplish substance could be used as a dye.

Sap from snapped flowers stained the foliage below here



Despite the plant's apparent happiness in the mostly sun borders at the front of the house I may move it eventually.  The grower I bought them from, as well as most of those offering the plant on-line, projected a height of 26 inches (66 cm).  Mine have reached 40 inches (1 meter) in height, putting them out of proportion with the surrounding plants in the front borders, at least at this time of year.  The Gaura lindheimeri planted in front of them will eventually reach nearly that height but, by the time it does, the daylilies will be finishing up their spring-summer bloom cycle.  This is a reliable rebloomer.  The heaviest bloom occurs in late spring to early summer but it blooms here again in November into early December.

Hemerocallis 'Spanish Harlem' is my contribution to Loree's favorite plant meme at danger garden.  Please visit her to see her spiky favorite this week.  If you have a favorite you'd like to share, you can post a link to your photos and commentary on her site.

24 comments:

  1. Delicious color on the Hemerocallis!
    Best regards
    Mariana

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    1. It was just the right touch of dark color for that border, Mariana.

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  2. Wow--that dark sap is really something!

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    1. It was a surprise - it stained a pair of jeans and I've never been able to get the color out.

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  3. That is a gorgeous colour and I do like the simplicity of the single day lilies. I don' t grow many Hemerocallis, mainly because I get annoyed by their ridiculous names and I am not keen on the fussy, frilly doubles. But this one would be welcome in my garden any time. I love it.

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    1. A LOT of the daylilies out there with different names look the same to me. I gather that they're relatively easy to hybridize, especially if you're working with a tetraploid (which is what 'Spanish Harlem' is).

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  4. I love lillies for its smell. I have one variety with dark purple flowers, that I bought last year and it doesn't release any perfume. This year I planted lots of white and pink flowering ones hoping for a wonderful aroma:) can't wait!!!

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    1. Unfortunately, Aga, this particular daylily has no scent. I don't think many daylilies can match the scent of the Asiatic and Oriental lilies.

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  5. I don't buy day lilies unless they're actually blooming because the camera can really bend the truth with the colors. So it's nice to know from a trusted gardener that these guys are the real deal. I'll have to remember 'Spanish Harlem'. Won't be difficult since Aretha is now singing in my head. :)

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    1. If the song's in your head, the connection will stick!

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  6. I love dark flowers. What a gorgeous daylily. My parents were given a bunch of yellow daylilies by a friend. I must admit they are good plants. Easy care, not bothered too much by the deer (most surprisingly), and nice flowers. I may add some different cultivars to the mix. Though I'm sure if I were to actually spend money on daylilies the deer would mow them down.

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    1. I'm lucky not to have deer, Evan (just raccoons, skunks, squirrels and coyotes). I can imagine that, if deer are your neighbors, you have to be very careful about the plants you select.

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  7. I love daylilies, and that is a gorgeous one, definitely deserving of your praise in this favorite plant of the week post. I don't mind deadheading them either, but I don't actually do it religiously, every single day.

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    1. To be honest, Alison, 'Spanish Harlem' is pretty much the only one of mine that get's deadheaded daily - it's hard to ignore when it's dark, tall, and hanging out along the front path.

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  8. That's a very striking daylily Kris! Didn't know they can produce such dark sap like that but not surprised either with such an intense colour.

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    1. I didn't have a clue about the sap until it stained my jeans and my hands. It doesn't wash out of clothes either...

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  9. Wow, that dark wine color is just fabulous, minus the staining properties of the sap. Nice fav!

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    1. The color was it's selling point. There were no warnings about the sap on the grower's website.

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  10. That is a deep luscious red! Beautiful!

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    1. Yes, not quite the "soot black underlaid with pink" described by the grower but a wonderful color nonetheless.

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  11. That's a good one. I like the ones with green throats the best--it seems to create a link with the foliage color that is most pleasing.

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    1. I tend to be attracted to the ones with green throats too, although I hadn't thought about why that is. Maybe it is the link it creates to the scape and foliage. 'For Pete's Sake,' a lime-yellow variety also has that wonderful green throat.

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  12. I love daylilies, too! Last year I gave tons of them away because they needed more moisture and I just couldn't provide it. But of course, I redesigned my patio step container garden and what did I want? More daylilies! I had no idea this beautiful cultivar had black sap. Thanks for the heads up!

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    1. It's funny - I think of daylilies as drought tolerant. My western garden guide says they need "regular water" (its code for LOTS) but some on-line sources mention their drought tolerance. I have some in the driest areas of my garden, which do fine, although it appears I'd get more bloom with more irrigation.

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