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A beautiful non-native

July 3, 2013
By H.I. JEAN?SHIELDS - Garden Club of Cape Coral , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

A beautiful day lily mound of long slender green foliage is an excellent addition to any border or garden, formal or casual.

The right place for this easy care plant is full sun, good drainage and very little fertilizer. A little shade is OK for our hot summer afternoon sun, but to have abundant blooming for most of the many shades of this plant you want sun six to eight hours. Partial shade does work however.

The many colors and faces of this plant include pink, yellow, bi-color, red, orange, purple and creamy white. Some of the large 12-inch blooms sport a separate colored throat making them a tropical beauty. There is a light scent.

The deeper reds or deep pinks may fade a little in the hot sun, however as you buy these plants you will be able to see a picture of the bloom on that particular plant and also the time of bloom. They form a wide clump and flower stalks are 12 to 40 inches tall.

I am describing Hemerocallis hybrids. The old orange day lily that we used to see up North, everywhere is Hemerocallis Fulva and is that color only. That one is even edible. You can saut the various parts of the orange lovely. The small tubers, the tight new bulbs with very little yellow and even the cut and trimmed leaves. Cook them in a little butter or oil and sprinkle on a little salt. I have never done this. Recipes are on the computer. Some people with delicate stomachs may have some discomfort with this adventure, so eat lightly and make sure you are cooking the Hemerocallis Fulva.

Always make sure anything you taste has not been sprayed. It is probably not easy to find even a wild orange in a ditch that has not been sprayed.

In the old days we only had to worry about dust, dirt, and bugs. We did not spray everything in sight, however the Hemerocallis Fulva is considered a bad weed in over 40 states.

We are going to be seeing and planting the lovely hybrids for their beauty and for their easy care, not food. They are not true lilies.

This perennial will make a hot droopy garden area look good during mid summer but make sure you have purchased a plant that does its best blooming in the mid-summer. Some bloom earlier and some bloom later. Some even re-bloom. Some plants claim to be evergreen. That should work here because they will stay green as long as the temperatures do not stay too cold or too long.

Plant them as deep in soil as they are in the pot you buy them in. They should be nestled into a planting hole just as you do with other plants. Roomy and in a well draining spot. They have small little tubers, (like the little fingerling potatoes) and just need to be spread out a little and watered in and will form a dense root mat.

They are not bothered by a light salt spray area, and are good on a slanted planting area. Use a light 10-10-10 fertilizer at planting and then never again until the next spring or if dividing clumps.

These plants make good pass-along plants for friends and neighbors. You can divide about every three years, give or take a year.

When you divide, make sure you have some tubers and about a 6-inch fan of the greens. Plant to bottom of the greens, water in, fertilize and wait for blooms.

Colors do not change with divisions, and their bloom time will be the same as the mother plant they came from.

I have two and their slender leaves are just coming up. I, of course, am lax when it comes to marking my plants so can not say for sure what color they will be, I do know that one of them is bi-color. That's OK, I like surprises. The gardener who likes to know what is exactly coming must keep track of what they are planting, where.

Each beautiful bloom will last one day. However, each stem has several blooms, that will appear at different times.

The plant can be kept neat when you snip off each dead bloom every couple of days and trim off any old dry greenery. When they die back, just trim everything to the ground. Each flower stalk should be trimmed when all blooms have flowered.

The plants do seem to benefit from some pine mulch which is light and allows the new growth to come through easily the next spring.

With names like lady scarlet, elegant candy and a pastel yellow, miss Amelia, you will be happy to add one or two or even a drift of these easy care plants.

I looked this weekend for plants but was told they had not arrived to market as yet.

With all of this rain we are getting it is really a good time to plant. You can certainly see where any low places are and fill them in or start a water garden area.

While looking for day lilies, I found an intriguing plant, new to me. It is a tall slender green stalk with a beautiful pale pink or a white bloom at the top. The tall sturdy stem, a medium green, has little cup like leaves circling it from top to bottom.

The tag identity said Siam Tulip Curceuma alismatifolia. A native of Thailand it is a perennial, and related to the various ginger species and the single bloom looks similar to some gingers.

The plant prefers indirect light, excellent drainage and moist soil to keep its rhizomes healthy.

There were two sizes available. A 12-inch plant for just over $3 and a 14-inch plant for just over $10. Both had one or two smaller stems growing in their pot.

It is dormant by November. Sounds like an interesting new plant to try.

With all the bright red, white and blue glaring about this past week a nice cool pastel plant will be welcome.Plus it likes wet soil, draining of course, and we sure have a lot of wet soil right now.

Happy gardening till we meet again.

H.I. Jean Shields is a past president of the Garden Club of Cape Coral.



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