Chicago Apache DaylilyHemerocallis ‘Chicago Apache’
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Make each summer day start with a brilliant rush of red, by growing the Chicago Apache Daylily. The beautiful blooms have broad, recurving petals that are dense fire-red, with a small green throat and an attractive band of lighter red down the center of each petal. Blooming for weeks, thanks to the abundance of buds on each 2½ foot flowering stem, this classic variety has won awards for its beauty, and is adored for its big, 5-inch blooms and easy-care ways. Fabulous in any sunny spot in your beds, on slopes, in retaining walls and even in pots, this lovely plant is sure to please – and brighten your summer days. Don’t forget to slow down and savor its morning best on your way out to work – it will put a spring in your step.
Plant the Chicago Apache Daylily in full sun for maximum blooming. It thrives in cold zones, but also in hot, southern ones. Plant in well-drained soil you have enriched with organic material – once established it is drought resistant, so good for drier areas of your garden. Normally not bothered by pests or diseases, simply cut out the flower stems once the last bud has opened, and trim back the foliage in late fall. New growth appears in spring.
There has been a big trend towards dwarf daylilies, which are great, but maybe you want something different. Sometimes you want a more spectacular plant, with big, striking blooms on taller stems. These look great as specimens among perennials, and in places where you will easily be able to admire their spectacular beauty close-up. If that sounds like your idea of a great plant, then consider the Chicago Apache Daylily. First, the flowers are a huge 5 inches across, with heavy, fluted petals spread out flat to show their beauty to the max. they stand tall on stems that will be as much as 2½ feet tall, right up where they can be admired. Finally, the color is an amazing brilliant red, glowing across your garden like a traffic light. This is a mid-season variety, coming after the early varieties have finished, and in areas with long summers it is a reliable rebloomer too, sending up new stems in early fall. It’s a superb plant that will be admired by all who see it – especially you – which is a profuse bloomer, making many stems, within a few years of planting. By all means grow some of the modern smaller varieties – they should be in every garden – but save a space for something spectacular and special – like the Chicago Apache Daylily.
The Chicago Apache Daylily is a perennial plant that dies back each fall, and returns the next year, more vigorous and with more blooms every year. It soon becomes a solid clump of dense foliage, long, narrow leaves that are mid-green and rise up from the ground before arching gracefully over. Planted in groups they create a dense, weed-resistant ground cover, rising about 15 inches tall before blooming. Blooms typically arrive in July, right in the middle of the daylily season, and they are often followed by a whole second blooming in late summer to early fall. Flower stems stand 2½ feet tall, or even a little taller, carrying many large buds. These open in classic daylily fashion, looking fabulous in the morning, and fading by the time evening comes. Each bloom lasts just one day, but they open in succession, just a few each day, so blooming lasts for several weeks. The flowers are large, a full 5 inches across, with three outer and three inner petals, broad, full and with a thick texture. They are a deep rich red, at the pink end, not the orange, and down the center of the three inner petals is a broad stripe of deep pink. The throat is a circle of yellow with faint greenish undertones. The big stamens sprouting from the center decorate each flower, adding a final flourish to their beauty.
The extra height of the Chicago Apache Daylily makes it a great choice for a specimen in beds of perennials, or for mass planting when you have a larger area to fill. Space plants 18 inches apart for a dense, continuous cover. Plant it where you have low walls, which it will rise above and look fabulous. Grow it on banks and slopes, where its vigorous and dense roots will give good erosion control within a couple of years. Grow it beneath windows or at the foot of a fence – the possibilities are endless for filling spaces with persistent foliage and stunning flowers.
Like all daylilies the Chicago Apache Daylily is hardy in zone 3 and 4, and also reliable and tough in warmer zones all the way into zone 9.
It is best to plant the Chicago Apache Daylily in full sun, especially for reblooming, as shade will reduce initial blooms, and is likely to stop reblooming. Grow it in well-drained soil, or all kinds. It will grow best in richer soils, but it is very tough, and will grow well even in poor soils, if they aren’t wet. Established plants are very resistant to drought, although again, reblooming is more likely if plants are watered from time to time.
You won’t be bothered by deer on any of your daylilies, and the Chicago Apache Daylily is normally never troubled by pests or diseases.
There are only 16 species of daylilies, or Hemerocallis, all of them found in Japan, China, Korea or far-eastern Russia. You still often see plants of the orange daylily, Hemerocallis fulva, growing in ditches and old gardens, after its introduction to America in the 19th century. It was only after WWII, though, that we began to see the profusion of varieties available today. Most of them were created by amateur breeders or small, specialized nurseries. We have sorted through them, and found the most reliable ones, because many are only of interest to enthusiasts. James E. Marsh was a prominent breeder, and his work was taken over by his grandson, Roy, after James’ death. Roy worked with Charles Klehm, the peony breeder, who also bred daylilies at his nursery, which is now underneath Arlington Park racetrack, Illinois. They released the variety ‘Chicago Apache’ in 1981.
The Chicago Apache Daylily is an outstanding plant, in the classic style of big, bold blooms on sturdy, vigorous plants. For specimens and larger spaces it can’t be beaten, so order now, while our plants of this valuable variety are still available – they go out all too soon.