Stella D'Oro Daylily
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Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Stella de Oro Daylily is the world’s most popular daylily, and no wonder. It’s golden-yellow trumpets glow across the garden for month after month, and it’s compact growth makes it ideal for edging and groundcover. It stand just a foot or so tall, shining out like a golden dome, and bringing blooms to your garden from June to the fall. It grows in all those places where nothing seems to grow, from hot, dry areas on poor soil to beneath walnut trees and along paths you must salt in winter.
Grow your Stella de Oro Daylily in full sun, although a little afternoon shade, especially in hot zones, can be beneficial if the soil is dry. It grows everywhere, from zone 3 to zone 9, and it takes drought, humidity and heat. Plant in any well-drained soil, including urban soils; poor, infertile soils; heavy clay; salt-damaged soil; and the toxic ground beneath black walnut trees. Pests, diseases and rabbits leave it alone, and an annual cutting down in late fall, and the optional removal of flower stems when they are done, is all the care it needs.
When it comes to daylilies – surely the most essential flowering plant for every garden – there is one that stands above all the rest, like a shining golden star. It is Stella de Oro, the world’s most popular and widely grown daylily. Now you might think its popularity means it isn’t for you – you want something different – but think again. It is so popular exactly because it is so d***n good. Almost endlessly in bloom, shining out with its fragrant golden trumpets, and so tough and reliable it seems it will thrive just about anywhere. Well, it will. Tough, poor and polluted soil; areas with winter-salt runoff; dry slopes and bank, beneath walnut trees – this is a plant that can take everything a garden can throw at it, and then some. Loved by landscapers for its low maintenance, with the little bit of extra care it gets in a garden it will explode with golden glory and look so good for so long you simply won’t believe your luck.
The Stella de Oro Daylily is a deciduous perennial plant, which dies down to the ground in fall, to return again, fresh and new, the next spring. It forms a mound of dense, narrow leaves rising 12 to 15 inches above the ground, and quickly spreading into a dense clump 24 inches across. The leaves are bright green, an inch or so wide, and they rise up to then arch over gracefully, making an attractive foliage mound that is also weed-choking.
This plant blooms early, and by June it is in full swing. Many sturdy flower spikes rise to just above the leaf-tips, making a golden dome of blooms. Each spike branches, and produces an endless succession of flowers. Each one does last only a day, but it stays open from dawn to midnight, and the next day it is replaced by more. After the first flush of flowers, which lasts for weeks, a second set of stems grows up, extending the flowering season for many weeks more. Plants will often still be in bloom when fall arrives. The flowers are 2¾ inches across, with broad petals that have ruffled edges, making a wonderful trumpet. The flowers are fragrant, and they attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. The color is a glorious golden yellow, like a thousand miniature suns blooming across your garden. There is a touch of green deep inside the throat, if you look closely.
Use the Stella de Oro Daylily as a single plant in a small flower bed, or plant it as an edging at the front of large shrub beds, along a path or driveway, or at the foot of a wall or fence. Planted 18 inches apart, a group makes a solid groundcover that nothing will push through – except those blooms. Plant it on slopes and banks, where the thick roots and dense growth will reduce soil erosion. Grow it in open, dry places and in difficult urban gardens – it grows just about anywhere.
From the cold winters of zone 3 to the hot, humid summers of zone 9, you can be sure the Stella de Oro Daylily will thrive.
Grow the Stella de Oro Daylily in full sun for the best results and the most blooms. In the hottest zones it will be happy with some afternoon shade. It grows easily and well in all soils that are well-drained, everything from sand to clay, and in poor, infertile soils too. It will produce the most blooms over the longest period in richer soils, but it is incredibly tough and drought resistant, and puts on a good show even in the worst locations.
It is very unusual for the Stella de Oro Daylily to be bothered by any pests or diseases, so no worries there. It is also left alone by rabbits, but it can be chewed by deer, although the tough roots usually mean it bounces right back. It will rebloom best if you remove the old flowers stems once the last blooms are over. Besides that, the only care needed is to cut it down to a couple of inches tall in late fall and remove the dead leaves – that’s it, done for another year.
The daylily, Hemerocallis, is a plant group containing about 16 species, all from China, Japan, Korea or eastern Russia. The most common species outside those areas is Hemerocallis fulva, the orange daylily often seen growing wild in ditches or in old gardens. It’s tall stems are attractive, but flowering is brief. Today there are literally thousands of different varieties created by enthusiasts, but only a handful stand out at the top of the list. Right at the top you will find ‘Stella de Oro’. This variety was created by Walter Jablonsky, a turkey farmer and enthusiastic amateur breeder, who lived in Merrillville, Indiana. He spent 25 years of his retirement breeding, and in 1975 he released ‘Stella de Oro’. That is the name he registered it with, so it is the correct name, although many people ‘correct’ it to Stella d’Oro. Walter was looking for a name for his new plant, and at lunchtime a box of Stella d’Oro cookies were on the table – the rest (including the misspelling) is history.
Showered with awards by the American Hemerocallis Society, this plant was Best Miniature Variety and received an Honorable Mention, both in 1979. In 1982 it won the Award of Merit for its success growing all across the country, and in 1985 it won the Stout Medal, the society’s highest award. It consistently tops the Member’s Popularity Poll. With recommendations like that, you must grow this plant – and you will be so glad you do. But order now, because this top-seller is just that, and it never stays in stock long.