Sunday, December 12, 2010


The terms "evergreen," "semi-evergreen," and "dormant" are often misleading to some as they relate to daylilies.  I've had some people tell me that these terms relate to the hardiness of daylilies through the winter months.  But in reality, they don't relate to winter hardiness at all.  The terms just let us know what the plants will do in the winter months.  A plant could belong to any of the above terms, and may or may not be hardy in your area.   An evergreen daylily, just as trees, shrubs, and other perennials that are evergreen, retains its color through the winter months.  The term dormant is synonymous with the word deciduous--meaning the daylily completely dies off for the winter, and then starts little green shoots in the spring.  Semi-evergreen simply means that--it is between evergreen and dormant--most of the plant will die off, but it can still have some green left in the leaves.  Also, another thing to consider is that not all daylilies will behave the same in different climate zones.  A daylily that is evergreen in one  zone may not be evergreen in another.   So, as you can imagine, whether a daylily is evergreen, semi-evergreen, or dormant, depends not only on the particular daylily cultivar, but also on the climatic zone that it is being grown in.  In my zone, 5, I've purchased some plants that stated they were evergreen, but as I've looked out at them, I can see little or no green on them, meaning they seem semi-evergreen, or even dormant in my zone.  However, not to worry, come spring, when they begin their new growth, it is very easy to see and determine which your plants are.  The dormant ones will start anew--their leaves will be little sprouts of fresh, new, green shoots.  Evergreen or semi-evergreen plants will have leaves that didn't completely die off, and will be damaged somewhat from the winter months of exposure and freezing temperatures.  THE BOTTOM LINE I've found that it doesn't really matter how a daylily is labeled--they are all hardy in zone 5 and pretty much look dead through the winter months!  And, when spring arrives they will all start growing, and their blooms will be wonderful, no matter if it's evergreen, semi-evergreen, or dormant!
Susanne Holland Spicker Mother, Grandmother, Homemaker, Gardener, Teacher, Photographer

Passion is defined as the love of, or the object(s) of affection and emotion. I am passionate about family, friends, flowers, food, photography and fabulous music! This blog is dedicated to those loves.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Susan,
    Good observations. The only thing I would add is that an evergreen is always an "evergreen", even if it does not look green through the winter. Here in zone 7 most evergreens are not very green by February, and when the temperature dips to 15 in December (twice this week), they all look a little pale.