Daylily Companions

Daylilies are one of the most versatile perennials available to gardeners. Thanks to the work of devoted breeders and the enthusiasm of passionate gardeners, daylilies are available in an astonishing range of flower colors, sizes, shapes, and patterns, ensuring that there is a variety to complement any garden.

Besides the traditional golds and oranges, you can find daylily flowers in shades of red, pink, and purple, including some very pale pastels that approach pure white. Some of the most interesting varieties are patterned with zones of different color around the throat; these are often referred to as "eyed" daylilies.

Daylilies are remarkably adaptable and will thrive in full sun to part shade in just about any soil type. Dwarf varieties pair well with hardy geraniums, bellflowers, and penstemon, and look great in front of clematis and climbing roses. Large varieties complement coneflowers, Shasta daisies, coreopsis, monarda, and tall phlox.

With the great selection available, choosing a variety can be a challenge. If you're adding daylilies to an existing perennial garden, think about what role you'd like them to play. Is your garden in need of some livening up? Consider a long-blooming, bright yellow variety, such as Stella d'Oro. Do you need a colorful groundcover? Consider a mass planting of dwarf varieties. Or you may simply want to add a conversation-starter by planting some especially showy large-flowered types.

Daylilies and black-eyed Susans make attractive garden companions.

Here are some suggestions for attractive flower combinations.

Choose brightly colored varieties of these plants for a striking border:

  • Achillea (yarrow) has flat clusters of flowers in a variety of hues atop sturdy stems. Finely divided, fern-like foliage is grayish green.
  • Long-blooming daylily varieties, such as 'Stella d'Oro' bloom on and off all summer.
  • Hardy geraniums (also called cranesbill) produce a heavy shower of flowers over many weeks in late spring.

The muted colors and light, airy textures of these relatively large plants make them attractive -- but not overwhelming -- companions for daylilies:

  • Veronica produces abundant spikes of flowers above crisp green foliage beginning in midsummer through fall.
  • Goat's beard (Aruncus) is a large perennial with cream-colored flower clusters that can reach a height of up to 6 feet.
  • Penstemon's handsome spring foliage complements its summer-blooming flowers.

Growing perennials such as lavender and baby's breath as companions to daylilies provides not only contrasting flower colors, but diverse foliage textures as well.

  • Lavender's fragrant flower spikes complement its velvety foliage. Sheer back after the first flush of blooms for more flowers.
  • Gypsophila (baby's breath) sports early summer sprays of flowers that are perfect for bouquets.
  • Gayfeather (liatris) sports spikey purple flowers for weeks in summer. Choose a compact variety for the front of a garden.

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