How to Show Your Daylily

By Mona Kneuss

Showing your daylily is a great way to learn a thing or two about your plants. It is also a good way to network with others who have similar interests, they may also know a thing or two about showing plants. I would like to reassure you that showing your daylily ( or any plant for that matter ) is not hard at all. You may be surprised at how well you do, who knows even walk away with a blue ribbon or two.

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Let me start by explaining a few terms you may want to know.

  • Crown: The point at which the roots meet the foliage.
  • Fan: A single daylily plant/ A clump: Whole plant many fans.
  • Midrib: Center vein running the length of each flower segment.
  • Proliferation: leafy shoot growing from node on daylily scape.
  • Scape: A leafless flower stalk.
  • Tepals: Sepals and petals.

To start your selection of the stalk you will take to the show, you should start several days to a week before the show. Look over all your scapes for sturdy, straightness, and they should have typical branching, height and growth patterns. Also, look for the least insect damage, and ones that will be in their prime of bloom on day of show. Daylilies need warm nights to open so keep the next few nights temps in mind also.
The day before the show the bud development on the scapes will be sufficient to estimate how many blooms will be open for the show. Remember daylily blooms only last one day so you may want to remove all fully open blooms the day before the show. If you have several to choose from, select the ones with multiple blooms to be open the next day and with the best bud placement.
Major grooming can be done while the scape is still attached, remove all spent blooms and seed pods, then brush away any unwanted objects like spider webs and dust, make sure to wipe off any spots on the foliage – the cleaner the better. While grooming you will also want to remove any scars from insects or other blemishes. Use tools such as razor blade, or sharp knife to remove these and any discolored portions of foliage, but foliage must remain pointed like their original form.

The final pick for your entry will be the morning of the show, once the blooms have just begun to open. The size of the bloom should meet with the registered size. The color texture and substance should be typical for that cultivar, as well as the bloom and scape should be uniform. Cut the scape as close to the base of the plant as possible and place in warm water not cold water.
During transport it is a good idea to make sure your scape is secure to prevent as much movement as possible,  and if you are taking more then one you will not want them to touch. When you arrive at the show even after all of your careful driving  you may have gotten some pollen on your blooms, which means you will need to clean your bloom one last time before placing on the show table. This can be done with a small paint brush or cotton swab, or blow off with the use of a soda straw, making sure not to remove any parts of the flower. You may also get information from the AHS site (American Hemerocallis Society).
The most important thing I can say is have fun! The Ohio Daylily Society Show is this Saturday July 8th at Kingwood, so come on out and bring your daylily to the show!

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