Tall Daylilies

Wake Forest, NC(Zone 7b)

A few years ago I had a desire to breed for a "race of giants" or daylilies more commonly known as tall daylilies. I adapted my theory for breeding high percentage polymerous daylilies (high % poly X high % poly) to breeding for a tall so I acquired two flowers which I knew were tall. These were H. 'Sears Tower' and H. 'Notify Ground' (tall daylily X tall daylily).

Both of these plants are registered as mid-season bloomers but H. 'Sears Tower' has always been a very late bloomer in my garden and it never reaches the registration of height of 72 inches. However, H. 'Sears Tower' has a wonderful plant habit with great foliage, strong scapes, opens well, sets pods easily, and it does tower over just about everything in the garden.

H. 'Notify Ground Crew' didn't fair very well and I actually lost it. Nor did I get it established to evaluate how tall it could get given the growing conditions of my garden.

Wow! Was I surprised with the results of this cross. So many tall daylilies but only one of them towered over the other by a good 1 1/2 to 2 feet. Fortunately, this super tall one also had all the best plant characteristics compared to its siblings and I registered it as H. 'Reaching New Heights'.

All the seedlings displayed nocturnal characteristics but only H. 'Reaching New Heights' had blooms that fully opened and had substance. The nocturnal traits came from H. 'Notify Ground Crew' and the seedlings that I retained for evaluation had blooms that opened at different times. One opened in the late afternoon, another in the early evening, and another in the middle of the night. All of these blooms never opened all the way and were closed by morning and had light substance, but they were all fragrant. H. 'Reaching New Heights' inherited middle of the night opening blooms that actually stay open during the day and it also inherited fragrance. I attribute the "stay open during the day" trait and the extra substance to H. 'Sears Tower'.

My next goal in hybridizing tall daylilies is to get a very tall one that has nice color and it not yellow. Fortunately, I have a tall daylily with huge blooms and incredibly vivid color that will be a future introduction. The parentage of this flower is H. 'Panic In Detroit' X H. 'Sears Tower'. I am now working this future introduction with both H. 'Sears Tower' and H. 'Reaching New Heights'.

Is anyone else hybridizing for tall daylilies? What is the tallest daylily that you grow or have actually seen? Do you have any pictures of tall daylilies to share?

The two pictures below show H. 'Reaching New Heights' blooming in 2011, and again in 2012.

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Melvindale, MI(Zone 5a)

Tall daylilies are growing on me more and more since I have lower back problems and I hate bending over to hybridize or smell a flower to see if it has fragrance. Keep up the good work!!!

Somerset, KY(Zone 6b)

I found some tall daylilies growing along side the road and got this picture with my 11yr old nephrew. I stand 5ft 8in and I did not have to bend over to see the flowers. The flower stocks came up to my shoulders, some over my shoulder.

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Halifax, MA(Zone 6a)

Very nice, Bobby! I'm smitten with tall daylilies and was drooling over yours on your website, but can't afford it at this time, even though your prices for new intros are very good. There are about 3 or 4 that I want to order from you. I'm especially liking A MOOSE FISHING ON A POND ON MONDAY, I HAVE ISSUES, OLD TERMITE and GOT NO GOAT. Of course those aren't the only ones I like, but just the only ones I can afford to get right now. Might not be able to get I HAVE ISSUES, but the other ones for sure.

I have both Sears Tower and Notify Ground Crew. Just got the latter this year, so don't know how it will do for me. The former I bought 3 years ago, and I just love it. I've been getting very tall ones to put in the back of my daylily beds at the back of our property. Those beds back up to the woods, so those daylilies in those beds will face away from the woods and towards the pathways where they can be viewed nicely.

Eventually I want to get into hybridizing, but right now I don't have enough time. I've been starting to add plants to my collection that I want for that purpose and slowly phasing out those that don't have good hybridizing potential. Would love to breed for ultra tall ones, among others. I have a high interest in odd looking ones (stippling, striping, veining, etc.), as well as patterns, spiders and UFOs, high bud count, good branching, northern rebloom/recurrency. Can't just have a pretty face. Has to perform well, too. Northern vigor is a plus.


Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

The only ones I have seen that tall are a few of my wild orange ditch lilies .Your's are very nice, I have never seen or heard about making hybrids for tallness,it has usually been talked about dwarf varieties .
Might be interesting!!

Halifax, MA(Zone 6a)

I love the dwarf ones, too. Nice for rock gardens.


Hazel Crest, IL(Zone 5a)

I got Sears Tower last year. It topped out at 40 inches this year. Jolly Red Giant was almost the same.
Sears Tower scape rising to the right of the bird house.
ST in bloom.
Jolly Red Giant

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Beaverton, MI

I aquired sears tower this summer.

Hazel Crest, IL(Zone 5a)

Kim, good for you. Good to see you checking in.

Beaverton, MI

I am here Mike I am still getting some bloom and i just work too much....

Halifax, MA(Zone 6a)

Next year will be the third year for my SEARS TOWER. I will have to try and remember to measure it. Last year I also got RAINBOW TOWERS, which is registered at 64". I did not measure it this year, but will try and remember to do so next year. I have it planted near SEARS TOWER.


Madison, AL(Zone 7b)

The one that grows the tallest in my garden is an oldie, Challenger (STOUT 1949) 48",Dip,Evr,M,Re,Ext

It grows taller than it is registerd in my garden. I am 5' 6" and it is over my head. The scapes are robust and do not require staking. Not bad for as tall as they are.

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Madison, AL(Zone 7b)

I also have Autumn Minaret, but Challenger is taller here. The fence is the same height as the one in the Challenger photos.

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Melvindale, MI(Zone 5a)

Those are nice!!! I can see why hybridizers are using the older ones for height and branching.

Halifax, MA(Zone 6a)

I have both of those. My CHALLENGER doesn't get as tall as yours, so I think I'm going to move it somewhere else. I think it's a bit crowded where it is, and maybe gets a bit too much shade. My AUTUMN MINARET gets taller. They are both great daylilies.

I bought more tall ones this year.


Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

The only thing I see that tall are my fulva ,The wild ditch lily as they are referred unto, I am wondering this though, They all do not get the ratty foliage at the end of there bloom cycle and some have darker or brighter color with a heavier bloom stalk.So my question is do they ,or will they.,cross improve on their own.?

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