The orange day lily (Hemerocallis fulva) is an old-fashioned perennial that isn’t sold much any more. It is very long-lived… often a few clumps of these lilies are all that remain to show where an old house used to be. Naturalized from the gardens of the early settlers, these lilies are a common sight in this area as they grow wild along roadsides and stone walls. The flowers are large (about 3 1/2 inches across) and showy and last for only one day, but because there is a succession of blooms, the flowering period for this lily lasts about one month starting in late June.

Each flower has three petals and three sepals (called tepals) with rolled edges. The inner tepals are broader than the outer tepals and the flowers are held erect or semi-horizontally, instead of hanging down. According to my reference books, because the orange day lily is a sterile hybrid, the seeds in the seed pods it produces are infertile and will not produce new plants.

Orange day lilies are very easy to grow and over time will spread to form a large clump that will crowd out other plants. The tuberous roots are hard to remove completely, and sometimes when the plant has been dug up, bits of the root will remain and continue to produce new plants.

Orange day lilies prefer full or partial sun and loamy soil but will grow and thrive almost anywhere. I have them growing along a picket fence where they make a beautiful block of color each summer.