Muddy Colors


The thing about Hemerocallis is that many of them, to be perfectly honest, have muddy, murky colors. Pairing them with bright or clear-colored roses is tricky unless you stick to pure yellow, pure orange, or pure purple Hems.

I was surprised to realize that I do have a muddy, murky-colored rose that reminds me very much of a few of my Hemerocalli--'Jubilee Celebration'. It usually starts out clear pink, but aging, it tends to mud up. This feature (it's a feature, not a bug) does make it more compatible with impurely colored Hemerocallis.


Not bad with 'Spacecoast Starburst':
Hemerocallis 'Spacecoast Starbust'

Here's one of my seedlings. The flower is enormous, the ruffling is good, it opens well, it produces well. The color...well...let's say it looks good with 'Jubilee Celebration' and leave it at that.

The camera lies: the color is muddy.

But what's wrong with a muddy color? Desaturated photos have been a rage lately, and they can look quite nifty. I like the desat here; it conveys a certain mood:

The more accurate color casts a much different spell:

Muddy colors--where do they belong? Their muted hues confuse if not repel. They arrest the attention, not necessarily in a positive way: what color is that? Can we call them--sophisticated? Or just dirty?

'Clothed in Glory': a day lily enthusiast will, without blushing, claim this is "lavender".

Day lily colors are actually layers of color, and most begin on a base of soft yellow. Look at the back of a flower and you can identify the base color. The whiter the base, the less muddy the color. Hybridizers are working diligently towards a pure white, and are most of the way there. Eventually the mud may vanish from the latest-greatest Hemerocallis cultivars. I shall miss that--maybe.

Roses in soft yellow seem to work best with the muddy day lily colors.  'Lemon Spice', for example, 'Elina', or 'Charles Darwin'.  A clear bright yellow like Rosa 'Henry Fonda' only emphasizes the murky quality of muted day lilys.  Ivory just barely works, and does best with so-called white day lilys.  Pure white roses are too bright, out-dazzling the Hemerocallis colors. 

The soft yellow rose 'Lemon Spice':
Rosa 'Lemon Spice'


  1. Fabulous photos!! I am in so cal are you? Please take some time and view my blog...

  2. Well Hoover, I must say yours look way better than mine--I started collecting Dayliles a few years ago after lurking on the GW Daylily forum (those people are serious !)and being sucked in by the photos. Many of my selections are a uniformly yukky peach color, with no resemblance to the photos of the seller.You have a far superior pink-thing going on.And then there is the snail issue.They are all on watch.

  3. ks sorry to hear they've been less than satisfactory for you. I've got a few that I find quite enchanting, but yukky peach is all too common. In many ways though as a plant they are an excellent foil for some roses...


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