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Star Of Gold Daylily Brightens Landscapes
By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center
Few things are prettier than a daylily garden that looks like a changing kaleidoscope of color for weeks. There are thousands of spectacular daylilies for sale, some even approaching the cost of my first car.
Some of these bloom early, some mid-season and some late. A few even have repeat blooms, but there is one daylily that stands a head above the others. This is one to mass plant by the dozens if not the hundreds. If you want a daylily that blooms from May into early fall, there is only one variety for you.
This daylily's name translates as "Star of Gold," but you will buy it as Stella d'Oro. It's not big and won't win daylily contests, but it makes for winning landscapes. Stella d'Oro is a small daylily that reaches just under two feet tall and has bright, gold-yellow blossoms. It blooms early and often and although it may cycle, it is not uncommon to see it still blooming in the fall.
This quality makes Stella d'Oro prized in landscapes for commercial settings and homes. Flowers only last for a day, but each scape, or flower stalk, has many buds that open in a series, giving you beauty for not only days but months.
Stella d'Oro require at least six hours of direct sunlight each day for best performance. They prefer raised beds rich in organic matter. Other than a few insect problems, almost every problem call I get on daylilies originates with them planted in soggy soils.
Be sure to add a good layer of mulch to hold moisture, keep the soil cool and prevent weeds. My favorite mulch is pine straw, but I have to admit that a layer of pine bark mulch around Stella d'Oro daylilies is really striking.
Daylilies are best planted in the early spring or fall, although container grown plants can be planted throughout the growing season with outstanding success. Keep seed pods picked off to keep energy focused on flower production. Since it is such a prolific flower producer, Stella d'Oro likes to be fed with a complete and balanced fertilizer every four to six weeks.
The Stella d'Oro is well suited to massing like you would annual flowers, and can be grown in bold drifts with perennials, annuals or both. Try growing Stella d'Oro to the rear of a bed with Purple Wave petunias planted in front. If you plant Purple Heart in front, you will have a bed that will return year after year in much of the state.
My favorite use is planted in drifts with perennial salvia like Victoria Blue or Indigo Spires. Stella d'Oro looks at home when combined in beds with ornamental grasses like Fountain or Maiden Grass and planted in front of evergreen shrubs like hollies or junipers.
When shopping, you may feel like Stella d'Oro is a little pricey, but to me it is one of the "sirloin strips" of the plant world. What is extra special is that it is a perennial and before long, you will be dividing it and placing them in more parts of the landscape.