Daylilies are easy to cross, making the choices on the market limitless. No matter what size, shape or color daylily you want, you're likely to find one to match (except true white or blue!). But will it grow well? Happily there are several organizations that test daylilies and even give awards to the best ones. Here are a couple daylily award programs and winning cultivars.
Stout Silver Medal—This award is the highest recognition a daylily cultivar can receive from the American Hemerocallis Society. To be eligible, the cultivar has to have already won the AHS's Award of Merit and Honorable Mention.
A few Stout Silver Medalists:
'Stella De Oro' (1985 medal)—there's a reason this variety has become ubiquitous in many areas. First released in 1975, it has since proven itself as a reliable and prolific early-summer bloomer with a very compact habit and solid sunny yellow color. USDA Zones 3–10.
'Siloam Double Classic' (1993 medal)—this early-season bloomer offers ruffly flowers in a light pinky peach color. They are also fragrant. Zones 2–9. Shown above.
'Elizabeth Salter' (2000 medal)—Peach flowers with crimped edged and a golden yellow throat. A compact grower with semi-evergreen foliage.
'Primal Scream' (2003 medal)—vivid orange flowers appear in mid- and late summer. Can't be missed, with its 3-foot-tall flower stalks and 8-inch-wide blooms. Zones 3–9.
Lenington All American Daylily Award—The American Hemerocallis Society gives this award to one daylily each year that has proven itself as a good grower across a wide geographical range.
A few Lenington recipients:
'Lullaby Baby' (1988 award)—Creamy, near-white flowers with a light greenish yellow throat. Fragrant blooms on 30-inch scapes. Zones 4–11. (Appreciates more shade in warmest range of its growing zones.)
'Chorus Line' (1994 award)—Medium pink flower with a green throat. Compact at just 20 inches tall, and fragrant. Zones 4–11.
'Paper Butterfly' (1998 award)—Light pink petals and sepals shift to purple toward the flower's center, then a greenish yellow throat. Zones 4–8.
'Bela Lugosi' (2007 award)—Deep purple flower with a bright greenish yellow throat. Blooms in midsummer on 3-foot-tall scapes (stems). Zones 3–9.
All-American Daylilies—this honor is bestowed on a daylily cultivar by the All-American Daylily Selection Council, an organization with test sites across North America. Winners show great performance across at least 5 USDA hardiness zones, and excel at 50 other criteria as well.
A few winners:
'Lady Elizabeth' (2011 award)—Bright, nearly pure white flowers and a compact habit that makes it good for the front of the border. Long bloom time. Zones 4–10.
'Buttered Popcorn' (2006)—Large gold flowers that earn it the nickname "Stella on Steroids." Long bloomtime—at least two months. Zones 4–11.
'Red Volunteer' (2005)—Fire-engine red flowers can be 7 inches wide. They appear on tall scapes with good branching. Tolerates part shade well. Zones 4–10.
'Bitsy' (2002)—Tiny 2-inch-wide flowers on 2-foot-tall scapes. Begins blooming early in the season and blooms for a very long time. Zones 4–11.
Image of 'Siloam Double Classic' courtesy Walters Gardens, Inc.