Daylily Companion Plants: Tips and Suggestions

Daylilies are magnificent when paired correctly with the proper companion plants. What are you growing it next to?

A dynamic garden is one of contrasts. When are gardens are full of different shapes, colors, forms, and textures, we find them exciting and full of life. Choosing plants that complement one another can be a pleasant challenge. This article will assist you in selecting Hemerocallis companion plants.

Your initial priority should be to select plants that have similar cultural requirements. Daylilies require full sun (6 hours a day) and a slightly acidic, well-drained soil.

Choose flower colors that are opposite from the color wheel as your daylilies. Look for flower shapes that are spiky or circular. Choose plants with broad and flat leaves. Consider the color of the leaves as well. All of these characteristics will complement the trumpet-shaped flowers and the green, strappy foliage of daylilies.

If you’re trying to match colors, it’s good to buy both Hemerocallis and companion plants when they’re both in bloom.

Daylily Companion Guide by Color

Daylily cultivars come in so many distinct colors that designing a garden layout around them might be overwhelming. Choose plants in colors you love, and then determine companion plants that enhance your daylilies’ flower power by using the color wheel:

  • Colors next to each other on the color wheel are considered analogous color schemes. Yellow, orange, and red, for example. Depending on whether you employ warm or cold colors, these pairings can be either bold or restful.
  • Flowers opposite one other on the color wheel will be used in complementary combinations. Combine yellow and purple, orange and blue, and red and green.
  • A split complementary scheme employs two colors next to one other and one across. Use yellow and orange with purple, for example.
Color wheel palette

Plant your daylily flowers in front of dark evergreen shrubs if they are pale lavender, pink, yellow, near white, or bright yellow. They will really pop against the yews and arborvitae. They also complement dark-leaved perennials like Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ and Penstemon ‘Husker’s Red.’

Red and deep purple-flowered Hemerocallis complement white-flowered plants such as phlox (‘David’ is powdery mildew resistant) and Shasta Daisy. They also look good with pale pink roses, light blue Veronica or balloon flower (Platycodon), and pale yellow Coreopsis ‘Moonbeam.’

The vivid presence of orange daylilies contrasts wonderfully with the large white flowers of hardy hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos ‘Luna White’) or white hydrangeas. Combine them with Salvia x superba ‘May Night’ or other purple flowers.

12 Perennial Companions for Daylilies

The perennials listed below are excellent partners for Hemerocallis. All of these plants have the same cultural requirements: 6 hours of direct sunlight per day and well-draining soil. They, like daylilies, can withstand times of drought. These plants are low-maintenance, disease and insect resistant, and bloom for a lengthy period of time.

1. Coneflowers

It’s a popular perennial with smooth stems and long-lasting lavender blooms. Rough, dispersed leaves that get smaller as you go closer to the stalk’s tip. Flowers with purplish-brown spiky centers and drooping lavender rays bloom singly atop the stems.

Botanical Name: Echinacea purpurea, E. pallida
Easy-to-find cultivars: Mangus, White Swan, Kim’s Knee High, Cheyenne Spirit, Sombrero® series
Size:  2 to 3 feet tall and wide
Bloom time:  Summer into Fall
Bloom colors: Purple, pink, and white. Newer cultivars are red, orange, and coral but are not always long-lived. Cheyenne Spirit is a mix of purple, pink, red, orange, and cream.
Pair with: ‘Summer Wine,’ ‘Stella d’Oro,’ ‘Happy Returns,’ or ‘Strutters Ball.’

Fully bloomed pink coneflower

2. Russian Sage

Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) stands out in the garden with its silvery-gray, aromatic leaves and lavender-purple blooms. The many spiky clusters of blooms appear from late spring through October, nearly completely concealing the foliage.

Botanical Name: Perovskia atriplicifolia
Cultivars: ‘Little Spires’
Size: 4 feet tall by 3 feet wide. ‘Little Spires’ reaches 3 feet tall
Bloom time: Summer
Bloom color:  Purple
Pair with: Orange’ Rocket City’,  coral ‘South Seas’ or the cranberry colored rebloomer ‘Pardon Me.’

Blue or blue green russian sage leaves

3. Coral Bells

Coral bells, commonly known as Heucheras, are herbaceous shade perennials native to North America with rich foliage. They are available in a range of pleasing colors and are an excellent low-maintenance option for landscape beds and container gardening.

Botanical Name: Heuchera sanguinea
Cultivars: There are dozens and dozens of Heuchera cultivars with foliage colors in deep purples, near black, burgundy, caramel, gold, silvery blue, and reds and pinks.
Size: 12 to 24 inches tall and as wide, depending on the cultivar
Bloom time: Late spring
Bloom colors: These plants are primarily grown for their foliage effect. Flowers are small and are usually white or pink
Pair with: Any daylily! There is sure to be a Heuchera to complement. If you are trying to match a particular coral bell with a daylily, compare them when the daylily is in bloom. Photographs are often different from what the plants look like in real life.

Deep wine red coral bells

4. Butterfly Bush

Butterfly Bush blooms form drooping or upright spikes at the tips of branches. The orange or yellow centers of the white-flowered wild-origin species.

Botanical Name:  Buddleia
Easy-to-find cultivars: ‘White Profusion,’ ‘Black Knight,’ Lo & Behold® series of miniatures
Size: 2 to 3 feet tall for Lo & Behold, up to 15 feet for other cultivars
Bloom time: Summer
Bloom colors: Purples, pinks, white
Pair with: Try the pale lavender ‘Olallie’ or the reblooming ‘Entrapment’ with any butterfly bush.

Caution! Buddleia is considered invasive in parts of the United States. Check with your County Extension Service before you plant.

Full grown butterfly bush flowers

5. Salvia

Salvia plants are aromatic and fragrant perennial herbs, shrubs, or subshrubs. Along the square stems, simple or complex leaves are arranged in opposite directions. The tubular blooms are borne in terminal inflorescences and have two lips and just two stamens.

Botanical Names: Salvia nemorosa, Salvia x superba
Easy to find cultivars: ‘Caradonna,’ ‘May Night,’ ‘Rose Marvel.’
Size: 18 to 24 inches tall and wide
Bloom time:  Late spring. It will bloom multiple times through the summer if sheared back after flowering.
Bloom colors: Various shades of purple
Pair with:  Pale yellow and nearly white cultivars, like ‘Gentle Shepherd’; pink varieties like ‘Mildred Mitchell’ and ‘Strawberry Candy.’  

Note:  Black and Blue Salvia is a tall-growing variety that is hardy in zones 8 to 10 and is grown as an annual elsewhere. This plant looks fantastic with Hemerocallis varieties that have large flowers.

Purple salvia flowers under the sun

6. Siberian Iris

Siberian irises are among the simplest iris varieties to grow and bloom in temperate climates. Because of their attractive branches, blooming leaves, and neat growing habit, they are the best irises for the perennial border and landscaping. Their magnificent foliage is attractive all year, even after the first frost, when it turns rusty red-brown.

Botanical Name: Iris sibirica
Easy-to-find cultivars: ‘Caesar’s Brother,’ ‘Butter and Sugar,’ ‘White Swirl.’
Size:  2 to 3 feet tall and as wide, depending on the cultivar
Bloom time:  Late spring, early summer
Bloom colors: Shades of purples and violet-blue, white, yellow, and white
Pair with:  Early bloomers like Stella d’Oro. Siberian iris look great with yellow, gold, pink, and lavender daylilies.

Blue flowers of siberian Irises plant

7. Phlox

Most phlox are herbaceous plants with oval or linear leaves. It has tubular flower heads massed together and five flared lobes.

Botanical Name: Phlox paniculata
Easy-to-find cultivars: ‘David,’ ‘Laura,’ Nicky, ‘Blushing Bride,” Bright Eyes,’ ‘Franz Schubert’
Size: 3 to 4 feet tall, 2 to 3 feet wide
Bloom time: Summer
Bloom colors: Pink, pink with red eye, white, white with pink or red eye, purple
Pair with:  Use light-colored phlox with red and dark purple cultivars; pale-colored daylilies contrast nicely with red and dark purple phlox

pure white white inflorescences phlox flowers

8. Catmint

Catmint is a fragrant plant that grows in a variety of environments. It produces clusters of lavender-blue blooms within mounds of gray-green foliage.

Botanical Name: Nepeta
Easy to Find cultivars: ‘Walker’s Low,’ ‘Novanepjun’ (Walker Junior), ‘Cat’s Meow.’
Size: 15 to 24 inches tall with a wide spread
Bloom time: Late spring to early summer. You can get another flush of flowers later in the summer if you shear it back after the first flowering.
Bloom colors: blue
Pair with: pink’ Final Touch,’ red ‘Chicago Apache,’ or peach ‘Sirrocco.’

A garden aisle surrounded by colorful plants and flowers

9. Bee Balm

The tubular petals of the bee balm flower are red, pink, purple, and white, and it has an open, daisy-like appearance. Bee balm plants are perennial, which means they will return to brighten up your garden year after year.

Botanical Name:  Monarda didyma
Easy-to-find cultivars: ‘Jacob Kline,’ Marshall’s Delight,’ ‘Raspberry Wine.’
Size: 3-4 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide
Bloom time: summer
Bloom colors: pinks, raspberry, purple, red
Pair with:  The large yellow-flowered ‘Mary Todd,’ pink ‘Catherine Woodbury’ or the bicolor ‘Final Touch.’

pink flowers of a bee balm plant

10. Hardy Hibiscus (Rose Mallow)

Rose Mallow is a perennial plant that can grow to be 5 to 7 feet tall. The leaves alternate and are serrated on the edges. White blooms with a red center appear in the summer and last until early October.

Botanical Name: Hibiscus moscheutos
Easy-to-find cultivars:  Luna™ series, ‘Starry Starry Night,’ ‘Berry Awesome.’
Size: 3 to 4 feet tall and wide
Bloom time: mid-summer into fall
Bloom colors: red, pink, white, bi-colors
Pair with: Cultivars have large flowers like dark purple ‘Bela Lugosi’ or red ‘Chicago Cherry.’ For a different look, try small, highly contrasting blooms. 

Pink rose mallow flower

11. Shasta Daisy

Shasta daisies bloom in 2 to 3 feet tall, 1 to 2 foot wide clusters. They have completely white daisy petals, yellow disk florets, and glossy, dark green foliage that contrasts.

Botanical Name: Leucanthemum x superbum
Easy-to-find cultivars: “Becky’, ‘Banana Cream,’ ‘Daisy Duke.’
Size: 18 to 30 inches tall and wide, depending on the cultivar
Bloom time: summer
Bloom colors: white with yellow eye
Pair with:  Just about any daylily will look great paired with this simple flower, although the near-white varieties might look a little “off.”

White and yellow shasta daisies

12. Shrub Roses

Shrub roses are shrubby plants with many arching canes that can grow to be 4 to 12 feet tall. Their blooms are solitary, semi-double, or double and are borne singly or in clusters at the cane terminals and on side branches.

Botanical Name: Rosa
Easy-to-find cultivars: ‘Carefree Delight,’ ‘Knockout,’ ‘Sweet Drift.’
Size: 3 to 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide
Bloom time: summer into fall
Bloom colors: red, pink, white, yellow
Pair with:  Use soft pink or white roses with pastel flowered daylilies for a sweet English cottage garden look. 

Rose shrubs growing beside houses

Daylilies and Spring Bulbs 

In between your daylily plants, plant daffodils, allium, perennial tulips, and hyacinths. Daylilies make excellent companions for spring bulbs.

After the bulbs have bloomed, the leaves should be left to naturally die back. This isn’t a pleasant sight, but it nourishes the bulb for the following year. As the leaves of the bulbs wither and die, the foliage of the daylily will obscure them.

purple spring bulbs and yellow daylilies

Daylilies and Annuals

Many annuals pair well with daylilies. Zinnias, petunias, helianthus, lantana, and sun coleus are all good choices. When planting, make sure to consider the full size of both the annuals and the daylilies. Otherwise, your annuals may be concealed beneath the strong leaves of the daylily.

colorful and assorted daylilies and annual flowering plants

Daylilies and Fall Bloomers

By September, the majority of daylilies have done blooming. Plant a few autumn blooming perennials near your daylilies to fill in the gaps and extend the season of your flower garden.

Even before they blossom, ornamental grasses, goldenrod, asters, boltonia, anemones, and Autumn Joy sedum all look fantastic.

Daylilies and fall flowers in a landscape garden
Alaine Connolly
Alaine has been working way too hard in horticulture since 1992, beautifying golf courses, resorts, and hotels. She is a part time landscape designer who works full time caring for a 28,000 square foot public garden. At home, she maintains her own 400 square feet plot. Alaine lives in northern Illinois - zone 5b.
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