While daylilies are not true lilies, they act and look like lilies, and have the added bonus of not being attractive to the lily beetle.
These clump-forming perennial blooms add rich color and dimension into any garden, but they also have some compelling meaning attached to them.
Behind The Name: What does ‘Daylily’ Mean?
Most daylilies open during the day when they sense daylight, which is where ‘daylily’ comes from, though there are some which only open during the afternoon, staying open well into the night.
They are classified under the Hemerocallis genus, under the plant family, Asphodelaceae, which comes under the Asparagales order.
The genus name is a combination of the Greek hēmera and kalos, translating to ‘beautiful day’. This refers to how many daylily (see also Daylily: Different Hemerocallis Types, Plant Varieties, and Facts) blooms only last for a single day.
The name is also believed to be a tribute to Hera, the goddess of women, family, childbirth, and marriage.
The Symbolism Surrounding the Daylily
Daylilies largely symbolize the affection, devotion, and love between a mother and her child, and while that’s one of the main meanings, it’s not the only one.
Daylilies can also represent a casual flirtation, affection or desire, because most types of daylilies will bloom no longer than a day.
The meaning behind these fabulous flowers also depends on the color of the bloom itself. If it happens to be bicolored, like most daylilies, it adopts both meanings.
Red Daylily Meaning
Unlike most red flowers, which are associated with affection, passion, and romantic love, red daylilies signify pride, where you’re drawn to do the right thing out of principle and self-respect.
Yellow Daylily Meaning
Yellow daylilies signify healing, optimism, and joy.
Orange Daylily Symbolism
Orange daylilies refer to vitality, renewed energy, happiness, and daring or dedication.
White Daylily Significance
White daylilies represent fertility, abundance, good health and celebration.
Pink Daylily Symbolism
Pink daylilies embody youth, flirtation, a playful nature, and joy.
The Cultural Significance Behind the Daylily
In Chinese culture, the daylily is very important. It’s believed that the daylily can aid in helping you forget your worries, but it’s also linked to memory loss.
Due to this symbolism, they are usually given to someone going through a difficult time, in the hope that they will soon be able to move on and enjoy life again. It’s also a tradition for a pregnant woman to wear a daylily if she wants a boy.
There is also a superstition surrounding the daylily, which suggests that the presence of this lovely flower while you plan for the future is supposed to help guide you and shape your future into what you want.
As each bloom of a daylily is relatively short-lived, these flowers signify the importance of being present in every moment, and recognizing the simple pleasures and good fortunes as they come.
What does a Daylily Flower Tattoo Mean?
Daylily flowers aren’t a common subject for a tattoo, but that doesn’t mean they don’t hold their own both aesthetically and symbolically.
When chosen as a tattoo, daylilies represent devotion towards children, parents, or someone else you’re very close to.
It’s also used as a good luck charm, as well as a reminder of the fleeting nature of life and how quickly things can change, and accepting changes in fortune as they appear.
The daylily represents the importance of letting hurtful things go, where they can lose their intensity in memory, instead of holding onto negativity.
When Should You Give Someone Daylilies?
Daylilies are suitable for many occasions, and while the blooms themselves only last one day, unopened buds as a cut flower can last for up to a week.
They are the perfect choice for Mother’s Day, or even Father’s Day, to celebrate the connection between a parent and child, representing gratitude and love.
They also represent good luck, if the daylily is pointing upwards, signifying your well-wishes for the recipient.
Daylilies are also suitable for when someone you love is going through a bad situation, where all they seem to be having is bad luck, and you want to remind them that it will pass eventually. It’s a great way to convey an uplifting message without struggling for the right words.