Better Bloomers: Hemerocallis ‘Happy Returns’ vs. ‘Going Bananas’

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Hem 'Going Bananas'

In twenty years, breeders can make big advancements, and ‘Going Bananas’ is living proof. Twenty years after the introduction of ‘Happy Returns,’ one of the most popular daylilies of all time, there’s a new variety on the block named ‘Going Bananas.’ And it’s threatening to take over the neighborhood. Although the two daylilies share a similar flower color and compact habit, the flowering performance of ‘Going Bananas’ is greatly improved.

Even on the sunniest days, the lemon yellow flowers of ‘Happy Returns’ do not open wide and flat like those of ‘Going Bananas’.  The flowers of ‘Going Bananas’ are 1 inch larger than ‘Happy Returns’ and appear even larger because they open all the way. These flowers also open consistently, even on cloudy or rainy days.

‘Happy Returns’ is one of the earliest daylilies to bloom and starts 1 to 2 weeks earlier than ‘Going Bananas’.  Unlike ‘Happy Returns,’ which tends to take a break during the hottest part of summer, ‘Going Bananas’ keeps blooming through the heat, providing color in the landscape from early July until the first hard frost in fall.   

Additionally, landscape designers will appreciate that the lemon yellow flower color of ‘Going Bananas’ pairs well with just about every other color in the landscape. This variety is easy to incorporate into existing landscapes and adds a sustained splash of color. It is a much easier color to work with than ‘Happy Returns’ harsher gold-flowered companion ‘Stella de Oro’.  

Susan Martin is the director of marketing communications at Walters Gardens in Zeeland, Mich. She can be reached at smm@waltersgardens.com.

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