One of the stars of the summer perennial flower garden is the all-purpose daylily. These beautiful, low-maintenance flowers bloom in a broad range of flower colors and shapes. They brighten up any yard. Kids can get turned onto daylilies, too. Use these easy-to-grow flowers as a way to teach kids about flowering habits, and then get creative with daylily recipes. Here are some activities to do with your kids involving the common daylily.
- Take a walk with your children in the daylily patch in the morning. Have them tag an open flower with a colored twist tie and a few unopened flowers of various sizes with other colored twist ties. Come back the next morning and see what happened to their flowers. They should see that the opened flower is shriveling and dying. Explain that daylilies got their name because the flowers are only open for one day. Explain that this makes it easier for plant breeders because once they cross a daylily, the flower closes, preventing bees from adding other pollen from different flowers. Next, have your kids look at the flower buds they tagged. If they tagged a large bud, it may have opened overnight. Have your kids track how many days it takes for different-sized flower buds to reach the open stage.
- Explain and show the difference between daylilies (Hemerocallis) and other bulbed lilies (Lilium). Explain that many parts of the daylily plant are edible, while the bulbed lilies are not. Do taste tests of the unopened daylily flower buds and opened flower petals. Have kids describe what they taste like. Show your kids a bag of dried daylily buds (commonly available in Asian grocery stores), and even consider stir-frying some buds with other veggies so kids can taste the cooked buds.
- Explain that daylily roots are edible as well. Dig up an unwanted daylily plant and examine the roots. The kids should see tubers protruding from the roots. These tubers store water and nutrients for the daylily plant. Explain that this is why daylilies are such tough plants and don’t die easily.
- Cut off, clean, and roast the daylily tubers with some carrots and beets, and have the kids do a taste test.