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Daylily Care

When it comes to guarantees, the daylily offers one like no other perennial. You can count on the daylily to produce year after year with virtually little maintenance.


The daylily is a popular flower among gardeners because they know it will tolerate almost any condition. They grow in hardiness zones from 3-9. Almost any soil or climate condition you put them through they will stand the test, year after year, virtually un-phased by any pests or disease they may encounter. When it comes to value, if you purchase a daylily you will get your moneys worth.

Their botanical name, Hemerocallis, which means "beauty for a day," is quite an accurate name. Flowers will bloom in the morning and expire by night. But as their stems have many buds one plant can bloom for weeks. Daylilies are often planted in groups along fences or paths and in and around tulips and daffodils as they provide a great distraction from dying bulb foliage.

There are many different species of daylilies with thousands of cultivars. They have bloom times of early, mid and late summer, different flower colors, heights and shapes as well.

By choosing daylilies of various heights, flower colors, and shapes, you can mix and match your daylilies with low or tall growing perennials or even plant them in containers.

Daylilies can be grouped by plant type. Here are some of the types of daylilies you might find.

Diploid: Diploid daylilies tend to have many smaller flowers than tetraploids with a graceful shape. Most double-flowered daylilies are diploids.

Tetraploid: Tetraploid daylilies tend to have large vibrant colored flowers than diploids. They are also supported by stronger and sturdier scapes or stems.

Miniature: These compact varieties range from 12 to 25 inches tall. Flowers are much smaller. Use them in tight spaces.

Dormant: Refers to the habit of the daylily foliage to die back to the ground in fall regardless of the weather. These cultivars grow best in cold climates. Most daylily cultivars fall in this category.

Evergreen/Semi-Evergreen: Some daylilies have foliage that stays evergreen or semi-evergreen all winter in mild areas. These cultivars are best adapted to warm-climate areas.

Re-blooming: Remove the faded flower heads or "dead heads" as this will encourage re-blooming.

Planting Care

Daylilies will produce their best flowers when planted in full sun. Six hours of morning sunlight is preferred in moist well-drained soil. In the south, darker cultivars should receive some afternoon shade to help them retain their flower color. When planted under these ideal conditions, daylilies will flower for years with very little maintenance. They do not require fertilization other than an annual addition of compost.

In the South, plant them in spring or fall while temperatures are still cool. In the North, daylilies are best planted in spring so they have plenty of time to establish a good root system before harsh winter temperatures. But considering their vitality, they can be planted anytime from spring through fall without too much concern.

We have had great success amending the soil with humus and manure before planting. You'll want to space them 12 to 18 inches apart and keep the crown 1 inch below the soil. Water them well and add mulch to conserve moisture and prevent weeds.

Even though they are strong plants the young transplants try to keep them weed-free and well watered the first year.

Daylilies have very few pests. There have been some that have suffered from "rust" disease. To avoid this keep them open and airy and well watered when drought conditions prevail.

Dividing Daylilies, Every four to five years your daylilies will need to be divided. They grow thick and you will begin to notice less blooms when they get over crowded. In the south, late summer is the best time to divide daylilies. In the North, early spring is an the best time.

Use a spade or sharp shovel to dig up clumps of daylilies . Carefully separate root systems, if necessary use a sharp knife to cut them. However, and pay is always wise to sanitize any cutting or pruning device with isopropyl alcohol. Then trim the foliage and replant immediately in compost-amended soil. You can even plant them in containers.

Winter Care In northern areas, it is wise to mulch in and around young daylilies. This will help protect the soil from extreme and fluctuating temperatures which can shift root systems. Dying foliage should be clipped about and inch from the base.









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