How to Plant and Grow Daylilies
Why You Should Plant and Grow Daylilies
- Daylilies are easy to grow and don't require a lot of care. Each variety has a different color and shape. Varieties are available that are even doubles and spiders. Others rebloom later in the summer. If you get addicted to this flower like I have, you'll never have enough.
- The plant has become known as the best perennial flower. By far they are my favorites. If you want some summertime fun, this is the flower to grow. Don't stop at just one, but purchase several. I have over 100 of them, and each morning in June and July the first thing I do is to check which one is blooming. It is especially fun if you have new ones that haven't bloomed before.
- My dog enjoys the walk and tries to smell the flowers too. Not all daylilies are fragrant, so sometimes he gets a disappointment. Many of them are though.
- Hybridizers have developed blooms in every color under the sun. Many of the newer daylilies have many colors. Frilly edges, bi-colors, edged, and many others are easy to find. The bloom sizes can range from 2" to as large as 8" across. They can range in height from 8 inches to 3 feet.
What Is a Daylily?
The correct name for daylilies is Hemerocallis. Many people confuse them with lilies that grow from bulbs. They even call them day lilies, but that isn't the correct name at all. Daylilies are a plant that grows from a root system. They do have little bulbs underneath, but you could never grow one from a bulb unless it had at least some root on it.
The bulbs on daylilies are there to retain water. Bulbs can hold a water supply up to a month. This makes them a good drought tolerant plant. They still need lots of water if you want them to bloom well, but the plant will survive in severe conditions.
The plant gets its name because each flower only lasts one day. It will put on so many flowers, that you'll get a beautiful display anyway. When purchasing, watch for daylilies that say they branch. This will give you more bloom. Watch for extended bloomers for a longer bloom. In the south, you can get bloom twice with the rebloomers. A few rebloomers will put on a new flush of flowers in the north too.
How to Plant
- You first need to find a sunny spot with good drainage. Daylilies will grow in the shade, but you won't get a good bloom. Some bright colors do better in partial shade since the sun bleaches the color. Check your variety to find if this is a problem. Dave's Garden has a search engine where you can do this.
- The plants can be planted at any time, but spring or fall is best. Once the weather has warmed in the spring is best. If I plant here in Zone 5 in the fall, I try to get them in the ground by the end of September. That way they have rooted in well enough to survive through the winter months.
- If you find a daylily farm and would like to purchase them when you can see the bloom, you can plant in the middle of the summer. It isn't the ideal time, but I have planted then. All my plants have survived.
- It is a good idea to prepare your ground in advance if possible. Till in some manure or compost. If you don't have time to do this, work it in the ground when planting.
- Your daylily may arrive as a dry root and plant. They are packed this way because they can tolerate being dry, but if they are wet, the plant can rot. When it arrives, place it in a bucket of water. A few hours is a good idea. If you can't get around to planting it right away, place it in some sand or dirt. A daylily grower in my area loves to tell about forgetting one and leaving it in a bucket. She found it the next spring, and it still survived. I don't recommend this of course, but it gives you an idea just how sturdy these plants are.
- Daylilies come in different sizes. The larger daylilies can spread rapidly and become a large plant in a few years. Others are short and stay small. Check your plant and determine how far from other plants they should be planted. At least 18" to 24" is a good point to start if you don't know the variety.
- Work the soil where you plan on planting a good foot deep. Make the hole as deep as the roots and bigger around, so the roots have room to grow. Plant at the depth that the plant has grown. The white part, also known as the crown, should be just below the ground. Don't plant the crown deeper than one inch. If you plant it too deep, you'll get beautiful plants, but no bloom. Fill the hole with soil and firm around the plants. You should give it a good watering.
By Spring Hill Nurseries, YouTube
Keep the plant watered well, giving extra water just before the blooming period. Daylilies are like most plant and like at least 1 inch of water a week.
A good dose of composted cow manure is good to use every year. This can be found at any garden center. I keep mine mulched, but it isn't necessary. It will keep the soil moister and cut down on watering.
In the fall, cut down the scapes ( stems) to the ground. Remove all of the rotted or diseased leaves. If the leaves aren't rotted, leave them on the plant. In northern states, leaving the old leaves will provide some protection from the cold weather.
Daylilies Are Edible
The flowers of this plant aren't only ornamental, but also edible. I've never tried it myself, but they say if you dip the flower in a batter and deep fry them, they are delicious. Originally daylilies came from China and were used as an edible food there. I like the blooms too well to eat them myself. Some people keep a special spot in the vegetable garden for them.
You can also cook the buds. Just boil or sauté and you'll have a wonderful dish. They are good for you, just like any vegetable.
Dividing and Propagating the Plants
If the daylilies get really large and outgrow their space in the garden, it is time to divide them. If they aren't blooming as well as they once were, it might be time. To divide the plant, dig up the entire plant.
The daylily is made up of fans. Each fan is capable of becoming its own plant. When you dig the old plant, the fans may just fall apart. If they don't, just take a knife and divide them apart to the size you'd like them. Use more than one fan in each group. At least three is a good amount.
After dividing, you can share them with your friends or plant them in another spot in the garden. You may even want to sell daylilies. I've done so, and it isn't hard to find customers if you live in an area where people enjoy gardening. The daylilies produce so many fans a year, that it can be a profitable business.
Do you have daylilies in your garden?
© 2013 Barbara Badder