Growing Daylilies for a Low-Maintenance Garden
Are Daylilies the Perfect Perennial?
Daylilies are often referred to as the "Perfect Perennial" and I think this label is quite accurate. They are low maintenance plants that are available in a wide range of colours, require little attention, thrive in a wide variety of conditions and look great even when not flowering. They figure prominently in my front yard garden, as well as other areas of our yard.
The scientific name, or genus, for daylilies is Hemerocallis, which translates to "beautiful for a day" in Greek. Each flower on a daylily plant flowers for only one day, usually opening in the morning and closing up within 24 hours. However, each clump of daylilies usually has many stems, each with many flower buds, which results in a steady succession of blooms over a period of at least several weeks.
Pink DayliliesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Advantages of Growing Daylilies
Daylilies are very easy to grow. They establish themselves quickly once planted, and will tolerate a variety of soil conditions. They are virtually disease and pest free and do not require much, if any, watering as they are very drought tolerant.
There are over 60000 registered varieties, or cultivars, of daylilies, with hybridizers developing many new variations each year. They come in a wide range of colours, to suit every gardener's tastes, including many shades of yellow, orange, pink, peach, purple, red, burgundy and cream. The only colours not available to date are true blues and pure whites.
Yellow DayliliesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Zones 2-11, depending on variety
Soil and Watering Requirements
Average soil, drought resistant
Full sun to partial shade
Most varieties bloom in July and August, with some earlier and later blooming varieties
30 to 90 cm / 12 to 36 inches, depending on variety
Disease and pest resistant
Daylilies will come back year after year, and the clumps will get larger and spread over time. Dividing your daylily plants is easy to do and is a great way to add beauty to other areas of your yard.
It's best to divide your day lilies either in spring when the plants are still small, or in fall when they have finished flowering. To divide them in spring, just dig up the clump and gently cut the clump down through the roots with a spade. Replant the divided clumps where you would like them, and water generously. The video below shows how to divide a larger clump of daylilies.
Red and Burgundy DayliliesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Most varieties of daylilies thrive in full sun, but will also tolerate quite a bit of shade, as I've discovered in my shady front yard. Some of the darker reds and burgundies actually do better in some shade, as the dark colour absorbs the sun and can heat up the plant too much.
By planting a variety of different daylilies with varying bloom times, you can ensure a colourful display of daylilies in your garden through much of the growing season.
Daylilies truly are a wonderful perennial plant, and I highly recommend giving them a try in your garden.
Orange DayliliesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Which day lilies do you like the most?
© 2012 Kathy Sima