Daylilies are noted for their easy-care and versatility. They’re a prolific summer blooming perennial with an extremely wide range of colors including various shades of yellow, gold, orange, scarlet, maroon, pink and lavender. Daylilies are an ideal addition to the perennial border, the shade garden and in difficult spot with poor soil conditions. As a groundcover, daylilies can stabilize slopes. Daylilies are tolerant of drought and flooding and can grow well in most soils.
Some daylilies bloom in spring, others bloom in summer and can last until early fall. Individual flowers last only one day, but since each plant produces many buds, the total blooming time of a well-established clump may be 30 to 40 days. Many varieties have more than one flowering period. Daylilies range in height from 8 inches to 5 feet. Flower size ranges from as small as 2 inches to as large as 8 inches. They reach their mature size three to four years after initial planting.
Daylilies prefer sun and part shade, though some varieties with dark colored flowers will fade if planted in full sun. Daylilies prefer slightly acidic, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. They are very adaptable and will grow in most soils, however, if drainage is poor, plant daylilies in raised beds amend the soil. To amend the soil, add coarse textured organic matter to improve drainage.
When to Plant Your Daylilies
Daylilies can be planted any time of year but prefer to planted in spring or fall when the days are cooler. They should be spaced 18 to 24 inches apart. Set the plant so that the crown (the point where roots and foliage meet) is no deeper than 1 inch below the surface of the soil. Water plants thoroughly after planting, and continue to deep-soak them at least weekly until established.
Although daylilies will grow adequately without fertilizer, light fertilization is recommended for optimum growth. Slow-release fertilizers are best for daylilies. Fertilize in the early spring as new growth appears, and once again in midsummer.
Though daylilies are a low maintenance perennial, deadheading spent flowers as they go by will encourage some new blooms and will keep the plant looking fresh all season.
Dividing Your Daylilies
Dividing perennials is easily the best way to increase your plant stock. Daylilies rapidly form dense clumps and few years you’ll probably notice that it begins outgrowing its allotted spot. Dividing large perennials into smaller plants will solve the problem of over crowding in the garden while giving you new plants to add to other gardens. In the fall when the plants are beginning to die back prepare new planting areas somewhere on your property. Simply dig the daylily you intend to divide out of the ground, making sure to dig out as much of the root system as possible. Take a spade or a garden edger and chop or divide the plant in half and separate the clump into individual fans (sections with a set of roots and leaves), shake it to remove as much soil as possible, then work the roots of individual fans apart. Replace the daylily back in the ground and back fill with a mix of compost and existing soil.
Relatively free of pests, daylilies make a carefree addition to the garden.