spp.) are dependable, easy-care perennials. They are prolific
and colorful bloomers, and their color range and height variation
allows them to fill a variety of garden niches. Daylilies are tolerant
of drought and flooding, immune to heat stress, tolerant of most
soils and grow well in full sun or light shade. Relatively free
of pests, daylilies make a carefree addition to the garden. Different
varieties of daylilies can be in bloom from late spring until autumn.
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 are used for
color in shrub borders and in perennial beds. They are excellent
ground covers on slopes. Once established, their roots will help
prevent erosion. Small cultivars can be planted in containers.
range in height from 8 inches to 5 feet. Flower size ranges from
as small as 2 inches to as large as 8 inches.
bloom the year that they are planted, even from a relatively small
plant. They will reach full size in three to four years.
best in direct sun or light shade. Cultivars with darker-colored
flowers should be protected from strong afternoon sun, which may
fade the petals.
slightly acidic (pH 6 to 6.5), well-drained soil with plenty of
organic matter. They are, however, very tolerant and will grow in
almost any soil with adequate drainage. If drainage is a problem,
plant daylilies in raised beds.
The best time
to plant daylilies is during the early fall or early spring, when
soil temperatures are moderate, although daylilies will tolerate
planting during any time of year. Plant daylilies 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
Water plants thoroughly after planting, and continue to deep-soak
them at least weekly until established. Although daylilies are drought-tolerant
once established, consistent watering while budding and flowering
improves the quality of the flowers.
will grow adequately without fertilizer, light fertilization is
recommeded for optimum growth. They prefer moderate nitrogen and
higher rates of phosphorous and potash. Slow-release fertilizers
are best for daylilies. Fertilize in the early spring as new growth
appears, and once again in midsummer. Water after applying fertilizer.
Mulch helps to conserve moisture in the soil and control weeds.
blooms and seedpods after flowering to improve appearance and encourage
rebloom. When all the flowers on a scape (the daylilies° flowering
stalk) are finished, cut off the scape close to ground level. Remove
dead foliage from daylilies as they die back in the fall.
Daylilies rapidly form
dense clumps. Dividing the clumps is not essential, but will help
the plant to continue to produce optimal flowers. Dividing is usually
done following flowering, but plants will tolerate division throughout
the entire growing season. To divide a clump, lift the entire clump
out of the soil with a garden fork. To 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
Daylily seeds are ready
to harvest when pods turn brown and start to split. Seeds germinate
in approximately two weeks. Plant freshly harvested seeds in pots
or flats in any suitable germinating mixture--vermiculite or a commercially
available soilless mixture containing peat moss, vermiculite and
bark, styrofoam beads or perlite. Cover the seeds to a depth of
1/8 to 1/4 inch. Place germinating containers in partial shade to
prevent them from drying out. Seedlings should be transplanted to
flats or pots when they reach 4 inches in height. Space 2 inches
apart in flats or transfer to 3-inch pots. Seedlings can be transferred
to nursery beds when they develop adequate roots and are from 4-6
inches tall. It usually requires two years for plants to develop
and flower from seeds.
Daylilies have few disease
or pest problems. Thrips, spider mites, aphids,
slugs and snails are the main pests of
daylilies. Aphids feed on both daylily foliage and flower buds.
Aphids are more of a problem during the cool spring period. In addition
to the tiny insects themselves, cast-off skins (resulting from molting)
indicate their presence. A serious infestation can cause foliage
damage and mar the appearance of flower buds.
Thrips can be a serious
daylily pest. Small, winged insects about the size of an exclamation
point (!), they find their way into plant crowns and bloom buds
prior to opening, causing misshapen or discolored blooms.
Spider mite damage of
daylily foliage often goes undetected until the damage is severe,
as the pest itself is difficult to see. Russeting or speckling of
the foliage results from the mites feeding on the chloroplast of
cells. A serious infestation can reduce the vigor of plants appreciably.
Leaves may lose their characteristic green color, turn tan and even
die under more severe mite pressure.
There are several sprays
available for the control of these pests. Read labels carefully
before applying any pesticide.
Hybridizers have made
great improvements in daylilies. The only colors originally available
were yellow, orange and a brassy reddish color. The daylily color
range now includes palest lemon, bright yellow and gold, orange,
scarlet, carmine, maroon, wine-reds, pale pink, rose, lavender,
lilac, grape and melon. Blues are the only color still unavailable
in daylily flowers. Near-whites are found among the palest tints
of yellow, pink, lavender or melon.
from the University of Georgia College of Agricultural & Environmental
Services, Cooperative Extension Service, 1999