How to Care for Day Lilies

Overview

Daylilies (Hemerocallis spp.) are herbaceous perennials valued for their brightly colored flowers and relative ease of cultivation. Despite the name, daylilies are not actually members of the lily family. The Latin name Hemerocallis is Greek for "day beauty," referring to the fact that each daylily flower only lasts for a single day. The plant blooms during summer, producing numerous flowers in a wide array of colors, depending on the variety. Native to North America and hardy in USDA zones 4 through 10, daylilies thrive throughout all but the coldest regions of the United States.

Step 1

Select a planting location that receives full sunlight throughout the day and consists of well-drained, moist soil rich in organic matter. Spread a 1-inch layer of compost over the planting site and use a garden tiller to incorporate the material into the soil, raising fertility and drainage before planting. Space daylilies 18 to 24 inches apart.

Step 2

Apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch over the ground surrounding daylilies to stunt competitive weeds, improve moisture conservation and insulate the roots. Provide at least 3 to 4 inches of space between the base of the plants and the mulch to allow air to circulate and prevent fungal diseases.

Step 3

Water daylilies once per week for the first season of growth to help establish their root system. Reduce the watering frequency to once every 10 days thereafter, or every 14 days during winter when active growth has ceased. Apply at least 2 inches of water at each application to ensure the plants receive enough moisture.

Step 4

Feed twice per year, once during early spring and again in mid-summer, using a balanced, slow-release fertilizer to release small amounts of nutrients into the soil throughout the year. Read the manufacturer's instructions on the package for proper application and dosage.

Step 5

Remove spent and faded blossoms after flowering has ended to improve the plant's aesthetic appeal and encourage re-blooming. Wait until all the flowers have died on a flower stalk, and then cut off the stalk at ground level. Remove all dead foliage from the plant when it begins to die back during fall.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Garden tiller
  • Mulch
  • Slow-release fertilizer

References

  • University of Rhode Island Landscape Horticulture Program Fact Sheet: Daylily Culture
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Growing Daylilies
  • "The Carolina Gardener's Guide"; Toby Bost, Jim Wilson; 2005

Who Can Help

  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: daylilies, care for daylilies, Hemerocallis

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including Gardenguides.com.