Daylilies are easy to grow and give a care-free show of flowers. While you enjoy the picture, insects are busy pollinating. If you let the flowers go to seed, you can grow your own daylilies. The more varieties you have, the more interesting the genetic combinations. No two daylilies will be alike. Growing daylilies from seed is not all that hard, according to Olallie Daylily Gardens. Along the way you'll learn what dayliliy hybridizers have learned: how to collect the seed, how to provide the chilling period called seed stratification, how deep to sow the seed, and how long you have to wait until a seedling will flower.
Leave the spent flowers and the flower stalks on the daylily and the plant will go to seed. In three days, a small green "nub" will appear, according to Dick Christensen of the Larimer County Extension in Colorado. The seed pods will be bud-shaped, green and have a thick, rind-like surface.
Collect the seeds after the seed pods turn brown and start to split open.The seeds will ripen between 40 to 60 days after the pods develop. The seeds will be black. Place in an envelope to dry.
Store the seeds in the envelope, and place in a cool, dry place until you're ready to stratify the seeds.
Place the seeds within a layer of wet paper towel, and place in a zipper-top plastic bag. If you've purchased seeds in a package, you can follow the recommendations of Diane Linsley of Diane's Seeds. She adds 1 to 2 tsps. of water to the seeds in zipper-top bag, squeezing the air out of the bag before sealing it. Chill for three to four weeks to stratify the seeds.
Plant the seeds after three to four weeks of stratification. Fill the plastic pots or the tray with the seed-starting mix, and water to moisten the mix. Avoid over-watering. The seed-starting mix should not be soggy.
Plant three to four seeds per pot, or sow seeds in the plastic tray 1/8 inch apart in parallel rows 2 inches apart. Cover the seeds so that they are 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch deep. Moisten the starting mix with the plant mister.
If you live in the north and want to plant during the winter, keep the pots in a sunny window or under growing lights. Southern gardeners often plant directly in the ground in early fall. If you plant in the ground, space seeds 12 inches apart in rows 12 inches apart.
Keep the soil moist but do not saturate it. Seeds will germinate in two to six weeks, although some seeds may take three months. If you have planted the seeds directly in the soil, keep the garden beds weeded.
Transplant the seedlings in the plastic tray into the pots when the plants are about 4 inches tall. Fill the pots with seed-starting mix, and mix in a handful of regular potting soil. Make a small indentation in the soil with the tip of your index finger. Use a plastic fork to lift the seedling carefully from the seed-starting mix in the tray, set the seedling into the indentation and cover around the roots with soil.
Transplanting into the Garden
Transfer the pots outside when the weather gets warm. Get the seedlings used to higher light levels by placing the pots in the shade. Bring the pots inside at night if the forecast calls for the temperatures will go below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wait until the danger of frost has passed and the seedlings have reached 4 to 6 inches tall before transplanting into the garden. Use a separate area of the garden to allow the seedlings to continue growing. The area should be in the sun or part shade. The soil should be well-drained.
Turn over the soil with a shovel and amend with a bag of sand and a bag of compost into a 6-foot square area. Mix well.
Make holes approximately 4 to 6 inches deep. Gently tap the bottom of the pot to loosen the soil, take the seedlings out of the containers and set them into the soil. Tamp down the soil gently. Water the plant until the soil is moist but not soggy.
Keep the soil moist throughout the first growing season. Bill's Hemerocallis-The Daylily website recommends leaving the plants in this location until they have bloomed for two years.
About this Author
Janet Belding has been writing for 22 years. She has had nonfiction pieces published in "The Boston Globe," "The Cape Cod Times," and other local publications. She is a writer for the guidebook "Cape Cod Pride Pages." Her fiction has been published in "Glimmer Train Stories." She has a degree in English from the University of Vermont.