Daylilies - Garden Basics - Flower - Perennial

By Kat Yares, Garden Guides Contributor

About Daylilies

Daylilies, or the daylily, are any one of a number of plants in the genus Hemerocallis of the family Hemerocallidaceae. Although commonly know as daylilies, the plant is not a true lily. The name daylily is derived from the Greek meaning day beauty, as the bloom generally lasts no longer than sunup to sunset. Many varieties of the flower are edible. The flowers of certain species are highly prized in Chinese cooking and the tuber roots and the unopened pods can be a food source also.

The flowers consist of 3 sepals and 3 petals and are collectively called tepals. Daylilies can be grown in almost any of the USDA Zones from 1 through 11. Daylilies are one of the most hybridized flowers for the garden, with over a 1000 new hybrids a year. Daylilies are a perennial favorite in gardens as they can withstand harsh winters and hot summers.

Site Preparation

Daylilies grow best in moist, well-drained soil with full sun in most areas. In hot arid climates, care should be taken to plant the lilies where they are in shade during the hottest part of the day. Daylilies should be planted in soil that has a slightly acidic, high humus or organic matter base. Till the soil before planting and add fertilizer to slightly raise the acidity before planting.

Special Features

More than 35,000 different varieties of daylilies have been named.
Some species of daylily will remain an evergreen throughout the winter.
Well established daylily clumps can produce several hundred blooms in a single season.

Choosing a Variety

Many daylilies are location-specific and do not grow well outside of their original general location. The best way to choose daylily crowns is to visit a local nursery and see what types of daylilies grow best in the desired area. Daylilies come in a variety of sizes and colors, and can be used in any number of garden landscape schemes.


Plant new daylily crowns anytime the soil can be worked. Add manure or compost to the soil and till. Crowns should be planted 1 inch below ground level. Cover with mulch or other organic matter to protect the young crowns from colder weather until the plant is established.


Add additional mulch in the late spring or early summer to reduce weeds growing in the daylily patch. Water the plants if needed to approximate 1 inch of water weekly. Daylilies have few pests, although aphids will occasionally feed on the flowers. These can be removed by using an insecticide soap spray.

Daylily clumps should be dug up and divided every 4 to 5 years. Spent flower heads should be pinched off after blooming to retard seed production and assure an equal or greater amount of flowers the next season.

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