Daylilies (scientific name Hemerocallis) are among the most rewarding of all perennial plants, delivering a huge jolt of beauty to your garden for a modest investment of time and money. Each blossom lasts only a day, but a single plant can produce hundreds of flowers over a season. Daylilies are easy to plant and, once established, will bloom for years without requiring more than routine care.
Before you buy your lilies, decide what sort of display you'd like to create. You can get varieties of different heights and colors, and some bloom at different times of the season than others.
Visualize your ideal color scheme in advance; think about whether you want a group of lilies that will all bloom at once or if you want to mix up the varieties so you'll have lilies blooming all summer long.
Plant either daylily bulbs or plants, but be sure to buy them from a reputable source. Many mail order houses specialize in high quality bulbs and plants, and you can also buy confidently from a good local nursery.
Choose a place in your garden that gets at least six hours of direct sunlight every day.
Dig out the daylily bed to a depth of about six inches. Mix the soil up with a good dose of compost, so it will drain well.
Plant your bulbs or plants about a foot apart. If you're planting bulbs, set them down into the soil so that their tops will be about an inch below the surface. Add soil around and on top of the bulbs.
If you're planting daylily plants, put them into the ground so that the stems just above the roots are at the surface of the soil. Push more soil up against the stems to support them.
Water your daylilies well, then put a thick layer of mulch---about two inches of straw, bark or hay---around the lilies, to help hold moisture in and to keep weeds from getting started in the flower bed.
For the first year, water your lilies regularly. Thereafter, they can get by without much extra water.
Once a year, fertilize your lilies by spreading a thick layer of compost around them. Other than that, they won't need any additional fertilizer.
Every four or five years, divide your daylilies. If you live in the North, do this in the spring; if you live in the South, you can do it in the late summer or early fall.
To divide the lilies, dig up each plant and look carefully at the bulb at its base. You'll easily be able to see where new plants have started growing on the main bulb.
Break the new plants off, cut off the foliage from the top of the plants and set them all aside. Once you've divided all the bulbs, mix a generous amount of compost into the soil of the lily bed and replant the separated bulbs.
If you live in a northern area, for the first few seasons after you plant your lilies, cover them up in the fall with mulch.