How to Care for Daylilies

Overview

The perennial daylily is on almost every gardener's list of favorites. Its Latin name, Hemerocallis, derives from the Greek word for "beauty" and "day," since the flowers are open only for one day. Fortunately, daylilies produce plenty of flowers, so it is possible to enjoy them through a long blooming season. They are available in every color except for true blue and true white, and in sizes ranging from 8 inches to 5 feet. Rarely troubled by pests or disease, daylilies are remarkably tough. Although they will survive in less-than-ideal conditions, they look their best when provided with good plant culture.

Step 1

Plant your daylilies in a location with sun or mostly sun. Daylilies will bloom in light shade, but their flowering is decreased and the stems will lean towards the light rather than stand straight. Some protection from the afternoon sun will help keep dark-colored cultivars from fading.

Step 2

Provide well-drained soil with added organic matter. Daylilies dislike wet soil.

Step 3

Firmly press nursery-potted daylilies into the soil when planting, leaving the plant's crown slightly higher than the surrounding soil. If planting divisions, plant clumps at their original soil level.

Step 4

Plant small, bare-root crowns (called fans) as soon as possible to prevent them from drying out. If they are not already trimmed, trim off the top third of the leaves to reduce transplant stress. Spread out the roots over a mound of soil in the planting hole. Avoid planting them too deep.

Step 5

Plant daylilies about 18 inches apart. The smaller types can be closer together.

Step 6

Water newly-planted daylilies well, and provide them with deep soakings until they are established. Placing a mulch around plants will control weeds and help conserve soil moisture.

Step 7

Apply fertilizer for best bloom and appearance. Karen Russ, Clemson University horticulture specialist, recommends applying a slow-release fertilizer in early spring and again in midsummer.

Step 8

Divide daylilies to keep plants vigorous after three or four years of growth, when their blooms reduce or when they outgrow their space. Divide the flowers in early spring, or after blooming; plants divided in spring may not flower the same summer.

References

  • Clemson University Extension
  • University of Minnesota Extension
  • University of Illinois Extension

Who Can Help

  • Alabama Cooperative Extension
  • American Hemerocallis Society
Keywords: care of daylilies, hemerocallis care, planting daylilies

About this Author

Gwen Bruno has 28 years of experience as a teacher and librarian, and is now a full-time freelance writer. She holds a bachelor's degree from Augustana College and master's degrees from North Park University and the University of Wisconsin. She writes articles about gardening for DavesGarden.com.