The daylily (scientific name Hemerocallis) is a hearty, eye-catching perennial flower, which produces blooms that last only a day. The daylily originated in Asia, and became a fast favorite of British and American gardeners who loved to experiment with hybridization. Thanks to the creativity of earlier gardeners, there are now over 40,000 varieties of daylilies from which to choose. With a wide variety of sizes, colors, and shapes, the daylily adds vibrant color and character to any garden setting.
Allow existing daylily plants to carry out their blooming cycle. Once the blooms are spent, oddly-shaped, green seed pods will emerge at the base of the bloom. Leave the pod on the stem until it turns brown and begins to crack open.
Collect seeds, directly from the plant, or by cutting off the pod. Open the pod and slough off the seeds. Viable daylily seeds will be black in color, not white or brown. Spread the seeds out on a paper towel and allow them to dry completely before storing or replanting.
Store seeds in paper envelopes in a cool dry location. Louise James, of Cedarthorn Gardens, recommends storing dry seeds in paper envelopes sealed inside air-tight plastic bags, in the refrigerator until planting time.
Presoak seeds, one month before planting time, by placing seeds on a wet paper towel covered with an airtight plastic bag. Store the soaking seeds in the refrigerator until ready to plant.
Fill containers or seed flats with good-quality seed starter potting mix. Plant seedlings in pots, using a pencil or straw to make 1/2 inch planting holes in the soil. Cover seedling lightly with soil and water. Cover containers loosely with plastic wrap or large plastic bags to maintain moisture, then place seedlings in a warm, sunny location or use growing lamps to maintain a temperature of 65 to 70 degrees.
Transplant daylilies' seedlings to their permanent location after all chance of frost has passed for the season. Once the roots have been established at the permanent site, fertilize with a balanced water-soluble plant food or a granular fertilizer, in the spring and once more in late summer. Follow manufacturer's directions for proper fertilizer measurements.
Give daylily transplants with an inch of water, 2 or 3 times per week, until the roots are established, then watering once per week will be sufficient. Once the plants are established, deep watering that will soak down to the root system is preferable to surface watering.