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How to Fertilize Daylilies

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Often referred to as the gardener's perfect perennial flower, daylilies are an excellent addition to any garden. Because of their ability to withstand droughts, disease, pests and because they are easy to grow, daylilies are found in thousands of gardens across the United States. With the right amount of fertilization, daylily plants will fill your garden with masses of blooms ranging in color from oranges to light pinks. By following these few steps, you will be able to provide your daylilies with just the right amount of nutrients, ensuring they will do their best in your garden.

Purchase a fertilizer that is good for the daylilies. Daylilies do not require as much fertilizer as other foliage-typed plants. A gentle fertilizer contains micronutrients that will provide your daylilies with nutrients for days, and will promote new growth. You can purchase all-purpose plant food at your local department store or garden specialty store.

Spread the plant food around the established daylily plant evenly. Gently shake the plant food bag while circling the daylilies to ensure the plant food is distributed evenly. Use a hand-held garden rake to spread the plant food.

Water the daylily plant immediately. Allow the water to shower over the plant itself. The water will rinse away any plant food that may have gotten on the leaves or blooms. The plant food will then be absorbed into the soil around the daylily along with the water.

Fertilize Daylilies?

Giving your daylilies a small dose of fertilizer when the first sprouts emerge in the spring will get them off to a good start. Younger plants and specimens in poor soil or soil-less growing mediums will need a few extra doses through the rest of the year. Due to the bulbing nature of the roots that anchor each daylily in the soil, it's possible to divide your plants after a few years and spread them apart to fill in a bed or border. The California Garden Clubs website recommends doing this in the fall so the plants have time over the winter to get established. Potted specimens may need slightly more regular feeding to refresh the growing medium. These blooming perennials prefer fertilizers with healthy levels of potassium and phosphorous and lower amounts of nitrogen, according to the University of Rhode Island Landscape Horticulture Program. Formulas designed for slow release of the nutrients prevent the daylilies from being shocked while providing continued support over the period of a few weeks.


Daylilies should be fertilized twice per year: once in early spring and again in early to midfall.

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