Daylilies – All You Need To Know

By Lynne Cherot | July 20, 2016
Image by Lynne Cherot
by Lynne Cherot
July 20, 2016

This weeks guest blogger is Lynne Cherot of Sensible Gardening and Living. After a lifetime of gardening and nursery experience she now operates a daylily farm in Southern Canada. The act of growing has always been an integral part of her life, and she shares this knowledge and passion on her blog Sensible Gardening. Lynne chooses a practical and sensible approach to gardening, keeping it simple and real.

I’ve been growing daylilies for a very long time, more years than I care to disclose. It all started many years ago when I developed an obsession for this flower and began in earnest to collect as many varieties as I could afford and manage. This grand collection turned into a small daylily farm business, to help support my addictive behavior.

Through this process Iʼve met many others with the same affliction. Iʼve learned much about this plant and how best to source it, how best to grow it and even enjoyed the process of making my own new varieties (hybridizing). Often called “the perfect perennial, daylilies are invaluable to your garden and are a beautiful, adaptable plant that any one can grow.

How to Choose Daylilies:

Daylilies will grow in a wide variety of climate zones, from 2 to 9, however not all perform well in all zones. Whether you buy your daylilies from a local nursery or an online grower, itʼs important to know that they are suitable for your gardening zone. This is perhaps a bigger problem for northern gardeners, as many daylilies which are hybridized in the southern zones, simply will not perform as well in the North. If zones are not provided on the plant information tag, you can use their foliage habit as a general guide to their hardiness. Dormant types are the most hardy, Semi-evergreens are somewhere in the middle and Evergreens are the least hardy. There are of course, many exceptions to this general guide.

If you are on the look out for a never ending choice in daylily cultivars, your best resource is through daylily growers who sell directly to their customers either from farm sales or mail order programs. Because daylily roots travel so well, spending a week or so in the mail system does them no harm. A reputable grower will send you large, healthy, bloom sized quality plants.

For a longer season of bloom from your daylilies, do your homework and choose a collection including early, mid and late season varieties. It is possible to have daylilies blooming from July right up until frost.

How to Grow Daylilies

The beauty of daylilies is that they are very adaptable and will grow just about anywhere. They will tolerate poor soils, periods of drought, less than ideal light conditions, are bothered by few pests and diseases and can even withstand the treatment from an errant gardener. However, if you want your daylilies to perform to their best ability with large green fans and gorgeous blooms, the following suggestions will lead you to success.

Plant your daylilies in a relatively fertile soil, enriched with organic matter such as compost or well aged manures. Keep your beds topped up every couple of years to keep them healthy and nourishing.

Give your plants good drainage. Water logged soil is not advisable. If you have heavy clay soil amend it with sand or compost. A well draining sandy loam is ideal.

Give your daylilies an adequate and regular supply of water, especially during the spring growth and summer blooming periods. Daylilies given sufficient water will produce larger and better colored blooms.

Divide your daylilies shortly after they have bloomed. On average they do not need to be divided for 3-4 years. By that time the clumps may have become quite large and blooming may be slowing down. Dividing is as simple as digging up the entire clump and carefully separating the individual roots into several plants. Trim back the leaves to about 6 inches and plant 2-3 fans together in a new location. This is a great and affordable way to grow your garden.

After blooming, cut the flower stalk right back to the bottom of the plant. This will tidy up your daylilies and if they are healthy they will provide you with attractive green foliage for the rest of the growing season.

Your plants should be fully trimmed back to the ground once a year. This can done in the fall or in the spring. I tend to choose the fall as I prefer to have my garden cleaned up before spring arrives and I become too busy. I believe it also helps to keep disease and pests at bay.

Fun Facts about Daylilies

Daylilies are NOT lilies. They are a herbaceous perennial of the genus Hemerocallis.

Daylily is one word. You always see it spelled as two, day lily, however this is wrong.

Each flower blooms for only one day, yet each plant has many flower scapes which in turn have many buds. Your daylily plant will actually bloom for quite a long time.

Daylily flowers have been part of the Asian cuisine for centuries.

Modern daylilies are not invasive, but are well behaved clump growers. It is the original species or more commonly known as “Ditch Lilies” that can be a problem as they grow from underground rhizomes.

There are over 70,000 registered cultivars for you to choose from.

Daylilies are addictive, grow with caution:)

If you are interested in knowing more about daylilies or other gardening topics, visit my blog Sensible Gardening. You might also enjoy my gardening videos on YouTube and our Facebook Page.



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