How To Grow Daylilies

Enhance Your Garden with These Easy-to-Grow, Colorful Plants

The Daylily is a perennial plant that will thrive year after year with little or no care. Although this plant is in the genus of the Hemerocallis family, it is not a lily. The word "hemerocallis" comes from two Greek words meaning "beauty" and "day," referring to the fact that each flower lasts one day. It opens at sunrise, withers at sunset. With over 58,000 different daylily cultivators having been identified, there is no doubt you can find a style and color that will enhance your garden.

Since this is a perennial and multiplies with abandon, in a few short years you can create a lush ground cover or a colorful border for your garden. Although very few daylilies have a scent, you won't feel like you are missing anything when you visually enjoy hundreds of glorious blossoms blanketing your garden.

Step 1

Where to plant:

  • Daylilies need full sun, good drainage, and plenty of water.
  • Try not to plant too close to trees or shrubs as they will compete for the moisture in the ground.
  • They can be planted where there is occasional shade, but at least six hours of sun each day is important for the blossoms.

Step 2

Prepare the soil:

  • Break up the soil with either a pitchfork, roto-tiller, or shovel to help aerate the ground.
  • Dig the hole large enough to be at least 2-3" larger in circumference than the root ball.
  • Mix in manure or organic compost to feed the roots.
  • Fertilizer can also be added to the worked soil, if desired.
  • After putting plant roots in the hole, cover with soil, then gently pat ground around stem for stability.

Step 3

When to plant:

  • The best time is in early spring, before time for blossoms.
  • It is also possible to plant in early summer, but wait for the blossoms to be done.

Step 4

Transplant or separate (dividing can be done about every three to four years):

  • Plants can be divided and transplanted by digging up an established plant.
  • Prepare the soil of the new location as described above.
  • Gently separate the plant into two halves.
  • Place in hole and cover with loose soil.
  • Trim plant 5-6" above ground to help promote root growth to establish the plant.

Step 5

Prepare for next summer:

  • In the fall, shredded straw or leaves can be placed around the base of the plants.
  • In the spring, trim back the browned daylily leaves.

Daylilies are gorgeous to look at, but did you also know some are edible? I would not recommend you head outdoors and eat your blossoms -- those that are edible have been cultivated for that express purpose. But don't be surprised if sometime you see "Daylily Soup" on the menu at your favorite Chinese restaurant. Or, if you see daylily petals in the ingredients for "Hot and Sour Soup" or "Moo Shu Pork."


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