| "If you have two loaves of bread, sell one and
buy a lily."|
old Chinese proverb
Hemerocallis are in the lily family, though some consider them to be
more closely related to amaryllis. They differ from lilies as they do not grow
from true bulbs.
Hemerocallis / daylilies are easy to grow, colorful, extremely
accommodating and will perform under almost all conditions. The daylily can be
characterized as a clump-forming, herbaceous perennial with fibrous or somewhat
tuberous roots. Preferring well drained, well mulched and sunny positions, it
will tolerate extreme damp to very dry sandy soil. Flowers will be more prolific
in better soil and in full sun. In heavy shade, foliage may be more abundant
with few flowers. Daylilies prefer at least six hours a day for the paler
shades, less for the darker reds and purples. If flowers fade, wilt or burn in
direct sun, move them to filtered shade.
Daylilies can range in height from 8 inches to 5 feet, and flower size
can be as small as 2 inches or as large as 8 inches. Daylilies may bloom the
year that they are planted, even from a relatively small plant. They will reach
mature size in about three to four years. Daylilies are long-lived if given even
moderate care and can be planted just about
Daylilies are grown for their rainbow of colors, and many shapes and
sizes. There are daylilies in bloom from late spring until autumn. A
well-established clump produces many buds and daily blooms for a month or more
and many varieties have more than one flowering period. When choosing
daylilies, light-colored flowers show up better at a distance than darker ones.
Dark-colored varieties standout when planted against a light
Besides serving as specimen plants, daylilies are used for
color in shrub borders and in perennial beds. They are excellent ground covers
on slopes and a recommended material for erosion control.
Use daylilies for blending structures with
the terrain, to fill voids or to supply contrast and seasonal color. They have a
naturalizing effect to blend fences, decks, steps, statues, driveways or
shrubbery with the surrounding landscape. If planting smaller cultivars in
containers, choose varieties that repeat their blooming cycle during the growing
Roots are long, slender, and fibrous OR they may be enlarged into
spindle-shaped tubers with additional roots at their bases. Roots absorb water
and minerals for use by the plant, and serve as storehouses for food produced by
The crown of a daylily is the stem of the daylily plant. It
is the solid white core located between the leaves and the roots. The crown
produces leaves and scapes from its upper surface. Roots are produced from its
sides and lower surface.
Leaves are long, slender, and grasslike.
They have a prominent center rib on the underside. Leaves are arranged opposite
each other on the crown, giving a flattened appearance which causes the plant to
be referred to as a "fan". Multiple fans of a single plant form a "clump."
The scape of a
daylily is a leafless stalk which bears the flowers. Most have two or more
branches, each bearing several flower buds. A reblooming daylily will have an
extended or more than one bloom season. Some of these bloom early (e.g., May or
June) and then repeat in the fall. Others have a succession of bloom periods,
one shortly after another for several months. Deadheading or removing the scape
(or stalk) will encourage rebloom. Click here for more scape and flower
Below the branches, the stalks may have a few "bracts." Sometimes, a
small plantlet grows at the junction of a bract and the scape. This is
a "proliferation" and
can be rooted to produce another plant.
Hemerocallis are best planted or divided in spring or autumn, but container
grown plants may be planted any time. Periods of drought should of course
be avoided. Although extremely tolerant of abuse, daylilies respond much
better to careful treatment. Recommended planting distance is 12 to 24
inches apart. Planting hole should be larger than the root mass. Work some
compost in before planting.
The most common
problems for daylily performance include poor drainage and planted
crown (band of white on the foliage) is the indicator for depth as this should
be just below the surface. Set the plant so that the crown is no deeper than 1
inch below the surface of the soil. Firm in when planting, but pressing
with your feet can cause root damage.
Water plants thoroughly
after planting, and continue to deep soak them at least weekly
until established. If they do become dried out during shipment, soak well
for at least 15 minutes before planting. Although daylilies are drought-tolerant once established,
consistent weekly watering while budding and
flowering will produce better-quality flowers.
should be mulched well with peat or compost in spring. Do not over feed with
nitrogen as this causes larger quantities of foliage and less flower (
6-12-12 are good ratios of phosphorous and potash). If the foliage turns
yellow this can be an indication that too much (or too little) nitrogen has
been applied. Waiting until the plant is established to fertilize will encourage
initial root growth. Fertilizer in the early spring just as new growth
commences, and again in midsummer. Daylilies prefer a pH of neutral or slightly
acidic (6.0 - 6.5). They should not be planted too close to the roots of
broad-leafed or evergreen trees.
Daylilies look best if given some grooming through the year. Trim away
any browned and dead portions during the growing season to improve the
plants condition and appearance. Pruning will stimulate growth, so limit pruning
within two months of the first frost. Remove spent blooms and seedpods after
flowering to improve appearance and encourage rebloom. When all the flowers on a
scape (flower stalk) are finished, cut off the scape close to ground level.
Daylilies do not extract next seasons
flowers from its foliage. During winter collapsed and faded foliage act
as a natural protection for the crown, but you should remove any rotted or
Daylilies grow rapidly to form dense clumps. Division
is not essential but may revitalize flowering if the plants have become crowded.
Dividing is usually done after flowering, but plants will tolerate
division throughout the entire growing season. Lift the entire clump or cluster
out of the soil with a garden fork. To separate a clump into individual fans,
shake the clump to remove as much soil as possible, using the water hose if
necessary, then work the roots of individual fans apart. Click here for more
Daylilies are most often propagated
by division, but they can also be propagated by proliferations and by
Seedlings of a daylily will differ from the parent,
as any child might. When seed pods turn brown and start to split,
germinate seeds approximately two weeks in any suitable germinating
mixture. Cover seeds to a 1/8 to 1/4 inch depth. Place containers in
partial shade to prevent drying out. Transplant when roots develop adequately
and wait two years for plants to develop a flower.
small plants develop on the plant scape, these proliferations are easily removed
and rooted to form a new plant. Remove proliferations as root begin to emerge
and the scape is browning. Plant in potting soil, water routinely to encourages
root growth. Root system may be increased by placing proliferation in water
first, but try to keep the crown dry.
Patented plants will have a patent number or indicator that a patent has
been applied for. Patented plants may not be propagated in any way, shape or
form without the owner's permission or until the patent term has
Very few pests and diseases trouble hemerocallis, slugs and snails being
the major hazard. Sometimes aphids or thrips can cause failure of the flower
buds to open and plants grown indoors can be affected by red spider. Daylilies
are not troubled by lily beetle or any other problems of bulbous lilies.
Root-knot nematodes may be a problem if your subdivision is on former cropland
(especially soybean and tobacco land). Except for crown rot, diseases are not a daylily issue. Crown rot seldom
occurs but it is frequently fatal. Having a well drained soil and not
transplanting daylilies during the summer heat reduces crown rot