Daylily Growing Tips: How to Care for Your Daylilies

HomeHow ToCare GuideDaylily Growing Tips: How to Care for Your Daylilies

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Daylilies are a staple in many gardens, beloved for their vibrant colors and easy care. Daylilies bring a host of benefits to your garden. They are drought-tolerant, pest-resistant, and can thrive in a variety of soil conditions, and long blooming season and ability to multiply quickly make them an excellent choice for both novice and experienced gardeners.

What are Daylilies?

Daylilies (Hemerocallis) have captured the hearts of gardeners worldwide with their robust nature and diverse range of colors. Different varieties of Daylilies have various forms, Originating from Asia, these perennials have found their way into a myriad of garden designs, from cottage gardens to modern landscapes.

  • Botanical Name: Hemerocallis
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
  • Family: Asphodelaceae
  • Height: Ranges from 1 to 4 feet
  • Foliage: Long, strap-like leaves
  • Bloom Time: Early summer to fall
  • Climate: Temperate to subtropical
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil Requirements: Well-drained, moderately fertile
  • Hardiness Zones: 3 to 9
  • Flowering: Trumpet-shaped blooms on tall stalks
  • Seasonal Features: Daylilies offer beautiful blooms in summer. Some varieties also provide a second bloom period in late summer or fall.
  • Special Features: Attracts pollinators like butterflies
  • Toxicity: Non-toxic to humans and pets
  • Low maintenance: They require minimal care once established.
  • Drought tolerance: They can survive with little water.

How to Grow Orange Daylily From Seed?

By following these steps, you’ll be on your way to growing beautiful Orange Daylilies from seed. But, it may take a couple of years for the plants to mature and bloom.

  1. Collect Seeds: Wait for the seed pods on your daylilies to mature and dry on the plant. Harvest them when they turn brown and begin to crack open.
  2. Stratify Seeds: Some daylily seeds may require stratification, which simulates winter conditions. Mix the seeds with moist sand and store them in a refrigerator for a few weeks.
  3. Sow Seeds: After stratification, sow the seeds about 1/2 inch deep in a moist seed-starting mix. Ensure the soil is well-draining to prevent waterlogging.
  4. Provide Warmth and Light: Place the seed container in a warm area with plenty of indirect light. Daylily seeds need warmth to germinate effectively.
  5. Keep Soil Moist: Water the seeds gently to keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy. Overwatering can lead to fungal issues and seed rot.
  6. Germination: With proper care, you should see germination within two weeks. Keep an eye out for the first sprouts and ensure they have enough light to grow strong.
  7. Transplant Seedlings: Once the seedlings have developed a few true leaves, they can be carefully transplanted into individual pots or directly into the garden.
  8. Care for Young Plants: Regularly water young plants to establish a strong root system. Gradually acclimate them to outdoor conditions if they were started indoors.

How to Care for Daylilies?

Caring for daylilies (Hemerocallis) involves providing proper watering, fertilizing, and maintenance to ensure they thrive and produce abundant blooms.

Water

Daylilies should be watered regularly during the first season or two after planting to help them establish a strong root system. The ideal amount of water for daylilies is about one inch per week. Once established, daylilies are drought-tolerant and only need water during dry periods.

Sunlight

Daylilies flourish best with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. They can tolerate some partial shade, but they may produce fewer flowers and not perform as well. In areas with very hot summers, providing some afternoon shade can help prevent blooms from fading.

Fertilizer

Apply a complete fertilizer like 5-10-5 as the growing season starts. If the soil is poor, consider a second application during Late Summer or Fall. Broadcast Granular fertilizers around the plants, avoiding the leaves to prevent burn from wet fertilizer. Sprinkle Organic Compost on the soil surface and work it in gently. Remember, daylilies in soil rich in organic material may not need additional fertilizer.

Soil

Daylilies dislike waterlogged soil. They perform best in loamy soil, which balances sand, silt, and clay, providing good drainage and moisture retention. Daylilies prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil, with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. If the soil is too acidic (below 6.0), add lime to raise the pH. If it’s too alkaline (above 7.0), add sulfur or organic matter like pine needles to lower the pH.

Prune

Trim the plants back after they bloom to refresh the flower bed and prevent disease. Once the first fall frost has hit the foliage, cut the leaves back to a few inches tall after the End of Growing Season. Regularly remove dead flowers (deadheading) to prevent seed pods and encourage more blooms. Prune the plant in the fall by removing dead leaves and stems and trimming the green leaves to a few inches tall. Do a secondary cleanup in the spring if needed.

Temperature & Humidity

Daylilies thrive in temperatures between 60°F and 85°F (15°C to 29°C) in spring and summer. As temperatures begin to cool in fall, daylilies start to enter dormancy. Ideal humidity levels for daylilies are between 40% and 60%. This range promotes healthy growth and reduces the risk of disease. They are not particularly sensitive to humidity variations.

Container

Full-sized varieties, aim for a container with a 12-inch diameter and a depth of 12-18 inches to give them the space they crave. Ensure the container can hold at least 3-5 gallons of soil. Containers made of ceramic, plastic, or wood are durable and can withstand outdoor conditions. Avoid using metal containers in hot climates as they can overheat and damage the roots. Ensure the container has drainage holes to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot.

Types of Daylilies

There are many types of daylilies, each with unique colors, shapes, and sizes. Here are some of the types you might consider for your garden:

  • Stella De Oro Daylilies (Hemerocallis Stella de Oro): A miniature daylily with golden trumpets and ruffled edges.
  • Common Orange Daylily (Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus): Known for its striking orange flowers.
  • Yellow Daylily (Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus): Also called the lemon daylily, it has bright yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers.
  • Long Yellow Daylily (Hemerocallis citrina): Features bright yellow, fragrant flowers.
  • Amur Daylily (Hemerocallis middendorffii): This variety has gorgeous orange-yellow blossoms and is native to parts of Asia.
  • Dwarf Daylily (Hemerocallis minor): A smaller variety that’s perfect for tighter spaces.

How to Get Daylilies to Bloom

Ensure they receive enough sunlight and are not overcrowded. Fertilize appropriately and keep them well-watered during dry spells.

When Do Daylilies Bloom?

Daylilies (Hemerocallis) have a diverse blooming period depending on the variety and local climate. Some daylily varieties start blooming in late spring, typically around May or June. The majority of daylilies bloom in mid-summer, usually in July. Certain varieties bloom later in the season, from late July into August and even September. Reblooming daylily varieties, such as ‘Stella de Oro’, ‘Happy Returns’, and ‘Pardon Me’, can produce multiple flushes of blooms throughout the growing season. These varieties may start blooming in late spring and continue sporadically until the first frost in the fall.

How to Propagate Daylilies?

Propagating daylilies can be done through division, seed propagation, or proliferation.

Division

  • The best time to divide the daylilies is early spring or late summer to early fall.
  • Use a spade or garden fork to carefully dig up the entire clump of daylilies.
  • Gently shake off excess soil from the Use your hands or a sharp knife to divide the clump into smaller sections, ensuring each section has 2-3 fans and a healthy root system.
  • Cut back the foliage to about 6-8 inches.
  • Plant the divisions at the same depth they were growing before, ensuring the crown is about 1 inch below the soil surface.
  • Water thoroughly after planting to help settle the soil and establish the new plants.

Seed

  • After flowering, allow seed pods to mature and turn brown. Collect the seeds once the pods start to split open.
  • Some daylily seeds require cold stratification. Place seeds in a damp paper towel, inside a plastic bag, and refrigerate for 4-6 weeks.
  • Sow the seeds in seed-starting trays filled with a light, well-draining soil mix. Cover lightly with soil.
  • Place the trays in a warm, bright location. Keep the soil consistently moist.
  • Seeds typically germinate in 2-6 weeks. Once seedlings have 2-3 true leaves, transplant them into individual pots or directly into the garden.

Proliferations

  • Look for small plantlets forming at the leaf nodes on the flower stalks.
  • Let the proliferation grow until it has roots of its own (usually several weeks).
  • Carefully cut the proliferation from the flower stalk, including some stem tissue if possible.
  • Pot the proliferation in a small container with well-draining soil, burying the roots and base of the plantlet.
  • Keep the soil moist and place the pot in a bright, indirect light location.
  • Once the plantlet has established a good root system, it can be transplanted into the garden.

Daylilies Pests and Diseases

Daylilies are generally robust and have few problems with pests and diseases. However, like all plants, they can occasionally be affected.

Common Pests

Aphids

Small, soft-bodied insects that cluster on new growth, stems, and flower buds. Aphids suck sap from the plants, causing leaves to curl, yellow, and become distorted. They also excrete a sticky substance called honeydew, which can lead to sooty mold growth. Use a strong jet of water to dislodge aphids, apply insecticidal soap or neem oil, and introduce beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings.

Spider Mites

Tiny, spider-like pests that thrive in hot, dry conditions. Spider mites feed on plant sap, causing stippling (tiny white or yellow spots) on leaves. Severe infestations can lead to leaf bronzing and drop. Increase humidity around plants, spray the foliage with water, and use miticides or horticultural oil if infestations are severe.

Thrips

Small, slender insects that feed on flowers and foliage. Thrips cause flower petals to become streaked, discolored and deformed. They can also transmit plant viruses. Remove and destroy infested flowers, use blue sticky traps to monitor and capture thrips, and apply insecticidal soap or spinosad.

Slugs and Snails

Mollusks that feed on foliage, especially at night. Slugs and snails leave irregular holes in leaves and slime trails. Use iron phosphate-based baits, hand-pick them at night, and create barriers with diatomaceous earth or copper tape.

Common Diseases

Daylily Rust

A fungal disease caused by Puccinia hemerocallis. Yellow to orange pustules on the undersides of leaves, can spread and cause leaf drop. Remove and destroy infected foliage, improve air circulation, avoid overhead watering, and apply fungicides if necessary.

Leaf Streak

Caused by the fungus Aureobasidium microstictum. Yellow streaks appear on leaves, which eventually turn brown and die. Remove affected leaves, water at the base of the plant to keep foliage dry, and apply fungicides if the disease persists.

Crown Rot

A bacterial or fungal infection that affects the plant’s crown. Soft, mushy, and discolored crown tissue, leading to plant collapse. Ensure well-draining soil, avoid overwatering, remove and destroy affected plants, and treat soil with fungicides if necessary.

Botrytis Blight

A fungal disease caused by Botrytis cinerea. Gray mold on flowers, buds, and leaves, which can lead to plant rot. Remove and destroy affected plant parts, improve air circulation, and apply fungicides during humid conditions.

FAQs

Why is the daylily considered the perfect perennial?

They are considered perfect perennials because they are adaptable, drought-resistant, and generally free from diseases and pests. They also come in a wide variety of colors and forms and can thrive in many different soil types.

Where did daylilies originate?

Daylilies are originally from Asia, but they have been widely cultivated and naturalized in many parts of the world. They are so well-adapted that many people think of them as native plants.

What are the parts of a daylily?

A daylily plant consists of a crown, roots, leaves, and one or more scapes or flower stalks. The scape bears many buds that open into flowers, usually throughout several weeks.

What are the flower colors and forms of daylilies?

Daylilies come in a vast array of colors, including orange, pink, purple, red, white, and yellow. They can have various forms, such as trumpet-shaped, flared, double, ruffled, or spider-like.

Can daylilies grow in containers?

Yes, use large pots with good drainage and high-quality potting mix.

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