Learn About Daylilies
How to Sow
Daylily: Bare Root or Potted Plant Perennial
How to Plant
Planting Bare Root Plants:
- Choose a location in full sun with a rich, well-drained soil. Daylilies can adapt to a poor, clay or sandy soil but perform best in an organic soil that drains well. They can tolerate light shade, but will not bloom as prolifically.
- Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 6-12 inches removing any debris, and lightly raking as level as possible.
- The addition of organic matter (leaf mold, compost, well-rotted manure) benefits all gardens and is essential in recently constructed neighborhoods.
- Dig a hole deep and wide enough to accommodate the bare root.
- Make a mound in the planting hole to hold the roots and crown at ground level. Spread the roots over the mound.
- Fill in the planting hole, firmly tamping the soil to get rid of air pockets.
- Water well to fully saturate the roots and soil,
Planting Potted Plants:
Choose a location in full sun with well-drained soil.
Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 6-12 inches removing any debris, and lightly raking as level as possible.
The addition of organic matter (leaf mold, compost, well-rotted manure) benefits all gardens and is essential in recently constructed neighborhoods.
Plant on a cloudy day or in late afternoon to reduce transplant shock.
Dig a hole for each plant large enough to amply accommodate the root ball.
Unpot the plant and gently loosen the root ball with your hands to encourage good root growth.
Place the top of the root ball even with the level of the surrounding soil. Fill with soil to the top of the root ball. Press soil down firmly with your hand.
Use the plant tag as a location marker.
Thoroughly water and apply a light mulch layer on top of the soil (1-2 inches) to conserve water and reduce weeds.
How to Grow
How to Grow
- Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their germination.
- Mulches also help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. For perennials, an organic mulch of aged bark or shredded leaves lends a natural look to the bed and will improve the soil as it breaks down in time. Always keep mulches off a plant’s stems to prevent possible rot.
- Careful watering is essential in getting perennials off to a good start. Water thoroughly at least once a week to help new roots grow down deeply. Soil should be damp at about 1 inch below the soil surface. You can check this by sticking your finger in the soil. Water early in the morning to give all leaves enough time to dry. One inch of rain or watering per week is recommended for most perennial plants. You can check to see if you need to add water by using a rain gauge.
- Until plants become established, some protection from extreme winds and direct, hot sunlight may be necessary. Good air movement is also important.
- After new growth appears, a light fertilizer may be applied. Keep granular fertilizers away from the plant crown and foliage to avoid burn injury. Use low rates of a slow release fertilizer, as higher rates may encourage root rots.
- Repeat bloomers flower more continuously if you remove the spent flowers.
- Remove and discard foliage after a hard frost in fall.
- In colder regions, apply another layer of mulch (1-2 inches) after the ground freezes in fall. Evergreen boughs (from Christmas trees) provide additional protection. Remove this mulch in the spring.
- Divide plants in fall or spring every 3-6 years to propagate. Make sure divisions have at least three growing points for the best bloom.
- Daylilies are among the easiest, lowest-maintenance perennials you can grow.
- All types may be cut for fresh flowers, but remember that each flower lasts for only one day.
- Some varieties are sweetly fragrant.
Common Pests and Problems
Common Disease Problems
Leaf Streak: This fungus causes yellow streaks along the mid vein in the leaf followed by browning or spots with yellow borders. The streaks begin on the leaf tips. Leaves may wither and die. Burpee Recommends: Avoid overhead watering. Remove affected foliage and destroy. Some varieties are resistant.
Leaf Scorch: Semicircular brown areas develop along leaf margins. It is most severe in high acid soils with low nutrients. Burpee Recommends: Daylilies prefer a soil pH of 6.5 – 7.0, raise your pH if it is not lower than 6.0. Provide adequate fertilization, especially nitrogen and calcium.
Root Knot Nematodes: Microscopic worm-like pests that cause swellings (galls) to form on roots. Plants may wilt or appear stunted. Burpee Recommends: Do not plant into infested soil. Some varieties are resistant. Remove infected plants and destroy them.
Rust: This fungus causes yellow to brown streaks on the leaves with small yellow spots. Orange colored pustules develop on the undersurface of the leaf. This disease can spread quickly by the wind or gardeners handling the plants. Burpee Recommends: Avoid overhead watering and remove infected foliage. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for recommendations.
Soft Rot: A bacterial disease that causes rot at the base of flowers and rhizomes. The disease is favored by high temperatures and poor drainage. Burpee Recommends: Make sure your soil is well-drained. Avoid overcrowding. Avoid over watering and over fertilizing. Discard infected plant parts.
Common Pest and Cultural Problems
Aphids: Greenish, red, black or peach colored sucking insects can spread disease as they feed on the undersides of leaves. They leave a sticky residue on foliage that attracts ants. Burpee Recommends: Introduce or attract natural predators into your garden such as lady beetles and wasps which feed on aphids. You can also wash them off with a strong spray, or use an insecticidal soap.
Slugs: These pests leave large holes in the foliage or eat leaves entirely. They leave a slime trail, feed at night and are mostly a problem in damp weather. Burpee Recommends: Hand pick, at night if possible. You can try attracting the slugs to traps either using cornmeal or beer. For a beer trap, dig a hole in the ground and place a large cup or bowl into the hole; use something that has steep sides so that the slugs can’t crawl back out when they’re finished. Fill the bowl about ¾ of the way full with beer, and let it sit overnight. In the morning, the bowl should be full of drowned slugs that can be dumped out for the birds to eat. For a cornmeal trap, put a tablespoon or two of cornmeal in a jar and put it on its side near the plants. Slugs are attracted to the scent but they cannot digest it and it will kill them. You can also try placing a barrier around your plants of diatomaceous earth or even coffee grounds. They cannot crawl over these.
Spider Mites: These tiny spider-like pests are about the size of a grain of pepper. They may be red, black, brown or yellow. They suck on the plant juices removing chlorophyll and injecting toxins which cause white dots on the foliage. There is often webbing visible on the plant. They cause the foliage to turn yellow and become dry and stippled. They multiply quickly and thrive in dry conditions. Burpee Recommends: Spider mites may be controlled with a forceful spray every other day. Try hot pepper wax or insecticidal soap. Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for miticide recommendations.
Tarnished Plant Bug: These insects cause distorted leaves and flower buds. The adults are about ¼ inch long, oval shaped and flat. They are greenish brown with reddish brown markings on their wings. There is a small but distinct yellow tipped triangle in the center of the back behind the head. Burpee Recommends: Introduce beneficial insects to your garden. Traps are available. Try insecticidal soap.
Thrips: Thrips are tiny needle-thin insects that are black or straw colored. They suck the juices of plants and attack flower petals, leaves and stems. The plant will have a stippling, discolored flecking or silvering of the leaf surface. Thrips can spread many diseases from plant to plant. Burpee Recommends: Many thrips may be repelled by sheets of aluminum foil spread between rows of plants. Remove weeds from the bed and remove debris from the bed after frost. Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls.
Are daylilies good pollinator plants? Yes, daylilies attract hummingbirds and also beneficial insects.
Can I grow daylilies in containers? Yes, smaller varieties are great for containers.
Why are they called daylilies? Daylilies produce flowers that only bloom for one day. Each flower stalk produces many flowers, however, so they appear to be blooming for a number of weeks. Some varieties have been developed to repeat bloom later in the season.
Are these the same plant that I see growing along the roadside? Yes, the orange varieties we see along the roadside have “escaped” from garden varieties. The home gardener has a very wide range of varieties available to him or her, in a broad range of colors and color combinations, flower types, different sizes and different bloom times.
Are daylilies deer resistant? Unfortunately, no they are not.