Growing and Caring For Daylilies: The Perfect Perennial

Why Daylilies Are The Perfect Perennial

It is hard to top the classic long lasting beauty of daylilies. Known by many as the “perfect perennial,” daylilies can bloom happily from late spring to late summer with the proper care and the right cultivar, or variety. They are popular for their recurring blooming and the vast array of colors and shapes of flowers.

Native to Asia, the scientific name for daylilies is Hemerocallis which comes from the Greek words for day and beauty, describing the life span of one blossom.

Although the showy, hardy daylily thrives in slightly acidic soil, they are highly adaptable to all soil types. Some cultivars have even spread to grow as wildflowers. Daylilies live for years and can often be seen growing in abandoned lots.

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Landscaping With Daylilies

Daylilies can be used in landscaping in a variety of ways. They are excellent on a hill or slope that is hard to mow. Popular choices in commercial landscaping, they are good for perimeter planting. Plant them alongside evergreens such as boxwood or English ivy for a dramatic effect, or just plant them in your flower garden for long lasting Summer beauty.

Daylilies are not normally used as cut flowers in formal arrangements; however, as new flowers grow and open to replace picked ones quickly, they are perfect for informal arrangements. Pair a few with Queen Anne’s Lace and other wildflowers for a stunning informal bouquet for outdoor entertaining.

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Growing And Caring For Daylilies

Daylilies grow in several hardiness zones, but it is probably best to purchase them from a local nursery rather than ordering them online. This way you will be sure to get the right cultivars for your zone. Plant them in the Spring or Fall while the soil is warm. They will need to establish a root system before Winter if planted in the Fall. For Spring planting, plant after the soil has had time to get warm. Although they will tolerate shade they do best with at least 6 hours of full sun.

All cultivars grow in clumps and have crowns with flowers that branch out from a stem called the scape. They range in height from 1-3 feet.

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Care Tips For Growing Healthy Daylilies

Daylilies are survivors and can withstand neglect as we have seen with the ones growing in abandoned lots. Follow these tips for knockout daylilies.

  • plant in a location that gets at least 6 hours sunlight.
  • plant in slightly acidic soil.
  • choose the right cultivars for your growing zone.
  • fertilize with time release fertilizer while they are growing the most (late March- April)
  • water the fertilizer in thoroughly
  • Beginning in June, fertilize repeat bloomer cultivars with a household plant fertilizer once a month.
  • Deadhead spent blooms.
  • In late Summer trim off brown leaves.
  • fertilize again after blooming for the season.

 

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Dividing Daylilies

Divide daylilies to keep them from overcrowding, when getting taken over by nearby plants, or simply because you change your mind where you want them. Divide right after Summer flowering, making sure each clump removed has an intact root system. Get them into the ground quickly, giving them at least 2 months to become established in the new location before Winter. The time to divide will vary between growing zones.

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Hybridizing Daylilies

A fascinating feature for daylilies is the thousands of cultivars that have been developed by hybridizers. There are currently over 35,000 of them in lots of glorious colors- from creamy ivory to deep reds and purples. In addition to solid colors, some cultivars have a different color “throat”, or inside part of the flower.

Form and shape vary between cultivars as well as color. Some daylilies have been developed to look like a flower within a flower, others are trumpet shaped, resembling a true lily.

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Traits Of Daylilies Developed By Hybridizers

  • scent
  • height
  • ruffled edges
  • flower color
  • flower shape
  • contrasting color in the center
  • glittery look referred to as diamond dust

10 Popular Daylily Cultivars

Cultivar
Color
Growing Zone
Always Afternoon
Mauve & Purple
4 -10
Moonlit Masquerade
Ivory & Purple
3-9
Frilly Bliss
Soft Pink & Rose Colored Halo
3-9
Bill Norris
Deep Yellow
3-10
Long Stocking
Red & Bright Yellow
4-10
Black Ambrosia
Blackish Purple
4-10
Pirates Patch
Ivory & Purple
5-10
Baby Boomer
Yellow & Dark Purple
5-10
Aaron’s Little Whopper
Yellow & Red
4-10
Orange Velvet
Bright Orange
3-9

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