Planting, Growing, and Caring for Daylilies

Daylilies (Hemerocallis) are among the most versatile and vigorous perennials in the garden, celebrated for their beauty, varied colors, and hardiness. Ideal for novice and experienced gardeners alike, they are resilient plants that require minimal care, thriving in a wide range of climates and soil conditions. This guide delves into the essentials of planting, growing, and nurturing daylilies, ensuring your garden is aglow with their vibrant blooms season after season. Whether you’re looking to create a captivating floral border or simply add some low-maintenance flair to your landscape. Daylilies can be the perfect choice for adding long-lasting beauty to your outdoor space.

Choosing the Right Varieties

With over 80,000 registered cultivars of daylilies, there is a wide range of options to choose from when selecting which ones to plant in your garden. When browsing through catalogs or visiting nurseries, you’ll find a vast array of flower shapes, colors, and sizes to suit any taste or design preference. Some popular varieties include the Stella de Oro, Happy Returns, and Always Afternoon. All of which are known for their reliable blooming habits and stunning color displays. Consider selecting a mix of early, mid-season, and late blooming varieties to ensure a continuous display of daylilies throughout the growing season.

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Preparing Your Garden

Daylilies prefer well-drained soil with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.5, but they are adaptable to a variety of soil types as long as they receive adequate moisture and nutrients. Before planting, it’s essential to prepare the garden bed by removing any weeds or debris and adding organic matter such as compost or aged manure to improve the soil quality. It’s also recommended to add a slow-release fertilizer to the planting area to provide essential nutrients for the daylilies as they establish themselves.

Planting Tips

When planting daylilies, keep in mind the following points to ensure optimal growth and blooming:

  • Timing: The best time to plant daylilies is in the spring or early fall. This allows the plants time to establish their root systems before the extreme cold of winter or heat of summer.
  • Spacing: Daylilies expand over time. So it’s important to space them about 18 to 24 inches apart to give each plant adequate room to grow.
  • Depth: The crown of the plant (where the stem meets the roots) should be positioned approximately one inch below the soil surface.
  • Watering: After planting, water the daylilies generously to settle the soil around the roots and to remove any air pockets.
  • Mulching: Apply a layer of mulch around the plants to help retain moisture. Regulate soil temperature, and reduce the growth of weeds. Be sure to leave a small space between the mulch and the crown of the plant to prevent rot.

Caring for Daylilies

Caring for daylilies is a straightforward process that yields rewarding blooms. Here are some key points to ensure your daylilies thrive:

  • Watering: Although daylilies are drought-tolerant, they perform best with consistent moisture. Water new plants regularly until they are established, and provide extra water during dry spells.
  • Mulching: Apply mulch around the base of daylilies to retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weeds.
  • Fertilizing: Feed your daylilies with a balanced fertilizer early in the spring and again as the first blooms start to appear.
  • Deadheading: Remove spent flowers daily to encourage more blooms and maintain a neat appearance.
  • Dividing: Every 3-5 years, divide clumps that have become overcrowded to rejuvenate the plants and encourage more vigorous flowering.
  • Winter Care: In colder climates, apply a layer of mulch after the first frost to protect the plants during the winter.
  • Pest and Disease Management: Keep an eye out for common pests such as aphids and slugs, as well as diseases like rust and leaf streak. Treat infestations promptly with appropriate methods.

Additional Tips and Tricks

  • Companion Planting: Consider planting daylilies with other perennials or annuals such as coneflowers, salvias, or coreopsis for a vibrant and diverse garden.
  • Cut Flowers: Daylilies make excellent cut flowers. So don’t hesitate to bring some of their beauty indoors by adding them to floral arrangements.
  • Reblooming Varieties: Look for reblooming daylily varieties, such as the Stella de Oro mentioned earlier, to enjoy multiple rounds of blooms throughout the season.
  • Container Growing: Don’t have space in your garden? Daylilies can also thrive in containers, so you can still enjoy their beauty on a patio or balcony. Just make sure to use a well-draining potting mix and water regularly.
  • Hybridizing: For those looking for a more involved gardening experience. Consider trying your hand at hybridizing daylilies to create unique and personalized varieties. So get creative and have fun with your daylilies! Happy growing!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do daylilies require a lot of maintenance?

Daylilies are generally low-maintenance plants, but they do require some care to thrive. Regular watering, fertilizing, and deadheading are essential tasks for maintaining healthy and blooming daylilies.

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Can I plant daylilies in containers?

Yes, daylilies can be grown in containers as long as they receive enough sunlight and consistent watering. Make sure to choose a large enough pot to allow the plants room to grow and add fertilizer regularly.

Do all daylilies bloom for only one day?

A: Despite their name, most daylily varieties actually have blooms that last for multiple days, with some lasting up to a week. However, each bloom typically only lasts for one day before wilting and being replaced by another flower on the same stem.

Can I divide my daylilies any time of year?

While it’s possible to divide daylilies at any time during the growing season, it’s best to do so in the spring or fall when the plants are not actively blooming. This gives them time to establish themselves before extreme temperatures hit.

Do daylilies attract pollinators?

Yes, daylilies produce nectar and pollen that attracts a variety of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. They also serve as a food source for some caterpillars, making them a beneficial addition to any garden.


In conclusion, daylilies are a beautiful and resilient addition to any garden. With proper selection, preparation, planting, and care, these versatile perennials can provide stunning blooms year after year with minimal effort. So go ahead and add some daylilies to your garden – you won’t regret it! Happy gardening!

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