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General Questions About Daylily Care and Culture

When do I plant?

You can plant daylilies any time of the growing season, in our area about May 1st through September 15th. The most important consideration is giving the plants 3-4 weeks to establish before a hard freeze. Many people choose to transplant during the spring or early fall, allowing the plants ample time to establish themselves before the next blooming season. Generally spring plantings are best because the plants have just begun to grow, the weather is cool and moist and they will have plenty of time to establish before winter. Daylilies are able to withstand being planted during the heat of summer as well however they will take some time to recover and may not bloom that season.
Keep in mind that as daylilies are perennials you are planting for next year and the years to come and so will get more blooms with each successive year.

How much sun does a daylily need?

The amount of bloom is proportional to the amount of sun. In other words, the more sun the more blooms; but daylilies will grow in any light condition. A half day of afternoon sun is almost as good as a full day of sun. When choosing a location for them, consider how much of the day they would have direct sunlight. The midday and early afternoon sun is the strongest, but morning sun is usually adequate for a good show.

What kind of soil is best for daylilies?

Almost any soil will grow daylilies, but the better the soil the better the performance. Soil should be friable and humus rich with a balanced pH. Use compost for soil amendments and lightly fertilize occasionally, at least every spring.

How do I plant a Daylily?

Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the root mass, usually about 6-8" deep. Once the hole is prepared, place the daylily upright, without cramming it into the space. Holding it so the crown (top of the roots) is about one inch below the surface of the ground, loosely push soil over the roots until the hole is nearly full. Press the soil down around the roots, without covering any green of the plant. Leave a slight depression, or water reservoir, around the plant, about 1/2" deep.


Daylily with RootsPlanted DaylilyWhen planting a daylily ,
it is advantageous to the
plant to spread the roots
out in the hole, as shown at left.

On the right you see
a newly planted daylily
with a slight depression
for water retention

 

Do daylilies need to be watered?

Soaker Hose on Newly Planted Daylilies
Dr. Darrow used to say that water is the best fertilizer for daylilies. While, you can't beat compost for nutrient and soil value, consider giving daylilies water on a regular basis to enhance their growth and aid in a longer season of bloom. We frequently use a soaker hose on newly planted daylilies. Soaker hoses are a nice gentle way of watering plants efficiently.

Do I need to weed my daylilies?

Stirrup Hoe'Time consuming' and 'tiresome' is words often used to describe weeding. But far better than chemical herbicide weed killers, hand weeding directly leads to improved health of your garden. By churning in the organic matter decaying at the top layer, nutrients are added to the soil. By removing the 'weeds' by hand, wildflowers and legumes can be selectively left to enhance the beauty and health of the soil. And of course mulching helps reduce the need for weeding and helps conserve water.

 

How do I mulch my Daylilies?

We are strong advocates of mulch. Besides helping to keep weeds in check, mulch aids in soil moisture retention and displays the plants nicely. We mulch with a composted manure layer, and then add a top layer of hay or sawdust. The compost acts as a fertilizing soil amendment, working its way down to the roots of the plants.
Mulch as needed up to 3" deep, anytime during the growing season. Be sure not to bury the crowns of the plants with mulch. Leave a 2" mulch-free depression around the base of each plant for breathing room.

What is your opinion about different kinds of Mulches?

Peat moss:
Its best to avoid peat moss as top mulch because it can form a layer, which can act as a water shedding mat.
Grass clippings:
Grass clippings are great! Mostly weed seed free they will also provide a little nutrients as well
Hay and Straw:
Hay and straw are good mulches and are widely available. Ideally, seed-free straw should be used.
Coco mulch and Shredded bark:
Coco mulch and shredded bark are decorative, but will not easily break down, and so are less beneficial to the soil. These mulches are better for permanent plantings. Also they can be quite expensive unless bought in bulk.
Raked Leaves:
Raked leaves are fine but don't have much in the way of nutrients.

Avoid wood chips and sawdust that may be mixed into the soil as they deplete the soil of nitrogen and will cause problems.

 

Do I need to fertilize my Daylilies?

One of the great things about Daylilies is they are not heavy feeders. In others words they don't need a lot of fertilizer. However fertilizing your plants to supply nutrients that they are in short supply of will only help them to grow better. The fertilizer requirements of each soil are different, so ideally you should have your soil tested to determine the nutrients required. We feel safe recommending the inclusion of good compost into the planting hole and a dose of 10-10-10 or such several weeks after planting. Remember over fertilizing can result in large amounts of leaf growth with little or no bloom and sometimes muddying of the reds. Err on the side of moderation when fertilizing any plant.


If I move my daylilies will they bloom?


Jasper Plants a blooming daylilyA clump of daylilies can be moved early in the spring and will usually bloom that year almost as if nothing had happened. Daylilies can also be moved while in bloom if treated with care and watered in well

Jasper plants a daylily in full bloom

What do I do when the leaves have turned brown in the fall?

Nothing. We leave the foliage until spring, when it easily comes away with a rake. The foliage acts as natural winter mulch, protecting the new shoots during the late winter freezing and thawing. If you prefer to remove the dead foliage, mulch with straw or other light material . Heavy mulch should be removed in early spring.

Do I need to groom or clean up the foliage of my daylilies?

In general you will find that there are yellow parts to leaves and spent flowering stems (scapes). Any part of the plant that is yellow or brown can be removed if desired. Any green part of the leaves should be left even if one half is yellow. However it is not necessary to ever remove any part of a daylily. And yellow leaves do not mean a plant is unhealthy.

Spring:
Generally there is dead foliage at the base of the plant that can be removed if desired.
Summer:
During this time if desired spent scopes can be removed to clean up the appearance of a garden particularly if it is a formal display garden.
Fall:
Leaves should be left on the plants until they are all yellow or brown even a small amount of green on a leaf is providing some nutrients to a plant.
Winter:
Dead brown foliage can be cleaned up from around the clumps. Removal of this material is not necessary. We always leave the dead leaves around the base of the plants, we figure it acts as a bit of mulch to help protect the plant and keep a few weeds from growing. However for a number of years we did clean up our foliage in the late fall and encountered NO problems from doing this

 

How do you keep the deer from eating your flowers?

8 Border Collies

Border Collies at our Daylily Festival

Our four Border Collies have been trained to keep the deer out of our fields. When they were young we would walk the perimeter of the fields and teach the dogs not to stray (not an easy feat). Now they keep the deer out all day and night. They also don't run off, stay out of garden beds and play Frisbee with visitors in the summer.

If you dont have dogs there are some commercial sprays on the market that may help to prevent deer damage. Remember though, you may have to reapply the spray after rain or overhead watering.

Fortunately deer damage is mostly aggravating to homeowners but will not kill the daylilies

 

Will I have problems with any pests on my Daylilies?

Japanese Beetles, Rose Chafers, Spotted Lily Beetles and other common garden pests do not bother daylilies
Here are some of the pests you might encounter when growing Daylilies
Insects: Daylilies are amazingly insect pest resistant. There are some instances of aphid or spider mite infestations. These are usually rare and are more unsightly than life threatening. Aphids can be controlled with a pesticide (Pyrethrum or other botanical is fine) and Spider Mites are easily eliminated with water sprayed on the leaves and crown. Usually a week of regular spraying is sufficient. Thrips can cause some blooms to be misshapen but are relatively rare and not very persistent.

Diseases: Some daylilies are susceptible to leaf streak, a minor leaf disease that causes a little more yellowing on the leaf than you would normally expect. However, some ordinary leaf streak is found on virtually all daylilies. Keeping daylilies well watered and fertilized will minimize any negative appearance of leaf streak.
Examples of leaf streak:
Leaf Streak Information

RUST
A new disease has appeared on daylilies, known as rust. It is unsightly but will not kill a daylily. There is some evidence that cold New England winters will kill the rust. We do not have rust here at Olallie, and no rust has been reported in Vermont as of this writing. For more information on rust go to
Rust Information Website

 

Can I plant my Daylilies with other plants?

Daylilies are good competitors and will grow well with other perennials without being over whelmed. Keep in mind though that many daylilies can grow to be quite large clumps and can crowd out smaller less tenacious plants.

 

Are Daylilies good for planting in locations where nothing else will grow?

Mostly Yes. But remember these are plants not super plants! Daylilies are very salt tolerant and so will grow well near the seashore or on the roadside of salted roads. Daylilies also will tolerate very wet conditions and are also considered to be excellent drought resistant plants. Being that they die down to the ground each winter they will grow where woody plants would be damaged by ice or snow removal.
DON'T expect daylilies to grow: Under the deep shade of pine trees, in a desert of sand, in a swamp which has standing water most of the year, in the trunk of your car or anywhere it is pretty much impossible to grow a plant.

Can Daylilies be invasive?

There is one somewhat invasive daylily. Below is a comment from a customer.
Q:"A few years ago, I bought a house that had nice borders of daylilies planted in the back yard. Since my arrival, they have aggressively spread everywhere--the neighbor's yard, between patio stones, into my vegetable patch, you name it. I've tried digging them up but they just keep coming. Any ideas on how to control this invasion?"

A: What you describe as an invasive daylily could only be the "Roadside Orange" daylily, a species named Hemerocallis fulva. It has a spreading stoloniferous habit that makes it so ubiquitous. Any running root left with a crown has the potential to grow a new plant. All other daylilies have a clumping habit and do not travel. As for removal, digging them up is one way, but it means work. We are organic growers and do not use herbicide, but a systemic spray like Round-up would probably do the trick. If you want to keep some of them (like in the borders you had) use barriers in the ground that would prevent spreading out into others areas. We think they belong away from the garden, better for along the road. They are well suited to erosion control.


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Olallie Daylily Gardens
129 Augur Hole Road
South Newfane, Vermont 05351
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(802)-348 6614 | info@daylilygarden.com