Daylilies | A Lovely, Low-Maintenance Perennial

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Grouping low-maintenance daylilies together is an easy way to add interest to a garden.

Common daylilies are stunning flowers in their own right and are also very adaptable to most surroundings. Once established they are drought tolerant, have very little pest and disease problems and will bloom in the summer and multiply each season.

Most varieties of daylily flowers will bloom continuously from morning to dusk throughout the season and can be found in a variety of colors and hues. Variations of yellow, gold, orange, red and deep purple are most common and can be grouped and planted to enhance the visual interest of landscapes, adding beauty and texture as well as fragrance. When daylilies are planted in varied color schemes and graduated heights, they make a stunning focal point, requiring little to no maintenance. They are also particularly appealing as rock wall and fence edging, where they tend to draw the eye to desired areas effortlessly.

Daylilies grow from a thick root system where they store food while dormant in the winter months. Their roots also act as an energy source when stressful situations such as drought, extreme heat and other weather problems occur throughout the year.

The time to plant daylilies in New England is in the spring. Choose an area that receives direct sunlight in the morning and partial shade in the afternoon. Lilies should be planted in the ground approximately 4 inches deep. To ensure rapid growth and spreading of the lilies once they begin to grow, plant them in clusters of 4-6 rather than singularly, with the roots facing downward. Avoid planting wrinkled, shrunken and/or dry and shriveled roots. Cover thems with nutrient rich soil and leave 12-18 inches of space between clusters for anticipated spreading of the lilies as they multiply.

Keep the soil moist but not soaked until the lilies become accustomed to the new environment—approximately two weeks. If the planting area you have chosen is sandy, add composted organic matter to amend. Avoid planting lilies under trees that will block sun from reaching the plants.

After the growing season has passed in the late fall, cut down the bloom and stem area to within a few inches of the ground to avoid extra clean up from the previous year’s bloom in the spring. By the next spring the daylilies will be back and better than ever in full bloom and hardy clusters.

  • Thanks Shelley…you confirmed what I have been doing all along…the daylilies really had a beautiful show this summer. I guess they liked the warm temperatures. Again…thanks…Marie

  • Shelley

    Hi Marie-
    Once your Daylilies spread they should have blooms almost continually throughout the summer, and will take care of themselves without any interference. If you clip off the blooms that have gone by make sure that you are not inadvertently clipping pods below that are waiting to bloom. After the season is over, you can clip back the old growth to just a few inches above the ground, leave everything for a spring clean up, or even mow it down for the winter. Thanks for responding.

  • How do you maintain day lilies over the blooming time??? As soon as the daylilies are spent I clip the spent flower off every morning.. At the end of their blooming what do I do to prepare them for winter? Thank you for any information. I love my daylilies…..that I bought from Oakes….

  • Shelley

    Hi Cordalie- Thanks for responding. I Have always referred to tubers such as those that Daylilies have as just another name for smaller bulbs. Tubers and bulbs actually both serve the same purpose (they store food that gives the plant the energy it needs to grow and bloom) although they look a bit different. Tubers are more elongated-like fat fingers-and bulbs are more of a round shape. Thanks for pointing this out.

  • Stella

    Here in south eastern CT , we have many day lilies – and my collection was doing great for the 8th year until Bambi and the rest of the herd decided they are a deer’s salad bar…..and I don’t know how to stop them from destroying my flower beds.

  • Cordalie

    Shelley- Daylilies grow from roots which are are long, slender, and fibrous or, they may be enlarged into spindle-shaped tubers with additional roots at their bases, not from bulbs.

    You are confusing true lilies (Lilium) with daylilies (Hemerocallis). True lilies do have bulbs and of course spectacular flowers, but a shorter growing season.

    The roots of Daylilies look like fat fingers to me. Plant daylily roots over a mound of soil in the hole. Cover the mound with dirt to the base of the fan stem. Water well and enjoy!

  • Aimee

    Shelly,thanks for the great guide to daylilies. I will be planting some next spring outside my apartment for sure.


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