Daylily: planting, care, varieties and growing

Daylily flowerDaylily (lat. Hemerocallis) is a herbaceous rhizome perennial in the subfamily Hemerocallidoideae, family Asphodelaceae. It is native to East Asia. Daylily has long been known since ancient times, but it was only in 1753 when the scientist Carl Linnaeus named it “hemerocallis”. Its name consists of two Greek words: “hemera” meaning “day”, and “callos” meaning “beautiful”. So its name refers to the fact that this beautiful flower lasts only one day. Not only are cultivated species and varieties of daylily beautiful, but also those growing in the wild. In addition, daylily flowers are so easy-to-grow plants that sometimes flower growers call them “perfect perennials”, but this is true only for old varieties. Thanks to the American and Australian breeders nowadays daylily is the height of fashion: the new varieties are so incredibly beautiful that even being more capricious than the old ones they are worth the time and efforts spent on them.

Description of daylily flower

The additional roots of daylily are cord-like, usually fleshy, thick, and this helps plants tolerate drought. The leaves are basal, broad, arcuate or straight, have distichous arrangement. The flowers of daylily are six-parted, large, usually funnel-shaped, orange, yellow, red-brown or yellow, collected in the inflorescence by several pieces. Up to three flowers bloom at the same time, and the total duration of flowering of daylily bush is more than three weeks. One or several flower stalks are leafy, depending on the species and variety the height varies from 12 inches to 3.3 ft or even higher. The fruit of daylily is a three-valved capsule with seeds. In horticulture both wild species and numerous cultivated varieties are used.

Species and varieties of daylily

Natural species of daylilies.

All wild species of daylilies are beautiful, so they are widely used in floriculture, especially since they have low care requirements. In addition, they are resistant to diseases and pests, perfectly tolerate drought and waterlogging, and they are long-lasting. Popular species are yellow daylily, orange daylily, Dumortier’s daylily, citron daylily, amur daylily. We will shortly describe some of them:

  • orange daylily has tough dark green leaves, up to 1.2 inches broad, acutely curved, flower stalks are branchy at the top, the height is up to 3.3 ft, flowers are asymmetric, up to 4.7 inches in diameter, the center is orange with a reddish-brown tint, it blooms in July, fragrance-free. It has been cultivated since 1890;
  • citron daylily can be found only in Central China, the shape of the flower resembles a white lily, it is a night-blooming flower. It forms a bush 2.6-2.9 ft in height, flower stalks are tall, branched at the top, flower length is up to 5.5 inches, the width is 4.7 inches, the fragrance is pleasant and very strong. It blooms up to forty days in the second half of summer;
  • Dumortier's daylily, or copper lily, grows in Northeast China, Japan, Korea and the Far East. A compact shrub is up to 2.3 ft high, leaves are bright green, 0.8-1 inch wide, flower stalks are at the level of leaves, 2-4 yellow-orange wide-open flowers are 2 inches in diameter and make up a dense inflorescence. It is a favorite of breeders. It has been cultivated since 1830.
Citron daylilyOrange daylily

Hybrid daylily.

Also known as garden daylily, it is a common name of numerous hybridized varieties that currently number more than 60,000. The greatest contribution to the breeding of daylily was made by the American and Australian florists who managed to create species that differ in flower shape, fragrance, the flowering term, the plant height and in such a wide range of colors that it is difficult to say what color of daylily there is no in the cultivation. The hybrid daylily is a subject of a solid and structurally complex classification in which plants are divided according to the length of the flower stalk, the shape and size of the flower, the term of flowering, flower color, the type of vegetation and many more other features, and we will not go into details of this scientific work, created mainly for scientists. We will describe some interesting species and varieties of daylilies for you to have the idea about this amazing and beautiful flower.

Daylilies of the double group.

To put it simply, it is double daylilies that have additional petals of the perianth. All varieties are incredibly beautiful. For example:

  • daylily Double Cutie is 4 inches in diameter, the petals come in color of chartreuse, the throat is green, flowering is mid-season;
  • daylily Double Dream has the petals of apricot color with a dark orange throat, the diameter is 4.7 inches, the height of the bush is 2 ft, the leaves are basal;
  • daylily Double Red Royal has large, dark red flowers, petals resemble royal velvet. The shape of the flower is unusual: the outer petals are large, inside them there is a delicate crown of petals of smaller size. The plant produces up to 30 flower stalks, with 10-20 flowers each. This daylily is re-blooming.
Daylily Double DreamDaylily Double YellowDaylily Double Cutie

Spider daylily.

This is the variety of flowers the petals of which are much more longer than the width, resembling the shape of spiders:

  • daylily Helix is a huge spider daylily with a green throat that gradually turns into yellow petals, the tips of which are dark crimson. It is very showy;
  • Arms to Heaven is a giant daylily with a yellow-green throat and lilac-red long petals, it blooms profusely, the height is 3 ft, on a flower stalk there are 16-20 flowers;
  • Free Wheelin is a very large creamy-yellow spider with a red throat, thin petals are strongly elongated, on one flower stalk there are up to 45 buds.

Fragrant daylilies.

They can be of all colors, shapes and sizes. Daylilies are so eye-catching that they can afford to be fragrance-free, but to grow a flower in the garden that combines beauty and wonderful fragrance is the dream of any florist:

  • Apple Spring has delicate pink petals with very wavy greenish-yellow trim at the edge. The diameter of the flower is 6 inches, on each 2.1 ft flower stalk there are up to 28 fragrant flowers;
  • Ode to Faith is deep yellow with pink tint along the middle line of the petal, with golden wavy border and green throat. The height of the flower stalk is 2.8 ft, the diameter of the flower is 6 inches, with a gentle fragrance;
  • deciduous daylily Stella de Oro is tender, fragrant with wavy dark yellow funnel-shaped flowers, 2.7 inches in diameter. It profusely blooms all summer long. This variety gained awards of many American societies of daylilies growers. It is beautiful not only in the garden or as a bordering plant, but also as a houseplant.
Daylily Ode to FaithDaylily Stella de Oro

White daylilies.

It must be noted that among the varieties and forms of daylilies there are many so-called white daylilies. Here are some of them:

  • Apple Blossom White is a white daylily with a yellow, very wavy trim. The height is 2.7 ft, on each flower stalk there are 2 branches with 25 flowers;
  • Ruffled Parchment is a wavy white daylily with a smooth transition from creamy white to yellow around the throat. Being very fragrant, the flower diameter is 5 inches, the height of the flower stalk is 2 inches;
  • Granny Smith has almost white petals with a green wavy trim.
White dayliliesWhite daylilies

The fact is that there are no absolutely white daylilies either in the wild or in cultivation, so the breeders introduced the term “near white’, that is, almost white. In fact, the petals of the white daylilies have very slight shades of cream, melon, pink, lavender or yellow colors.

Currently, scientists are working to increase the doubleness and the diameter of flowers, enhance the waviness of the petals, and daylily is such a promising material for breeders that many new showy varieties and species are expected in the nearest future.

Growing of daylilies in the garden

How to grow daylily.

In the wild, in their natural habitat, daylilies grow among the shrubs on the fringes of forests, therefore, it makes sense to grow them in the partial shade, but it refers only to the areas in Australia, Africa or the south of France. In cold climate zones if planted in partial shade, there may be not enough sunlight and heat for their full flowering, especially it concerns hybrid varieties. Only bright sunlight will make the flowering of daylily eye-catching.

Daylily bush in the garden

As for the soil for daylily, while the plant has low care requirements and performs well in any garden soil, to get the most out of daylilies you should apply the soil that fulfill the needs of daylily roots: add sand and compost to the clay soil, or if the soil is sandy, add clay into it, sod-podzolic soil should be enriched with compost. The ideal soil composition is a rich well-drained loam. The soil acidity should be neutral or slightly acidic. If there are problems with drainage on the site, make the flower beds for daylilies slightly elevated. In other respects daylilies require attention without causing any troubles.

Orange daylilies in the garden

Before planting of daylily, the pre-purchased planting material must be soaked in water or a diluted mineral fertilizer for a few hours for the roots to swell and come to life, and then you will immediately see what roots should be carefully removed. The remaining roots should be 8-12 inches long.

Planting of daylily

When to plant daylily.

It is planted from spring to autumn depending on your climate zone. If in your area winter comes early and quickly, then being planted in autumn daylily may not have enough time to take root before frost and, as a result it may die. Usually the plant needs a month to take root. But if you choose the varieties with early or mid season flowering, even in cold climate zones, your daylilies can get prepared in time for overwintering in the garden. In addition, mulching of the flowerbeds with daylilies can protect them from the cold and frost.

Planting of daylilies

Your decision when to plant daylily should be based on these facts. Gardeners think that the best time for planting of daylily in cold climate zone is May or August. Division and replanting of daylilies should also be performed in spring or in August.

How to plant daylily.

Before planting of daylily, the pre-purchased planting material must be soaked in water or a diluted mineral fertilizer for a few hours for the roots to swell and come to life, and then you will immediately see what roots should be carefully removed. The remaining roots should be 8-12 inches long.

How to plant daylilies

Dig out a planting hole up to 12 inches deep for each bush or divided bush section, and do not forget that your plant will grow on this site for a long time, and reaching up to 1.6-2.3 ft in diameter the bush should have enough room. Fill each hole with a mixture of sand, peat and humus, add ashe mixed with superphosphate or potassium phosphate fertilizer, immerse the roots in the hole, spread them so that there are no voids around the roots, fill the hole with soil, but not completely. Then, holding the plant with one hand, compact the soil around it well, water it generously, filling the hole to the brim (if the water is quickly absorbed, it means that you have poorly compacted the soil, so add some more dry soil and compact it again), and only now fill the hole with soil to the edges. It is very important to place the root collar of daylily not more than 0.8-1.2 inches deep, otherwise there is the risk of growth retardation and decay. If everything is done properly, then moisture that the plant received during planting will be sufficient for rooting.

Yellow daylily in the garden

Transplanting of daylilies.

Daylilies grow up to 15 years on one spot, but age affects the quality of flowering. As soon as you notice that your elderly luxurious daylily begin losing its former beauty, there are less flowers on its flower stalks, and the flowers themselves get smaller, it means that it is time to plant out the bush. Dig a bush along its outer edge and carefully take it out with a clod of soil, trying not to damage the roots. Place the roots under a strong stream of water to wash off the ground, then gently divide it into sections. With a certain skill, you can do this without a knife or a pruner, but if you still have to cut some roots, treat the injured places with a fungicide. It is better to plant and transplant the plants in cloudy weather, and if you have to wait for it, slightly cover the daylily bushes and divided sections with sand for the new roots not to grow immediately, and you can leave them for two weeks. Before planting, shorten the roots, removing the rotten and dead roots, trim the leaves to 6-8 inches in the shape of an inverted letter “V” and plant the divided bush section on the spot that you selected for it in the way described above.


Лилейник – уход

Care of daylily in the garden.

Daylilies are adorable, but still require some attention. For example, there is no need to water them often. Watering is required only in the periods of prolonged drought, and in this case it is necessary to pour water generously under the root to deeply saturate the soil with water. Evening is the best time for watering. The amount of fertilizing depends on the quality of the soil in the garden, so you should determine by yourself how many times you have to fertilize the soil around daylilies that are better to be underfed than overfed with fertilizers, but there should be at least two dressings. The first dressing with combined mineral fertilizers is carried out in spring, when the leaves start to grow: dry granules are scattered around the bushes, then they are raked, and soil is well watered. The second obligatory dressing is carried out in August, a month after the peak of daylily flowering, during a short period of rest, in order to ensure the quality and quantity of buds that are formed for the next year flowering in this period. And remember to water the plants well after applying of fertilizers.

Mulching of the soil is of particular importance. This is done for the soil not to get compressed over the root collars. The center of the bush is mulched with a 1.2 inch layer of coarse river sand. If the soil is poor, the site around the bushes is mulched with peat or compost; if the soil is fertile, then it is better to mulch it with needles or wood bark. This is done in order to protect the plants from fluctuating temperatures, to retain moisture in the soil and to keep down the weeds. The layer of mulch should be 2.4-2.7 inches high. If for some reason you do not mulch the site with daylilies, do not forget to loosen the soil after watering, remove the weeds and deadhead the spent flowers.

Propagation of daylily.

In August it is time to transplant daylilies along with the bush division. It is a vegetative way of the daylily propagation that we have described in detail. In addition to bush division, propagation of daylily can be also carried out by seeds, but in this case the species does not preserve its varietal characteristics, therefore it is used only by breeders to get new varieties. Daylily can be also propagated without digging out the main bush, but it is suitable only for varieties forming loose bushes. Daughter crowns along with their roots are separated from 3-4 year old daylilies: a sharp shovel is placed vertically in the place of the incision, and a part of the bush is quickly cut off, then the section of the mother bush is bottom cut, taken out of the soil and planted in a new place. Slices and damaged roots are treated with ash or crushed charcoal. You should do this in spring, when the leaves start growing, or in autumn after cutting off the daylily leaves.

Pests and diseases of daylily.

Daylilies are usually insusceptible to diseases and pests, however problems may still occur. The most dangerous pests are thrips, daylily gall midges, water voles and slugs. Thrips penetrate into the plants from the soil at a temperature of 50-54 °F and damage the plant: they suck out the sap from leaves, stems and petal deforming the buds of the flowers. If you notice thrips, dig out the plant and burn it. As a preventive measure, treat the soil around daylilies with insecticides in spring and autumn and do not leave plant remains in which pests may settle.

Daylily gall midges lays the larvae into the buds of plants, and growing larva eats the flowers deforming them. But this is not a mass phenomenon, so it will be enough to remove the damaged flowers.

White-yellow daylily

Water voles love to eat not only the roots of daylilies. The trouble is that once in three or four years there is the increase in the number of rodents, and then they eat the roots of young apples, bulbs of lilies and tulips, the roots of daylilies. You can not get rid of them, but they can be controlled by the usual ways of fighting with rodents.

Slugs will have to be collected by hands.

As for the diseases, daylilies are mostly affected by fusarium wilt, rust and root rot. Root rot is manifested in spring, when the already grown young leaves suddenly cease to grow, turn yellow and are easily pulled out off the ground. It is necessary to dig out the plant, cut out all areas affected by rot, rinse the rhizome in a pink solution of potassium permanganate, process the affected areas with a fungicide, dry the rhizome for two days and transplant it to another place. They will flower only in 2 years. Do not plant daylilies on the site where the infected plant grew at least a year.

Large flower of the daylily

Rust occurs only if daylily grows near patrinia, so do not plant them closely to each other and you will not have troubles. As a preventative measure carefully treat daylilies with fungicides.

Fusarium wilt is a well known problem. Affected plants have a miserable look, the leaves prematurely turn yellow and die, the roots look like dust of rotten wood. It is a fungal disease that at an early stage can be controlled by fungicides. If the infection is severe, the plant will have to be burned, the soil where it grew and neighboring plants need to be processed with a fungicide. As a preventive measure, sterilize the garden tools, add a fungicide into the irrigation water, loosen the top layer of the soil after watering.

Daylily bush

Daylilies after flowering

According to one of the classifications, the daylilies are divided into deciduous, or dormant, half-evergreen and evergreen. Dormant daylilies are distinguished by the fact that in autumn their leaves wilt, die, the plant enters into a state of dormancy until spring. In cold climate zones evergreen daylilies have only a two-three-week dormancy period. Half-evergreen daylilies (Semievergreen) are at an intermediate position: in a warm climate zone they perform like evergreen daylilies, in a cool climate zone they perform like deciduous ones with the leaves turning yellow, but the growth does not stop completely. The aboveground parts of deciduous (dormant) daylilies should be cut off, but not very low, keeping 6-8 inches above the ground surface. There is no need to cover them, since dormant daylilies are winter-hardy plants. However, if in your area winter is usually cold and snowless, evergreen and half-evergreen daylilies can get destroyed by frost, especially if temperature is -4° F or lower. Therefore, it is better to cover them like the newly transplanted bushes with dry leaves, fir twigs, straw or sawdust in winter, but early in spring do not forget to remove the cover, since daylilies wake up very early.

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