Almost all wild species of the daylily (Hemerocallis), which like many garden shrubs and bulb flowers belongs to the large family of the daylily family (Hemerocallidaceae), originate from East Asia. They grow there predominantly on meadows and in bushes on nutrient- and humus-rich, fresh to moist soils.
Appearance and growth
Wild species such as the lemon yellow daylily (Hemerocallis citrina) and the brown red daylily (Hemerocallis fulva) are popular as garden plants, but also the countless large-flowered garden hybrids with their often multicoloured, star-shaped to bell-shaped flowers. Except for pure blue, they are available in almost all colours. Each flower opens for only one day from the end of May, but the perennials form so many buds that the flowering season for garden hybrids lasts almost the whole summer. The plants continuously form small subterranean daughter tubers from which large nests develop over the years – the individual leaves can be between 20 and 120 centimeters long, depending on the variety. Plan therefore for the garden hybrids about one square meter of stand space in the bed. The parallel, elongated leaves are light green and die at the end of the season on most daylilies. The flower stems are long and thin, usually slightly curved and above the foliage.
Location and soil
Daylilies are durable, extremely easy to care for and very adaptable. When the soil is sufficiently moist, they grow both in the full sun and in semi-shade, where they then form considerably fewer flower buds. The perennials do not have special soil requirements. A normal, humus and permeable garden soil is enough for them, but it should not be too dry. Most garden hybrids come from the USA or Europe, to a large extent also from hobby breeders. US breeds have a reputation for being slightly warmer and often have fewer flowers in cooler, less sunny locations.
Daylilies can actually be planted from April to October, but the best planting times are in spring and autumn. Since the long, narrow leaves of the daylilies overhang far, you should not place the plants too densely. A planting distance of 50 to 60 centimeters is optimal for most species and varieties – this corresponds to about four specimens per square metre. Since daylilies prefer a more nutrient-rich soil, make their start easier by improving the soil with some compost. Place the plant so deep that the root base is about three to five centimeters covered with soil. Important: After planting, water once until penetrating.
Other care tips
In case of persistent dryness you should water the perennials in good time. Some varieties otherwise discard their still unopened flower buds. If the old foliage does not rot by itself in winter, it should be removed in early spring before sprouting. A regular division is possible, but usually not necessary, as the plants are naturally very long-lived. Occasionally one must shrink the nests, because they take up too much space with the years. This is best done in spring or after flowering in late summer.
Daylilies have long been cultivated in Europe as old farm garden plants and there is a huge variety. Since they love damp soils, they are very suitable as edge planting for garden ponds. However, they should be placed on the eastern shore if possible so that the wind does not drive the wilting flowers into the water. In addition, daylilies are suitable for all bedding locations from sunny to semi-shady. Narrow planting strips near buildings can be planted with pure daylily plants in an easy and colourful way. Because of their impressive shape, daylilies are placed in the perennial bed as so-called lead-perennials individually or in pairs. Pure daylily beds, for example under larger shrubs with a light crown or in narrow plant strips along buildings, also have their charm. If the soil is not too dry, daylilies can also be integrated into prairie gardens. Here especially the more delicate, filigree game species cut a good figure.
Daylilies in the our store-Shop
Important species and varieties
The daylily genus comprises around 20 evergreen or deciduous species, but over 50,000 varieties have been bred worldwide in the meantime – and these are only those that have actually been registered. Since daylilies are especially popular with hobby gardeners in the USA, it is likely that there are many more varieties available. Here are some varieties with particularly beautiful flowers:
If ingrown nests are to be divided and transplanted, it is better to wait for the optimal dates in autumn (at least six weeks before the first frost) or early spring: dig up the shrubs, divide them with a sharp spade and place them so deeply in the new location that the transition between roots and leaf fans is covered with soil at least two thumbs thick. Then water well. You can also multiply daylilies by sowing: Cover the seeds as thick as the diameter of the seed and provide even moisture. The day temperatures should be around 20 degrees until germination, after which the seedlings should be kept light and moderately warm. Multiplication by variety is only possible for wild species. If you sow cultivars, you get random seedlings. For hobby gardeners and breeders it is interesting to select the best seedlings.
Diseases and pests
Although daylilies do not belong to the snails’ favourite food, they are also not completely spurned. Problems are caused by snail eating only on young, not yet very vigorous specimens. Occasionally, the plants are also attacked by aphids, thrips, gall midges and butterfly caterpillars. Stem rot (Sclerotium) is one of the most common fungal diseases.
In an interview with our store editor Dieke van Dieken, plant doctor René Wadas reveals his tips against aphids.Credits: Production: Folkert Siemens; Camera and Editing: Fabian Primsch
I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide. I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.