Beauty for a Day
The Yellow Daylily is a hardy long thriving plant. It’s botanical name, Hemerocallis, means ‘beauty for a day,’ but if you look at one of its relatives, called Hemerocallis Fulva, a yellow night-blooming version, I would call it ‘beauty on a stem’!
It seems that this beautiful family of Daylilies has lovely relatives! These perennial flowers have no difficulty in showing off their prettiness all day, every day.
Many Buds on One Stem
These flowers open their pretty petals for a full day, and at night when they close up their petals, their life is also over – they die. However, the stem upon which they grow has many other flower buds – sometimes up to a dozen – so they do well on the landscape, blooming overall for several weeks and living up to their name.
Different from most perennials, daylilies are multifaceted in the garden. The shorter plants work well when they are planted straight into the perennial border. Their pretty blooms give those borders an extra boost of midsummer flowers and bright colors in the midsummer borders.
Daylilies are also excellent for landscape plantings. When paired with ornamental grasses and small but attractive shrubs, they form a dense tolerant, weed-proof display.
Fragrant Night Blooming Roadside Lily
This plant – Daylily – has several different species, and this includes the ubiquitous roadside lily (Hemerocallis fulva), the night-blooming Hemerocallis citrina, the fragrant lemon lily (Hemerocallis flava). Most of these hybrid cultivars are planted by home gardeners.
Daylilies Extremely Popular
Flower breeders love daylilies. In fact, there are now thousands of named cultivars. (These cultivars can be together in many ways) you could use the time of blooming, or the flour colors (as they produce white, yellow, orange, pink, and purple blossoms), or scape height (6 inches to 3 ft tall) and flower forms (trumpet, double, ruffled, recurved).
If you decided to choose early, mid, or late-flowering cultivars, you could have daylily flowers blooming through most of the Summer. If you mixed the various heights, flower colors, and flower shapes, you could enjoy new and different flowers every day.
Maybe I should tell you that Professional Horticulturalists separate daylilies into additional categories. Let me show you what I mean:
• Diploid: There are 22 chromosomes in this plant among the cultivars. They have many more but smaller flowers than tetraploids and a graceful, old-fashioned form. Many double-flowered daylilies are diploids.
• Tetraploid: These daylilies have 44 chromosomes. Tetraploid daylilies tend to have more extensive and more intensely colored flowers than diploids. They’re also supported by more robust, sturdier scapes (another name for stems).
•v Miniature: These are known as compact varieties, ranging from 12 to 25 inches tall. These flowers are also smaller than the full-sized ones. They’re just great for small spaces and for planting directly into the perennial border.
• Dormant: The foliage of these cultivars dies and returns to the ground. These cultivars grow best in cold climates. Most of these daylily cultivars fit into this category.
• Evergreen/Semi-Evergreen: Some daylilies whose foliage stays evergreen or semi-evergreen all through the winter in the milder areas. These cultivars are best adapted to warm climate areas.
• Reblooming: Some daylily cultivars will bloom many times during the Summer. Generally speaking, daylilies will bloom many times in the Summer, followed by intermittent blooms, often right up until the frost arrives. Removing the faded flower head (called deadheading) encourages reblooming.
5 Tips for Growing Daylilies
• Select for Bloom Time and Flower Height.
• Give Daylilies a Sunny Spot.
• Mulch to Control Weeds and Conserve Moisture.
• Don’t Hesitate to Move and Divide.
• Keep Daylilies Looking Their Best.
As these plants get older, they also get thicker and spread more. Eventually, they become so crowded they choke each other and cannot bloom.
It’s a good idea to divide your daylilies every few years, particularly if you notice fewer blooms appearing. Plant the split pieces in soil amended with compost, just as you would plant a potted Daylily.
A Natural Change
What makes a Daylily’s plants turn yellow is that when Fall arrives and temperatures cool, daylily plants stop growing, and their leaves start to turn yellow as photosynthesis — the plants’ manufacture of food — stops. By late Fall, the yellow leaves turn brown then gradually dry, collapsing around the plants’ bases.
In the North
Daylilies should be planted anytime between Spring to Fall. This is because they are such hardy and tolerant plants.
If you’ve planted all your Daylilies in the correct location, then all they need is a little fertilization around once per year utilizing a layer of compost.
Pests & Diseases
Daylilies don’t have any pests to talk about. However, a new disease, a type of rust, has spread throughout large areas of wherever people planted the Daylilies.
The antidote should keep the area around the diseased planted Daylilies as open and airy as you can. You should remove all diseased foliage, and, when the rainfall is not enough, you should water these diseased – and healthy – plants.
Too Thick & Clumpy
As already discussed, maintenance of these plants is not heavy, but one of the few maintenance jobs needed when you are growing Daylilies is that you need to divide them when they get too thick.
Then your Daylily clump will become crowded after four or five years then the flowering will become less and less. In most areas, the late Summer is the best time to divide Daylilies. Early Spring is an alternative in the North, especially if the weather quickly turns freezing in the Fall.
The best action you can take is to gently dig up individual clumps and place them carefully on a tarp to resolve this problem. Find a small sharp knife and separate the healthy young plants with strong roots. Cut back the foliage and replace it immediately in compost amended soil. Water gently but thoroughly and put a little mulch around for a short time.