Since daylilies can be planted any time of year the soil can be
worked, you should plant your daylilies as soon as it is
possible after arrival. Daylilies have been known, having been
imprisoned in shipping packages for a fortnight without light
and water, to flourish after being freed and returned to
welcoming soil but it is always best to get your daylilies
reacquainted with soil as quickly as you can. Since daylilies do
not mind being transplanted, even putting the newly arrived
plants into pots with soil until proper placement within the
garden can be managed, is an acceptable solution to establishing
your new daylily plants. Conventional wisdom holds that daylilies
planted in warm soil with time to settle in before protracted
cold arrives will enjoy the most comfortable transition.
Daylilies are tough and resilient perennial plants but they
do not qualify as shade loving enthusiasts. They should be
planted in areas of the garden which see at least 4 hours of
direct daylight. It is important when planting to keep the crown
of the plant exactly level with the top of the ground and to
press the soil firmly in place. Also, daylilies are not fussy
about soil PH but do respond to having a healthy amount of
compost or seasoned muck worked well into their new homes before
Once planted you can mulch around daylilies to control
weeds and balance the moisture in the soil but it is not
necessary to do so to grow vigorous plants. Some daylily growers
suggest fertilising several times during the season to maximise
growth but we have found over the many years of raising
daylilies that if a good mix of compost or muck is used
initially to bolster the soil a daylily clump will feed slowly and
thrive on this food supply for years. If maternal instincts
insist on some regular seasonal feeding, a seaweed extract
formula can be used. But beware of using high nitrogen fertilisers for such treatment can cause daylilies to bulk out
in a profusion of greenery without producing a balance of flower
stems and blossoms.
Our usual advice upon planting or transplanting daylilies
is to keep the plants moist until the first good soaking rain.
Then they should be off and running on their own not requiring
regular watering unless or until rare and sustained periods of
dryness parch any and all garden plots. Daylilies can be
flattered by modest and consistent moisture in the soil but they
do not, unlike say the Siberian Iris, relish being asked to sit
in wet areas.
Generally, pests pose no dire threat to daylilies. A rust
which has plagued some daylilies grown in the American South,
where heat and humidity abound in the summers, seems not to be a
concern in the very different British climate. Perhaps, the
greatest adversary of the daylily as it seeks to earn its place in
British gardens is that persistent nemesis of many UK gardeners,
the indefatigable slug. If the usual pre-emptive action is taken
against slugs, they can successfully be kept from munching on
daylily leaves. The truth is the daylily is not a sensitive beauty
requiring studious maintenance.
There remains very divided opinion among long time daylily
growers whether picking off spent blossoms or seed pods improves
the vigor of the individual plants. The same lack of consensus
exists around the question of whether to cut back the foliage
once the daylily clump has exhausted its blossoms. Our
experience is that decisions need only to be taken on aesthetic
grounds for we have not found that such tidying effects the
health of the plant at all.
Daylily plants can be left for a good number of years,
often five or more, before digging and dividing is warranted.
Once a daylily clump begins to reduce the number of flower stems
against the girth of the plant's jungle of green leaves, it is
time to divide the clump into a smaller number of plants to
spread throughout the garden.
Since daylilies are difficult to maim or destroy, an
individual plant can be expected with only a modicum of
attention to steadily grow in size and produce an ever expanding
number of stems and blossoms over the years. Given a chance
daylilies can prove themselves to be stalwart performers in any
garden worthy of its gardener's affections.