are generally one of the most durable and forgiving perennials available on the
market today. They do, however,
respond best to well drained soils with a pH of around 6.7 to 6.8 (slightly
acidic). Where soils are too
acidic, amending the soil with lime produces results at a low
expense. Alkaline soils may be
treated with peat moss and other organic matter to lower pH.
Where soils are particularly difficult, contact your local county or state
agricultural extension office.
people go to great pains to create optimum soil mixtures for daylilies, but this
is usually not necessary. A good
garden soil which drains well generally is all that is needed.
Northeast Wisconsin has heavy clay soils which do not drain well, but
even with these conditions daylilies often thrive with little or no added
attention to the soil.
People who garden in heavy clay soils, however, are well aware of the extra
work that such soils create for planting, dividing and transplanting
daylilies. The work load over the years can be considerably reduced by
first amending the soil with an inert material such as perlite and/or with
copious amounts of organic matter.
matter in garden soil can be quite beneficial for daylilies and other
plants. Positive soil characteristics of organic matter are: additional
water holding capacity, improvement of aeration, increased soil friability,
additional nutrients are available and cultivation becomes easier. Most
sources of organic matter are relatively equal in their properties to for soil
improvement, once composted. Certain sources, like pine needles, can
increase soil acidity if heavily used.
Daylilies should be planted
two to three feet apart, so at least three
years of growth can be accommodated comfortably.
Loosen soil in the garden to a depth of approximately twelve inches and
create a hole that will comfortably hold the roots of the daylily.
Many growers build a mound in the bottom of the hole on which the center
of the plant will sit and from which the roots fall gently away. The crown of the plant (where stem meets the roots) should be
planted no deeper that 1 to 2 inches below the surface.
If planted too deep the plants may rot or later not flower properly.
Firm the soil around newly planted daylilies and water thoroughly.
are sturdy plants which can tolerate drought conditions very well. They do not
like to be wet for prolonged periods, however.
If daylilies are planted in a very dry location or rain is lacking they
will benefit from watering. Many
growers supply extra water during bloom season as this enhances flower
size, scape strength and the overall appearance of the plant.
Fertilizing daylilies has been a somewhat controversial
remains somewhat unclear. Gardeners do know that they
respond positively to fertilizer
applications. Recently, studies on
this subject point to the use of high nitrogen fertilizers producing the most
benefit overall. Some growers have
reported no ill effects from frequent applications of high nitrogen fertilizers, even
just before flowering. To remain
safe, we recommend fertilizing one time up to 4 weeks before blooming and one
time in late summer
(withhold fertilizers in fall so that plants slow their growth and harden off for
winter). Applications of water
soluble fertilizer may be sprayed directly on to plants or granules can be
spread around the plants. Many
growers use time-release fertilizers, such as Osmocote™, with excellent results.
Milorganite™ has also proven effective and is an inexpensive fertilizer
that may repell deer and other animals from the garden. Application
rates should follow the manufacturer's recommendations.
mulch, and disease...
love sun. A minimum of six hours of
full sun is needed for proper growth and flowering.
Some cultivars do better with more or less sun.
Protection from mid and late afternoon sun, if possible,
will help flower color to remain more consistent.
Flowers which withstand the sun's heat are said to be "sun
fast." Almost all light-colored flowers perform quite well in this area, while
red and purple daylilies are particularly susceptible to color change (melting)
from the heat of the sun.
daylilies is not usually necessary, but it is recommended for plants going through
their first winter after planting. Some evergreen and semi-evergreen
varieties may require mulching every year due to marginal hardiness in
AHS Region 2 compiles an annual list of Popular
Cultivars , through a poll, that may be good examples for our gardens.
Disease is seldom a problem with daylilies,
although fungal and
bacterial infections can be bothersome if weather conditions are right.
The greatest enemy of this hardy perennial is overly wet conditions that weaken the plant to the
previously mentioned pathogens.
The cure is prevention, plant daylilies in well drained soils whenever
possible. A number of commercial
products are widely available if infections do occur. In most cases the daylilies survive the infection, with
only partial loss of
the plant, and they out-grow the problem with no lingering effects.
If you feel it is necessary to treat your plants with a chemical for
bacterial or fungal infection, please consult your local agricultural agent.
new disease called daylily
rust showed up in gardens around the world in 2000. The disease
manifests itself as orange/yellow powdery spores that destroy leaf tissue of
the daylily plant. Daylily rust has a complex life cycle and much
information is yet to be gathered. It does appear that conditions in the
southern part of the United States are more conducive to its reproductive
cycle. Many gardens in the northern tier of U.S., which reported rust in
2001, found no rust in the summer of 2002. Studies have recently found
that daylily rust does not typically survive winters in USDA Plant Hardiness
Zones 5 and lower. The Daylily Rust
Information Page is an excellent resource for information and links to
other sites concerning this disease.
A number of animal pests can and do like daylilies.
The most problematic for gardeners in northeast Wisconsin is thrips
(particularly during years with warm winters
and dry springs). These little
insects are seldom seen, but can
cause bud damage during early scape formation.
The injured buds grow into flowers with color distortions, small
bumps, and sometimes deformed petals and sepals.
Dark colored flowers, such as reds and purples, are often most
drastically influenced (due to the way pigments are carried in the flowers).
Fortunately, thrips seem to do little damage to the overall health of the
plant. A spray mixture of Avid™ and
Orthene™ is very effective in combating thrips, if sprayed on plants in the
spring when they are approximately six inches tall.
Avid™ is very expensive, and must be purchased in a quantity which most
gardeners would not use in a lifetime. Once
again, we recommend contacting a local agriculture agent to find a product that
is more economically feasible, unless you have fields of daylilies.
Old leaves and plant material in the garden is suspected of helping thrips
overwinter. We have noticed a marked difference in gardens which are
cleaned of foliage in the fall. Many
gardeners prefer to put up with the typically small amounts of damage thrips
cause rather than using a pesticide.
and deer typically do not feast on daylilies. The diets of these animals,
however, can vary greatly from locale to locale and a starving animal will eat
almost anything. If rabbits and deer do become pests, a number of
chemicals are available on the market. Sometimes these chemicals may be
applied to a physical barrier, such as a fence or wall, with positive results.