Daylilies (Hemerocallis) are versatile and easy-care perennial plants that tolerate a wide range of soil types from clay to sand, moist to dry, and bloom in full-sun to part-shade. I plant them in my sidewalk “hell strips” along the street, where they can take both the wintertime salt spray and summertime baking heat.
There are more than 80,000 daylily cultivars and collecting different ones can become an obsession. ‘Stella D’Oro’ is one that is widely available and planted everywhere from gas stations to suburban cul-de-sacs. ‘Happy Returns’, ‘Ruby Spider’, and ‘Strawberry Candy’ are three of my personal favorites for vigor and superior performance in home gardens.
Most daylilies are clump-forming and are easy to dig and divide every few years to increase your garden or to share them with others. A note of caution, however, about the common “ditch lily” (Hemerocallis fulva), which is an invasive species in our area. It is sterile, but spreads by underground stolon and has been a popular pass-along plant. Please try to resist the urge to share it and keep it away from our natural areas.
Daylily blooms last just one day then self-shed. If a few hang on and this bothers you, you can easily groom them off.
Fun fact: the daylily flower is edible and you can prepare it as you would a squash blossom. They are delicious lightly battered and fried.
Daylilies are “deer candy.” If that is an issue in your area, you can spray with a repellent or spread Milorganite in the flower beds early on in the growing season, which can also act as a fertilizer.
They only care I give mine is to cut the plants back hard in the fall. You can give them a bit of additional fertilizer in the late spring, but I never bother and they still bloom prolifically.
Daylilies: You can grow that!
The video was produced by Washington Gardener Magazine.
It was shot and edited by intern Alexandra Marquez.
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