Daylily Guided By Voices
Daylilies are one of the hardiest perennials on the market. Little
truly bothers them and they can exist with little care, however; they can be
much healthier, more floriferous and more pest resistant with a few extra steps.
Planting in full sun will give you the best results. I don't recommend
planting in anything less than 1/2 shade or quantity of bloom will suffer and
the bloom scapes will lean toward the sun.
The soil should be average garden soil amended with compost, humus, leaf mould
or other organic matter. Avoid fresh manure as it can burn your plants.
Use extra organic matter to solve clay or sandy soil conditions. The
higher quality your soil is, the better performance your daylilies will give.
More organic matter = less need for fertilization.
I mulch the daylilies for weed prevention and soil moisture retention. I
use bark mulch with the caution that it should be pulled back from the crown of
the plants to help avoid crown rot, especially in new plantings and seedlings.
Organic mulches will break down and contribute to the organic matter in the
soil. Fresh mulch can steal nitrogen from the plants so some extra
fertilizer could be indicated.
I water new arrivals thoroughly just after planting, then I give them a week off
of watering. I feel this helps reduce the possibility of crown
rot and infections. Once established, daylilies only NEED to be
watered during periods of drought; however, they will perform MUCH better
if watered regularly. Poor watering can result in low bud count and
less-vivid coloration on the flowers. Some older dark purple and red
cultivars can waterspot with overhead watering, so soaker or ground-level
watering is recommended with these cultivars.
Here's a link to a
the AHS diagram of the parts of a daylily plant.
When planting your new daylily, dig a hole at least 18" wide and 12" deep, mix
in lots of organic matter (some people also mix in alfalfa pellets, bone meal or
slow-release fertilizer), and then make a hole in the middle of where you want
the daylily to be. Mound up dirt in the middle of the hole to support your
plant (you don't want it to sink too low when the dirt settles). Place
your new daylily on top of the mound with the roots spread down the mound toward
the bottom of the hole. Make sure the crown of your daylily is level with
the final surface of the soil (not too deep!!). Backfill your hole, gently
tamp the soil, mulch and water well. Remember not to let the mulch touch
the sides of your daylily. That's about it for planting!
Click here for pictures showing this planting technique.
There exists lots of controversy about fertilizers. The organic gardeners
don't like any man-made chemical fertilizers and use good soil health (lots of
organic matter) as the key to their success. We are not adverse to using a
slow-release fertilizer (like Osmocote) in the spring and then again during
bloom. Be very careful with fertilizers during the very hot parts of the
summer, they can burn or kill your plants.
There exist few pests to daylilies. The most noticeable was the arrival of
daylily rust from outside the U.S. It has swept the southern states and
can be either accepted or fought with expensive fungicides. It remains to
be seen if the current thought that daylily rust cannot survive in colder
climates. Every spring I bring in new introductions from southern growers
and by each fall I generally have rust. I spray every few weeks
alternating between Banner-Maxx and Heritage. My spring plants don't have
any rust as it doesn't overwinter in my climate. Last year I brought in no
new introductions and without spraying I had NO rust in my zone 7 coastal
Here's a link to
the AHS website about daylily rust.
Crown-rot is another possible problem with daylilies. In our opinion there
is no treatment. Some people dig them up and soak them in 10% bleach, dry
and then replant. Some plants that we have seen succumb to rot will have
small bits of the crown survive and send up new foliage from latent buds.
Here in my zone 7 garden with thousands of daylilies, I lose less than 10 plants
a year to crown rot. It is mostly seen on new plantings (especially those
planted in the summer) and during a wet spring.
does happen here in My zone 7 garden. Nobody is quite sure how it happens,
but I think we agree that it is not fatal to the plant. Leaves appear
twisted and stunted with jagged/ragged looking discolored edges. My advice is to wait it out, the plant will recover but may be set back a
Leaf Streak is a common fungal disease that causes the tissue to turn yellow
then die (once dead it is brown). Thrip damage can be a point of entry for
the disease. Early detection and fungicides can help. Wet spring
season can cause an increase in leaf streak. Leaf streak is unsightly but
Other daylily pests are
slugs and snails. All can be
controlled with organic or synthetic insecticides. Some people prefer
using ladybugs as predators. Slugs and snails can be baited or trapped and
are rarely a big pest of daylilies.
Daylily Azure Butterfly