How to Care for Daylilies

How to Care for Daylilies

Suppose you are looking for a spectacular and reliable flowering plant that is easy to grow and provides stunning colors for your flower beds. In that case, the daylily or hemerocallis is the right choice! 

Growing this plant is a pure pleasure since, with minimal care, it blooms reliably from year to year!

What are daylilies?

How to Care for Daylilies

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The daily lily is a bushy, perennial, herbaceous plant from the Asphodelaceae family that grows from a tuberous root. In nature, this plant with single orange flowers grows throughout continental Asia in large groups at the edges of forests. 

The plant first appeared in Europe and America in the 18th century, and since then, numerous cultivars and varieties with breath-taking flowers have been created. Most of the new types come from the internationally recognized organization American Hemerocallis Society.

Leaf and flowers

At the beginning of the season, the plant forms a dense, decorative rosette composed of narrow, long, grooved concave, arching leaves with pointed tips.

From the second half of June to the end of August, upright or slightly bent stems appear. These stems, up to 5 feet high, 3 inches wide, lily-like, single, or full odorless flowers in a wide range of colors or a magnificent combination of colors.

Many flowers bloom on each stem, but every flower lasts only one day! However, do not let that disappoint you since it is such a heavy bloomer, and the numerous flowers on thin stalks that seem to dance above the leaf rosette are a spectacle that lasts four to 6 weeks!

And if you regularly remove the stems with faded flowers, the whole show can last another week or two longer!

How to care for daylilies

If you are not sure what conditions you need to provide them, or so far you have not had the opportunity to enrich your garden with this exceptional plant, below we will share with you the essential care tips for their successful cultivation.


Daylilies prefer fertile, loose, and well-drained soil, meaning they thrive in standard garden soil with a neutral or slightly acidic ph reaction. 

The tuberous root is sensitive to water retention, so before planting the plant, be sure to dig the soil well to a depth of one foot to achieve a loose structure.

If the soil in your garden is clayey, enrich it with some organic material and add a little sand to improve its permeability.

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Plants that grow in continental gardens get most of their essential water from rainfall, so you can rely on mother nature to do most of the work. In addition, the thick rosette of leaves like an umbrella protects the soil around the roots from excessive drying.

Of course, in the warmest months without rain, weekly watering is a welcome help! However, remember that a branched root can take water from deeper soil layers, so do not overdo it since the plant is more difficult to tolerate excess than lack of water.


The daily lily is a very hardy and adaptable flower. However, it likes sunny and semi-shady positions, so it is best to plant it in a place where part of the day is in the sun and cut in a semi-shady position.

It needs four to six hours of direct sun every day, so plant it in a part of the garden that is at least part of the day in the shade.

Related: Inexpensive LED Lights


As a classic continental perennial, daylily withstands cold winters with ease as it is dormant! It thrives in the climate zone 4 to 9, meaning it can survive -20 to -30 F! 

If you do not remove the faded leaves in the fall, you will help the plant overwinter in the soil without consequences.


Daylily grows well in standard garden soil even without additional fertilization since it is a modest and adaptable perennial.

However, if you want to ensure healthy growth and lots of flowers, you could bury a bit of slow-release fertilizer with increased nitrogen content every spring in the soil around the plant.

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If you want to multiply your daily lily or grow new plants, choose one of the two options offered below:

Seed propagation

You can sow the seeds in the fall directly in the ground to undergo natural stratification and germinate in the spring. 

If you opt for spring sowing, keep the seeds in the refrigerator for four weeks (artificial stratification). After that, you can plant two or three seeds in a small pot in the house. Germination lasts two to six weeks at a 60 to 70 F temperature.

Transplant the seedlings outside to a permanent place only when the threat of late frosts passes.

And, keep in mind that plants started from seed need at least two to three years to bloom for the first time.

Bush division

A much faster way to get new plants is to divide the existing bush since the rhizome root gives new shoots forming large dense colonies as it grows.

At the end of March or the beginning of April, dig out the root ball and separate the rhizome so that each new segment has a part of the root and at least one newly formed shoot. Transplant new plants to the desired location and continue to nurture them as usual.

Potted Daylilies

Forever Susan Asiatic Lily 3 Bulbs 14/16 cm - Crimson & Gold

The daily lily can be grown in larger pots at least 10 inches in diameter and 15 inches deep. However, the plant’s resources in the container are much more limited, which means that you have to water and fertilize them more often than the plants that grow in the soil.

In addition, since the root does not like disturbance, replant them only every third year, choosing the one-inch wider container, or dividing the plant.

Life is Better When You Garden™

Other Daylilies:

Stella D’OroRuby Spider DaylilyStargazer Lily

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