Welcome to the addictive world of daylilies!
Here are a few simple steps to guarantee a colorful daylily garden:
Step #1 -- the site:
The most important step! The daylily garden should be in full sun -- six or more hours a day for best blooming. Avoid areas with competition from tree roots. The garden soil should be well drained but not dry. Amend the soil with lots of compost to improve soil texture and structure.
Spreading mulch over the garden will discourage weeds, help keep the soil moist, and moderate the soil temperature in very hot and very cold weather.
How to plant:
If you bought bare-rooted plants place the roots in a bucket of water for a few hours. If you bought potted plants this step is not necessary.
While your plants are soaking dig planting holes in a prepared bed amended with compost.
Dig 9"-12" deep holes spaced 24"- 30" apart; the daylilies WILL get big!
Holes should be wide enough so roots can spread out horizontally.
Make a mound of soil in the center of the hole and place the crown of the plant on top of the mound with the roots spreading out and down over the mound.
Refill the hole with soil so that the crown is about a half to one inch below the soil surface. The crown is the whitish area where roots and leaves meet.
Spread a few inches of mulch over the garden leaving an inch or two around the base without mulch.
Trim back foliage to about 6" and cut off scapes if bloom has ended.
Water after planting and continue watering as needed.
What to expect the first year:
Some of the outer leaves will turn brown and die shortly after planting (trim these off) but new leaves will sprout from the center.
Plants and scapes will be shorter for a year or two after transplanting but catch up in a couple of years.
Yearly fertilizing is a good practice. Use a slow-release balanced fertilizer (5-5-5, 10-10-10, etc.). Fish emulsion and composted manure work very well.
Water your daylilies during hot or dry spells.
Deadheading will keep your plants looking tidy.
Cut back spent foliage and scapes before winter.
Divide clumps every six or seven years to keep them vigorous.
For more information about daylilies (hemerocallis) go to the American Daylily Society (formerly the American Hemerocallis Society) website: www.daylilies.org.
Consider joining ADS and a local daylily society.