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How to Plant and Grow Daylilies

I have enjoyed gardening for at least 30 years and enjoy sharing my experience with others. Gardening is my time to meditate and unwind.

This is one of my favorites.

This is one of my favorites.

What Is a Daylily? How Does It Differ From a Lily?

The correct name for daylilies is Hemerocallis. Many people confuse them with lilies that grow from bulbs. They even call them day lilies, but that isn't the correct name at all. Daylilies are a plant that grows from a root system. They do have little bulbs underneath, but you could never grow one from a bulb unless it had at least some root on it.

The bulbs on daylilies are there to retain water. Bulbs can hold a water supply up to a month. This makes them a good drought-tolerant plant. They still need lots of water if you want them to bloom well, but the plant will survive in severe conditions.

How Did Daylilies Get Their Name?

The plant gets its name because each flower only lasts one day. However, it will put on so many flowers that you'll get a beautiful display anyway.

Tips for Increasing Bloom

  • When purchasing a plant, watch for daylilies that say they branch. This will give you more bloom.
  • Watch for extended bloomers for a longer bloom.
  • In the south, you can get bloom twice with the rebloomers. A few rebloomers will put on a new flush of flowers in the north, too.
Mountain Magic Daylily

Mountain Magic Daylily

Why You Should Plant and Grow Daylilies

  • They're easy. Daylilies are easy to grow and don't require a lot of care.
  • There are tons of varieties. Each variety has a different color and shape. There are even double and spider varieties available. Hybridizers have developed blooms in every color under the sun. Many of the newer daylilies have many colors. Frilly edges, bi-colors, edged, and many others are easy to find.
  • They bloom at various times. Some varieties rebloom later in the summer. Each morning in June and July the first thing I do is to check which one is blooming. It is especially fun if you have new ones that haven't bloomed before.
  • They're fragrant (mostly). My dog enjoys the walk and tries to smell the flowers, too. Not all daylilies are fragrant, so sometimes he gets a disappointment. Many of them are fragrant, though.
  • They come in a variety of sizes. The bloom sizes can range from 2" to as large as 8" across. They can range in height from 8 inches to 3 feet.
  • They're a great summer flower. The plant has become known as the best perennial flower. By far, they are my favorites. If you want some summertime fun, this is the flower to grow. Don't stop at just one, but purchase several. I have over 100 of them. If you get addicted to this flower like I have, you'll never have enough.
El Desparado Daylily

El Desparado Daylily

How to Plant

  1. You first need to find a sunny spot with good drainage. Daylilies will grow in the shade, but you won't get a good bloom. Some bright colors do better in partial shade since the sun bleaches the color. Check your variety to find if this is a problem. Dave's Garden has a search engine where you can do this.
  2. The plants can be planted at any time, but spring or fall is best. Once the weather has warmed in the spring is best. If I plant here in Zone 5 in the fall, I try to get them in the ground by the end of September. That way they have rooted in well enough to survive through the winter months.
  3. If you find a daylily farm and would like to purchase them when you can see the bloom, you can plant in the middle of the summer. It isn't the ideal time, but I have planted then. All my plants have survived.
  4. It is a good idea to prepare your ground in advance if possible. Till in some manure or compost. If you don't have time to do this, work it in the ground when planting.
  5. Your daylily may arrive as a dry root and plant. They are packed this way because they can tolerate being dry, but if they are wet, the plant can rot. When it arrives, place it in a bucket of water. A few hours is a good idea. If you can't get around to planting it right away, place it in some sand or dirt. A daylily grower in my area loves to tell about forgetting one and leaving it in a bucket. She found it the next spring, and it still survived. I don't recommend this of course, but it gives you an idea just how sturdy these plants are.
  6. Daylilies come in different sizes. The larger daylilies can spread rapidly and become a large plant in a few years. Others are short and stay small. Check your plant and determine how far from other plants they should be planted. At least 18" to 24" is a good point to start if you don't know the variety.
  7. Work the soil where you plan on planting a good foot deep. Make the hole as deep as the roots and bigger around, so the roots have room to grow. Plant at the depth that the plant has grown. The white part, also known as the crown, should be just below the ground. Don't plant the crown deeper than one inch. If you plant it too deep, you'll get beautiful plants, but no bloom. Fill the hole with soil and firm around the plants. You should give it a good watering.


  • Watering: Keep the plant watered well, giving extra water just before the blooming period. Daylilies are like most plant and like at least 1 inch of water a week.
  • Compost: A good dose of composted cow manure is good to use every year. This can be found at any garden center.
  • Mulch: I keep mine mulched, but it isn't necessary. It will keep the soil moister and cut down on watering.
  • Fall and Winter Maintenance: In the fall, cut down the scapes (stems) to the ground. Remove all of the rotted or diseased leaves. If the leaves aren't rotted, leave them on the plant. In northern states, leaving the old leaves will provide some protection from the cold weather.
I love the purples.

I love the purples.

Daylilies Are Edible

The flowers of this plant aren't only ornamental, but also edible. I've never tried it myself, but they say if you dip the flower in a batter and deep fry them, they are delicious. Originally daylilies came from China and were used as an edible food there. I like the blooms too well to eat them myself. Some people keep a special spot in the vegetable garden for them.

You can also cook the buds. Just boil or sauté and you'll have a wonderful dish. They are good for you, just like any vegetable.

This one has a special edge to the petals.

This one has a special edge to the petals.

Dividing and Propagating the Plants

If the daylilies get really large and outgrow their space in the garden, it is time to divide them. If they aren't blooming as well as they once were, it might be time. To divide the plant, dig up the entire plant.

The daylily is made up of fans. Each fan is capable of becoming its own plant. When you dig the old plant, the fans may just fall apart. If they don't, just take a knife and divide them apart to the size you'd like them. Use more than one fan in each group. At least three is a good amount.

After dividing, you can share them with your friends or plant them in another spot in the garden. You may even want to sell daylilies. I've done so, and it isn't hard to find customers if you live in an area where people enjoy gardening. The daylilies produce so many fans a year, that it can be a profitable business.

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This daylily is what is known as a spider. Most spider daylilies have thinner petals yet. They are popular with collectors.

This daylily is what is known as a spider. Most spider daylilies have thinner petals yet. They are popular with collectors.

© 2013 Barbara Badder


Barbara Badder (author) from USA on October 25, 2013:

CraftytotheCore, I'm happy you enjoyed the hub. Thanks.

CraftytotheCore on October 25, 2013:

This is one of my favorite flowers. We have them in all colors growing around our yard too. They are so hardy. We live in CT, and they come back every year. We have orange, yellow, purple, and other multi-colored ones. So pretty. Great Hub!

Barbara Badder (author) from USA on October 16, 2013:

Peggy, Daylilies do need to be thinned and yes you can end up with lots of them if you don't have a friend that wants some. I can't stand to throw them on the mulch pile. My husband and I are thinking about selling them when he retires next year, because I have over 100 varieties. The reason I have so many is because I did a lot of trading at one time. Thanks for reading.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 15, 2013:

Daylilies are a great plant to enjoy and also to share with others when they need to be thinned and replanted. We had some from my grandmother that we enjoyed for many years.

Barbara Badder (author) from USA on September 29, 2013:

Peggy, If I hadn't met the Daylily King, I might not be so addicted to them. I think next year when my husband retires I am going to start selling them on eBay. Besides it gives me an excuse to buy more varieties. Hee Hee. Thanks for commenting and pinning.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 29, 2013:

I used to have daylilies when we lived in Wisconsin and also at our other home in Houston. We simply do not have any room for them where we live now which is a shame because they are a beautiful and easy to care for plant. Up and useful votes. Will pin to my flower board.

Barbara Badder (author) from USA on July 04, 2013:

Writer Fox, LOL I've had that happen too. Other lilies will do that too. Plus you are breathing the pollen right in. Thanks for reading.

Writer Fox from the wadi near the little river on July 04, 2013:

I love daylilies. But I try to avoid smelling them because they turn my nose yellow.

Barbara Badder (author) from USA on July 02, 2013:

DDE, Mine are just starting to bloom. I have so much fun seeing which new ones bloom each day. Thanks.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on July 02, 2013:

Daylilies look so beautiful and such a simple way to take care of them, flowers are such a pleasure to have in making our gardens attractive.

Barbara Badder (author) from USA on June 09, 2013:

sgbrown, I love the Kwanso daylilies too. They are beauties. If you are trying to keep track of the different varieties you have though, they will drive you nuts with their spreadding. Thanks for reading, pinning and commenting.

Barbara Badder (author) from USA on June 09, 2013:

Suzie, I don't have any poppies here. I should get some since I love them too. Seeing them must give you wonderful memories of your Mother.

Having a garden is part of my being. Whenever I didn't have one I yearned for one. I'm sure you'll love it when you move to Italy. My, but you are seeing the world. I've only been in 2 countries.

Thanks for reading, pinning, and sharing.

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on June 09, 2013:

I love my daylilies! Mine are just about to bloom. I probably have hundreds of the Kwanso variety. I thin them each year and move some to another location in my yard. They always make a beautiful addition anywhere I plant them. I would like to get some different varieties. Wonderful hub, voted up, useful, beautiful, interesting and pinning! :)

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on June 09, 2013:

Hi barbara,

I LOVE flowers and daylilies i really look forward to growing when we move to sunnier climes in Italy. I love Lilies too (Tiger Lilies in particular) Your photos are gorgeous just reinforcing to me I miss my flowers of color. My mum was a passionate gardener and artist who painted many beautiful flowers from our garden, her favorites funnily enough were Poppies to paint and our garden was always full of them in different colors. Thanks for this lovely article on daylilies which I am pinning, votes and sharing on!

Barbara Badder (author) from USA on June 08, 2013:

moonlake, Thanks for reading and pinning. I wish I could see your daylilies.

moonlake from America on June 08, 2013:

I love daylilies and have many in my garden. Nice hub and one I'm going to add to my garden board on Pinterest. Voted up.

Barbara Badder (author) from USA on May 31, 2013:

RTalloni, The Kwanso are so bright and beautiful when they bloom. Mine want to spread everywhere though. I'm running out of space here and don't want to start anymore gardens. I've just got too many to keep up with. Thanks for visiting.

Barbara Badder (author) from USA on May 31, 2013:

Sheri, Thanks for reading and commenting. They are an easy plant since they are so drought tolerant.

Sheri Dusseault from Chemainus. BC, Canada on May 31, 2013:

I love daylillies. So easy to grow and care for! Great hub.

RTalloni on May 31, 2013:

Thanks for helpful information. I have some Kwansos that must be moved, and now I need to check and see whether the other beds of them need thinning. I love their grassy foliage as well as their bright blooms!

Barbara Badder (author) from USA on May 30, 2013:

livingsta, Thanks so much for all your comments. I find them exciting too. Thanks for voting up and sharing.

livingsta from United Kingdom on May 30, 2013:

Thank you for this useful and interesting hub. Lilies are beautiful and I love them. I do plan to have some of them in my future garden, as I do not have one right now.

When I was a child, I used to spend time with my mum doing gardening and we then had different varieties of lilies in our garden. Because they flower during the season only, it is so exciting, waiting for them to bud and bloom. Your hub also clearly explains how to plant and look after the lily plants.

Voted up, useful and interesting and sharing.

Barbara Badder (author) from USA on May 29, 2013:

Deepak, Thanks for reading the hub. I love growing flowers.

Deepak Chaturvedi from New Delhi, India on May 29, 2013:

The good and the perfect hub for those who are fond of taking care of such kinds great flowers.

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