The Q&A Archives: Daylily Drought Care

Question: As you know we are experiencing a drought here in Pennsylvania, just in time for my Daylilies to bloom. I have been noticing those plants that are in full sun, the thin foliage surrounding the plant (sorry, I do not know what it is called) is dying or is dead. Should I remove it or do I leave it? Also anything I can do to help them along short of watering them (we are no longer allowed to water from a hose)?

Answer: The plant is shedding foliage as a self protective mechanism to reduce its water use, so in a sense it is a good thing. The foliage would help create a natural layer of mulch over the root zone, so you could augment that by adding mulch to try to keep the soil as cool and moist as possible. (If the foliage is diseased, remove it.) You can also try to roughen the soil surface to encourage any rain that does fall to sink in rather than run off. Finally, you could deadhead to stop seed production and even remove the new scapes to help the plants conserve energy. These plants are very tough and in some cases may appear to die from water stress only to come back good as new next year -- so don't panic yet.

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