The Q&A Archives: Daylillies Not Producing Flowers

Question: I have three daylillies that have not produced flowers for the last several years. They are all in different areas of the garden, each in a sunny spot. One is fairly new, the others are at least 8-10 years old. Should I just pull them up and start over or is there something I should be doing differently?

Answer: You didn't mention whether you applied any fertilizer. If not, layer two inches of compost around the plants. As it breaks down, it will add nutrients to the soil. Also, apply a phosphorous fertilizer to promote bloom. Bone meal is an organic source, or use a chemical fertilizer with a higher middle number, such as 15-30-15. Follow package instructions. Don't overfertilize with nitrogen, which will promote foliage at the expense of blooms.

Here?s some basic info on fertilizer and nutrients that plants require. The 3 numbers on a fertilizer bag refer to the percentage of N (nitrogen), P (phosphorous), and K (potassium) in the bag. There are different formulations for different purposes. In general terms, nitrogen produces lush green growth, phosphorous helps strengthen stems and produce flowers, and potassium keeps the root system healthy. If you're applying fertilizer to fruiting (e.g., tomatoes) or flowering plants, you're not as interested in the plant developing leaves as you are in it flowers and fruit, so you'd use a formulation lower in nitrogen and higher in phosphorous.

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