The Q&A Archives: happy return day lily

Question: I have happy return day lillies and would like to know how to take care of them. Once the flowers bloom should I remove the flower and the whole stem to promote new growth or just leave them on? The other question I have is I know they can be divided but when do you do this and how?

Answer: Each flower lasts only a day, so remove them as they fade. Take the full bloom, not just the petals. When all the buds on one stem (scape) have faded, remove the stem by cutting it off at the base. This helps direct the plant's energy to blooming rather than to setting seed.

Keeping these well fed and watered will help rebloom also. The soil should be kept evenly moist like a wrung out sponge, not sopping wet or saturated and not dried out. Using an organic mulch several inches thick in a flat layer over the root area will help keep the soil moist as well as feed the soil slowly as it breaks down over time.

An annual topdressing with good quality compost along with a spring application plus an early summer application of general purpose granular fertilizer such as 10-10-10 or similar proportion should be adequate. Or, you can use a slow release fertilizer per the label directions.

Division can be done in spring or early September. Dig up the plant, trim down the foliage by about half, cut the plant into sections (some varieties fall apart easily, some can be tugged apart, some must be cut), and replant at the same depth as it grew originally. Water thoroughly after replanting. You can divide one plant in half, into quarters, or even smaller. Very small divisions such as a single fan will take longer to regain blooming size. Make sure you have some foliage along with corresponding roots for each division.

Enjoy your daylilies!

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