Daylilies in Shade - Knowledgebase Question

Syracuse, NY
Avatar for mmglick
Question by mmglick
June 23, 1998
I've planted daylilies in a spot that receives mostly shade but some sun from about 4 p.m. on. Though they've taken hold, the lilies seem to be growing very slowly, and I'm wondering if there's anything I can do to speed up their growth. Would it help if I water them daily? Do they respond well to fertilizers (and if so, what kind?). I realize the location I've chosen to plant them in is not optimal, but do you think, with patience and care, they can be made to thrive and bloom?

Answer from NGA
June 23, 1998
Most daylily experts suggest a minimum of six hours of sun a day for these plants to grow and bloom up to their full potential. Late afternoon sun, in my experience, has just not been enough to grow robust plants with decent bloom performance. If they are growing slowly, I suspect light rather than fertility or water is the limiting factor. To be honest, I don't think any amount of coddling will help make up for the lack of sunlight. In fact, extra fertilizing or watering would probably make the plants even weaker.

You might want to consider trying some other perennials which simply need less light than daylilies do. For descriptions, photos and cultural preferences of a wide selection of shade loving plants you might find the Shady Oaks Nursery catalog very inspiring. Their address is 112-10th Avenue S.E., Waseca MN 56093-3122; they have a site at and their telephone number is (800) 504-8006.

In the meantime, you might want to think about transplanting those daylilies to a sunnier spot.

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