Daylilies: Plant Care and Collection of Varieties

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Few perennial plants are as rugged, widely adapted, or versatile as daylilies. And with around 84,000 cultivars available, there's a size and flower color for every garden.

About daylilies
Plant breeders continue to expand the color palette available in daylilies, which now includes yellow, orange, red, white, and purple flowers. Varieties with muliticolored blooms, often with a contrasting "eye," or center, are increasingly popular. Most daylilies have a distinct, three- to four-week bloom period in early to late summer, although some varieties continue to bloom sporadically all season long. Most daylilies bloom during the day (diurnal), but some open in the evening (nocturnal). Individual flowers last just one day but new ones open daily for the duration of the bloom time. Foliage height ranges from 1 to 4 feet, depending on variety. Flower stalks, or scapes, on the tallest varieties can reach 6 feet. Flowers are edible.

Special features of daylilies
Easy care/low maintenance

Multiplies readily

Tolerates dry soil

Choosing a site to grow daylilies
Select a site with full sun to light shade and well-drained soil. In areas with hot summers, light afternoon shade will keep brightly colored flowers from fading.

Planting Instructions
Plant in spring, spacing plants 1 to 3 feet apart, depending on the variety. Prepare the garden bed by using a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost. Dig a hole twice the diameter of the pot the plant is in. Carefully remove the plant from its container and place it in the hole so the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Carefully fill in around the root ball and firm the soil gently. Water thoroughly.

Ongoing Care
Apply a thin layer of compost each spring, followed by a 2-inch layer of mulch to retain moisture and control weeds. Avoid excessive fertilizing as this will inhibit flower production. Water plants during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week. Remove individual spent flowers daily and cut back flower stalks once all flowers have gone by. Divide plants every three to four years as new growth begins in the spring, lifting plants and dividing them into clumps.

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