Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Western Mountains and High Plains
March, 2010
Regional Report

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Clumps of daylilies brighten the summer garden.

Easy-Care Daylilies

Whether you prefer a formal or more casual garden style, daylilies can fit in just about anywhere. And if you're interested in designing a more water-thrifty garden, daylilies are among the most drought-enduring landscape plants. They're easy to grow and you will appreciate their rugged nature. Almost all daylilies are cold-hardy to zone 3 and heat-tolerant in heat zones 9 to 1.

One of the biggest concerns in our region is soil. Daylilies may rot in heavy soils that stay wet for long periods, so be sure to find a well-drained location. I don't suggest that you site them in the driest spot in your yard; they do need consistent moisture to flower prolifically. It is important to amend the soil with compost to a depth of six inches or more, whether you have clay, sand, or granite-based, rocky soil. The compost helps to aggregate the heavier soils, add moisture-holding capacity to sandy and rocky soils, and of course, help to improve drainage to avoid waterlogged soils.
Most daylilies prefer full sun exposure for an abundance of blooms. Shade from deciduous and evergreen trees will inhibit blooming, and the sprawling roots of the trees will compete for moisture. Don't worry about having to fertilize regularly. A generous sprinkle of organically-based, all purpose plant food in the spring, when you're feeding your other perennials, will be plenty.

There are lots of colors to choose from when selecting daylilies. They come in reds, yellows, oranges, purples, pinks, white, and bicolor variations. Unlike the old-fashioned orange "outhouse lily", most varieties don't spread out of bounds, either.

Many daylilies are naturally programmed to bloom in mid-summer, when other perennial flowers are often waning. So a clump of daylilies, or clumps repeated throughout the landscape, will move your eyes from areas of the garden that don't look their best in summer, to bright cheery blossoms basking in the sun.

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