If you are new to daylily care or an experience gardener who wants to review the basics, please take a moment to review the brief articles below:

Reference:  The New Dalily Handbook. Frances. L Gatlin, Editor. The American Hemerocallis Society ©2002


Overview of the Daylily

Daylily plants consist of five parts:

1.  Underground Stem.
2.  Roots.
3.  Rhizomes.
4.  Leaves.
5.  Flowering Scapes.

Each individual plant is called a ramet, or fan, and it includes the above five parts.  The underground stem is called the crown.  It is from this crown that the leaves and roots emerge.  New leaves are produced throughout the warm growing season.

The contractile roots of a daylily gradually pull the crown deeper into the soil. Plants grow and multiply into clumps.  Blooming decreases when the clumps become too large and crowded, or if the crown gets too deep in the soil.  When this happens, it is time to divide the clump.

Planting Daylilies

Daylilies grow in any type soil, but will do best in moist soil with good drainage.  Flowering is best achieved with six hours of direct sun daily along with ample water.  Dark flowering cultivars frequently keep their cool better if planted where they receive afternoon shade.

Fertilizing & Hydrating Daylilies

Daylilies benefit from regular watering and occasional fertilization.  A balanced fertilizer with a high ration of nitrogen to phosphorus & potassium is recommended.  An extended release fertilizer, such as Osmocote, is applied when the new foliage begins to develop. This will feed the plants through much of the blooming period.

Propagation of Daylilies

Daylilies can be propagated by the home gardener in three ways:

1.  Propagation from division clumps will be identical to the original plant.
2.  Propagation from proliferations will be identical to the original plant.
3.  Propagation from seedlings will differ from the original plant.

Division clumps can be separated into smaller groups of ramets, or fans.  A clump is generally ready for dividing when it has multiplied to include twenty-five ramets.  Divide by lifting the clump and washing it clear of soil.  Ramets can often be wiggled and pulled free of the clump.  A large screwdriver or sharp knife can also be used to break the shizomes to crate smaller groups of ramets.  All pieces with intact crowns can generally be re-established if handled carefully.  It is typical to purchase a daylily consisting of two ramets, which is also referred to as a double fan.

Proliferations are small plants that develop from the flowering scape.  They are ready for rooting when the stem of the scape begins to dry and turn brown.  the scape with the proliferations attached may be cut into sections, or the proliferations may be gently pulled away from the scape.  Rooting of small proliferations may be improved by dipping the base into rooting hormone.  If the proliferation has already produced roots, rooting hormone may not be necessary.  When planted in well-drained soil, proliferations should root in less than thirty days.  They generally flower in twelve to fifteen months.

Seed capsules must be allowed to mature on the plant.  Seeds of evergreen varieties can be planted immediately and may sprout within a week of planting.  Seed of dormant varieties must be given a cooling period of at least thirty days before being planted.  This is achieved by refrigerating the seeds, or planting the seeds in fall to chill outdoors over winter.  Seed should be planted less than 1⁄2 inch deep.

Mark Bazzone at RoomIllusion.com