With an abundance of brightly coloured flowers and ample, voluminous foliage, daylilies are a perennial that does not disappoint! Hardy enough to easily withstand harsh winters and hot summers, it has become a classic in our flower beds for several reasons: it is very easy to grow, requires little maintenance, lives for years, multiplies easily by division, and provides a colourful yard from June to September thanks to the late season and remontant cultivars. It would seem that daylilies have it all; let’s explore them further and find out how to care for this must-have perennial!
Differentiating between daylilies and lilies
To take care of our daylilies, we must first know how to recognize them. Indeed, daylilies are not lilies. Here are three elements that will allow you to differentiate them:
- Flowering: The daylily has an ephemeral flowering, that is to say that its flowers open in the morning and favede in the ening (new flowers take their place the following day), while the flowers of the lily last more than one day.
- Foliage: The daylily has a distinctive foliage that differentiates it from the lily. It is composed of long thin leaves that grow in clumps.
- Root system: The lily is a bulbous plant whereas the daylily has a mass of fleshy roots.
The three main varieties of daylilies
Daylilies generally bloom in the summer months of June and July, but it is possible to enjoy abundant, colorful blooms from late May through September. To do this, simply combine early, repeat and late varieties in your beds.
Early Blooming daylilies
Some varieties of daylilies such as the yellow daylily (Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus) are called early bloomers because they bloom from the beginning of June for a period of about 3 to 4 weeks.
Late Blooming Daylilies
As the name implies, late season cultivars such as ‘Autumn Red’, ‘El Desperado’ and ‘Lady Limelight’ bloom later in the season around mid-summer. As with the early bloomers, the bloom will last about a month.
These varieties offer continuous flowering from early July to late fall. The best known reblooming daylily is, not surprisingly, ‘Stella de Oro’, a dwarf variety with yellow flowers. Several other reblooming cultivars can be found in garden centers, including ‘Pardon Me’, ‘On and On’, and ‘Chicago Apache’.
When and how to plant daylilies
Daylilies of all cultivars are planted in spring or fall in 3/1 Annual and Perennial Planting Mix. Enriched with compost and bark, this soil not only provides abundant and bright blooms, but also facilitates recovery after transplanting. Daylilies will do well in a full sun area, but will also adapt to part shade, but will bloom less abundantly.
Once you’ve chosen a location, you’ll need to dig a hole deep enough so that the base of the leaves is slightly lower than the edge of the hole (3-4 cm). After covering the root ball with soil, water generously, and you’re done.
Daylily Seasonal Care
As mentioned earlier, daylilies are very low maintenance. Here are a few things you can do to enjoy a beautiful bloom.
- Fertilizing: Once a year, fertilize with a bloom fertilizer such as Natural Fertilizer for Annuals and Perennials.
- Flowering: Remove spent flowers to encourage the production of new flowers.
- Watering: Water as needed during dry spells.
- Pruning: Prune foliage to 5 cm from the ground after the first fall frost (this pruning is optional: the leaves can decompose in place without being cut).
- Division: In early spring or fall, dig up the root ball without damaging it, separate with a shovel or other gardening tool to create two to three clumps, and replant the plants in a similar environment to facilitate recovery.
The daylily, an edible flower
Did you know that? In addition to being beautiful and easy to grow, daylilies are edible! The flower buds are sweet and fresh, and the flowers have a delicate and subtle taste. They are perfect decorations for salads and desserts.
There are countless cultivars of daylilies in a variety of vibrant colors. Ask the advisors at your nearest garden center to help you choose the ones that will give you the type of bloom you are looking for!