Day lily Guide: How to Grow & Care for “Hemerocallis”

Our Guide to Daylilies - Everything you will ever need to know! Tips for growing and caring for “Hemerocallis”

If you want to attract a lot of attention with your flower collection this year, Hemerocallis is surely a must-have! Commonly known as Daylilies or Day lilies, the stunning flowers from this genus will surely become one of your favourite ornamentals.

Many gardeners worldwide consider Daylilies to be the ‘perfect perennials’ thanks to their infinite qualities. They bear the gift of gorgeous flowers, they come in a wide array of hypnotic colours, they have a high tolerance of drought, heat and freezing stress immunity, and low care demand overall. In fewer words, these buddies have all it takes to find their place in absolutely any respectable and loving plant family.

Without a doubt, the most interesting fact about Daylilies is the enormous number of cultivars that you can choose from. From the few original species, people have developed thousands of varieties and hybrids over time. The good news? You will have plenty of options available, so make sure you pick your Daylilies using your heart!

About Hemerocallis

  • Stout Silver Medal is the most prestigious award a plant can receive in the United States. The most charming Daylily winners of this prize include ‘Bess Ross’, ‘Fooled Me’, ‘I Lava You’, ‘Painted Lady’, ‘Primal Scream’, ‘Rose F. Kennedy’, and ‘Skinwalker’.
  • Hemerocallis plants are very adaptable and versatile. They are eye-catching additions to containers, perennial beds, shrub borders, edges, or as ground covers on slopes.
  • All Daylilies exhibit showy flowers that are highly attractive not only for us, humans, but also to pollinators, hummingbirds, and numerous species of butterflies.
  • While the young leaves of Hemerocallis plants are sweet and tender, the older ones become very fibrous with time. In some countries, people dry and plait their tough, mature leaves into a cord, then use them to make footwear, such as summer sandals.
  • Many Daylily species produce tuberous or fibrous roots that come with a pleasant nut-like flavour. Their leaves are also tasty, but they can have hallucinogenic effects if consumed in large quantities.
  • The blossoms of Hemerocallis citrina species are edible. In Asian markets, locals sell them fresh or dried as yellow flower vegetables or gum jum. They serve as a tasty ingredient in several Chinese recipes like moo shu pork, Buddha’s delight, hot and sour soup, and dailily soup.
  • Daylilies played an important role in traditional medicine. Some folks boiled their roots to prepare a tea that has diuretic properties. Likewise, the juice of the roots is an effective treatment against arsenic poisoning.
  • Although Hemerocallis species present no threat to people, they can be very toxic to cats and dogs if ingested. For safety purposes, keep your furry friends away from these plants at any cost.
Red day lily flower
Red day lily flower

Hemerocallis Features: An Overview

  • These plants originate from several regions of Asia and Central Europe. In their natural habitat, they grow mostly in forests edges, seashore meadows, swamps, and also on mountains at higher elevations of up to 10000 feet (3048 m) above sea level.
  • Daylilies are herbaceous perennials that usually occur as clumps. They can reach from 8 inches to 5 feet (0.2-1.5 m) in height and 2 to 4 feet (0.6-1.2 m) in width.
  • The foliage may be evergreen, semi-evergreen, or dormant. The leaves are long, arching, linear-lanceolate, green, and appear in numerous opposite fans.
  • Daylilies have a relatively short flowering period that can vary depending on the cultivar and the area you live in. These plants may bloom from early spring until the first sign of frost, and some species can be night-bloomers.
  • Due to their diverse blooming habit, these plants belong to several different categories. They can be either ‘Extra Early’, ‘Early’, ‘Early Midseason’, ‘Midseason’, ‘Late Midseason’, ‘Late’, or ‘Very Late’ Daylilies.
  • Most Hemerocallis species open their blossoms in the early morning, then wither during the following night. Sometimes, new flowers replace the older ones on the same scape (peduncle) the next day.
  • Their flowers have three petals and three sepals that have a generous colour palette. They can exhibit various shades of yellow, orange, red, pink, purple, white, and many attractive colour mixes.
  • Daylilies look truly spectacular, making them excellent companions to many other species. Some of these are Butterfly Weed, Coneflower, Cranesbill, Culver’s Root, Lady’s Mantle, Red Hot Poker, Sage, Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, Spear Grass, and Yarrow.

Growing Hemerocallis

Hemerocallis plants are so easy to grow and care for, that you will have to intervene only once in a while to help them show the best results. Once these flowers become established, they will basically take care of themselves with little to no effort on your part. However, before reaching maturity, you must first pay attention to their basic environmental demands.

Light-wise, Daylilies grow at their best under full sunlight exposure. Whether you want to keep them outdoors or inside, you must place them in a location where they can receive at least six hours of bright, direct light. In regions with very hot climates, they will not produce as many flowers as usual if they experience constant harsh sunlight. Because of this, you should provide your beloved flowers with some afternoon shade.

Hemerocallis Day Lily Fine Mix Seeds, From Amazon

In terms of temperatures, Daylilies can easily adapt to a wide range of conditions. These plants are generally winter hardy in USDA zones 3 to 10. If you want to give your flowers the time of their life, you have to expose them to warmer temperatures during their active growing period. The optimal temperatures for your plants to thrive are somewhere between 60 and 70 °F (16-21 °C).

Hemerocallis plants are typically trouble-free when it comes to pest infestations and fungal diseases. Yet, some intruders like aphids, spider mites, thrips, snails, and slugs may visit your plants from time to time. In case you notice any suspect presence on your Hemerocallis flowers, you can treat them using insecticidal soap weekly until the pests do not bother them anymore.

Planting Hemerocallis

When and how to plant your Daylilies are probably the most important things that you need to get right for these plants to thrive. The perfect time to plant your flowers is usually in early spring or early autumn. Due to their wide span, it is wise to plant them at a distance of 2 to 4 feet (0.6-1.2 m) in-between each specimen to avoid over-crowding or any other future issues.

Although these plants can tolerate various soil types, they perform best in deep fertile loamy soil. If you cannot find the perfect growing medium for your Hemerocallis plants, no worries! You can mix in some compost with sandy soils to encourage moderate moisture retention. Likewise, clay soil types work nicely if you add compost, leaf mould, or peat to provide your flowers with the needed acids and nutrients.

Fertilizers are necessary only if you are the happy owner of re-blooming Daylilies. Feed your flowers with an extended-release fertilizer once every year in spring. This method will make your plants more vigorous and also encourage them to repeat their blooming cycle until autumn.

Like most seed-producing plants, Daylilies will lose all their energy in this process. Make sure you avoid letting your plants go to seed by removing any seed capsules whenever you see them around. After this step, you should also cut each scape to the ground level to prevent new fruits from showing up.

Throughout their growing season, we recommend you prune your Hemerocallis plants regularly. Trim all yellowing leaves off to make room for new, healthy ones to emerge. Furthermore, you can also remove their spent flowers to give them a fresh overall look.

Watering Hemerocallis

Hemerocallis plants are excellent ornamentals for beginners or forgetful gardeners mostly due to their ability to tolerate drought for relatively long periods. However, you will have to water your flowers regularly in their first growing season after planting to help them settle in.

Once established, Daylilies will need supplemental drinks only if the weather is very dry in general. If you want to avoid over-watering your plants, you should provide them with water when the soil has dried out completely.


Propagating Hemerocallis

Whether you want more superb Daylilies around or not, you must propagate your plants regularly to keep them alive. And if the general space is a common problem for you, this should not discourage you to propagate your daylilies! Everything is better when shared with our beloved ones, so why not surprise your friends or family members with some of your nice-looking flowers?

One thing we know for sure is that this process does not require any previous experience in the gardening world. Dividing Daylilies was and will always be the easiest and fastest method of propagation. But you will see it for yourself!

All you have to do is dig your Daylilies out of their growing medium and use a pair of garden forks to separate their roots. After this step, divide their roots into smaller sections and check them for weeds. Lastly, transplant the clumps in their permanent location and care for them as usual.

In Conclusion

Now that you know everything about Daylilies, it is easier to believe the ‘perfect perennials’ etiquette of these amazing flowers! Overall, they can thrive with minimal effort on your part. If you provide them with lots of sunlight, suitable soil, and a bit of water every now and then, you cannot possibly go wrong with these low-demanding companions.

Miruna is an experienced content writer with a passion for gardening. She is the proud owner of an outdoor rose garden and an indoor collection of tiny succulents. She bought her first succulent 10 years ago - an adorable Echeveria Setosa. Now she owns more than 100 succulents and cacti of different colors, shapes, and sizes. Miruna is a versatile writer and, as you might have guessed, her favorite topic is gardening. Contact

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