A few years back, I discovered Smokey’s Gardens and went a little nuts buying different daylilies. My favorite is the one in the photo–Mauna Loa–a bright orange. Sadly, it isn’t an ever-bloomer or even a rebloomer. I get to see this splash of tangerine for about three weeks, and then it’s gone till next year.
When we moved here, our front garden included five Stella De Oro lilies–and I hated them. I didn’t like the way the flowers died and dropped off the plant. The dead leaves were plain nasty. Anyway, I didn’t much care for the dandelion-yellow color, and maybe should’ve cheered when, after about three years, the plants stopped blooming. Instead, it made me mad. Just a bunch of uninspiring green spikey leaves. Yuck.
I knew nothing about the care and feeding of daylilies, and yes, they take a bit of work. After yanking those poor Stella’s out of the ground and donating them to a sister-in-law, I spent about five years planting a variety of things in that space. All did well in year one and died by year two.
“Plant daylilies,” said a master gardener friend. My response was to grumble about the Stella’s. But then, out and about, I saw some amazing red and yellow spider daylilies. Had to have them. That’s when I took the time to learn about daylily care and feeding.
They need daily deadheading while blooming. The name says it all. DAY LILY, meaning the flower blooms and dies within about 24 hours. Every morning, I walk around the yard with a bucket and pick off dead lilies. Sometimes I have to fight the bees for them.
The spikey leaves turn a nasty brown as the plant begins to die back. Keeping the plant free of dead leaves is also a daily chore.
Finally, about every three years, the plants need to be dug up and divided. If the daylily gets too big, it will stop blooming.
The good news about daylilies? They grow in just about any soil, can take quite a bit of drought without watering, they’re difficult to kill, and way low on the deer’s list of favorite munchies. They come in a variety of colors, bloom times, and sizes. Usually hardy in planting zones 4 through 9, Latin name Hemerocallis.