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Daylilies: Easy to Grow Yet Beautiful

The Democrat Reporter of Linden, Alabama

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One of the plant varieties we can always count on for summer color is the daylily, which, by the way, is not a real lily since lilies grow from a bulb and daylilies from a fibrous root system. They have been around for thousands of years. Their botanic name, Hemerocallis, is derived from Greek meaning "beautiful for a day."

Daylilies are beautiful, easy-to-maintain, perennial garden flowers that bloom from summer into early fall. Each flower normally opens for just one day, and there is a succession of flowers throughout the blooming season. These plants can range in size from 3 inches to 5 feet. There is a daylily cultivar suitable for almost every landscape situation and purpose.

Daylilies can survive, and in many cases thrive, with little care. Just think of the orange cultivars you see at old home sites or growing in the ditch of the road. They are still blooming after years of neglect. Although they are tolerant of a wide range of conditions, most daylilies have preferences and if we accommodate them, they will reward us with their best behavior.

Plant daylilies in sun or partial shade although 6 hours of sun is best. Daylilies are adaptable and will grow in less light but will have fewer blooms. Blooms will open facing the sun.

Though adaptable to a wide range of soil conditions, daylilies grow best in a well-drained, porous soil that is high in organic matter, If your soil is tight clay and not well drained, work in peat moss. Well rotted manure or compost can also be used as organic matter.

Help daylilies along with small amounts of fertilizer, even if planted in decent garden soil. When new growth emerges in the spring, apply an all purpose fertilizer such as 5-10-10 at least 6 to 8 inches from the clump. Some daylily growers recommend slow-release fertilizers. Don't overdo those either. Daylilies are not heavy feeders.

While able to withstand dry spells like the one we are having now, these plants perform better with regular water during their growing season which is early spring through September. Water new plants frequently until they become established. When watering, gradually soak the ground to a depth of about 8 inches once a week if there is no rain.

Daylilies also benefit from mulch. Mulching reduces loss of soil moisture, helps control weeds, and maintains a more uniform soil temperature. Pine needles, pine bark, or leaves are good mulching materials. When settled, mulch should be about 2 to 3 inches deep.

Smaller cultivars do well in containers. This makes everything much simpler but may require more frequent watering.

Next week we will look at different cultivars, insects and diseases, and dividing plants. If you have any questions, go to' or call the Marengo County Extension office at 334 295-5959.

Copyright 2013 The Democrat Reporter, Linden, Alabama. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: June 6, 2013

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