Daylilies are a great choice in many landscapes when used correctly. Proper care and maintenance is important to get the most out of your daylilies.
If you are looking for a perennial that is easy to grow in all kinds of soil, flowers reliably, survives the winter, and doesn’t easily succumb to damage from fungus or pests, then you are looking for a daylily.
It’s my most recommended perennial in my backyard nursery for customers that want a quality plant without having to do much work.
It’s also extremely versatile and has many uses in the landscape.
With so many different varieties of daylily, I can’t even begin to recommend a certain kind. There are literally over 80,000 different varieties and it really comes down to personal preference.
I can, however, give you some important daylily care and maintenance tips to get the most out of your daylilies and ensure that you are using them correctly in your landscape.
Where to Plant Daylilies In Your Landscape?
Even though there are so many great things about daylilies there are some people who strongly dislike them.
Whenever I ask a daylily hater why they feel that way it’s always the same answer. “They overtook my garden beds and crowded out my other plants.”
There’s no doubt about it… If you plant a bunch of tall growing daylily varieties throughout your garden beds then your other plants will likely get crowded out. Especially if you don’t thin them out as they grow.
There are 3 ways I plant daylilies to avoid them taking over my landscape:
1. If planting daylilies in a garden bed consider planting smaller, more compact varieties in the front to form a border.
2. For larger varieties group them together in groups of 3 to 5 and give them space from other plants.
3. Mass plant daylilies along fences, walls, and other areas where you designate the whole bed for daylilies only. Mass planting is actually my favorite use for daylilies.
At my work, on the construction site, we plant them along narrow strips of land along roadways. We also plant them along, and on top of large retaining walls.
I like mixing a bunch of varieties together when mass planting daylilies. They all grow into each other and crowd out weeds. This is a great low maintenance solution for areas that normally get neglected.
Environmental Conditions to Consider
Soil: Daylilies do fine adapting to different soils.
Sunlight: Part shade to full sun but will get more blooms in sunnier locations.
Growing Zones: Daylilies thrive in growing zones 3 to 9. If you are in those warmer zones some afternoon shade would be beneficial.
Water: Daylilies are pretty drought tolerant but do best with about an inch of water a week. It is easy to tell if your daylilies need water since you will see the green foliage start to turn brown.
Watering during the hot summer months will increase blooms and foliage will be greener.
Believe it or not, daylily flowers usually only bloom for one day. Most people don’t realize this though because each stem has several blooms which makes the plant have constant color.
After several weeks of spitting out beautiful blooms, the plant will eventually slow down its flower production and what you will be left with is a bunch of seeds on top of long stems.
It is best at this point to cut the stems that are forming seeds down to the base of the plant using good pruners. This is often referred to as deadheading.
Deadheading daylilies has 3 main benefits:
1. By removing the seeds left over from the spent flowers, the plant can focus once again on flower production instead of seed production. This means you will likely get more flower blooms.
2. Deadheading daylilies helps restore overall energy back into the plant and plant roots.
3. Deadheading makes your plant more aesthetically pleasing. A plant covered in seeds is not very attractive. By cutting off the seeds and spent stems you can enjoy the green foliage of the daylilies instead.
Now, if the thought of going out into your landscape and hand pruning each daylily sounds horrible to you then don’t worry, it’s not necessary. If you’re not looking to spend more time in your garden on daylily care and maintenance then don’t add this to the list.
Do you really need to divide your daylilies?
Probably not. This is why I try and emphasize to people the importance of where you are planting them in your landscape.
As said earlier, I prefer planting daylilies in masses. But if I’m planting them among other plants it is probably a good idea to thin them out by dividing them occasionally.
If your’e looking to add more daylilies to another part of your landscape then dividing daylilies is a great way to get free plants!
Dividing daylilies is best in early spring or early fall.
When to Cut Back Daylilies
Most advice circling the internet will tell you to cut back daylilies in the fall. And yes, that is fine. But me personally, I wait until early spring to cut back.
My main reason for this is in fall, daylilies can be a little tough to cut back. You usually have to go around with a good pair of pruners and manually cut each individual plant back.
I have so many daylilies in my landscape that this would take me too long.
It is much easier to wait until early spring when there is basically nothing left of the plant. At this time I don’t need pruners. I can simply go around and pull or rake the dead leaves free.
Another added bonus of waiting until spring is you are safe from cutting back too early.
Daylilies can have green foliage very late into the season. This green foliage is good for photosynthesis and important for bringing energy into the roots of the plant. If you cut them back too early then you are cutting off the energy supply to the plant.
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