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Daylilies: A Gorgeous and Low Maintenance Flower to Brighten Any Garden

Jul 31, 2008
My mother always had a flowerbed or two in front of our house and she would spend a morning every now and again weeding, watering, and generally taking care of her flowers. Yet she never got more adventuresome with her flower choices than petunias, pansies and an occasional geranium. I asked her once why her flower horizon was so narrow when there are so many gorgeous flowers available to experiment with planting and growing. She shrugged and said most flowers looked too high maintenance for her.

A common misconception is that if flowers look particularly elegant or exotic, it means they are finicky and difficult to care for. Hemerocallis, or daylilies are a perfect example of flowers that are both delicate looking and hardy at the same time, requiring very little care to thrive in nearly all conditions.

Daylilies come in a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes, and are easy to grow. The perennials are not true bulbs, but grow from clump-forming tuberous roots. Although daylilies prefer well drained soil with plenty of organic material and lots of direct sunlight, they will tolerate much less favorable conditions such as extremely damp to dry sandy soil. If planted in heavy shade, hemerocallis usually respond by producing more foliage and fewer flowers.

Daylilies are perfect for a varied garden because the different varieties range in height from 8 inches to 5 feet, and flower size can be as small as 2 inches or as large as 8 inches. The spectrum of colors and shapes also adds distinction and variety to your flowerbed. Unlike some more fastidious flowers, hemerocallis usually bloom the same year they are planted, though they take three to four years to reach mature size, and can live for a very long time if given even moderate care.

Daylilies will bloom from late spring until autumn and many varieties have more than one flowering period. Because of the entangled clump-root system of daylilies, they provide excellent ground covers on slopes and are recommended for erosion control.
Daylilies are also particularly effective for blending in structures with the natural terrain. They have a naturalizing effect to blend fences, decks, steps, statues, driveways or shrubbery with the surrounding landscape.

The planting process itself is probably the most rigorous phase of caring for your Hemerocallis. To ensure that they take root properly you should water plants thoroughly after planting, and deep soak them every three or four days until established. If you ordered the plants rather than purchasing them in a garden store they may have become dried out during shipment from a supplier. If this happens, soak well for at least 15 minutes before planting. Although daylilies are drought-tolerant once established, consistent watering while budding and flowering will produce better-quality flowers.

For absolute best results daylily gardens should be mulched well with peat or compost in spring. Waiting until the plant is established to fertilize will encourage initial root growth. Add manure or other organic fertilizer in the early spring just as signs of new growth appear, and again in midsummer.

Very few pests and diseases are enough to harm the resilient hemerocallis, slugs and snails being the major exceptions. Daylilies are not bothered by lily beetle or any other problems of bulbous lilies. Root-knot nematodes could also pose a problem if you are planting on former cropland (especially soybean and tobacco land).
About the Author
Perennial Place (http://www.perennialplace.com/)carries a wide variety of gorgeous daylilies to make your garden beautiful. Art Gibb is a freelance writer.
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