Thriving on Neglect…

There is no plant in my garden that I neglect more than my daylilies.  I never water them and rarely fertilize them. I plant them in dry soil, wet soil, sun and shade without any thought as to whether that particular spot in my garden is the “ideal” place for them or not. When I’m splitting perennials there is no plant I worry less about injuring in the process than my daylilies. They just keep coming back year after year with beautiful blooms that start in May and continue into August and even September depending upon the variety of daylily I’ve planted.  Well I realize that I’ve taken them for granted and it’s time I showed them a little respect!

There is no doubt that this is one of the toughest plants I know. Years ago, in the fall I did some daylily splitting in my perennial garden. Unfortunately, the calendar got away from me and I literally had buckets of daylily plants that I was unable to plant or give away to friends or family. These unfortunate souls sat in these buckets outdoors on my patio for the entire winter with no additional protection or care. Would you believe that in the spring they started to sprout in the buckets anyway? Now that is what I call tough!

I don’t really think I am as callous a fellow as this article may be conveying to you but when it comes to daylilies they seem to thrive on my neglect. They grow in USDA Zones 3 through 9 in pretty much any soil type and while they prefer full sun conditions they will also bloom in pretty shady conditions as well. I’ve grow the smaller varieties such as Stella Doro’s in containers that have been on my deck for decades. They get no special care but starting in May they give me beautiful yellow flowers that just keep coming all season long.

Every year there seem to be new varieties of daylilies hitting the marketplace. They come in pretty much every color you can think of with sizes that vary from 1 foot to 3 feet tall. There are plenty of varieties that are re-bloomers meaning they will give you a burst of bloom in the spring to early summer and then again later in the summer into the fall. If you plant a flower bed and mix the varieties of daylilies correctly you can have daylilies blooming in that flower bed from spring to fall nonstop. They are also great problem solvers as they can grow in areas where other plants struggle to get started. For example, I grow them in a bed at the bottom of a hill where they are sometimes in standing water. I also have a bed that is on a slope and they do a great job holding the soil in place and preventing it from eroding away.

The only drawback I’ve got with daylilies is that they are often attractive to Deer. To combat this problem I spray them with deer repellant every two weeks starting when the leaves begin to grow in spring all the way through their blooming season. Daylilies are plants that every gardener should have and this is a great time of year to plant them to provide a great show this spring and summer. 

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  • Mar 21

    I have wonderful memories of the wild tiger lilies that grew along-side the country roads in upstate NY where I grew up. I would ride my bike and pick huge bouquets to bring home to my mom!

    It is so wonderful how flowers can bring us such great memories. Thank you for sharing.

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