June 2013
Home Grown Tomatoes

Daylilies, the Perfect Perennial

     Such a complex flower, yet so easy to grow.


Over the years, I have collected lots and lots of perennials planted all over the Tomato Tower gardens. They offer color and wildlife shelter in both sunny and shady areas. Some of them are shrubs and some are roots, bulbs, rhizomes and tubers.

One of the most fun plant varieties we always count on for garden color is the daylily collection (Hemerocallis sp.). Maybe that is why folks have labeled it the "Perfect Perennial."

There are literally thousands of cultivars of daylilies today and, depending on the species and cultivar, they have a hardiness range from USDA zones 1 to 11. Mostly, what we grow around here are the ones that are hardy from zones 5a to 10a.

The colors of daylilies cover a wide range. About the only colors not yet found are true white and true blue. Although there are pale creamy daylilies and deep burgundy, red and even purple ones now bred, they still have not found the right combo to make those other colors.


Daylilies come in a wide variety of colors combinations and shapes.

Daylilies are easy to grow and thrive in well-drained, mildly acidic soils (pH 6.0 to 6.5). They require very little fertilizer. Fertilize early in the spring; time release is ideal, with moderate nitrogen and higher phosphorous and potassium.

Daylilies range in height from six inches to nearly five feet tall.

Though drought tolerant, daylilies like a good soaking about once per week during dry spells. Be careful not to over-water. Additionally, you should use water-smart methods of hydration. Avoid overhead watering in the heat of the day because that will cause spotting on the blooms or wilting. Also avoid watering in the late evenings. The best time to water your plants is early in the morning and that applies to most plants. Mulching helps retain moisture and keeps the roots cool. Be sure to keep your daylily beds free of weeds, as they will compete for moisture and could also spread plant pests to your daylilies.

Aphids, beetles, cutworms, slugs, snails, spider mites and thrips can do damage to your daylilies. However, unless there is an infestation, the damage is usually negligible. Also, deer may eat the young flower buds off your plants.

                                 Sunday Gloves

                              Going Bananas

             Rocket City is a 3 foot tall one


                                   Custard Candy

                                     Irish Envy

                         Siloam Double Classic

                                 Fooled Me


Plant your daylilies in the early spring or fall for the best results. Avoid planting them during the hot summer months.

Daylilies mostly prefer full sun, but some can tolerate partial shade as long as they get at least six hours of sunshine per day.

When searching for the right daylilies for your garden, consider these few things. How tall will they get? Do you want them for a backdrop in your beds or a front border? What colors will best suit your existing landscape? Do you want a re-bloomer? What will the height of the foliage be?

Daylilies form dense clumps and, although not essential, should be divided every few years in order for them to perform their best.

Dividing your daylilies should be done in early fall in order for the plants to become established before the winter sets in. If you live in a part of the country with a hot climate, be sure to trim back the leaves about one-third, so the plants will not require as much moisture. Divide your daylilies by digging up the clumps and separating the crowns. Be careful not to damage the roots in this process. The new plants can then be replanted in another location or shared with your gardening friends.

Some daylilies make great cut flowers. Choose a scape with several buds on it and place in a vase of water. As each blossom fades, remove it and another one will open.


If I had labeled them all when I planted them, then I would have a record of this unknown cultivar.

Finally, on daylilies, please remember to label or map your daylilies so you will always have a reference to their names. Please don’t make the mistake of saying, "Aw, I’ll remember that." You won’t. Trust me.

Month Three. Again, there is no room for a picture of the gourd garden. I will say, though, we have added a new PVC arbor that has been in the box since 1999. We have also planted a variety of beans. Pictures coming soon!

Gardening rocks my world! And daylilies are low maintenance plants that keep producing year-after-year. Go get some today from your local independent garden shop or your local Quality Co-op.

If you have any questions or comments regarding daylilies or other things discussed in this column, email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Become a fan of Home Grown Tomatoes on Facebook and keep up with the latest news. Tell all your friends, too!