How to Grow Daylilies, ‘the Perfect Perennial’


If ever there was a competition for the “perfect perennial,” daylilies would be at the top of the list. Nearly carefree, pest and disease resistant, tough and adaptable, drought-tolerant, and gorgeous, daylilies are perfect whether you’re planting a show garden or naturalizing an eroding hillside.

Here are some tips for selecting, planting, and caring for daylilies.

‘Jersey Spider’ daylily arches gracefully toward the sun.

About Daylilies

Daylilies are clumping perennials with fibrous roots. They are not true lilies but instead belong to the genus Hemerocallis, which means “beauty for a day.” And while it’s true that daylily blooms last only one day, they make up for it by producing hundreds of blooms throughout the season.

With over 35,000 cultivated varieties of daylilies, the choices are mind-boggling! Planning a daylily garden can be great fun – I know one gardener who sought out daylily varieties named for her grandchildren, while other gardeners collect varieties with particularly unusual or surprising blossoms. Visit a daylily farm, or consult a mail-order catalogue, for interesting daylilies for your own collection.

When selecting daylilies for your garden, you have many choices, including:

‘Jean Swann’ daylily.

  • Flower color: All shades of yellow, cream, orange, pink, red, and purple are available; along with multicolored varieties that can be bicolor, dotted, banded, edged, or tipped.
  • Flower type: Daylily flowers come in various sizes and have many shapes, including circular, triangular, star-shaped, spider-shaped, and ruffled blossoms with single, double, or triple petals.
  • Bloom habit: Both diurnal (day blooming) and nocturnal (night blooming) varieties are available.

  • Triple blossom daylily.

  • Bloom time: Early to late summer, with classifications including Early, Midseason, and Late. Ever-blooming varieties are also available. In general, each plant will bloom for about a month, so choose a variety of bloom times for all-summer color.
  • Foliage habit: Dormant (dying to the ground in the winter), Evergreen, and Semi-Evergreen types are available.
  • Size: From 6 inches to 4 feet in height.

‘Spider to the Fly’ is another multicolored daylily.

Growing Conditions

  • Hardiness: Zones 3-9, depending on variety.
  • Soil: Daylilies will grow in most any soil but bloom better if compost is added to improve drainage and nutrients.
  • Light: Full sun (6 hours per day).
  • Moisture: Drought-tolerant, but blooms better with an inch of water a week.
  • Space: Daylilies don’t like competition, and the clumps quickly spread to fill in large areas, so give them plenty of space.


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9 Comments on “How to Grow Daylilies, ‘the Perfect Perennial’”

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  • Julie Pratt Says:
    February 6th, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    What colour brings down that orange? Yellow or white? Thanks

  • Karen Says:
    June 5th, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    Does every bulb on the root of a daylily make a new lily?

  • Victoria Says:
    January 6th, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    I planted daylilies last summer, they grew and even bloomed once with one stem of flowers and thats it. For the past 9 months they didn’t add in size at all. What can be done to promote their growth? I fertilize them and water regularly.

  • Deb Says:
    August 23rd, 2014 at 9:10 am

    What can I do with the seeds I get from my day lilies? I did just take them off and planted in other spots.still have a ton of flowers. What should I have done if anything with them. I want more next year.

  • Tennille Medbury Says:
    June 10th, 2014 at 10:20 am

    No deer here

  • Clemmie Says:
    June 9th, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    deer dont touch my yellow lillies but bite buds off rest. what to do ?

  • Tennille Medbury Says:
    June 9th, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    Something is ripping up my blooms. Seven, a dozen home made thrip, slug killers aren’t working.At night they are intact buds in the morning the can be slimy, ripped, help!

  • Cary Peterson Says:
    November 13th, 2010 at 2:15 am

    Lillie you may have what’s called daylily rust. It is a fungus and can be controlled by spraying but is not eliminated completely.

  • Lillie Thomas Says:
    October 19th, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    what is needed to make green leaves. Mine are plagued with 1000’s of tiny yellow dots until the whole leaf is yellow. New growth is green but quickly turns yellow and dry.

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How to Grow Daylilies, ‘the Perfect Perennial’