I want to start this chapter with the phrase: “agronomy of daylilies is very simple”, to remember once again about the flower of the intelligent lazybones, and to wrap up. But, unfortunately, it will not! Although at first glance – what is difficult? What pitfalls await the gardener on the thorny path of creating a garden of daylilies? Let’s try to figure it out. Most of the mistakes in the cultivation of hybrid daylilies came to us from…books. After all, what do they usually write about growing daylilies? “An unpretentious, rhizomatous plant that grows well in semi-shade and shade in slightly acidic or neutral soil.” That’s pretty much it, but, as is often the case, the details that are occasionally omitted are very important. Yes, it is true for many common species daylilies and older varieties that they need penumbra or even shade. Yes, somewhere in Florida or here in Krasnodar Territory, even modern varieties will do well in such conditions. But we don’t live in California or around Melbourne! Therefore:
1. We plant daylilies in full sun. We make an exception only for species and for old varieties which have not yet had time to be infused with the “blood” of more southern daylilies from mountain China and southern Japan. In a light shade, we can plant varieties with very dark coloration, which we have referred above to the group of “dark” and “purple” – so that their flowers do not burn out in the sun.
2. The soil must be very fertile. According to the mechanical composition, medium soil is preferable: if you have sand, it is desirable to “weight” the soil by adding a little clay or loam, mature compost and decomposed cow or horse manure. Compost is better not to spare – daylily leaf grows quickly enough, and therefore likes to “eat”.
Well, if you got a plot with heavy, clay soil, then ease it by adding coarse sand, again, mature compost and decomposed manure. The last two components, in addition to increasing fertility, also good soil structure.
Where necessary, it is necessary to take care of the right acidity for the daylily of the valley. The optimal value is 6.5 pH. That is, if the soil is excessively acidic, add dolomite flour, if the reaction is alkaline, add acidic peat.
On light soils, it is recommended to add deoxidizing compositions annually, because they are quickly washed out with rain and melt water.
3. Planting pit. Let it not seem strange, but this is a very important point in the agrotechnics of the daylily leaf. What do we usually see when we buy a stub of a daylily leaf? Most often it is a rhizome with cut roots. And it is natural that under this root we dig a hole and appropriate – at best on the bayonet of a spade, but more often – even less. It is desirable to bring the depth of the planting hole at least to 40 cm for medium-growing varieties, and up to 50 cm for high-growing ones. The pit is filled with fertile substrate – as already mentioned above, compost and decomposed manure will not be superfluous at all. Fertile soil is poured in a well-known way – a mound, on the “slopes” of which the roots are spread. Water can be poured directly in the process of planting, and you can pour well and immediately after planting. Holding the rhizome so that the root neck was at ground level or would be sunk a centimeter or two (no more!!!), we fill the hole with soil, tamp it well, and that’s it! When planting you can add a handful of Kemira universal (if planting is carried out in spring or in the first half of summer) or Kemira Autumn (if planting in autumn).
4. Care of the planted plant. Well, here it is – the stub is planted in a place where your daylily pad will be very comfortable, everything is observed when planting, and it seems that you can rest easy. Yes, you really can. But here are a few tips that will help to minimize the necessary further care of the future favorite of your garden.
Watering. To understand how to water daylilies, and whether to water them at all, let’s remember what kind of roots they have. And here they are: with pronounced thickenings, which are designed to store water. From this we conclude: Daylilies are water-loving plants, but they can also stay dry for quite a long time. And if water appeared, it is stored in these thick roots. Further: the roots are large, highly branched, going deep into the ground. Consequently, we need abundant but infrequent watering during the driest time of summer. Water so that water reaches the suction roots, located on the periphery of the root system. Of course, young, newly planted bushes should be watered often enough – so that the roots are constantly in a slightly moist state. This is especially true for light, sandy soils, which quickly and easily dry out. That’s how, knowing the structure of the root system of the daylily leaf, you can learn how to water it correctly!
Feeding. A very difficult and controversial question. Indeed, is it possible to give the same recommendations for different soils, for plants of different ages, for different regions of our country? It’s like if you ask: “How to feed a man?” It is quite reasonable to ask – which one? Adult or child, sick or healthy, resting or active. To make it simpler, we can say this: a small daylily-of-the-valley bush just planted in fertile, heavy soil can be left alone until next year. Conversely, a mature, overgrown bush at the beginning of the growing season on sandy soil simply needs to be fertilized with a full mineral fertilizer. But in spite of all the above, still need to give some recommendations on the issue of feeding. We will start with the needs of this plant for additional nutrition in a particular part of the year.
May. As early starters, daylilies begin to grow their leaves. This rapid growing season requires a lot of nutrition, mostly nitrogen. So we feed nitrogen at this time – at least with urea. Just don’t overdo it, and remember what kind of soil you have!
June. Most varieties are getting ready to flower. This is a very important moment in the life of a plant. This is where we help our pets with a full complex fertilizer, such as Kemira. After flowering, the daylily comes a short resting period, then the plant starts growing again. At the same time, flower buds are laid for next year’s blooming. At this time, fertilization is also necessary, this time with phosphorus-potassium. You can choose Kemira autumnal. Do not forget to water well after fertilizing.
And in the same section we would like to remind you that the correct acidity of the soil is important for daylilies. Do not forget in time to deoxidize or cleavage it. Incidentally, dolomite flour is not only a very good deoxidizer, it also has magnesium, which is vital for the normal life of many plants, not just daylily plants.
Mulching. Daylilies respond very well to mulching. You can mulch the earth around the bushes of grass clippings, peat or pine bark. By doing so we achieve reduced weed growth, less heating of the soil on hot days and better moisture retention.
Repotting. In principle, daylilies can be transplanted at any warm time of the year. Another thing is how and when to do it with the least loss to the plant. The best time: early spring (very beginning of vegetation) and early autumn – September. It is acceptable to transplant at other times as well.
There can be several reasons for transplanting: the plant has aged (and this can happen 10-12 years after planting), you don’t like the composition of plants that was created, you want to share a “piece” of this variety with some of your friends. What do we do? We dig out the bush, inspect the roots – no rotten, damaged, and put our daylily in a shady place. If the roots get a little weathered, it will only be better (remember how fleshy they are) – there will be less reason for rotting. If the transplanting coincides with the end of the growing season, it is quite possible to cut the leaves to a height of 10-12 centimeters, the plant will soon go to winter rest anyway. We also cut the leaves if the daylily leaf moves somewhere outside of its “home”. Well, if we are transplanting within the garden plot, in the middle of summer, when you don’t want to cut back such beautiful leaves, you don’t have to do this at all. Just shade the transplanted specimen well, and water it abundantly. And in a few days the wilted leaves will rise again, and the plant will endure this procedure without loss to itself.
Preparation for winter. There is no special preparation for winter for daylilies. They are quite resilient perennials that can easily tolerate even very low temperatures. Yes, in extreme winters they can suffer, but still more often these winter lesions are not fatal. The question often arises: when to trim the leaves – in the fall or spring. Both options have their pros and cons. Naturally, the longer the leaves remain uncut, the better – the process of photosynthesis goes on, the plant receives additional nutrients, you can leave everything as it is until spring. But there is so much to do in the garden in spring that it is a shame to waste precious spring time on trimming wilted foliage! But that’s not the main thing: If you don’t hurry with the trimming in spring, the old leaves will wither and make it hard for the young leaves to break through the rather dense layer of plant debris. So, it’s up to you, based on your personal preference. Another argument for leaving leaves until spring is that the old leaves supposedly hold back the snow. Well, it’s not an argument at all! If you have a property that is open to all winds, you can just throw a few spruce paws over your flowerbeds to hold back the snow.
Should I cover it or not? Yes, it is worth doing a light cover with the same spruce paws for better snow retention, but only for new plantings, and especially for this year’s fall plantings. In subsequent years, the plant adapts to the new living conditions, and in the vast majority of cases comes out of winter without loss. If you have the opportunity to at least periodically toss snow on your daylily plantings, that would be just fine. But if you don’t, it’s no problem either – daylilies are fairly undemanding and hardy plants.
A few little tips to make the daylilies even prettier and really look like favourites in your garden.
Remove the faded flowers. A daylily bush with rags of old flowers hanging from its flower stalks looks very unkempt. Performing this simple operation will add neatness and tidiness to your flower beds.
If you are not going to do seed propagation of daylilies, then cut off the flower stalks when the seed box appears. Firstly, the plant will not waste energy in setting seeds, which is a good thing in itself. Secondly, the seeds can get on the ground, germinate, and a new daylily leafless plant will emerge. And, thirdly – bare flower stalks do not beautify the plant at all.
Sometimes it happens that in the spring, some of the daylily bushes are as if squeezed out of the ground – this most often happens with plantings of the past fall. The best thing to do is to dig the bush out and plant it again, tamping down the planting place well. The sometimes recommended backfilling of the soil in such cases does not give the desired effect.
As said, the agricultural technique of growing daylilies is not complicated, and if you follow the simple rules, the plant will develop well and bloom for a long time to our joy.