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Daylilies: Your Complete Guide | Updated for 2018


All American Chief Daylily

When To Plant Daylily Bulbs:

While there are no specific dates during the year that govern when you should plant or transplant daylilies for the best results, there are a few general guidelines.

The best time to plant your daylilies will primarily depend on where you are located geographically speaking.

  • In the northern climates, it is best to give your lilies a little head start and get them in the ground first thing in the spring.  This way they have plenty of time to get established before the next cold snap.
  • In southern climates, you will have more flexibility.  You can plant your new daylilies in both spring and fall.  

When you buy daylilies online you will want to plan on getting those new plants in the ground as soon as possible, generally within a day or two.  This the main reason our plants are shipped Monday through Wednesday by priority mail.  The faster they get to you, the faster you can get them in the ground.  

Remember, these plants are super tough.  Use common sense when picking a time to plant your daylilies and you will be just fine.

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Transplanting Daylilies:

Daylilies are super tough and forgiving.  The same basic guidelines for planting daylilies will apply to transplanting daylilies  with one important caveat.  While spring a fall are generally the best times to transplant daylilies, if you can transplant in the spring you will stand an excellent chance of having your daylilies bloom that year.

It is perfectly normal to have newly transplanted daylilies wilt after transplanting, depending on how stressed they get.

Make sure soil temperatures are mild, space them 18" - 24" apart, and top dress with compost.

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All American Tiger Daylily

Daylily Colors:

Daylilies are available in a stunning array and variety of colors.  It is actually easier to list the colors the DO NOT exist yet. At this point the only two daylily colors that are missing from the spectrum are

  • Pure White
  • Pure Blue

Breeders are feverishly working to produce these two colors so stay tuned!

There are generally three parts of a daylily flower that may show color.

1. Flower Colors:  The overall color on the outer edges of the petals.  Here are some of the most common colors and shades you are likely to encounter.

  • Yellow: Lemon, bright yellow, gold, orange
  • Red: scarlet, carmine, tomato-red, maroon, wine-reds, blackish-reds.
  • Pink: pale pink, rose-pink, rose-red.
  • Purple: pale lavender, lilac, deep grape, violet.
  • Melon: pale cream shades, deep cantaloupe shades.

2. Throat Colors:  The area of the daylily flower nearing the center is called the throat. The throat color is usually different from the rest of the flower for most daylilies.  Here are the most common daylily throat colors.

  • A shade of green
  • Yellow
  • Gold
  • Orange
  • Apricot
  • Melon

3. Stamen and Anther Colors:  The stamens and anthers are the reproductive structures found iin the center of a daylily. Here are the common colors you are likely to find.

  • Stamen: light yellow, Greenish
  • Anther: Darker or black
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When Do Daylilies Bloom?

Here today, gone tomorrow.  Most Daylilies bloom as their name suggests, for one day only.  This is a little bit of a misnomer though because daylily blooming habits can be classified into three categories.

    1. Diurnal:  Blooms during the day
    2. Nocturnal: Blooms in the late afternoon, typically remaining open during the night
    3. Extended: Daylilies that bloom and stay open for at least 16 hours.  Both nocturnal and diurnal daylilies can be extended bloomers.
    Daylilies can be expected to bloom from early spring until frost, depending on your region and your climate. We have included a list of the terms many daylily growers will use to describe the blooming habits of different daylily varieties.
      • (EE) Extra Early Blooming: Daylilies that bloom first in the season.  Blooming can vary from March / April in the deep south, to May / June in northern climates.
      • (E) Early Blooming: Daylilies that bloom three to five weeks prior to peak bloom in your region.
      • (EM) Early Midseason Blooming: Daylilies that bloom one to three weeks before peak bloom for your region.
      • (M) Midseason: Daylilies that bloom at the peak of the daylily bloom in your region. Between regions, this could range from May to July.  On average, June is considered peak bloom.
      • (LM) Late Midseason: Daylilies that bloom one to three weeks peak bloom in your region.
      • (L) Late Blooming. Daylilies that bloom four to six weeks after the peak bloom in your region.
      • (VL) Very Late: Daylilies that are the last to bloom.  Depending on your region and climate these will bloom late summer in the south and fall in the Northern regions.
      • (Re) Reblooming: Daylilies that can be expected to bloom either once in the spring and again in the fall, or that will have a succession of blooms throughout the season.
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      Abbotts Magic Daylily

      Daylily Fertilizer

      Daylilies will benefit from any well balanced fertilizer or compost mixture.  A lot of growers and hobbyists will use a high quality pelletized 10-10-10 mixture.  This particular daylily fertilizer is easy to store and spread as well consistent in the results it produces.

      Well balanced liquid fertilizers and composted manure can also provide excellent results for your lilies.

      Make sure to have a soil test done prior to any fertilizer application.  This will help you choose a daylily fertlizer that will best compliment your soil profile.

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      When To Cut Back Daylilies

      Fall is the time to cut back daylilies when the foliage turns brown for dormant varieties and some semi-evergreen varieties.

      It's not necessary to cut the dead foliage back until the leaves are flush to the ground.  It is ok to leave a few inches.

      Make sure to remove any old scapes (bloom stalks) and other dead material.

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      Admirals Braid Daylily

      Daylily Care In The Fall

      When the glorious fall season rolls around there is always plenty to be done in the garden and daylilies are no exception.  Winterizing daylilies is easy and straight forward.

      In addition to cutting back your daylilies to within a few inches of the ground, making sure to remove any dead debris from the season.  It is also a great idea to mulch your daylilies. 

      Winterizing daylilies will provide three major benefits for your daylilies:

      1. Insulation from freezing winter temperatures.
      2. Preventing the soil from getting too dry and hardening.
      3. Laying a nutrient rich foundation for that early spring growth.

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