Cultivation Of Daylilies

Daylilies are known to be one of the easiest perennial plants to cultivate, subject to fulfilling some vital requirements. However, you may face some problems while growing a number of inbred daylily cultivars, particularly those that have intricate color patterns and extensive adornment along the edge of the petals. This usually occurs when you grow these cultivars in climatic conditions that are extremely dissimilar to the conditions prevailing in the place where they were originally bred. Having said this, nearly all species and varieties of daylilies will adapt without any difficulty in any common garden. However, you need to ensure that they are grown in a fertile soil and positioned in a sunlit area of your garden.

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Soil

It has been found that daylilies raise best in friable rich loam soil that is well-drained, but also moist. Daylilies grow best in soils with a pH of roughly 6. However, these plants can be grown successfully in soils on both sides of neutral. Daylilies can endure chalk, sandy conditions, and heavy clay or loose soils, subject to the fact that they are provided with adequate organic materials. These materials need to be blended with the soil along with sufficient mulch.

Daylilies loathe heavy clay soils most, because this type of soil generally does not drain well and this may result in rotting of the plants. However, even when you grow daylilies in heavy clay, you can improve its ability to drain water by adding plenty of organic manure and coarse grit. Both these materials should be added in equal proportions by volume. However, you may require land drains in extremely heavy soils. Many daylily growers often employ an alternative strategy. They plant daylilies in elevated beds that are filled with imported compost or top soil.

When soil becomes loose and drain freely, even clay soils can turn out to be a perfect growing medium for daylilies, as it is very rich in nutrient content. On the other hand, though sandy soils have excellent drainage, they do not have much nutrient. What is worse is even the little amount of nutrient contained by sandy soils is leached out quickly. Similar to clay soils, the drainage capability of sandy soils can also be greatly improved by including liberal amounts of organic substances, which helps it to retain more water. In addition, you need to mulch the soil and provide it with additional nutrients on a regular basis by augmenting foliar feeds during the beginning of spring and also when the buds start forming.

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Planting

There is no specific planting season for daylilies, as they can be sown almost throughout the year, on condition that the ground is open. However, people in different regions may prefer to plant daylilies in different seasons owing to the prevailing climatic conditions in their respective areas. There are many daylily growers who suggest that planting should preferably be undertaken during spring, particularly in areas where the winter months are severely cold. If daylilies are planted in spring in such areas, they can establish themselves during the summer; thereby the roots will be healthy and robust before winter approaches. Towards the end of spring, when the daylilies are transplanted into their permanent positions in the garden, they will be ready to produce scapes, flowers, and seeds. In many cases, the plants will also rebloom in the same season. Cultivating daylilies in elevated temperatures inside a greenhouse may result in the production of atypical doubling of a number of daylilies, for instance "Elizabeth Salter".

Many other daylily growers have a preference to undertake planting in autumn, as the soil will be warm then after being heated by then throughout the summer. Planting daylilies during autumn will enable the plants to have very rapid root growth. Nearly all daylily roots grow best when the soil temperature ranges between 2°C and 18°C (35°F and 65°F) and stop growing when the soil temperature exceeds 18°C (65°F). However, it is worth mentioning here that the roots of daylilies that have been planted just recently grow more rapidly provided you fulfill their water requirements.

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If you are planting your daylilies in autumn, you need to do it no less than six weeks prior to the predicted commencement of frosts. Daylilies that have been in a dormant stage during the summer will have a new spurt of growth towards the end of summer and beginning of autumn if they have sufficient moisture. However, you should try to avoid planting evergreen daylilies that have been received recently from places having relatively hotter climatic conditions during the autumn. It would be prudent to pot them only when the warm weather is back. In regions where the climatic conditions are extremely hot, you can delay the planting of daylilies till the middle of autumn, since there will be no threats of heavy frosting after that.

Here is a word of caution: never undertake planting of daylilies on very hot summer days. However, if it is necessary, just planted daylilies ought to be protected from the sun's direct rays.

While planting young daylilies you need to keep a space of anything between 60 cm and 90 cm (2 feet and 3 feet) between two plants. This is said to be ideal for daylilies, as they would gradually form clumps and remain in their position of several years together. If you require an immediate color display, you should plant the daylilies roughly 45 cm (18 inches) apart. When you are planting daylilies so close to one another, you will need to undertake division quite early.

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Before you plant your daylilies, you need to make a planting hole, which ought to be no less than twice as big as the roots of the plants. Moreover, you should also ensure that the planting hole is by no means less than 45 cm (18 inches) in diameter and not less than 23 cm (9 inches) in depth. This would allow the roots to accommodate well inside the planting hole and also expand freely. Dig out the soil and break up the planting hole thoroughly at its base. Add loads of farmyard manure or garden compost to the soil prior to putting it back into the planting hole. When you do this it will help to supply all the nitrogen (N) that will be required by the plants immediately. You should also add a fertilizer having rich phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) content, which will be taken up by the daylily plants slowly every day. Since nitrogen moves very rapidly through the soil, it will be necessary to be replenished more often.

You will notice that generally roots of nearly all daylilies grow downwards and outwards. As a result of this, an area just beneath the crown does not have any root. Therefore, it is advisable that you leave a small soil mound in the middle of the planting hole, so that it fills up the space where there is no root. After you have positioned the daylily on top of the soil mound, you need to gently press the soil in the region of the roots. In case, the roots of the plant have turned out to be pot bound, you will require doing some teasing to make them free and spread out on top of the mound of soil at the center of the planting hole.

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When planting daylilies, you should also ensure to get rid of all dead as well as damaged roots. Also make sure that you plant the crown at the same level at which it was planted in the place from where it arrived. Ideally, the crown should be planted sufficiently deep to cover up the fan's non-vegetative part and it should never be planted more than 2.5 cm (1 inch) deep in places having snow cover. If you plant deeper than 2.5 cm in such areas, the plants may possibly not bloom. After positioning the daylily in the planting hole, fill the hole again using garden soil blended with a good potting mix. Ensure that the mound of soil is pressed down firmly prior to planting the daylily, as the crown may die if it goes down too low into the soil.

If your daylily plants come with recently formed scapes, you need to cut them off with a view to ensure that the entire energy of the plant goes towards developing a healthy and robust root system. In case, the new scapes emerge two months after planting the daylilies, just keep one of them, as this will help you to verify the identity of the plant. If you transplant daylilies during their flowering or reproductive periods, you will require giving them a while before they can restart their active growth. On the other hand, if you transplant the daylilies just ahead of or during their active growth, they usually do not require much time to re-establish themselves. Irrespective of the period in which they are transplanted, daylilies may take about three years before they are able to display their complete potentialities.

Grooming after blooming

If you are growing daylilies or want to cultivate them, you should know that the presence of dead as well as dying blooms on the plants are responsible for spoiling the beauty of a flowering daylily clump. Perhaps, they spoil the beauty of the plant most. Currently, breeders are engaged in developing self-cleaning varieties of daylilies, but they are yet to be successful in their mission. Therefore, it is very important for you to remove the spend blooms manually very often and whenever necessary. Several growers get rid of the spent blooms very early every morning and doing this helps them to remain in touch with how their plants are performing. What would be even better is to deadhead during the later part of the evening. This will prevent the deadhead from liquefying into a muggy mess. In addition, this will also prevent the possibility of knocking off the blooms that are about to open.

When a scape has completed producing flowers, it appears unattractive. Therefore, unless you require the pods for hybridizing purposes, you should essentially remove them from the plant. Remove them by cutting them close to the ground.

After the flowering season is complete for the season, you need to somewhat neaten both the evergreen as well as semi-evergreen daylily varieties till the new foliage appears in the subsequent spring. After the new foliage come up, you can remove some of the old leaves of the plants safely. However, you should remove all perishing dormant foliage of the plants immediately with a view to keep your garden shipshape for the winter and avoid snails and slugs from over-wintering on the decaying foliage.

Straining: The sap exuded by the spent flowers may stain hands as well as clothing while undertaking the deadheading process. However, you will be able to successfully get rid of such stains right way provided you soak the clothes in a potent detergent and clean them properly. In order to completely get rid of the stains, you will require making several attempts. Similarly, you should wash your hands in any patented heavy-duty cleaner to remove the stains.

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