Daylilies produce large, colorful flowers that will return year after year with minimal care—even in drought conditions. Here’s how to plant, grow, and care for daylilies in your garden, including end-of-season cleanup and dividing after blooming.
The daylily is an amazingly low-maintenance (almost no maintenance) perennial—easy to grow, virtually disease- and pest-free, and able to survive drought, uneven sunlight, and poor soil. Plus, there are thousands of beautiful daylilies to choose from. Combine early, mid-season, late blossoming varieties, and repeat bloomers to have daylilies in flower from late spring through the first frost of fall.
The daylily’s botanical name, Hemerocallis, comes from Greek hemera (“day”) and kallos (“beauty”). The name is appropriate, since each flower lasts only one day!
Despite their name, daylilies are not “true lilies” and grow from fleshy roots. True lilies grow from onion-like bulbs and are of the genus Lilium, as Asiatic and Oriental lilies are. In the case of daylilies, leaves grow from a crown and the flowers form on leafless stems—called “scapes”—which rise above the foliage. Each scape has 12-15 buds on it, and a mature plant can have 4 to 6 scapes, giving the plant a long bloom period.
If you see a height listed alongside a daylily variety, this refers to the length of the scape. Some can reach 6 feet tall!