Daylilies: 24 Hour Beauties

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They grow by the roadside, marking the spot of long-gone homesteads. They sprout on rocky banks, pop up in random fields, and thrive in most any soil they are planted. They are Hemerocallis: the lovely daylily. The word daylily comes from two Greek words meaning “beauty” and “day.” Literally, their beauty lasts only a day. Each plant, however, produces an abundance of buds and to the casual observer, the flowers appear unchanged from mid-summer to early fall.

I love daylilies for many reasons: they’re beautiful, graceful, and most importantly, they can grow in almost any kind of soil in almost any kind of climate. While my hostas are being systematically devoured by slugs, and my lavender is still complaining of the unusually cold winter, the daylilies are blooming in all of their melon-colored glory!

Although they complain little, daylilies prefer at least 6 hours of sun each day with a generous amount of afternoon shade to keep their colors from fading. As with most plants, they prefer moist, well-drained soil, but I have seen them thrive in marshy areas which hold water even during the most dry season.

Daylilies tend to grow in clumps, and sometimes it’s necessary to divide the roots. Experts say that the best time to divide daylilies is early spring or directly after they finish flowering. Although dividing plants is a somewhat scary process (for me — a non-green thumb gardener), the heartiness of the plant takes some of the fear away! For best results, dig out the entire plant and gently tug the fans- or stems- apart. Each new plant should have 2 or 3 stems.  Cut the foliage back to about 5 inches and carefully replant each division about an inch below the ground line.

So if you want to grow a gorgeous flower garden but lack the time to pamper the plants, daylilies are for you! They ask very little, but give much in return.