Frequently Asked Questions About Hemerocallis
The most frequently asked questions about hemerocallis are:
How do I grow hemerocallis?
Hemerocallis are generally easy to grow and trouble-free. See our guide to growing them successfully
How do you pronounce "hemerocallis"?
The name comes from the Greek words hemera, meaning day, and kalos, meaning beautiful so the word is pronounced as hem-er-o-cal-iss. The stress is on the first syllable and 'cal' rhymes with 'pal' and not 'pall'.
Are daylilies sterile?
Very few daylilies are sterile. By August 2013, hybridizers had registered just over 75,000 cultivars of which some 3,500 were listed in the Royal Horticultural Society's online Plant Finder. These cultivars are the result of either deliberate pollination carried out by hybridizers or of natural pollination by insects. It is true that some daylilies make better parents than others.
Do lily beetles attack daylilies?
No, they don't. The lily beetle's life cycle depends on lilies (Latin names Lilium and Cardiocrinum) and fritillaries (Latin name Fritillaria). The Latin name for daylilies is Hemerocallis and lily beetles do not need them for any part of their life cycle.
Why are the leaves on my daylily distorted?
This may be due to spring sickness, which is thought to be caused by a recently identified species of Bitrytis.
How To Grow Hemerocallis (Daylilies)
The daylilies of today come in a wide range of colours, shapes and sizes. They are also easy to grow. This enchanting perennial will grow in most conditions, but will thrive in fertile soil in sun. Too much shade will result in fewer and inferior flowers with the flower stems (scapes) leaning towards the light. Daylilies will produce more flowers when grown in good soil. Daylilies appreciate ample amounts of water and an annual mulch will help them through a dry summer.
Hemerocallis should be planted anytime during their growing season (spring through to early autumn). Periods of drought should of course be avoided; however, if they do become dried out, soak well before planting.
When planting daylilies, dig a hole larger than the root system you are planting. The best way to do this is to make a mound of soil, (preferably mixed with well rotted compost or manure) in the prepared planting hole and spread the roots out over the mound much as you would if you were planting asparagus. Check that the crown of the plant is about one inch below soil level-if it is buried too deeply flowering may be inhibited.
Make sure there are no air pockets left under the plant, firming the soil gently but avoid treading as it is easy to damage the roots. Then all you need to do is water your new plant. Daylilies appreciate the added moisture retentiveness of a good mulch of compost in spring.
Daylilies do respond to feeding. A fertiliser applied in spring with a low nitrogen content will help the plants flower production. If you wish to cut the foliage back in autumn or spring to “tidy them up” this does no apparent harm and many growers favour this approach.
Daylilies will form a clump eventually, which can be divided. If the flowers are not as prolific as the previous year, the plant probably needs dividing. Bear in mind that dividing a huge clump can be hard work and dividing sooner than later is wise and you can swap plants with other daylily lovers! Division is best done in spring or early autumn. The foliage can be cut back on new divisions and long or damaged roots can be trimmed back which helps to reduce the stress of division.
By planting a mixture of early, mid and late season varieties it is possible to have flowers throughout the summer. As a bonus, many daylilies can rebloom thus extending the season still further.
The modern daylily is worthy of the best position in the border