Vermont Garden Journal: Keep Blooms All Summer With Daylilies

Apr 19, 2019

If there ever was a sure thing in the perennial flower world, it's the daylily. Unlike the lilium or "Easter Lily," hemerocallis or daylilies are easy to grow.

There are literally hundreds of daylily varieties to choose from. It's best to go to a farm or nursery specializing in daylilies when they're in bloom to select your favorites.

There are many variations beyond the color of the bloom. Lilies with a flower scape up to three feet high is called "Itsy Bitsy." Some varieties have evergreen leaves. The flowers can be huge, small, spider-like, flat, bi-colored, curved, single, double... you get the idea.

The type of daylilies I like are the rebloomers. These started with the classic "Stella D'Oro" 40 years ago and now there are many variations. Daylilies are true to their name, because the flowers literally last only one day. Reblooming daylilies flower continuously, more or less all summer long. The keys to keeping rebloomers blooming are watering and deadheading. Drought will slow down flower production, but deadheading is even more important. Every third day, religiously deadhead not just the blossoms, but the ovary behind the bloom. This may be tedious, but will result in your reblooming daylilies producing flowers all summer. Otherwise, your daylilies can turn into a heap of brown flower scapes, yellowing leaves and an occasional flower.

Other than that, daylilies are easy. They like full-to-part-sun, well-drained soil and compost in spring. You can divide daylilies easily in spring, summer or fall, they don't seem to care. Also, daylilies are edible. Use the unopened buds in stir fries, stuff the open flowers as you would squash blossoms and dig up the clump and roast the tubers. Just make sure you're eating daylilies and not lilium lilies. Those are toxic.

Now for this week's tip: brush your tomato seedlings 10 times, twice a day to keep them short and stocky. A short, stocky tomato seedling will grow better than a tall, leggy one.