Few plants are as easy to grow as daylilies, which thrive in our climate. Daylilies feature strap-like, arching foliage that provides strong texture in the garden from spring through fall. These graceful leaves surround sturdy stalks of flowers that add an exotic element to the garden. The trumpet-shaped blooms appear in a multitude of colors -- from pastel tones to fire-engine reds and rich purples. The name daylily indicates that individual flowers normally last for only a day, although some new hybrids last two or three days. Each plant produces many flowers, so there rarely is a shortage of color.
You can expect great returns on your investment in daylilies. They grow vigorously and ask little in return from the gardener. Plant daylilies in sunny areas of the garden. They tolerate light shade, but bloom more freely in full sun. Amend soil at planting time by incorporating organic material to a depth of 12 to 14 inches. Daylilies are somewhat drought tolerant, but occasional deep watering results in better growth and bloom. Daylilies increase in size yearly, and may need to be divided every three to four years. This task is easier to accomplish before the individual clumps become too large and difficult to handle. Division can be done in the spring as new growth emerges, or late in the summer after flowering.
Nearly 30,000 daylily hybrid cultivars are available. Varieties vary by overall plant size. Some are compact and short -- 12 to 14 inches, while larger varieties can grow much larger -- 36 to 40 inches. Darker red and purple-flowered varieties may fade quickly in very sunny areas, so you may want to place them in lightly shaded areas or areas that are shaded in the afternoon. Evergreen varieties of daylilies are not reliably hardy in Colorado.
For more information, see the following Colorado State University Extension fact sheets:
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Updated Monday, July 21, 2014