How to Grow Hemerocallis Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Daylily

Members of the Hemerocallis genus are hardy perennials that have flower stems that reach heights from 30 cm to 1.5 m (1 to 5 feet) in height.

They have large trumpet shaped flowers of yellow, apricot of orange. These sit atop long stems, and a base of strap shaped leaves.

The time that they bloom in the garden is dependent upon the Hemerocallis species. This ranges from the middle of spring to the first months of autumn.

A more common name for the Hemerocallis plant is the Daylily.

Commonly grown cultivars include Hemerocallis Happy returns; Pardon me; Stella de oro; Chicago apache; Strawberry candy; Rosy returns; Little business; Little grapette; Hemerocallis cranberry baby; and over 4,000 others

Hemerocallis by wackybadger.

Lavender Stardust
Hemerocallis Lavender Stardust by F. D. Richards.

Hemerocallis Flower Video

The following video shows pictures of commonly grown Hemerocallis

Plant Specific Growing Hemerocallis Guides

How to Grow Hemerocallis fulva

There are many names used for the perennial Hemerocallis fulva species and its hybrids, with perhaps the most frequently used being Tawny Daylily, Common Daylily, Orange Daylily, tiger Daylily, Ditch Lily, Tiger Lily, Eve's thread, and Fulvious Daylily. It is no surprise that it has so many common names when there are over 40,000 cultivars available.

Hemerocallis fulva are clump-forming plants that carry beautiful un-fragranced orange flowers in the middle of summer. Although the plant resembles a lily plant, it varies from it in many ways; its stems are leafless, and it does not have spotted blossoms.

The leaves of daylily are sword-shaped and may be up to 90 cm (3 feet) in length. While, the plant itself can stand as tall as 180 cm (6 feet). Flowers are upward facing, and are clustered on the top of stems. The flowers consist three petals, and three petal-sepals. Foliage is attractive.

Hemerocallis fulva
Tiger Daylily, Orange Daylily (Hemerocallis fulva) by Swallowtail garden Seeds.

Although a commonly grown plant, introduced into the USA in the 1800s’, the Tawny Daylily is classed as an invasive species in many areas, especially the North-east of the USA, where it is often seen nearby to old and abandoned homes. Plants can rapidly spread through their rhizomes.

So, if you plan to grow Hemerocallis fulva in your garden be sure to grow it in controlled area or containers where the roots can’t spread. They perform best when grown in full sun or partially shaded areas of the garden that have a well-drained, average soil. Daylily care involves deadheading flowers once the blooms are spent, and dividing to prevent over-crowding and to increase vigor. Although they are aggressive growers, this can be used to your advantage, as they are able to crowd out weeds. Daylilies are not susceptible to pests.

As many of the Hemerocallis fulva plants growing in gardens are hybrids they do not produce viable seed. It is quite difficult to control growing Hemerocallis plants as they spread underground, and it often requires plowing the surrounding area and removing all of the roots by first raking and then removing any surviving infestations by hand.

Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus

The Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus species is commonly known as the Yellow Daylily or Lemon Daylily. The species is synonymous with Hemerocallis flava, and was one of the original daylilies used in horticulture. It is native of East Asia and SE Europe.

They are perennials that reach about 80 cm (32 inches) in height after two or three years of growth.

Plants bloom in the early summer. Their trumpet-shaped flowers reach about 9 cm (4 inches) in diameter, are fragrant (lemon smell), and clustered in groups of three to nine flowers. They have long been used in East Asian cuisine.

Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus
Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus (Lemon Day lily) by Col Ford and Natasha de Vere

Grow in a sunny or partially shaded part of the garden. They perform best in an average to poor moist soil with good drainage. They make good ground-cover, and can be used to mask out leaves.

Hemerocallis citrine

Common names for Hemerocallis citrine plants include Long Yellow Day Lily and Citron daylily. It has a strong citrus fragrance and flowers are often used in Chinese and Japanese cooking.

The plant is actually cultivated for culinary purposes.

It is a native of East Asia, where it grows close to forests and in grassy plains below 2,000 metres.

Hemerocallis citrine bloom at night from early to mid- summer, and the pleasant fragrance attract butterflies to the garden.

Hemerocallis citrine
Dried Hemerocallis citrine (Golden needles) sold on the market for culinary use by ahenobarbus

Plants require the same growing conditions, and can be used in the garden, as described for the previous Hemerocallis plants. They are clump forming and reach about 115 cm in height (45 inches).

All three of the above Hemerocallis species can be used to prevent soil erosion, are tolerant of rabbits, and can even be used to improve air quality.

Hemerocallis Plant Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Daylily
Family: A member of the Xanthorrhoeaceae family.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
Height: 12 to 60 inches (30 to 150 cm).
Native: Europe. Asia.
Growing Region: Zones 3 to 9.

Flowers: Species dependent: Middle of spring and/or summer and/or early autumn.
Flower Details: Very diverse. Orange, apricot, yellow and many others. Trumpets. Three petals.
Foliage: Long linear strap-like. Opposite.

Growing / Sowing Outside:
Roots: 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm); Seeds: 1/8 inch. Start of spring - before the last frost; can be started towards the end of summer in warmer areas. Spacing 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 cm). Mix seeds in a moist growing medium, place in a freezer bag, then stratify by refrigeration for six weeks.
Sow Inside: Germination time: two weeks to two months. Temperature: 60 to 70°F (16 to 21°C). Nine or ten weeks in advance. Transplant outdoors following the last frost.

Requirements and Hemerocallis care: Full sunlight; partial shade in hot areas. Can grow in most soils. For best results: Soil pH 5.5 to 7.0; Rich soil, moist soil. Feed towards the end of winter and again a few weeks later in spring. Cut back to the ground once flowering has completed. Propagate: Can be divided throughout the year.
Miscellaneous: The scientific name Hemerocallis means beautiful (kalos) day (hēmera) in Greek. Flowers are often used in Chinese cooking where they are known as golden needles.

How to Grow Daylily (Hemerocallis) plants

Hemerocallis can be grown either from seeds or roots. If you have roots, then plant them at a depth of about 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 inches) in early spring. If you have Daylily seeds, then sow them at a depth of about 3 mm (1/8 inch) well before the last frost of spring.

Daylilies should be grown in sunny or partially shaded areas depending upon your location - cooler climates: grow daylilies in full sun; hotter areas supply partial shade.

They like to grow in a soil that is rich and moist, and a slightly acidic to neutral pH (5.5 to 7).

If you plan to first grow daylily indoors then you will first need to place the seeds (within soil) in a black plastic bag, then put in the fridge for six weeks.

The daylily seeds should then be kept at a temperature of 15 to 20 degrees Celsius (59 to 68°F) for germination.

Hemerocallis species normally take from two to seven weeks to germinate.

The plants should be planted out at about 40 cm apart, and will spread naturally.

Perennial Daylily
Hemerocallis Daylily Perennials Flower by Va.Rose, CC

Caring for Daylily and other Hemerocallis plants in the Garden

Once growing you can obtain more Hemerocallis plants by division.

Daylily should be fed towards the end of winter and at the start of spring. They should be watered during prolonged dry spells.

Once Hemerocallis has finished flowering, cut the plants inflorescent stems back to the ground.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Hemerocallis plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ Lily growing guides: How to grow Crinum, Brimeura plant, and Lilium plants.