Daylily Planting & Growing Guide for North Carolina
Daylilies are very hardy perinnials. Most people find them very
rewarding—they’re easy to grow and your garden is different
literally every day! Daylilies grow very fast in the spring; during
bloom season they don’t grow much at all; then, in August
and September they begin growing again.
How do you plant daylilies?
Plant them the same depth they were planted in our garden. If there’s
a ball of soil with your plant, cover them to the top of the soil
line. For bare root plants, look for the coloration changes at the
base of the plant.
Do daylilies need full sun?
They’ll do best in full sun, but many will do very well in
partial shade. Most vigorous plants do better in partial shade than
their peers. Darker colors that will burn out in the sun don’t
fade as fast in the shade.
What about fertilizer?
Begin in February and use complete fertilizer 10-10-10, 19-19-19,
or 8-8-8. We use 8-8-24 in our garden. The very best is 13-13-13
Nutricote, but it’s very pricey at about $55 per 50# bag.
You’ll want to fertilize a minimum of twice per year in February
and August; with Nutricote, you can fertilize every 70 days. Do
not use fertilizer during the bloom season.
What about watering?
We irrigate every day; however, this is not necessary for the home
gardener. Generally, you’ll need to water only when your daylilies
are getting established or during drought. During wet years, it
will not be necessary to water; established flowers will live during
How do I lessen the effects of leaf streak, rust, and root
This is probably the most important factor in growing beautiful
daylilies! Keep the pH of the soil up around 6.5–6.8. When
used properly, lime will control more diseases for its cost than
anything on the market. Most North Carolina soils tend to be acid.
In this area, they are often around 5.2. We urge gardeners to get
a soil test (free) from NC Department of Agriculture’s Agronomic
Division on Reedy Creek Road in Raleigh. We suggest that you take
several samples from your garden. If you plan to plant near concrete,
that area will likely have a higher pH than an area near pine trees.
Keep your samples separate and mark them so you’ll know where
you took each sample. When you get your results, a note will tell
you how much lime to add to your soil.
How do I keep the weeds out of my daylilies?
Use mulch—pine bark (watch the pH very carefully—its
pH is often around 3.2), shredded leaves, hardwood bark, tree chips,
shredded newspaper. Mulch holds in moisture and makes weeds much
easier to pull. Unless you have more than 0.25 acre, hand weeding
is quite adequate. If you have many weeds, add more mulch—right
on top of the weeds.
What about Round-up?
If you spray it on daylilies, they will die!
When do you need to divide daylilies?
Early spring (before bloom season) and September are most productive.
Dividing during the heat of the summer makes dayliles tend to rot.
How do I divide my daylilies?
Run your finger down as far it will go toward the base of the division.
Take a knife and get the cut started there. Break them up by hand
by wiggling in a circular motion so the roots will come apart. If
you have trouble with some varieties, try letting the plants wilt
slightly (about 2 hours—dig them, shake the soil off) before
dividing because crisp plants tend to break easier.
©Noel Weston 2003