The daylily plants that I have now have been in my family for many years.
My grandma was growing them in her yard when I was a teenager, around 40+ years ago.
When I got married in my 20’s, I got a few divisions from her large clump and enjoyed them for many years.
At some point my mom was expanding her gardens and got a few divisions from me since grandma had sadly passed away.
Some years after that, I ended up getting a divorce and moving to an apartment, not being able to take my beloved plants with me.
After 6 years of living in the apartment, I moved to a rental house with lots of property to plant.
That is when my mom gave me some divisions of the plants that I had given her years ago and I’ve been enjoying them here for a few years now.
They are the common orange, what some call tawny daylily but they are gorgeous and old-fashioned in a good way to me.
One flower stalk will have multiple buds, but one will bloom at a time for one day, hence the name daylily.
The flowers are large, probably about 4″ wide, the foliage gets to be about 2-3 feet tall and the flower stalks get a few inches taller than the foliage.
Daylily flowers are edible and they taste good – slightly sweet and crunchy like a soft lettuce. I’ve added them to salads but I’ve also seen other ideas I’d like to try, like stuffing the whole flower with something like chicken salad. A quick search on Pinterest will give you some ideas.
Last season I dug up and divided my large clumps and planted them in a few places around the yard.
My goal with my yard is a food forest (see Food Forest Gardening) and daylilies are great for this because they are edible and they attract beneficial insects.
Right now I have one flowering next to a Sage plant that is also flowering. Here are a few photos:
Daylilies are also very easy to grow, a perennial and the U.S. hardiness zones are 4-9. They can be planted in full sun or partial shade. They like slightly moist, well-drained soil high in organic matter. In my experience however, I can plant them anywhere and they grow and flower. I’ve even neglected them in the past and they still thrived. When I first moved here the soil was poor and I didn’t water very often and they still did well. But, I’m assuming the more you give the plants what they like, the better the growing and flowers will be.
They are still growing at my parent’s house. My mom, who is no longer with us, has them planted in shade and they are thriving.
I love daylilies for all of these reasons so I purchased another variety (I don’t remember the name and I didn’t label it, darn it) last season and the foliage is growing but it hasn’t flowered yet. When it flowers, I will try to remember to make a post about it with pictures.
When the plants get to be a large clump, it’s best to divide them so they will flower better and be more healthy. You’ll also end up with a lot more plants you can plant elsewhere and/or give to friends, family or neighbors. When I dug mine up, they were a bit of a challenge to divide because the roots were so tightly woven; I actually had to use the shovel to slice off sections and pull apart the smaller sections with my hands. Don’t worry about damaging the roots since there will be enough undamaged roots for the plant to still be healthy. You want the end result of each division to be a clump of tuberous roots with what they call a fan at the top. A fan is basically where the stems begin growing. You can cut the foliage back on each fan to a few inches, or cut it back on the large clump before dividing so you can see the root formations better. A good time to divide them is right after they have stopped flowering.
Do you grow Daylilies? If so, what is your experience with them? Do you grow different varieties than the common daylily? Have you eaten or cooked with them? Any growing or propagation tips? Companion planting ideas? Please share in the comments below; I’d love to hear and so would others.
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