There are about 30 hemerocallis species, and about 40,000 registered cultivars! Hemerocallis is fortunately extremely accommodating and will perform satisfactorily under almost all conditions. Preferring well drained, well mulched and sunny positions, it will tolerate extreme damp to very dry sandy soil, but flowers more prolifically the better the tilth. Day-lilies flower best in full sun, preferably six hours a day for the paler shades, less for the darker reds and purples. Day-lilies should be planted on a well-drained site near water, in a raised bed rather than allowing plants to stand actually in water. They prefer well dug soil with a pH of neutral or slightly above average. They should not be planted too close to the roots of broad-leafed or evergreen trees, but they can provide a fine sight in grass around the bole of a tree if planted about 12-18 inches away.
Hemerocallis should be planted in spring or autumn, but container grown plants may be moved at any time. Periods of drought should of course be avoided. Although extremely tolerant of abuse, day-lilies respond much better to careful treatment. However, if they do become dried out, soak well before planting. They require a hole larger than the root mass with compost worked in before planting. The band of white on the foliage is the indicator for depth as this should be just on the surface. Firm in, but avoid treading as it is easy to damage the roots.
Day-lilies should be mulched well with peat or bracken compost in spring but over feeding is to be avoided as this is conducive to large quantities of foliage and less flower. Do not fertilise until after the plant is established. When fertilising, try to avoid high nitrogen mixtures. If the foliage turns yellow this can be an indication that too much nitrogen has been applied.
Only very few pests and diseases trouble the Hemerocallis, slugs and snails being the major hazard. Sometimes aphids can cause failure of the flower buds to open and plants grown indoors can be affected by red spider. Daylilies are not troubled by lily beetle or any other problems of bulbous lilies.
Hemerocallis are ideal in the herbaceous border, the smaller stemmed varieties which are becoming more popular are also excellent grown around patios or used as edging. Mass planting along streams can be very impressive and many owners of small gardens are growing them in tubs and containers on terraces. They will in fact grow almost anywhere except in deep shade Companion planting is a matter for personal taste although underplanting with daffodils is particularly effective If you want to find out more about Hostas and Hemerocallis join the British Hosta and Hemerocallis Society. The annual subscription is £17, BHHS Membership Secretary, Ian Scroggy, 42 Largy Road, Carnlough, Ballymena, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland, BT44 0EZ, UK.
Information supplied by the British Hosta And Hemerocalis Society