Home Page Image

In his garden, every man may be his own artist without apology or explanation. Here is one spot where each may experience the romance of possibility.

~ Louise Beebe Wilder ~

Daylilies - I want MORE of them!

Hardy throughout the US, daylilies are found in nearly every garden. I couldn't imagine mine without them.

Our garden was hit hard by the easter frost, but I am happy to see that almost all the plants appear to be coming around again and putting on new growth. In particularly, the daylilies leaves turned a sickly shade of gray but now, 3 weeks later, not only have put on growth, they are beginning to bud out already. I can't have enough of them in my garden!

Propagation can be divided into two types:

  • Multiplying the same variety
  • Creating a new variety - Hybridization

More of the Same

Probably the most known and common method is to dig up the root ball and divide the rhizomes. This can be done most anytime the plant is not in bloom. Ok, I admit, I have dug and divided them while in bloom but I can't think of any reputable garden source that recommends this method! Generally, most sources suggest tackling this task in fall or early spring.

Another, lesser known, method is to harvest the proliferations. After the daylilies have finished blooming and before the stalks turn comletely brown, it's a good time time to check the scapes for proliferations. Cut any you find with about 2 inches of stalk remaining and pot them up. Don't have any pots around? Put the 'baby' in a glass of water. Be sure to label them so you'll know "who's who" in the spring.
Keep them in a sunny window for the winter before transplanting them back into the garden come spring. This proliferation will be an identical twin to the parent plant.

In just a little time, you have increased your supply of lovely daylilies for your own garden or as gifts to your family and friends.

Something different

One important thing to know about daylily seeds: seeds are NEVER the same as the parent plant.. Even seeds resulting from a plant that was fertilized with it's own pollen will not produce plants that are identical to the parent plant. While the likelyhood is that the plant will be quite similar, usually it will not bloom as well and sometimes the bloom will be completely different than the parent.

In this lies the fun of growing daylilies from seed, you never know what you may get!

While professional daylily hybridizers go through a very specific selection process when deciding which daylilies to cross, when just starting out, there is basically only one thing you should know:
There are 2 types of daylilies, diploids and tetraploids. They are very hard to tell apart and pollen from one type will not set seed on the other. If you do not know which type you have, plan on crossing several different varieties in case some turn out to be different types and don't set seed.

Typically, the seeds take between 40 and 60 days to mature to the point where they can be harvested. You can tell when it's time to harvest, when the seed pods begin to split open. Sometimes I squeeze the pod gently to see if it is ready to split. This is OK, but remember that seeds harvested too early will probably not germinate.
Seeds can be planted directly in the ground, or started in either flats or pots and later transplanted. Remember that seeds require fairly warm soil temperatures for good germination.
See our March 2007 Newsletter for more information about starting seeds.



Joan Senior
Royal Braid
Pandora's Box