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Can Daylilies Grow in Shade?


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It is difficult to find an American garden that does not contain some variety of daylily. Over 60,000 varieties testify to both the adaptability and the popularity of hemerocallis. Of Asian origin, daylilies flourish in so many states and climates that they must be regarded as natives. Among their adaptable traits is some measure of shade tolerance. Learn more about daylily varieties that do well in your area and welcome their abundant summer blooms to your yard.

Elements of Adaptability

  • These deep-rooted, tough-leaved perennials grow in many kinds of soil. The only basic need that cannot be ignored is water. Daylilies do best with adequate to abundant water and will not grow well in xeriscapes.

Sun and Light Needs

  • The standard recommendation for best performance is at least six hours of full sunlight per day. Growers note, however, that prolonged hot sun may fade or scorch darker-colored blooms; dark reds and purples may perform best in partial shade. Pruning low branches to provide bright light, if not direct sunlight, and monitoring the depth of dappled shade will also help you keep daylilies blooming.

Daylilies and Deep Shade

  • Daylilies will grow in deep shade. In situations of water runoff or erosion prevention, daylilies maintain a tenacious hold on soil, absorb lots of water and spread to form a tough tuberous mat. Unfortunately, what they will not do in deep shade is bloom. As a soil-holding mechanism, they may still be a good choice for shaded areas in your yard, but you may wish to add further clusters of daylilies in areas with enough light for blooming.

Maximizing Daylily Bloom

  • Use follow-the-sun strategies to include daylilies in your heavily shaded garden and landscape. Their punchy bright flowers will be particularly welcome against a generally dark background. Plant daylilies in pots and small planters that can be placed in sunspots. Include a few daylilies in your vegetable-garden planning. Consider patio tubs or, if your landscaping scheme permits, a red wagon full of daylilies that can be rolled into the sun’s path as it changes.

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