Daylilies are easy-to-grow garden perennials that will tolerate many different soil types. Despite the name, daylilies are not actually lilies. The word is derived from Greek words meaning "day" and "beauty." The description is fitting, as daylilies bloom for only a single day. The flowers bloom in a wide variety of colors, and in the right types of soil they will live in the garden for years.
Daylilies will grow in partial shade, but ideally they should receive full sunlight — at least 6 hours per day. Once soil is warm and workable in spring, daylilies may be planted in the garden. Prior to planting, till the soil to a depth of 6 inches. Add 2 inches of organic compost and work it into the soil well to prepare flower beds and provide daylilies with ample nutrients. Daylilies will grow in many soil types, but certain planting conditions must be met in order for the flowers to survive and thrive.
Daylilies prefer soil that has a pH of 6.5, but above all the soil must be well-draining. The flowers will not survive in overly-moist or waterlogged soils. Heavy clay soils may be amended to support daylily growth. Dig down into daylily beds 12 inches and add peat moss, woody mulch or composted leaves to make soil lighter and more acceptable for the flowers. Very light sandy soils may drain too well for the flowers, depriving them of moisture. Amend the soil with rich organic material to add more nutrients to sandy daylily beds.
Some soils do not drain well even when new materials are added for improvement. When daylily beds don’t provide proper drainage, it may be necessary to raise beds. Add enough planting mix and topsoil to raise the beds several inches, creating a natural slope so water will run down and drain away from the flowers more naturally. Till the soil to a depth of 12 inches to loosen the flower beds, improving aeration and drainage.
With proper amendment, daylilies will grow in every type of soil from clay to sand, but the flowers need ongoing attention to stay healthy. Every three years, add compost or another organic material to the soil to keep it nutrient-rich for the flowers. Pine bark mulch and cow manure both make good addition to daylily soil.