Being a member of the Hemerocallis genus, daylilies aren’t true lilies, although their flowers are similar in appearance. Their long, strap-like leaves are plentiful, creating attractive foliage in the garden even when not in bloom. As its name implies, each flower of the daylily is only open for one day and then it fades away. Your daylily will have a procession of flowers lasting several weeks.
When purchased, daylilies usually consist of a batch of long roots and a few cut-off fans of leaves. Dig a hole wide enough to spread the roots of the plant. Bury the daylily so that the green part of the crown is just at or above soil level. Tamp the soil down around the daylily and water well. Water the newly planted daylily every few days for a week or two. Planting in the fall will allow your daylily to recover before flowering the next year; you can plant them in the spring, but they may flower less or not at all.
Where you plant your daylily depends, at least partly, on where you live and your climate. Daylilies like full sun in moderate climates, which means eight hours of sunshine a day. Morning sunshine encourages the blooms to open fully. In hot climates, the daylilies only require four to six hours of sunlight and afternoon shade is a necessity, otherwise the plant will suffer and possibly die. Late evening sun, once temperatures begin to drop, is acceptable. More sunlight will increase the number of flowers your daylily will have. Daylilies can easily tolerate semi-shade if you don’t mind fewer flowers. Their shade tolerance makes them the perfect plant to tuck under shrubbery where they will get at least partial sun.
Daylilies need to be watered regularly, but don’t water so much that the roots get soggy, especially if you have heavy, clay soil that doesn’t drain well. You can fertilize your daylily a few times a season, but stop fertilizing well before fall frost to encourage your daylily to get ready for winter. You can also remove spent flowers but don’t cut back the stalk the flowers grew on. Once the stalk has turned brown, you can pull it free from the base.
When your daylily becomes overgrown, divide it into several clumps to encourage it to bloom more. Optimally, divide your daylily in the fall but you can divide it in early spring, although flowering may suffer. To divide the daylily, dig up the whole clump and then tease apart sections of roots with fans of leaves attached. If the clump is too large to tease apart, you can cut the clump into quarters or more with a sharp knife or a shovel. When cutting in this fashion, some experts recommend letting the cuts dry for a day before replanting.