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How to Raise Daylilies From Seed


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Day lilies are among the most profusely flowering, prolific and easy-to-grow perennials. You can enjoy their range of color, height and blooming times in a continuous display of flowers and foliage from mid-spring through the summer. Although raising day lily plants from seed is more challenging and time consuming than raising the plants from nursery-grown stock, the rewards can be well worth the effort. Day lilies started from seed and raised in your specific garden environment can result in hardier plants that outlive their nursery-grown cousins by many years, in addition to saving you money by avoiding costlier nursery-grown plants.

Difficulty:
Moderately Easy

Instructions

Things You’ll Need
  • Sterile potting mix
  • Plastic nursery pots
  • Twist-tie plastic sandwich bags
  • Slow-release fertilizer
    1. Pour sterile potting mix into 3-inch plastic nursery pots. Add water so that the potting mix is dampened but not sopping wet.
    2. Place three or four seeds 1 inch apart and 1/2 inch deep in each pot. Push a bit of the dampened potting mix over the seeds.
    3. Insert each pot into a sandwich-sized plastic bag, expel as much air as possible and seal with a twist-tie.
    4. Place the sealed pots in your refrigerator for six weeks.
    5. Remove the pots from the refrigerator. Give the pots warmth, air and light by placing them in a warm and sunny location such as a windowsill with southern exposure or a greenhouse room. If there is no danger of frost, you can place the pots in a protected outdoor location.
    6. Monitor the pots. Keep the soil moistened but not sopping wet. In three to seven weeks the seeds will germinate and you will see thin green shoots that resemble grass.
    7. Plant the seedlings in the garden. Select a sunny or partially shaded, well-drained location. After the last expected frost date for your region, set the contents of each pot into the soil so that the crowns of the seedlings (where the leaves meet the roots) are just covered with soil. Place plantings 2 feet apart. Water thoroughly.
    8. Inspect the new plantings frequently for weeds and remove them immediately. The leaves of day lily seedlings are so thin and delicate that they can be mistaken for emerging grass-like weeds. Water throughout the season to keep the young plants from becoming stressed.
    9. Apply an all-purpose, slow-release fertilizer at planting time and then again in mid-summer.

Tips & Warnings

  • Plan to start day lily seeds indoors 12 to 13 weeks before the last expected frost date for your region.

  • Day lilies are nearly pest-free. There should be no need for a chemical pesticide if you keep new and well-established plantings weed-free and lightly fertilized.

  • Too much fertilizer will limit bloom production and encourage rampant leaf growth.

  • Day lily seeds gathered from your open- or self-pollinated plants will produce blooms that are not identical to the parent plants.

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