How to Grow Daylilies in Southwest Michigan

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Daylilies are hardy perennials that grow well in southwest Michigan. They belong to the genus Hemerocalilis and have been around thousands of years dating back to 551 B.C. They come in many colors, varieties, shapes and sizes. Daylilies grow to 4 feet tall and produce numerous beautiful blooms. Many bloom at night but then last at least a day. As they are so vigorous and numerous you will have lots of blooms to enjoy. They also require little or no care.

Difficulty:
Moderately Easy

Instructions

    1. Select daylilies appropriate for your zone and climate. Strong performers in southwest Michigan include White Frost, Yellow Hyperion, A Christmas Carol, Picture Bouquet, Cleo, Daring Deception and Strawberry Candy.
    2. Choose a spot that gets 6 to 7 hours of sun a day, as daylillies require a lot of direct sunlight to bloom. They can tolerate a little filtered shade.
    3. Plant in a loamy, well-drained soil with a lot of organic matter, compost and peat.
    4. Water often. The key to beautiful, plentiful blooms is lots of water. In summer in Michigan daylilies need at least 1 inch of water a week. Mulch around the lilies to keep them moist when it does not rain.
    5. Remove old blossoms as much as you can to encourage more blooming and less disease. A bloom only lasts one day so this can become a daily chore to deadhead them. Do not cut the stems where there are new blooms ready to open. Do not allow the seed pods to stay on the plants, or they will weaken for the next growing season.
    6. Remove leaves in the fall after they turn brown and dry up. If they are completely dead they will come off easily with a slight tug. When all blooms are finished, cut off the stems low on the plant. Cut the fans back to about 6 inches.
    7. Fertilize with a 5-10-10 product or a time release micro nutrient in the fall and the spring. A 1/2 cup around the base of the plant is plenty. Very lush foliage but few blooms indicates that the plants may be too well fed.
    8. Mulch heavily around the spent plant to protect it over the winter. This is especially important in southwest Michigan, a Zone 4 where winters can be hard on perennials. Occasionally they may need a little water in a dry winter.
    9. Transplant or divide crowded plants in early spring. Divided plants may not bloom that same summer. Dig the entire plant and gently pull apart the fans with some good roots attached. Pat the soil around the plant, being sure there are no air pockets around the roots. Plant the divisions at the original depth. The plants should be placed 18 to 24 inches apart.

Tips & Warnings

  • Plants will bloom in Michigan for more than 50 days.

  • Plants that are purchased in pots will probably bloom in the first year but "bare root" plants will not bloom for a full year.

  • Daylilies come in a huge variety, some round and full and others with ruffled edges.

  • Some varieties look best in clumps, such as Stella D’oro.

  • Daylilies do not grow well near broad leafed trees because the tree roots are near the surface and use the moisture and nutrients.

  • Don’t touch your plants while they are wet from dew or rain because this can transmit disease from plant to plant or even something from your fingertips such as tobacco or soap residue.

  • If your plants are not growing well you may have planted them too deep or maybe they are not getting enough sun and deep watering.

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