The world is awash with daylilies—thousands of different kinds. Few other perennials offer so much for so little effort. They’re also easy to hybridize. As a result, daylilies flaunt an astounding array of flower shapes and sizes, colors (blue is the only hue that’s missing), and stalk heights (1 to 6 feet). Many are fragrant too. Individual plants generally bloom for three to six weeks, and they’re classified as early (before June), midseason (during June), and late (from July on). Reblooming types blossom off and on all season long.
The flowers need only full to partial sun, well-drained soil, and moisture when they’re blooming. To pamper daylilies, sprinkle an organic fertilizer like cottonseed meal or Happy Frog All-Purpose 5-5-5 around them in spring.
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You can control most diseases by cutting foliage to the ground in late fall. New leaves will sprout in spring. One big pest is the small milkweed bug. It sucks sap from flower buds, causing them to shrivel and drop. Send it packing by spraying buds before they open with a dose of neem-oil, spinosad, or Spectracide Triazicide according to label directions. Prevent deer from gobbling up all your daylilies with fencing or repellent.
WATCH: Here's Everything You Should Know About Daylilies
Just about any garden center worth its potting soil sells them. Potted ones can be planted in spring, summer, and fall. But if you’re looking for an outstanding selection of every color, shape, size, and bloom time that’s available, check out family-owned Oakes Daylilies in Corryton, Tennessee. They even served as daylily consultants for The New Southern Living Garden Book. These pictures were taken at their place. Their annual Daylily Bloom Festival will be held on June 22 and 23, when a 6-acre display garden will be peaking. While you’re there, seek out Stewart or Ken Oakes. Ask them how that new blue daylily is coming along (surely they’re working on one).