Historic note

Title: Daylilies
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00049928/00001
 Material Information
Title: Daylilies
Translated Title: Circular / Agricultural Extension Service ; no. 304 ( English )
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Conover, Charles Albert
Sheehan, T. J.
Publisher: Agricultural Extension Service, IFAS, University of Florida
Publication Date: 1966
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00049928
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Table of Contents
    Historic note
        Historic note
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Full Text


The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.

Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida

Circular 304

Agricultural Extension Service
Institute of Food and Agricultural Science
University of Florida, Gainesville


C. A. Conover and T. J. Sheehan1

The daylily is the most popular her-
baceous perennial in Florida and one
of the best. Daylilies are hardy in all
sections of Florida, well adapted to
home landscape plantings, survive with
minimum care, are free from serious
insect or disease pests and have a long
blooming period. Plants are available
in a wide selection of colors, ranging
from yellow to reddish purple.
, Daylilies are in the genus Hemero.
calls, which is a member of the Lilia-
ceae family. Many of the original spe-
cies came from Japan, China and
Siberia; however, most varieties found
in nurseries and gardens today are hy-
brids of original species brought to this
country. Selective breeding of species
and hybrids has produced many excel-
lent varieties and a varitial list that
numbers in the thousands. This wide
varitial range plus freedom from pests
has increased the popularity of this ex-
cellent garden subject.

Landscape Uses
Daylilies are widely used landscape
subjects and serve well in a variety of
ways. The most effective daylily plant-
ings are obtained when 10 or more

plants of a single color are grouped
together in informal groupings. An-
other effective planting plan is to group
daylilies in clumps of three or more
plants in bays of informal shrubbery
borders. When used in this manner
blooming plants serve as color accents
on the green background plantings.
Daylilies are also attractive when
planted in front of a wall or fence
which serves as the background.
Most daylilies grow two to four feet
in height when in flower. Therefore,
low growing borders or flowering
plants may be planted in front of day-
lilies provided flower colors are com-
plimentary or flowers bloom at different
seasons. Some dwarf or semi-dwarf
varieties are available that attain a
maximum height of 12 inches when in

Breeding daylilies can be a rich and
rewarding experience. The large flowers
are easy to work with, and the large
variation obtained in seedling popula-
tions make this field a most interesting
and challenging one. Since seedling
populations are so variable the potential

1Assistant Ornamental Horticulturist, Agricultural Extension Service and Associate Orna-
mental Horticulturist, Agricultural Experiment Stations, respectively.

June 1966

for new and improved clones is high.
A breeder to be successful, especially
where short-lived flowers like daylilies
are involved, should have a thorough
knowledge of the plants and flower he
is working with. This knowledge
should not only cover component parts
of the flower (Fig. 1), but also length
of time the flower is open, when anthers
dehisce and when the stigmatic surface
is receptive. Once these facts are well
known, breeding daylilies is relatively
Once a breeder has the aforemention-
ed knowledge and has decided on which
plants are to be crossed, the actual me-
chanics of making a cross are simple.
Flowers of the daylily are short-lived,
and clones to be crossed may not have
flowers open at the same time. Con-
sequently, it may be necessary to collect
pollen from the male parent for use in
one or more crosses of prospective fe-
male plants. Pollen can be placed in
shell vials, stoppered and placed in the
refrigerator until female flowers are
open. Pollen may later be transferred
from the vial to a female flower when
it opens. The easiest method is to take
a small camel hair brush, dip into the
pollen vial and dust pollen lightly on
the stigmatic surface. However, before
the act of pollination, anthers should
be removed from the flower that is to
serve as female parent to prevent acci-
dental fertilization. Anthers should be
removed as soon as the flower starts
to open. If they are removed after
pollen starts to dehisce, then contami-
nation of the stigmatic surface may
occur and self-seed rather than a hybrid
will be obtained. After anthers have
been removed and the stigmatic sur-
face is receptive (usually sticky to the


Fig. 1-D a y I i I y flower showing
position of anthers and

touch) pollen can be applied to ac-
complish the cross. The cross should
be labeled listing both parents and date
of pollination. Flower should then be
enclosed in a small bag for a few days
to prevent contamination. The pod will
ripen in six to eight weeks and will
contain a few seeds. When the pod
turns yellow and starts to split, seeds
are mature and should be harvested.


Daylilies are propagated by seed,
division of parent clumps and occasion-
ally by offsets obtained from flowering
stalks. Although daylilies grow readily
from seed, variations in seedling popu-
lations are immense, consequently nam-
ed varieties and selected clones must
be propagated vegetatively to maintain
a true line.
Seeds of daylilies germinate in 10
days to 2 weeks and require no special
treatment. Freshly harvested s e e d
should be planted in flats or pots of

sterilized sandy soil and covered with
finely sifted soil to a depth of 1/8 to
1/4 inch. Soil should be carefully wa-
tered and kept moist while seeds are
germinating. The germinating device
must be placed in a shaded location
and covered with glass, which will pre-
vent rapid desiccation of soil and also
prevent rodents from stealing seed.
After germination there are two meth-

ods employed in handling seedlings.
Some growers leave them in flats until
plants are large enough to set out in
nursery beds or rows and usually leaves
are four to six inches long at this time.
Others transfer seedlings to new flats
as soon as they are large enough to
handle, approximately one inch tall,
spacing them one or two inches on
centers. These seedlings are then trans-

Fig. 2-A clump of daylilies ready for dividing
obtained (bottom).

ferred to nursery beds when they are
large enough. Growers using the latter
method often hold flats in the green-
house in winter and set seedlings out
the following spring. Daylilies usually
take three years from seed to flowering.
Named clones are propagated by
division of parent clumps. Division of
a clump is accomplished by dividing it
into as many sections as there are fans
of leaves (Fig. 2). A sharp knife should
be used to sever the rhizome between
each of the fans and leaves should be
cut back to within four to six inches
of the crown. Broken roots should be
trimmed off before replanting. Plants
are best divided after flowering. Offsets
that develop on flowering stalks can be
treated in the same manner as divisions
or seedlings.

Planting Bed

Although daylilies need minimum at-
tention some care must be exercised
when developing a new planting. Under
Florida conditions plants are usually
allowed to grow for 5 to 10 years in
one location, and therefore, careful
soil preparation is necessary.
A well drained soil with good aera-
tion and water holding capacity is most
desirable for daylilies. Sandy soils
usually have good aeration, but water
holding capacity must be improved for
best growth, clay soils may need the
addition of a material such as perlite
or a similar material to improve aera-
tion and muck soils are usually satis-
factory in their present form if drain-
age is adequate.
Sandy soils should be amended with
two to four inches of peat moss, com-

post or other organic or inorganic ma-
terial that will be retentive of fertilizer
and water. This material should be ro-
totilled or incorporated by spading to
a depth of six inches. When preparing
beds, but prior to rototilling or spading,
two and one-half pounds of 8-8-8 per
100 square feet, or an equivalent
amount of other fertilizer should be
added to the soil surface and incorpo-
rated. Aeration in clay soils can be
improved by the incorporation of per-
lite. Addition of one inch of perlite
to the soil surface and incorporation
to a depth of six to eight inches is
Location of daylily planting beds is
important since this determines to some
extent flower production and mainte-
nance requirements. Daylilies will grow
in full sun or partly shaded locations.
Full sun locations have the disadvan-
tage of a higher water requirement, and
therefore partly shaded locations are
suggested as most ideal.

Planting and


Daylilies may be transplanted at any
time, but best results will be obtained
if they are moved after flowering. When
old plantings are divided or when new
plants are obtained they should be
spaced 12 to 18 inches in the planting
bed and set at the same depth as pre-
viously planted. The light-colored whit-
ish-green area on leaves should be set
just below the soil surface, or plants
should be set one inch deeper than the
junction of roots and foliage.
After planting one inch of water
should be applied to the planting bed

and weekly, or twice weekly, watering
should be continued until plants are
well established.
A mulch should be applied to day-
lily beds to conserve soil moisture and
control weeds. Mulches of pine needles,
leaves and shredded barks are most
desirable. The mulch should be estab-
lished and maintained at a depth of two
to three inches by yearly application
of additional mulching material.


Daylilies should be given two fertili-
zer applications a year. This is neces-
sary because of the low fertility of most
Florida soils and heavy annual rainfall,
which leaches plant nutrients from the
soil. Fertilizer should be supplied in
early spring as plants start to grow and
during midsummer when heaviest rain-
fall occurs. Each application should
be applied at the rate of two and one-
half pounds of 8-8-8 per 100 square
feet, or an equivalent amount of a
similar fertilizer can be used. Fertilizer
should be evenly applied between
plants, kept off foliage and watered in-
to soil after application.
Daylilies can survive dry conditions
quite well, due to their extensive root
systems. Therefore, watering is neces-
sary only during protracted droughts
as may occur in spring or fall. If wa-

tering is necessary, the soil should be
moistened to a depth of 12 inches.
Old daylily plantings should be lifted
and divided when they become so
crowded that flower production is af-
fected. Usually this takes 5 to 10 years
to occur under Florida's climatic condi-

Insects and Diseases

Most daylily plantings in Florida
are virtually free from attack by insects
or disease, and never need a pesticide
application. However, occasionally day-
lilies may be attacked by aphids or by
chewing insects such as grasshoppers
which may disfigure foliage. Aphids
can be controlled with Dimethoate
(Cygon) at the rate of two teaspoons
of 25% emulsifiable concentrate per
gallon of water or Malathion at the rate
of one tablespoon of 57% emulsifiable
concentrate per gallon of water. Grass-
hoppers and other chewing insects can
be controlled with Chlordane at the
rate of two teaspoons of 44%o emulsi-
fiable concentrate per gallon of water.
Thrips sometimes attack daylilies and
this insect can be controlled with the
same materials recommended for con-
trol of aphids. Slugs or snails may
cause disfigured flowers and these can
be controlled by using a poison bait
containing metaldehyde or calci um

(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida,
and United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperating
M. O. Watkins, Director






The University of Florida College of Agriculture
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Opportunities are unlimited in this rapidly ex-
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landscaped homes, office buildings, public buildings
and recreational areas.
The Department of Ornamental Horticulture
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