Summer flowering bulbs are very easy to grow, and among the most beautiful flowers to grace our Oklahoma yards is the daylily. Many daylilies are in full bloom right now, and will continue to produce a magnificent show in our gardens all summer long. They would make a great addition to any yard for interest and beauty.
Daylilies, or Hemerocallis, originate from underground tubers and produce large, showy blooms that come in a rainbow of colors. They are perennials and are named for the fact that each individual flower generally only blooms for one day. Of course, there are exceptions to this! Daylilies are versatile and durable, and they offer gardeners a wide variety of heights, flower forms, and interesting foliage.
They prefer an organic, well-drained soil and grow best in full sun, but they will tolerate light shade. Mulching is a good idea, since it keeps the soil cooler, conserves moisture and keeps down those pesky and unsightly weeds. Bulbs may also be grown as pot plants; in the garden, they have a variety of uses -- as foundation plantings, as borders, in front of shrubs, or in groups for a mass of color. They are ideal plants for the beginning or experienced gardener.
The daylily varies in height from 6 inches to 6 feet, and many varieties are available at local nurseries or garden centers. If you select varieties that bloom at different times, you can have flowers through the summer, and the colors are glorious -- red, pink, orange, yellow, purple, cream and every shade in between.
You should plant your tubers just below the surface of the soil, preferably in early spring or late summer, but they may be planted at almost any time of the year. Ideal spacing is 18 to 24 inches apart, but this also depends on the variety and size of the mature plant, so be sure to look at the planting directions on the package.
Apply a light ring of fertilizer around each plant three or four times during the growing season.
During bloom time you may also want to add bone meal, using no more than three pounds for a 5x10-foot area. Mix it thoroughly into the soil for an added source of nitrogen to promote plant growth for the next year.
If rainfall is normal, daylilies do not need added water, but during extremely dry periods, water your plants weekly and soak the ground thoroughly to ensure they survive the summer.
Be sure to remove faded flowers and seed pods when they appear, as the pods will use food needed by the plant.
Daylily tubers can usually remain in place for 3 to 4 years before they become too crowded; when they do, be sure to divide them to ensure the best blooms. Dividing is best done in the fall after the blooming season.
A favorite daylily that is drought-tolerant and resistant to pests is the Stella de Oro daylily, which can be as small as 8 inches high or as tall as 5 feet.
The bright-yellow blooms vary in diameter from 2 to 8 inches, and they are wonderful as border plants in a perennial garden bed.
There are many other varieties available, and the sky is the limit on your choices of colors. Consider planting these beauties in your garden this summer.