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Daylilies are easy care, great in gardens

It certainly seems to be daylily season in Northwestern Pennsylvania. Everywhere you look day lilies are blooming profusely and the colors of choice seem to be yellow or orange. Happily, day lilies come in many colors and can bloom at different times during the summer season. It is possible to have day lilies bloom from early summer right through early fall. Day lilies can be seen growing happily along a country road far from any house. These flowers were probably discarded there by a gardener who was clearing her perennial garden.

Growing daylilies have been enjoyed for centuries. The 15 original species first grown in the Orient and Central Europe have now become about 35,000 hybrids. The day lily or Hemerocallis means beauty for a day. Although the flower lasts only one day a mature plant can produce 200-400 blooms over the course of a month.

Day lilies make an excellent addition to the garden. Caring for day lilies is easy. The plants are hardy and seem to thrive on neglect. Disease is rare with day lilies. If aphids or thrips become a problem a good organic insecticide will take care of the pests.

Hemerocallis can be planted at any time during the growing season. Choose a location with about 6 hours of good light. Cut the foliage back to about 6 inches above the crown, the place where the roots meet the stem. The crown of the plant should be placed about 1 inch below ground level. Fill in the hole with amended soil and water well. After planting keep the day lily well-watered until it becomes established.

Maintain the day lily by using a basic 10-10-10 fertilizer applied spring and during bloom. After summer blooming remove the seed pods. In spring remove the dead leaves and weed well.

I love my daylilies. They come in all sizes and in many colors. Day lilies are edible. They make a beautiful garnish especially when filled with chicken Salad. Day lilies ask little as far as care goes and give so much.

Rebecca Norton Ryan is a Penn State Extension Master Gardener and member of Warren Garden Club.

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