Growing Daylilies in the Austin Area


1. Selecting a site for your daylilies

  • Sun: pastel colors (pink, yellow, and orange) do best with 6 hours of direct morning sun

  • Shade: dark colors (red and purple) do better in the shade. Most daylilies benefit from some shade when temperatures are 100°F or above

  • Space: root competition from nearby trees can be a problem. Add extra organic matter if you plants are near trees or many other plants

2. Raised beds are necessary for success

  • 6 inches above ground level is ideal

3. Develop an excellent soil profile by mixing the following into existing soil

  • 2 inches of granite or silica sand,

  • ½ inch of Scotchman’s Choice organic compost or landscape mix, and

  • ½ inch of peat moss

4. Planting your new daylilies

  • Loosen the roots so they will stop “circling” and grow into the surrounding soil

  • Bare root

    • dig a hole,

    • put a mound of soil in the center,

    • spread the roots over the mound. The crown needs to be at or slightly above the soil line, and

    • firm up the soil to eliminate any air pockets

  • For all daylilies: apply mulch (optional) and then water in. Give your plants about a month to establish before fertilizing using a slow-release fertilizer. Do not fertilize in the heat of Summer to avoid rot.

5. Foliar feed your plants.

Ground temperature must be above 50°F and below 85°F for foliar feeding be effective. Feed them using

  • liquid seaweed,

  • chelated Iron,

  • Magnesium (Epsom Salt),

  • liquid compost, or

  • low salt fertilizer (6-12-6)

6. Feed the soil in Spring and Fall using

  • slow release fertilizer in a 4-1-2 ratio ( such as 8-2-4),

  • alfalfa pellets (Winter only),

  • cottonseed meal, and

  • agricultural molasses

7. Mulch but keep mulch away from the crown and use 1 to 2 inches of the following mulches

  • Cedar

  • Cypress

  • Pine bark

  • Hardwood

8. To control insects, use the following methods.

If using systemic insecticides, do not use products with Kelthane.

  • Aphids: use ladybugs, a strong stream of water, or insecticide

  • Thrips: use ladybugs, green lacewings, or beneficial nematodes

  • Spider mites: use insecticidal soap and seaweed

  • Slugs and snails: use the Beer Method, or slug and snail bait

9. To control fungus, use the following methods

  • Crown Rot

    • check that the plant is properly planted, most likely the plant is too deep,

    • check that the plant is properly watered, the plant may be too wet or too dry,

    • make sure that the soil is well-drained and that water percolates quickly through the soil,

    • use Banrot or Subdue fungicide.

  • Rust

    • alternate fungicides to avoid resistance,

    • purchase rust-resistant varieties, and

    • prune all infected leaves to the crown

For more information, go to the American Daylily Society website.

For more tips on growing dayliles in Austin, join us on the first Thursday of the month (except January, June, July, and December). We meet in the Garden Center at Zilker Botanical Gardens. Refreshments are served at 6:30pm and the meeting begins at 7:00pm.