Spring Wake up Tonic for Daylilies

daylily tonicOne thing that readers of my old blog were well aware of, was my great affection for daylilies. Certain people, who may have been dragged through a daylily nursery or two against their will, may even say that it is not affection at all, but obsession. Doesn’t that almost make it sound like a person can have too many daylilies? Honestly, I have never heard a crazier idea in all my life!

And especially when you consider that there are something like 50,000 named varieties, my little collection of 40 or so is far from too many.

On the other hand, this same person may have possibly dug up more than one patch of ground so that more daylilies, which may have been purchased with no idea in mind as to where they might go, could be planted. And this person may, on a weekly basis throughout the summer months, have to mow around gardens full of daylilies, when his preference for a yard would be to have a flat and obstruction free area, where one could race back and forth with abandon, never giving a thought to running into any flowers. So, we let him have his little grumbles from time to time – you never know when you might need another little spot plowed up.

H. 'Bama Maid with some coneflowers

H. ‘Bama Maid with some coneflowers

Daylilies are pretty forgiving overall, not being particularly needy plants. There are a few things that plague them, but none of those things is a huge problem around here – not so far anyway. I avoid buying cultivars that have been bred in the deep south, since they are more likely to succumb to our winter weather, but if there is a really pretty one that is not terribly expensive, I’ll give it a try, regardless of it’s provenance. In general daylilies are hardy to zone 3, but there are more and more all the time that won’t survive even my zone 5 weather.
H. Night Beacon

H. Night Beacon

There is one thing that daylilies do really appreciate and that is a nice wake up spring tonic. This time last year, I had already put on the first application, which should be applied when the leaves have reached up 3 inches or so out of the soil. Since this morning, it was 26ΒΊ, with a fresh two inches of snow on the ground, I think I’ll be holding off awhile more. But – it might be warmed up more where you are, and if that is case, it is time to give those daylilies a nice drink of this tonic, which gets them started right for a nice long summer of flowers.

You make it from very common, natural, inexpensive ingredients, as follows.

Spring Wake Up Tonic for Daylilies:
1 teaspoon Epsom Salt
1 oz Sorghum Molasses
1 tablespoon Baking Soda
1 gallon Water

I make 5 gallons at a time, and pour it over the crown of each plant sometime in April, and then again about a month later. It’s also good to have a bucket of the mixture standing by when you are planting newly acquired plants, or dividing existing ones. Place the plant in the pail so that the roots are submerged and leave for about 5 minutes, and then plant in a prepared spot. New plantings of daylilies will benefit from a little drink of this a couple weeks after planting.

H. Frans Hals

H. Frans Hals


Why does it work? The Epsom salts and molasses both supply micro-nutrients, and help the plant absorb other nutrients from the soil, and the baking soda helps ward off fungal diseases. And I am all for anything that brings me a little more of this.
H. Erin Farmer

H. Erin Farmer

The other main thing that daylilies need from you is an occasional division – for most cultivars, after about 5 years, they need to be dug up and divided into smaller plants. I hope to get to a tutorial on that sometime this summer. In the meantime, this little pictorial jaunt through the garden has given me the will to live through this horrid spring we’ve been having, and hang on for summer, when I assume, it will finally quite snowing.
H. Quilt Patch

H. Quilt Patch

16 thoughts on “Spring Wake up Tonic for Daylilies

  1. Pingback: A spring tonic for daylilies | dlyn

  2. Amazing photos, Donalyn. Unfortunately I don’t have a garden, but maybe one day… Thank you so much for visiting my blog and for your kind comment. I am very glad to discover your beautiful and fascinating blog.

  3. That is interesting I will have to give it a try. I don’t have a lot of daylilies but do have a few. I have one in particular that I would love to send you a picture when they bloom (I thought I had one on my phone but, I must have deleted it), I don’t know what kind it is but, I want more they are so beautiful. They are about 5 flowers to a stalk and beautiful pastel colors. Maybe even a little more vibrant than pastel. It had blues and pinks and purples, I posted it online but, didn’t get any real answers. Your flowers are gorgeous!

  4. I love the idea of the spring wake up tonic! We definitely need to do that – we have some, although not as much as we used to have at another house. They’re such a versatile plant! And tough as nails – at least all the ones we’ve planted. You have some gorgeous ones. Great post – thanks so much.

  5. Fantastic photos of one of my favorite flowers. Thank you for the tip about the tonic as I’m planning on dividing my day lilies so I can try some of them at our cottage in Maine. I just have to figure out where they will be happy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *