Best Fertilizer for Daylilies (How to Grow and Care)

Daylilies are a beautiful addition to any garden, with their vibrant blooms and ability to thrive in different conditions. If you’re looking to grow and care for daylily plants, choosing the best daylily fertilizer is essential. By providing proper nutrition and care, you can ensure your daylilies stay healthy and produce beautiful blooms.

Key Takeaways:

  • Choosing the right daylily fertilizer is crucial for vibrant blooms and thriving plants.
  • Understanding the needs of daylilies, including soil type and growing conditions, is important for proper fertilization.
  • Fertilizing new and established daylilies requires different approaches.
  • Special considerations should be made for daylilies in rain gardens and conducting soil tests can provide valuable insights.
  • Proper fertilization can help prevent and address common daylily issues, such as spider mites, leaf streak, and dead leaves.

Understanding Daylilies: A Brief Overview

Daylilies are tough and resilient plants that can thrive in a variety of conditions, making them a popular choice for gardens. To ensure your daylilies reach their full potential, it’s important to understand their preferred growing conditions.

Daylilies require well-drained soil that’s rich in organic material. They can thrive in full sun or partial shade, depending on the variety, but they typically perform best when they receive at least six hours of direct sunlight per day.

One of the benefits of daylilies is their ability to tolerate different types of soil. They can grow in both clay soils and sandy soil, although they prefer well-drained soil. Regardless of the type of soil, it’s essential to ensure it’s well-drained to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot.

To ensure success with your daylilies, it’s important to assess your soil conditions and make any necessary amendments to create the ideal growing environment. A helpful tip is to add organic compost, peat moss, or Epsom salts to your soil, depending on the nutrient needs of your plants.

The Importance of Fertilizing Daylilies

Daylilies require proper fertilization to promote healthy growth and produce vibrant blooms. Without the right nutrients, these tough plants may struggle to thrive, and you may not get the best results. Good choices in fertilizers can make all the difference, with slow-release fertilizers providing new growth year-round.

The benefits of using slow-release fertilizers are many. Unlike fast-release fertilizers that can quickly exhaust soil, slow-release fertilizers release nutrients gradually, ensuring a steady supply of nutrients over time. This means you don’t have to fertilize as often, and there is less risk of over-fertilizing. Slow-release fertilizers are a great option for daylilies since they provide a continuous supply of nutrients to the plants, promoting healthy growth and vibrant blooms.

There are many different types of fertilizers available, including organic and synthetic options. Organic compost, organic material or amendments such as epsom salts, peat moss, or other slow-release options are good choices for feeding your daylilies. The right fertilizer choice will depend on your soil type, so ensure you choose the appropriate fertilizer formula.

Fertilization plays a crucial role in maintaining the health and beauty of your daylilies, so choose the right slow-release fertilizer that will provide new growth and yield the best results.

When and How to Fertilize Daylilies

Timing is crucial when it comes to fertilizing daylilies for optimal growth and vibrant blooms. The best time to fertilize daylilies depends on the season and the specific needs of the plant during each stage of growth.

In early spring, before new growth appears, apply a slow-release fertilizer to the soil around the plant’s base. This will provide the necessary nutrients for the coming season.

During late spring, after the new growth has emerged, you can apply a balanced fertilizer to stimulate the plant’s growth. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application rate and technique.

In late summer, fertilize your daylilies again to promote healthy root growth in preparation for the winter months.

Finally, in early fall, use a phosphorus-rich fertilizer to promote strong, vibrant blooms in the following year.

It’s important to note that daylilies can be sensitive to the heat of the summer, so avoid fertilizing during the hottest months of the year. Instead, focus on providing adequate water to keep the plants healthy and hydrated.

heat of the summer

Overall, a well-timed fertilization schedule is key to maintaining healthy daylilies. Make sure to monitor the plant’s growth and adjust your fertilization schedule accordingly.

Choosing the Right Fertilizer for Daylilies

When it comes to fertilizing daylilies, it’s crucial to choose the right fertilizer to ensure optimal growth and beautiful blooms. Daylilies have specific nutrient requirements, and not all fertilizers are created equal. Factors such as soil type and the presence of organic material also come into play.

Organic options like organic compost, epsom salts, and peat moss can provide valuable nutrients to daylilies while improving soil structure. These amendments typically work well in both clay soils and sandy soil, making them versatile choices for all types of daylily plants.

For those with predominantly clay soils, organic material can help to promote better drainage, ensuring the soil doesn’t become too compact and hinder new growth.

On the other hand, sandy soils may benefit from fertilizers with higher levels of micronutrients, such as iron and magnesium, to support healthy growth.

“Choosing the right fertilizer is essential for promoting healthy growth and beautiful blooms in daylilies. Consider factors such as soil type and the presence of organic material when selecting the best option.

Fertilizing Established Daylilies

Established daylilies require a slightly different approach to fertilization than newly planted ones. Here are some best practices to follow:

  1. Apply fertilizer to the entire clump of the daylily, not just around the base of the plant. This helps ensure that all parts of the plant receive the necessary nutrients for healthy growth and vibrant blooms.
  2. Remove seed pods and dead foliage to allow the plant to focus its energy on new growth and flowers.
  3. Water the plants deeply after fertilizing to help the nutrients penetrate the soil and reach the roots.

Here is an example of how to fertilize established daylilies:

Fertilizer Application Timing
Organic compost or material Apply around the entire clump of the plant, avoiding the base. Early spring or late summer
Epsom salts Dissolve in water and apply to the soil around the entire clump of the plant, avoiding the base. Early spring or early fall
Peat moss Apply around the entire clump of the plant, avoiding the base. Early spring or late fall

Remember to follow the instructions on the fertilizer packaging and adjust the application amount based on the size of the clump. Fertilizing established daylilies requires a bit of extra care, but with the right approach, your plants will be thriving in no time.

Fertilizing New Daylily Plants

If you are planning on planting new daylilies, it is important to fertilize them properly to ensure they grow strong and healthy. Whether you are planting directly in the ground or growing them in a container, proper fertilization is vital for their growth and development.

The Best Time to Fertilize New Daylily Plants

The best time to fertilize new daylily plants is during late summer or late fall. This will help them establish their root systems before the winter sets in. It will also give them the necessary nutrients to come back strong in the spring.

Fertilizing Container-Grown Daylily Plants

If you are growing your daylilies in containers, it is important to use a slow-release fertilizer to ensure they receive a steady stream of nutrients. You can apply the fertilizer at the time of planting, following the manufacturer’s instructions for the correct amount to use. During the growing season, you can also add a liquid fertilizer every two to three weeks to supplement the slow-release fertilizer.

Fertilizing Directly Planted Daylily Plants

If you are planting daylilies directly in the ground, it’s essential to prepare the soil by adding organic material such as compost, Epsom salts, or peat moss. This will help the new plants thrive by providing them with the necessary nutrients. Apply the fertilizer directly to the soil per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Tip: Be sure to water your newly planted daylilies after you fertilize them to prevent the fertilizer from burning the roots.

Dealing with Common Daylily Issues

Although daylilies are resilient plants, they can still face some problems, such as spider mites, leaf streak, and dead leaves. These issues can affect the appearance and overall health of your daylilies. Fortunately, proper fertilization can help prevent and address these problems.

Spider Mites

Spider mites are small pests that can damage daylilies by sucking their juices and causing discoloration or yellowing. To prevent spider mites, avoid using chemical insecticides, as they can harm beneficial insects that control spider mites. Instead, try spraying the plants with water to remove the mites or introducing natural predators such as ladybugs or lacewings. Proper fertilization can also help make the plants stronger and more resistant to pests.

Leaf Streak

Leaf streak is a fungal disease that affects the foliage of daylilies, causing brown or yellowish streaks on the leaves. To prevent leaf streak, avoid watering the foliage and keep the soil well-drained. Remove infected leaves and debris and destroy them to prevent the spread of the disease. Fertilize your plants properly to keep them healthy and more resistant to fungal infections.

Dead Leaves

Dead leaves can create a breeding ground for pests and diseases. Additionally, they can make your plants appear unsightly. Regularly removing dead leaves and debris can improve the overall appearance and health of your daylilies. Proper fertilization can also help keep the plants stronger and more resistant to diseases.

By following proper fertilization practices, you can help prevent and address common daylily issues such as spider mites, leaf streak, and dead leaves. These small steps can help keep your daylilies healthy, beautiful, and thriving.

Special Considerations for Daylilies in Rain Gardens

While daylilies are a hardy plant species that can survive in various soils and light conditions, they require special attention when planted in rain gardens. The unique soil composition of rain gardens presents several challenges for fertilizing daylilies.

Firstly, rain gardens usually contain well-drained soil, which causes water to drain quickly. While this is suitable for other plants, daylilies require more moisture. Therefore, be sure to water them more frequently than you would in regular beds.

Secondly, because rain gardens are designed to collect water, they may have periods of significant waterlogging that can cause damage to the plants’ roots. To prevent this from happening, plant daylilies at the top of the garden bed, where the soil is drier, and avoid planting them in the low spots where water pools.

The best time to fertilize daylilies in rain gardens is in the early spring, just before the plant starts to grow. The nutrients will help the plants develop healthy roots, allowing them to better absorb moisture and nutrients. Additionally, because daylilies need specific nutrient ratios to produce flower stalks, fertilize them once the stalks have emerged, but before the flowers open.

Fertilizing Daylilies in Rain Gardens: A Summary of Key Considerations

Consideration Actions to take
Well-drained soil Water more frequently to provide the moisture that daylilies need.
Waterlogging in low spots Avoid planting in low spots, and plant at the top of the garden bed, where the soil is drier.
Best time to fertilize Early spring before plant growth starts. Additionally, fertilize once flower stalks have emerged, but before flowers open.

By taking these special considerations into account, daylilies can thrive in a rain garden and provide a beautiful addition to your outdoor space.

The Benefits of Soil Testing

Conducting a soil test is an essential step in ensuring you maintain healthy daylilies in your garden. A soil test provides a clear understanding of the type of soil present in your garden, which is essential in determining the nutrient composition present in the soil.

Knowing the nutrient composition of your soil helps you make informed decisions about the type of fertilizer to use. This is especially important as daylilies have specific requirements to bloom correctly.

A soil test administered at the right time of the year can tell you which nutrients are deficient in the soil. Interpreting the test results is vital to understand how to add the right balance of these nutrients to improve the growth of individual flowers and the overall health of your daylilies the following year.

Conducting a soil test is quite easy and is usually done by taking samples of soil from several locations in your garden. These samples are then sent to a soil testing lab for analysis. Once you know the composition of your soil, you can create a targeted fertilization approach that suits the specific needs of your plants.

soil test in a garden

The Benefits of Conducting Soil Tests for Daylilies

Benefit Description
Increases Plant Health Knowing the nutrient composition of the soil helps you create a targeted fertilization approach that ensures the daylilies stay healthy and vibrant.
Better Growth Understanding the nutrient composition of the soil can help you make informed decisions on the type of fertilizer to use and when to apply it, promoting optimal growth in the daylilies.
Financial Savings Conducting a soil test can help you get the right balance of nutrients in your soil, and prevent over-fertilization, which can save you money on unnecessary fertilizers.

Soil testing is a valuable tool for gardeners looking to maintain healthy daylilies in their garden. Start by taking a soil test today to get the data you need to create a targeted fertilization plan.


Proper fertilization is essential for growing and caring for daylilies, yielding vibrant blooms and thriving plants. Choosing the best daylily fertilizer based on the soil type and the nutrient requirements of your plants is crucial.

Understanding the different stages of growth and the optimal times for fertilization, whether for mature or new daylily plants, ensures that your plants receive the right nutrients they need to thrive and produce beautiful flowers.

By addressing common issues such as spider mites, leaf streak, and dead leaves through proper fertilization, you can keep your daylilies healthy and prevent potential damage.

It’s always a good idea to conduct a soil test to help inform your fertilization practices and ensure optimal nutrient composition for your daylilies.

Follow these tips and guidelines to select the best daylily fertilizer, and watch your plants grow and thrive with vibrant blooms, season after season.


What is the best fertilizer for daylilies?

The best fertilizer for daylilies is a balanced, slow-release fertilizer that contains equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Look for a fertilizer with a ratio of 10-10-10 or 14-14-14 to provide essential nutrients for healthy growth and vibrant blooms.

How often should I fertilize daylily plants?

Daylilies should be fertilized three times a year for the best results. Apply fertilizer in early spring when new growth starts, again in late spring before the bloom season, and a final application in early fall to promote root development before winter dormancy.

Can I use organic fertilizers for daylilies?

Yes, organic fertilizers are a good choice for daylilies. You can enrich the soil with organic compost, use peat moss to improve moisture retention, or add epsom salts for magnesium and sulfur. These organic materials provide slow-release nutrients and improve soil structure over time.

When is the best time to fertilize daylilies?

The best time to fertilize daylilies is in early spring when new growth appears and the soil has warmed up. Fertilizing in late spring before the bloom season and in early fall when root development occurs are also good times to provide nutrients. Avoid fertilizing during the heat of the summer.

How should I fertilize established daylilies?

To fertilize established daylilies, apply the fertilizer around the base of the plant, keeping it away from the foliage. Spread it evenly over the soil surface and water plants thoroughly to help nutrients penetrate the root zone. Remove any dead foliage before fertilizing.

Can I fertilize new daylily plants?

Yes, it’s a good idea to fertilize new daylily plants to promote healthy growth. For container-grown plants, apply a slow-release fertilizer before planting. For directly planted in-ground new plants, fertilize in late summer and late fall to aid root development and prepare them for winter dormancy.

How can I prevent and address common daylily issues?

Proper fertilization can help prevent and address common daylily issues. Spider mites can be controlled by spraying plants with water to remove them, while leaf streak can be minimized by ensuring good air circulation and avoiding overhead watering. Regular fertilization promotes overall plant health, reducing the risk of pest and disease problems.

Can daylilies be grown in rain gardens?

Yes, daylilies can be grown in rain gardens, but they require well-drained soil. Fertilize daylilies in rain gardens in early spring before the ground becomes saturated and in late summer before the bloom season. This timing ensures optimal flower stalk development and nutrient uptake.

Should I conduct a soil test for my daylilies?

Conducting a soil test is beneficial for daylilies to determine the nutrient content of your soil. It helps you understand the type of soil you have and identify any deficiencies or imbalances. Test the soil in late fall or early spring, and based on the results, adjust your fertilization practices to provide the necessary nutrients for healthy, individual flowers.

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