Daylilies Not Blooming: How To Make My Daylily Plants Flower?

Daylilies (Hemerocallis spp.) are hardy perennial plants that thrive in USDA hardiness zones 3-9. They are well known for producing a wide variety of beautiful blooms throughout the spring and summer months. 

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Why is it, then, that occasionally daylilies fail to bloom? This article explores this question and provides nine clever tips to help you keep your daylilies blooming. Read on to learn more. 

Individual Daylily Flowers Are Brief But Spectacular

True to the name, each daylily blossom lasts only a day; however, a healthy plant should produce many blooms in rapid succession. If this doesn’t happen, there are a few things you can check and adjust, including:

1. It may not be your daylily’s bloom time: Different cultivars bloom at different times during the growing season. Some bloom early in the springtime; others bloom mid-summer; others may not bloom until late autumn.

It’s wise to carefully select a mix of daylilies to keep your garden in bloom throughout the growing season.  Details on when do daylilies bloom here.

2. Too little sunlight: Is your plant receiving enough light? Daylilies like full sun to very light shade. If you have had trees or other plants put on rapid growth this season, your daylilies may be new in the shade.

If this has happened, it may need to prune the offending plants and/or relocate some or all of your daylilies.

3. Too much or too little water can interfere with blooming: Generally speaking, daylilies need a deep watering of about an inch of water once a week throughout the growing season.

If they compete with trees or shrubs for water, you may want to increase the amount of water delivered but not the frequency. Water deeply at the soil surface. Avoid overhead watering. 

4. Lack of nutrients: Generally speaking, healthy, correctly spaced daylilies will appreciate an annual early springtime feeding using a balanced fertilizer (e.g., 10-10-10 or 12-12-12).

If your soil is very poor or sandy, you may also want to provide a feeding mid-summer and maybe even in the fall. Be careful, though. Overfeeding can also suppress blooming. 

5. Crowding: If your plants are well-established, the rhizomes may have reproduced to the point of overcrowding. When this happens, the plants cannot get enough nutrients from the soil. Daylilies should be divided once every 3-5 years (preferably in early spring) to avoid overcrowding. 

6. Wrong planting depth: Overcrowding can also cause your daylily rhizomes to rise out of the soil and become too exposed to thrive. Again, the solution is to divide them and then make sure you replant them at the correct depth – about an inch below the soil’s surface. Planting too deep can also cause plants not to bloom.

7. Too much mulch: Another reason your rhizomes may be at the wrong depth is an overenthusiastic application of mulch. Your daylilies may have needed a good, thick layer of mulch for protection during the winter, but when spring arrives, you may want to remove some of that mulch to return your rhizomes to the correct planting depth. 

8. Lack of maturity: Sometimes, daylilies planted or divided very early in the spring will bloom before the end of the growing season. More often than not, though, they need a whole year to mature. It is especially true if you plant or divide them during the summer.

If you grow or divide in the fall, you may not see blooms until the second following growing season.

9. Too many spent blooms: When daylily blooms fade, they should be promptly deadheaded to encourage new growth. You don’t want to allow the plants to go to seed because this consumes a great deal of energy that could be better spent (from your point of view) on producing flowers.

It’s wise to deadhead your daylily flowers as you see the need. You can pull off spent flowers by hand daily as you visit your garden. Once a week or so, go through with pruning shears and cut away the spent (yellowed) stalks to the ground.

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