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It’s delightful daylilies’ time to shine

Gulf Coast Gardening

April showers bring May flowers, or so it’s said. I know the showers we’ve had this spring are bringing flowers and sprouting shrubs, and my grass is growing so fast that my lawn-mower blades barely have time to cool off.

One thing to note: daylilies will be at their peak this month. Lasting only one day, hence the name, daylilies are easily transplanted, multiply fast and are easy to maintain. Planted together in large numbers, they not only choke out weeds, but they create a stupendous show of color.

I’ve recently learned that the vast array of daylilies available today were bred from the old yellow and orange” ditch bank” lilies so plentiful in my youth. Growing up, my grandmother had two rectangular beds of yellow and orange daylilies in her front yard, and I spent many a lazy June afternoon picking and arranging them in bouquets.

Modern day breeding has doubled the normal chromosomes, producing larger flowers with heavier texture and more blooms per stem over a longer time period. Daylilies are among the easiest perennials available to us in the South. They prefer well-drained soil with adequate organic matter. They need full sun, at least six hours per day, but will grow in partial shade. In heavy shade, the plants do not bloom well and decline.

Daylilies have few pests, the most common being aphids, spider mites, thrips, slugs and snails. Rabbits tend to avoid them, but deer find the entire plant tasty.

Daylily Rust can be a problem. It’s caused by the fungal pathogen puccinia hemerocallidis. Infected plants should be isolated from healthy plants. Purchase disease-free stock, and in the fall, remove dead foliage from around the base of the plants and dispose of the clippings, as spores will be produced the following spring to infect new leaves.

Hattiesburg has a vibrant Daylily Club. The group will host its annual free Daylily Show on Saturday, June 3 at the Old Train Station at Buschman and Newman Streets downtown Hattiesburg. It opens to the public at 1 p.m. Club members will be available to answer your questions concerning anything you want to know about daylilies. A plant sale is held at 11 a.m.; don’t be late, as plants sell out fast. More information is available at: www.Hattiesburgdaylilies.com

Written by Darlene Underwood

Darlene Underwood is a Mississippi master gardener, national
accredited flower show judge and Garden Clubs of Mississippi
third vice-president. Reach her at darlene.underwood@att.net.

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