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Top Reasons for a Dailily not Blooming & What to Do about it

Top Reasons for a Dailily not Blooming & What to Do about it

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The daylily is typically a really easy plant to grow and to get to bloom. The striking colors – there are thousands and thousands of daylily cultivars –  easy to care for nature and tolerance of a wide variety of soil conditions make it a great choice for those without a green thumb. 

In addition, daylilies tend to require very little by way of care, and are a trusty perennial that will give blooms for years – usually.

If you for some reason do have problems with your daylilies blooming, it is generally pretty easy to fix. 


Why are my daylilies not blooming?

Daylilies need over 6 hours of sunlight a day in order to reach full blooming potential. Make sure they are not shaded by other plants and are in a sunny location. Overcrowding by other shrubs can also affect blooms, and you may find a too deeply planted crown causes low levels of flowers. Divide your daylily every few years to prevent the root systems overcrowding. 


1. Not enough sun

If your daylily isn’t flowering this is the first thing you need to check. Daylilies – whether grown directly in the soil or in containers – need a LOT of sun. 

Full sun – up to or over 6 hours per day – is the minimum requirement. The only exception are those that bloom in dark colors – they should get a little shade (usually in the afternoon) to help keep their rich coloring. 

If you are planting your daylily outdoors then you will need to be sure the location will support these light requirements. Make sure you consider also growth of any trees or other plants in the vicinity for the future. They may eventually start to bring shade that you weren’t originally expecting. 

If you are keeping yours in a large container indoors, make sure it is in a south-facing window that is getting the maximum sun exposure throughout the day. 


2. Not enough space 

Since daylilies are perennials they continue to grow. And if they become crowded, their blooming potential is reduced. 

The best way to manage this is to divide the daylily every few years. By separating the clumps regularly you will reduce overcrowding and ensure the plant produces sufficient flowers. 

If you do not do this, you may still get blooms, but they will likely be smaller and not as striking. Or, worse, the plant can fail to bloom at all!


How to divide your daylily properly for the best blooms

Make sure to not do the division of the clumps on your daylily just before summer. Any new spring growth will likely not have established a very strong root system yet. 

Likewise, doing it towards the end of the fall season can also mean that the newly lifted roots will not be strong enough to survive any cold temperatures. 

Instead, you should do the division and replanting around 8 weeks before any frost risk in your zone, or in the early spring. 

Remove the plant from the soil or pot, and place it on the ground with the leaves facing up the way.

Simply insert a spade in to the middle of the plant and you will find it should cut easily in half. 

If the plant is particularly large you may be able to divide it again! As the daylily is not a particularly sensitive plant you will be able to do this without worrying about causing too much damage to the structure.  


3. Incorrectly planted daylilies

If you have successfully divided your daylily then make sure you plant the new crop into a place with enough space, or a large container.

When planting the new section, make sure the crown is not planted too deeply into the soil. It should be placed no more than 12 inches deep, otherwise they will fail to bloom. 


4. Overcrowding from other plants, trees and shrubs

If your daylilies are planted outdoors directly into the ground then be careful of any potential overcrowding from other plants. 

Well-established shrubs and even nearby trees will likely take most of the ground nutrients and water and divert it away from the daylily. 

Make sure you choose your planting location carefully, ensuring there is enough space for the daylily to spread roots. This way it will maximize the amount of nutrients it takes in order to bloom continually. 


5. Hemerocallis gall midge 

This is typically a later spring and early summer problem. The gall midge lays eggs directly into a developing flower bud. This causes the bud to swell and become closed over. At this point, it is unlikely the flower will open or bloom.

If you suspect an infestation you will need to immediately remove the infected bud. Insecticides may have a good effect on controlling any spread, but this is not a guaranteed method and there is currently no official known cure. 


6. Not deadheading

Deadheading your daylily is a sure-fire way of getting more blooms. If you let the old flowers form seeds and drop, they tend to use a lot of energy. Deadhead old flowers before this happens so that the stored energy goes to create more flowers instead of seeds! 


Frequently asked questions about daylilies that do not bloom


How much sunlight do daylilies need to bloom?

A daylily will need over 6 hours of sun in order to bloom properly. Be careful however with darker colored varieties – they do tend to need some afternoon shade in order to maintain their deep, rich coloring. 


Why is my daylily flower bud not opening?

This can be a sign of an infestation of larvae from the hemerocallis gall midge. The eggs will cause the buds to swell and they essentially get stuck. Remove any signs of infestation immediately.