Yellow daylily – planting, care and tips

Yellow daylily (Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus)
Yellow daylily (Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus)

The easy-care yellow daylily with its natural charisma offers a feast for the eyes and treat for one’s taste buds. With these tips on planting and care, it also thrives in your garden.

Profile of yellow daylily:

Scientific name: Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus

Plant family: asphodel subfamily (Asphodelaceae)

Other names: lemon daylily, lemon lily, custard lily

Sowing time: from February

Planting time: late March to mid-April and early September to mid-October

Flowering period: May to June

Location: sunny

Soil quality: sandy to loamy, nutrient rich, humus rich

These information are for temperate climate!

Use in: flower beds, bouquets, pond planting, borders, flower garden, water garden

Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 4 (-34 °C / -25 °F)

Bee and insect friendly: Yes

Plant characteristics and classification of yellow daylily

Plant order, origin and occurrence of yellow daylily

The yellow daylily comes from China and Japan and can be found in the perennial nurseries both under the botanical name Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus and under the former name Hemerocallis flava. What few know: Daylilies are very popular as food plants in East Asia. The yellow day lily was naturalized in Europe and North America, so that it can also be found overgrown in riparian forests or on damp meadows. The yellow daylily belongs to the asphodel subfamily (Asphodelaceae), which is a subfamily of the blackboy family (Xanthorrhoeaceae), also known as grass tree.

Characteristics of yellow daylily


The yellow day lily is a deciduous perennial that forms a cluster and grows up to 80 centimeters (32 in) high. Rhizomes with fleshy roots are typical.


The belt-shaped, arched overhanging leaves of Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus are up to 65 centimeters (26 in) long and end in a narrow tip. They appear close to the ground.


In early summer, sometimes as early as May, the bell-like, six-fold flowers of the yellow day lily appear on slender stems up to 9 centimeters (3.6 in) wide. They are star-shaped and shine in a clear lemon yellow. They spread a very special “perfume”: their fragrance is described as orange or lily of the valley like. Of course, that’s why many insects are interested in them. The flowers only last for one day, but new ones open every day. The flowers are edible and are often used as decoration for drinks or desserts.


Capsules emerge from the flowers, which contain 6 to 8 seeds per pod.

Yellow daylily – cultivation and care


The yellow day lily loves the sun. Half-shaded garden areas also illuminate with their yellow flowers, but they bloom more abundantly in full sunlight.


The yellow daylily likes a humus rich soil that is well supplied with water, it can even be a bit swampy. It should be fresh, a pH between 6.5 and 7.5 is desirable. Short-term drought is also tolerated by older plants.

Flower of a yellow daylily
Flower of a yellow daylily


From late March to mid-April, then again from early September to mid-October are the ideal times to plant a yellow day lily. Specimens growing in the pot can be planted almost all year round. The earth should be piled up to about 5 centimeters (2 in) above the roots, so that it is slightly below the ground level.


The perennial grower Karl Foerster once called the genus Hemerocallis “Flowers of the intelligent lazy”. That means: little maintenance. Yellow day lily likes a good amount of compost in spring. In the event of prolonged drought, the yellow daylily should be supported by watering, especially during flowering. Withered flower-stems are cut out for a prolonged flowering. The unsightly foliage can be cut off in autumn, but it is better to leave it in rough regions because it protects the rhizome from the cold.


If the blooming abates, it is best to divide the rhizome before or after flowering. At the same time, the leaves are shortened to a length of a hand’s width in order to reduce evaporation. However, the yellow daylily is very long-lived, so you don’t have to do anything for many years. The parts always come so deep into the ground that the roots are about 5 centimeters (2 in) below the surface.

Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus seed itself by the abundant seeds. These have to be stratified in order to stimulate germination. However, dividing the rhizome in autumn is more effective than propagation by sowing.

How to sow yellow daylily

Sowing is not the most popular method of propagating daylilies. It is much more complex and difficult than dividing the plant. In addition, the results are not of the same species. This means that if you have a daylily hybrid, sowing will result in daylilies with different properties than the mother plant.

  • Soak seeds in water for 1 to 3 days between late February and April
  • Change water once a day
  • Sow seeds in seeding compost, press slightly and keep soil moist
  • Germination time: 4 to 32 days
  • Then continue cultivating the seedlings in a cooler location
  • Prick out if necessary and fertilize a little
  • Plant out in May, after nor more frost are being expected

The young daylilies should be planted in a bright and warm place. Sunny to partially shaded locations in a protected area of the garden are ideal. If you don’t have a garden, you can keep the daylilies in a pot on the balcony.

Diseases and pests

The yellow day lily is very robust in the right place, snails are not interested in it. Swollen buds can indicate larvae of the gall midge. The infestation causes the buds to fall off before flowering. Infected shoots should therefore be removed and disposed of in the organic waste. Hemerocallis varieties, which only flower from the second half of June, are usually not affected, since the gall midge lay their eggs earlier. Spider mites and thrips can be put to flight by good watering and some air movement.


Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus is absolutely hardy down to -34 °C / -25 °F. Potted plants should be placed on a wood block and wrapped in fleece.

Use in the garden

On the open space, on the edge of the wood, in the swamp area of ponds – the yellow day lily enriches many locations in the garden if it is only moist enough. For example, it feels comfortable with lady’s mantle or hosta, and various types of cranesbill are also suitable as companions. A potted culture is also possible. Then winter protection for the roots is necessary. As a cut flower, the yellow daylily even unfolds its buds in the vase.

Use as a vegetable

Yellow daylily s also makes a career as a vegetable for permaculture: the buds taste fried or raw, the shoots can be steamed. The seeds can be added to soup or salad as a topping.

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