Gardening Tips: Daylilies

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Daylilies are starting to flower, with lilies coming close behind them. Black-eyed Susans will be showing their daisy-like heads momentarily, and will bloom for weeks. Many of the annuals you bought at the garden center in May will bloom all summer with a little care. It would be great to just sit back and watch the flowers, but there are many things to do now that will keep the flowers coming or improve the show next year.
We enjoy the flowers for their beauty, but the plant could care less about aesthetic qualities.

The purpose of those lovely flowers is to draw pollinators such as bees so that they will pollinate the flowers to make seeds for future plants. Maturing seeds takes energy, naturally. If you deadhead (remove the dead flowers) many plants they will put their energies into making new flowers instead. Besides, deadheading improves the looks of many plants. Let some native plants such as black-eyed Susans go to seed, however, and you’ll attract seed-eating birds such as goldfinches.

And speaking of seeds: If you let the weeds that are springing up now go to seed they will reward you with hundreds of plants next year where there was one this year. Get the weeds before they go to seed. If you do this for a couple of years you’ll discover you have far fewer weeds.

by guest blogger, Jessica Milstead

Jessica has been a Charles County Master Gardener since 2002 and is certified to evaluate gardens and landscapes for their adherence to Bay-Wise principles.