How to design a daylily garden.

Chapin, SC(Zone 7b)

I will have large island beds to fill when we move to SC. I'm not sure how to plan for planting the DL as I've always had boxed beds at home. I know taller usually goes in the middle, but I have some low scaped plants that have such vigor they over shadow their neighbors.

I want to do a National Display Garden, so I'm thinking maybe of planting in themes. Would you rather see like colors together, like forms together, or what?

Help! I'm absolutely no good at this. Eventually I'll add companion plants but right now it will just be daylilies with a few iris. Here's what a couple of the beds look like now.

Chapin, SC(Zone 7b)

Sorry. Here's the pic.

Thumbnail by LaLambchop
Chapin, SC(Zone 7b)

another view

Thumbnail by LaLambchop
Winnsboro, TX

Hi Leslie,
Are these photos of your gardens in S.C. or in Florida? I'd just stuff each and every bed as full of all the different daylilies.

I've been doing some of my iris gardens by hybridizers. I also love gardens with themes. Hopefully someone with alot more experience than me will tell you exactly what you need to know. All I do is stick them in the ground, label, water and fertilize them and watch them grow. Of course now I learn that I should have separated the tets and dips and now I'm going to make a spider section too.

Alot of times in our eagerness to jump out there and get our feet wet we find ourselves up to our neck in water. LOL I always do everything the hard way. Then have to re-dig things and plant them somewhere else later on.
Some of the seedlings I have are so short that I'm going to be forced to move them to the front of the pack. I guess it's a good thing I like playing in the dirt.

I will be anxious to read what all the big hybridizers advise you. I'm sure several of us need to know and can use this information to make our daylily beds a little more organized.

Happy Gardening, Marian

Scranton, PA(Zone 5b)


I have mixed beds, and I know you are going to get a bizillion different ideas/opinions on this, but I have always put the taller growing things in the back, and the DL's up front...regardless to how tall the DL's are. Most (I know not all) but most DL's, minus some minis) have about the same, or average to same foliage, so the blooms to me don't matter in regard to height. If a DL that bloomed was only 12-14" tall, but there was something in front of it that was 24-36" in hieght, would the shorter one really not be visible? I don't think the scapes are bushy enough to conceal their That's just my 2 cents though...and again I have a feeling that everyone is going to have something different to add.

I hope you can incorporate that Agapanthus into the DL bed...I wish I could grow them as perennials up here :-/ I'm jealous already and haven't seen a DL


Chapin, SC(Zone 7b)

Thank you both.
Marian, those are the SC beds. The azaleas will just have to go. By hybridizer is an idea I hadn't thought of.

Thom, I will be taking 2 forms of agapanthas with me. I have giant ones for the middle and minis for front. I like mixed beds. There are several clumps of iris there already but I don't know what kind. If you want some DL, let me know next year and I'll send you some seedlings.


Winnsboro, TX

Leslies please find someone in the area that will rescue the azaleas!!! Pretty please. In Tyler Texas we have the Azalea Trails and it is to die for. Miles and miles of homes with the most breathtaking gardens, water features, bulbs, and so forth all blooming at the same time. They are a beautiful contrast to the water also. People come from all over the world to see them when they are in bloom. Do you have any Dogwoods? They and the azaleas bloom at or near the same time here in East Texas.

Maybe you could leave the azaleas for the first season and see exactly how the entire neighborhood looks when everything is blooming at the same time. I'd rather remove some of the trees than plants that are established and reward you each year with tons of blooms. I know the azaleas are not very pretty when they are not in bloom but nothing compares with them early in spring when they are in full bloom.

If nothing else maybe you can move them to one area of the yard. I'm so crazy, I'm all choked up from just the thought of you digging them. I have about 8 here and would love to have my entire place covered in them.

Oh well we all have different taste and that's what makes each of us tick.
Happy Gardening, and all that good stuff.
Love YOu, Marian

Poland, ME

Do you belong to the daylily image group? Julie Covington just posted some awesome pictures of beds... There may be some ideas there!

Blue Ridge Mtns, VA(Zone 7a)

That looks like Lake Murray?

Chapin, SC(Zone 7b)

I'll leave them if I don't have to have the room for the daylilies I'm bringing up. I'll have seedlings as well as the stock plants.

I am in the image group and will check those out. Thanks!

It is Lake Murray. Don't tell me you can see that from the pic.

New Waverly, TX(Zone 8b)

Leslie, since the azaleas will bloom before the daylilies, I would leave as many as possible. They make a great background for daylilies, and can be kept trimmed (right after bloom). I'd thin out some of the Iris. Since the display garden is not the "growing" area, it will give you good "bones". The display gardens I have seen have mixed beds, and are used to show how plants will look in the home landscape.

Chapin, SC(Zone 7b)

Good thoughts. Thanks.

Cartersville, GA

I would leave as many azaleas as you can and this winter or late fall relocate the ones you have to move to closer to the water. The reflection of the blooms on the water is breath taking. Azaleas' roots are shallow and they need lots of water to do well. The ones in the most shade could stay as that area is too shady for any daylilies to thrive. Once you see the azaleas bloom this spring, you will see why others are in favor of not destroying them. I have some daylilies mixed in with other perennials. Others are in beds of just daylilies with them staggered so plant markers can be seen. I do like to put the taller ones to the back and the shortest ones up front. We plant our dips together and our tets together for hybridizing. We have one area where we have UFO's and spiders together, but also have other areas where they are mixed in with full form daylilies. I occasionally will put certain colors together to compliment each other if their heights work out. I personally like a lot of color so I tend to mix our colors. We have over 1600 labeled cultivars and have just become an AHS Display Garden. I tried once to keep certain hybridizers' DLs together but that did not last long as we continue to add more plants. However you decide to do it, I know it will look great. You can't go wrong!

Chapin, SC(Zone 7b)

Thanks so much. I'll leave them or transfer since so many have said to.

Lewisburg, KY(Zone 6a)

Leslie, I wish I had planted azaleas years ago. My Mom had lost several one harsh winter and I guess I thought the same would happen to me. Now I believe some work better in colder climates.

I have mixed beds. I need to take a pic of my front bed. It has TB iris and Dls. A few yellow mini marigolds for ground level color. I put in one oldie, Custard Candy because it blooms so well for me. A few spidery ones in the back.
Mini dls on the ends.

The back bed has dls, TBs, dwarf iris, a couple of L. iris clumps, clematis, one big peony
true lilies, etc. It is just a hodge podge but I love it!

Excelsior, MN(Zone 4a)

Teresa: There are northern-hardy azalias produced by the U of MN. They are fabulous. (And now we return to our regularly scheduled program) :0

Lewisburg, KY(Zone 6a)

:) lol

Clearfield, PA(Zone 5a)

I am just going to watch and listen here, maybe I can learn something. My gardens are just a mess of everything. lol

Chapin, SC(Zone 7b)

Will the azaleas be OK when I clear out enough trees to have sun for the DL?

Blue Ridge Mtns, VA(Zone 7a)

I lived there for years, looked familiar so I ventured a guess. You'll love it!

Florence, SC(Zone 8a)

I see some iris (at least they look like iris) in the first pic that need to be moved out of the shade. They want sun.

As far as the agapanthus go, I have (as well as my friends) a lot of trouble growning them here in Florence. I don't know about the Columbia area, but in all my years of living here, I have never seen aggies growing in Cola. My mom has aggies in Hilton Head, but that area is very similar to Florida.

Chapin, SC(Zone 7b)

We'll be in Hilton.

Chapin, SC(Zone 7b)

There is a daylily seller in Irmo that has them, so I'm going to try.

Jamestown, KY(Zone 6a)

In our other house I had planted azaleas on all three sides of our large deck. When they bloomed in early spring, they were gorgeous. I miss them. I have only one here.

Leslie, azaleas are sun-lovers too. And they bloom long before the daylilies. Try to keep some of them or move them to their own large bed.
Just my opinion.


Chapin, SC(Zone 7b)

Oh, they like sun too? Well good! They would be a good centerpiece to the island. There are azaleas all over the improved part of the property. There are a special kind on the front, can't remember what, that have smaller leaves and blooms.

Cartersville, GA

Azaleas are fine in sun. Be sure to water well especially the first summer once they have been moved or planted. The roots are shallow and need water to get established. The best time to plant is the late fall or very early spring even before blooming time.You can move yours even during the winter. You will love them when they bloom in the spring. Your new home is absolutely beautiful!

Chapin, SC(Zone 7b)

Thanks for all the help. I'll get there.

Deland, FL & Hot Spr, AR

Oh Leslie, do try to keep your azaleas, or at least wait until they have bloomed next spring to make a decision. I grew up in Pinehurst, NC where the azaleas and camelias made it look like a fairyland in the spring. I pined for azaleas and camelias for the 35 years we lived in Northern Illinois, and when we moved to AR the first thing we planted were azaleas and for several years added more until now we have about 60, including some Encore. They can tolerate some shade, too. The ones with small leaves are probably gumpo. They don't get very large, however, our indicas that started out about a foot tall are now about 10 feet. They can be trimmed back if you don't want them to get too large. As far as garden design, our yard is a mish-mash of things I like. Sometimes I sit on my bench in the yard and try to visualize how things would look in different places. Even if I don't come up with a plan, the rest has done me some good! I'm sure next spring when you are sitting in that beautiful garden tub and look out the window, you will be glad you kept the azaleas.


Eighty Four, PA(Zone 6a)

What/Where is the daylily image group that was mentioned earlier?

I am in the process of builing a new house and will need to move all my flower beds next year. Currently I have everything planted in rows for easy mowing but also because we knew that they would all need moved when we build our house.

I have about 130 daylilies now but I am always adding, I also have about 50 iris. Right now the daylilies and iris are mixed together. They seem to be doing ok, but I have read that this is a bad idea because of the water/fertiizer requirements.

Gainesville, FL(Zone 9a)

The azealas and the camellias bloom alot longer than the daylilies, my money is on they stay, lol. My daylilies are right in front of mine. I cant imagine not having either of those plants. They dont die back and look great all year. Camellias last a good long time inside.

Chapin, SC(Zone 7b)

I guess I'm spoiled. I've lived all but 5 years in Florida where azaleas are SO common I've come the think of them as boring. I will keep these for at least a year. I promise. I may have to move some as I have to get the DL in the ground and need those amended beds but will do my best.


Gainesville, FL(Zone 9a)

Welllllll....thats kinda like saying we have dogwood in FL. I think your going to be pleasantly surprised. Not to have something that doesnt loose its leaves AND blooms. Not many choices in that category. Camelias are the king my un-aksed-for opinion. lol

Are you going to try to move AND get all your plants in in August. Do you know where you want them....what about pots???

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

Just some random thoughts...........I think that you might want to consider bloom time in the beds. Either decide to have a mass of bloom at one time in each bed or decide on a bed that will bloom over a longer period of time with sparser bloom. You might want to think about beds by type - you know, doubles, spiders, etc. On the other hand i have a bed with all off white daylilies with different types all in the same bed that is very attractive. The only problem with doing it by color if you don't have different types is that the flowers sort of get lost in terms of being an individual bloom.

Winnsboro, TX

Shot Fire Shuckings, don't move any of the plants that are already there. Just make the entire place one big flowerbed. LOL Plant several rows of daylilies in front of the Azealeas, and camelias. That's what I do, I just keep making the flowerbeds wider/deeper/longer. Then leave a little room to walk and then start another bed.

Happy Gardening, Marian

Montgomery, TX(Zone 9a)

In my opinion, I'd try to set a focal point in each area, as if each where a room in the garden. Be it yard sculpture, art,
or color. To me a tall arch or arbor draws the eye to an area and build around that to add color height, privacy, or a path to meader down. Ideally a twisting turning path with a suprize garden sculpture or burst of color sets the heart and eye a flutter. My azalas are in shade and bloom well every year. I just got some gardenia to add for fragrant enhancement, and a Sage. I also have a love for ferns which add texture and mix wonderfully with daylilies as their backdrop. I have shepards hooks with a mixture of hanging baskets that pull the eye up and across the garden. When I water them they drip and water other plants below. I was thinking recently of making garden accents out of old colorful dishware and bird baths out of crystal like lamp shades. This I think makes your garden peak with personality and makes it your own. Sort of gives your garden character. Just my thoughts................

Lewisburg, KY(Zone 6a)

April, I would love to see your your garden accents. Maybe we could start a thread just about how we do make our gardens personal.

I love old things. I collect antiques, mostly glassware, but outside I have an old dinner bell, iron wagon wheel, several antique watercans, a milk can etc.

I had thought about grouping my new beds by hybridizer, but I will always mix in other perennials to expand the bloom time. I just hate seeing a bed with nothing blooming :(

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

Also, you might consider a low border plant in front of your beds. That can make the chaos of different daylilies seem orderly. This is escallonia compakta and I prune it back hard every year after it flowers in July. I know that I've seen some photos of similar treatments in daylily gardens. Something even lower like lamb's ears would do the same thing.

Thumbnail by doss
New Waverly, TX(Zone 8b)

I'd love to be able to use Lamb's Ears, but the humidity, here, just won't let me grow them over a season or two. I've even tried to grow them in cinder blocks, in catcus potting soil. Too much water! Except for this last month, but our weather hasn't been "normal" lately.

Lincoln, NE(Zone 5b)

Leslie, you have a beautiful setting to start with. Can't wait to see what you do with it. One thing I think is important is to make the beds narrow enough that it's easy to get in to deadhead and divide. Also, if it will be a National Display Garden someday, you might want to think of making pathways that would be easy for wheelchairs and handicapped people to access. I agree with doss that a unified border might be nice on the more permanent beds. I have seen liriope used around some beds in the South. My beds are divided somewhat into hot and cool colors, but I also like rainbow mixes.


Lewisburg, KY(Zone 6a)

Susan is right on the narrow beds. I started out narrow but when new ones came in I sometimes just tilled down the front. If you are wanting to make crosses it is almost impossible to do without having problems.

I have Big Blue lirope. Just LMK It grows like crazy. I have even traded it for more daylilies :)

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