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Top 10 Perennials for the Midwest


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Daylilies
This beautiful daylily (Hemerocallis) catches the last rays of the evening sun.
This beautiful daylily (Hemerocallis) catches the last rays of the evening sun.
©iStockphoto.com/TerryStraehley

Daylilies, or Hemerocallis, demonstrate their hardiness by thriving and multiplying in ditches along the roads. Several varieties bloom throughout the summer. Plant them in well-drained soil in full sun, in zones three through 10. You may want to plant your lilies in front of shrubs. The dense greenery will serve as an interesting visual backdrop to these tall beauties.

The name of this perennial divulges its nature -- it's lovely bloom only lasts one day. But don't worry, these plants are stocked full of bulbs ready to bloom the day after the others die off. Because of this, well-established daylily plants can provide you with a full bloom from as early as May through the early October.

They are similar to the hosta not only in looks, but in their care as well. Like the hosta, these plants are pretty low maintenance. And they are also often transplanted from a pot, which means they can be planted over many of the warm months of the Midwest's year. Make a hole roughly 12 inches deep and 9 inches wide (31 by 23 centimeters), then place the roots into the hole and fill with a mixture of soil and fertilizer. Leave a foot or two (one-third to two-thirds of a meter) between plants and be sure that the crown of the root is level with, or above, the soil line [source: Hittle]. Make sure to water the plants each week until the plant is fully established in your garden.

Daylilies may be even easier to tend than the hosta since they don't rely on consistent watering. They've been known to live through both over- and under-watering conditions [source: Hittle]. Their resilient nature makes them more able to handle sun exposure, so you may want to plant your daylilies where they'll receive somewhere between a half and a full day of sun.

While daylilies aren't too tough to tend, you should watch out for some of their common predators. Insects such as aphids, spider mites, slugs, snails, cutworms, beetles and bulb mites may feed on your prized plant. Deer will likely snack on the bloom, too. Putting up fencing or asking your local gardening store for a pesticide can help combat these annoyances [source: American Hemerocallis Society].


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