When to cut daylilies?

When To Cut Back Daylilies: Tips For Daylily Trimming In Gardens

Daylilies are some of the easiest flower to grow, and they put on a pretty spectacular show each summer. Although maintenance requirements are low, cutting back daylily plants once in a while will keep them healthier and producing pretty flowers for years to come.

When to Cut Back Daylilies

The minimum daylily trimming you should do is an annual tidy up of spent leaves and stems. This is important because it keeps the ground clean and prevents or minimizes the buildup of pests or pathogens. You can do this in late fall or early spring, depending on when you want to put in the effort.

If you choose to do the cleanup in the fall, you can wait until the first hard frost before cutting back leaves. In the spring, it’s best to trim just before or as the new green growth is coming up from the ground. Some varieties of daylily are evergreen. These will not brown as easily and you can leave the trimming for spring.

You can also trim throughout the summer to keep your perennial beds clean and tidy and your plants healthy. As often as after each bloom is spent or leaf wilts, you can trim back dead material. A good time for a more concerted effort is during late summer when you get a second flush of blooms. Just avoid cutting back the entire plant until late fall or early spring.

How to Cut Down Daylily Plants

Daylily pruning is simple. The scapes, which are the stalks or stems the flowers bloom on, can be cut back right at the base with pruning shears. Alternatively, you can wait until a tug on the scape dislodges it easily.

When leaves brown in fall, or after the first frost, cut leaves back using sheers. Cut them to an inch or two (2.5 to 5 cm.) from the soil. If you use a knife or shears on your daylilies, make sure they are clean and sanitized to avoid spreading diseases. Likewise, remove and discard the leaves and scapes you remove so that the material will not clutter the ground, making a good home for pests.

So what is the best way to care for daylilies after they bloom?

Is it possible to keep them blooming longer? And can they be divided in the summer as well as the spring and fall?

With the ever-growing popularity and use of daylilies in the landscape, many home gardeners are looking for answers on how to best care for their daylily plants.

Daylilies are one of the most popular plants in home landscapes today. Not only are they beautiful, but they are extremely hardy.

And we have you covered with today’s article!

Daylilies are a fantastic choice for the landscape. They are low-maintenance, hardy, and are also easy to split and divide into multiple new plants.

Even better, you can now find many varieties, such as the Stella D’oro daylily, that are re-bloomers. And that means they will bloom and re-bloom all season long!

We have a little over 200 Stella’s planted all over the farm. And, as we approach the end of June, they are just now hitting their first big blooming cycle.

Our daylilies are now in full bloom at the farm!

It certainly makes for quite the splash of color!

And with just a little maintenance, those colors and blooms will keep on coming throughout the summer and early fall too.

How To Care For Daylilies After They Bloom

If given a just a little bit of in-season care, daylilies, no matter the variety, will not only have more blooms, but bloom for longer periods as well.

Daylily Care 101 – Bloom Maintenance

After the first initial onset of blooms, remove any flowers that begin to fade past their prime.

By doing this, you keep the plant’s energy focused on producing new blooms, and not on trying to maintain their old ones.

Removing spent blooms will keep the plant focused on producing new flowers.

This can be done by hand, or with a sharp pair of scissors, or landscape pruners.

One of the nice things about daylilies are that their blooms tend to last for long periods, so you have plenty of time to enjoy them before having to take them off.

An entire blooming period can extend anywhere from a few weeks to as long as 45 days depending on the variety of daylily.

Removing Daylily Scapes & Seed Heads

Once the plants stop their initial bloom, they begin to form seed heads.

These seed heads, or scapes as they are sometimes called, are not necessary for the plants health or growth. But they do use the plant’s resources to form and grow.

The spent blooms and seed heads on this plant should be removed to help the plant use it’s energy on new growth and blooms.

Because of this, they should be cut back to the base of the plant as they appear.

This, like removing spent blooms, forces the plant to use it’s energy on new blooms and plant strength.

And, if you have re-blooming varieties like the Stella D’oro, this practice also helps create a second bloom cycle much more rapidly.

Dividing Day Lilies In Mid-Summer

Another big advantage of growing daylilies are that can be divided quite successfully right in the middle of the summer.

Daylilies can be dug up and divided in-season to keep large plants manageable, and to create new plants for free.

If plants have become too large, it is a great way to keep them in shape and create a few new starts.

Simply dig up the plant, and divide through the roots with a sharp shovel.

When dividing in the summer months, we use a sharp pair of scissors or hedge clippers to remove all of the foliage down to the base of the plant.

This spurs on a faster rate of growth for the new transplant, and encourages the plant to re-leaf much quicker. See : How To Divide Perennials With Ease In The Summer

Division can be done at any time, but we always wait until our lilies have finished their first main bloom to dig up.

The back hill flowerbed at the farm. All of these plants were created for free by division.

In many seasons, we have had many of our mid-summer divisions and transplants flower again by fall!

It’s not only a great way to keep plants a manageable, but a wonderful way to add new plants to your landscape for free.

Here is to taking care of your daylilies after they bloom, and enjoying them all season long. Happy Gardening! Jim and Mary.

As always, feel free to email us at [email protected] with comments or questions. To receive our 3 Home, Garden, Recipe and Simple Life articles each week, sign up below for our free email list. This article may contain affiliate links.

What To Do With Daylilies After They Bloom – Daylily Care 101 Tagged on: daylilies daylilies after bloom daylilly care how to divide perennials perennial plants summer daylily care

Herbaceous pruning (cutting the foliage of perennial plants) has a few uses. Often, it is used to delay the bloom of a plant, or to make it have better branching instead of just one main stem. This is known across the pond as the “Chelsea Chop”, because gardeners in the UK can plan on cutting their perennials around time of the Chelsea Flower Show. (The show is usually held at the end of May.)
Another good reason for pruning perennial foliage occurs later in the season. During the hot months of July and August, perennial foliage often starts to look old and tattered. For many years, I sighed and assumed that yellowing leaves meant my garden was passing into its fall foliage already.

Before: Hemerocallis waiting for their trim in the Front Woodland

A few years ago, I started experimenting with cutting back (also known as “dead-leafing”) my hardy Geraniums, lamb’s ears (Stachys byzantine), lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis) and Hosta. Even that took a bit of courage at first, but my plants looked better for it!
Then I read Tracy DiSabato-Aust’s thorough treatment on herbaceous pruning in her book, The Well-Tended Perennial Garden. New challenge: the bold step of cutting some plants to the ground. This was supposed to regenerate their foliage. But would it really work?

After: Post chop. Hedge shears made quick work of the entire Front Woodland.

I love daylilies early in the year. Their flowers are beautiful (sometimes scented!), their foliage covers the ground quickly in early spring and they are generally undemanding. Once they are done blooming however, I begin to despise their tattered appearance. In past years, I have torn off just the yellowing leaves under the base of my daylilies (Hemerocallis). This year, I decided to be brave and cut down the entire foliage clump when they had finished blooming.

After: Front Woodland with Hemerocallis nubs.

I was very pleased with the overall appearance of the Front Woodland once I had cut the daylily foliage down at the end of July. It looked kept. Rather a satisfying bit of restraint at the most jungle-like time of year. And with the Sedum ‘Acre’ ground cover in this garden, there was less bare mulch seen than I anticipated. I rather hate bare mulch. Better than dirt, yes, but that is what drives me to cover it with plants instead.
And for those of you wondering: Just a couple of weeks later, they are sending up new foliage. We have had some rain this week, which has helped them to recover quickly. The hope is that they will have new, fresh looking foliage all the way til frost.

Before: Cherry Corner

In the case of our Cherry Corner Garden, my decision to chop the daylilies worked out even better. The black-eyed susans (Rudbeckia) were barely visible at all above the mess of foliage. Once it has been cut down, I was delighted to be able to see the yellow flowers dancing above the annuals. This is the best this garden has looked yet at this time of year.

After: Wow! I could not tell there were that many susans back there!

All that was left was a wheelbarrow load of foliage. After a long afternoon/morning of herbaceous pruning, I usually park this sucker in the garage and deal with unloading it later. Are you as lazy as I am?

Happy pruning!

This post and photos may contain Amazon or other affiliate links. If you purchase something through any link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. Any supplies used may be given to me free of charge, however, all projects and opinions are my own.


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How to prune Stella D’Oro Daylilies, including spent flowers and seed pods. Also how to remove seed pods and prevent them from developing during the blooming season. Helpful images included.

Have you been “hands-deep” in Fall gardening chores like I have? After recently cleaning up our Stella D’Oro daylilies, I felt like I accomplished so much because of how neat and tidy they looked!

However, I’m not sure whether or not I like our Stella D’Oro Daylilies.

One one hand, they look so pretty when in bloom.

But once the major blooming is done — by the time Fall rolls around — man do they look awful!

Here’s a picture of some of our daylilies when they were just about to bloom . . .

The daylilies are nice and bushy, and even the buds have a yellow “hint” of the sunny blossoms to come!

And when that happens, I always love the daylilies!

As I was pruning Stella D’Oro daylilies a couple of weekends ago, I grabbed my camera because the “before and after” was amazing.

Here’s a wonderful image showing you the freshly pruned and cleaned up Stella D’Oro Daylily on the right, versus it’s sad counterpart up front, on the left . . .

This article will show you how to prune Stella D’Oro daylilies and answer many of the common questions surrounding pruning and deadheading these perennials.

This article was originally published in 2017. Since I’ve greatly expanded this to include information on deadheading, seed pods, and additional photos for guidance, I have republished it.

FTC Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. I explain more here.

Deadheading versus Pruning

When you deadhead a Stella D’Oro Daylily, you are primarily removing the dead flowers from the plant — including its “ovary” which we will talk about below.

When you prune a Stella D’Oro Daylily, you are primarily removing dead grass leaves, any seed pods and trimming back the plant to a smaller size.

That’s the main difference between deadheading and pruning.

Stella D’Oro Daylilies: what to deadhead and prune

With Stella D’Oro Daylilies, you want to remove spent flowers, any seedpods that form on the end of stems, and yellowing or dead grass stems.

In Fall, give these plants a hard pruning and tidy them up.

Let’s dive a bit more deeply into all of this.

Why are my Stella D’Oro Daylilies not blooming?

Until a few years ago, I thought that as long as I gently pulled and removed the dying Stella D’Oro flowers, I was good. Remove them and supposedly more flowers will pop up.

I originally wanted Stella D’Oro Daylilies because they bloom all season long.

But mine weren’t doing so after the initial flush of flowers. And they were planted in full sun, which Stella D’Oro daylilies prefer.

Why weren’t they blooming?

Because I wasn’t fully removing the spent flowers from the plant. I had no idea that I need to prune Stella D’Oro daylilies during the season, and not just in the Fall and/or Spring.

Stella D’Oro Daylily seed pods

Instead of getting a new flush of blooms, I was getting seed pods forming where the flowers once were.

When seed pods begin to form, the plant will focus its energy on developing those seed pods. The plant’s energy is no longer focussed on producing flowers.

The plant thinks the growing season is over, so it’s time to work on producing seeds for next year. Thus, no more flowers appear.

The solution to the seeds pods versus blooms is two fold:

  • Remove the seeds pods immediately.
  • Learn how to properly deadhead the spent blooms of your Stella D’oro Day Lilies, to avoid seed pods in the future.

How to remove Stella D’Oro daylily seed pods

To remove the seed pods, use either Fiskars hand pruners or Fiskars garden snips.

Snip off the seed pods AND their stem as far down as you can go. The base of the stem is usually hidden by the day lily leaves.

These leaves are pretty resilient, so you can move them without worrying you will damage the plant.

If you just snip off the seed pods near the top of the stem, those remaining stems will soon dry up and turn tan or brown. Not a big deal, but you probably want to cut them out with the seed pod to avoid another chore of removing the brown stems later.

Removing these seed pods will be a pain to do if there are a lot of them, but once those seed pods are removed, your Stella D’Oro daylilies will refocus their energy back to producing flowers. Pretty soon, you’ll have those wonderful yellow blooms back!

Stella D’Oro Daylilies in full bloom, June 2019 Seed pods in Stella D’Oro Daylily plants, July 2019 After seed pods have been removed from Stella D’Oro Daylilies. Much better!

How to properly deadhead spent flowers on Stella D’Oro Daylilies

Usually when we see spent blossoms on our garden flowers, we know to remove them — whether with garden snips, pruners or even by just pinching them off with our fingers.

Doing so prevents those flowers from going to seed, which helps the plant continue to focus its energy on producing more flowers. You want the plants producing more flowers instead of diverting their energies to developing seeds and/or seed pods.

Here is a typical Stella D’Oro Daylily stem:

There is a full-bloom flower, a spent flower shriveled up, and two flower buds yet to open.

If you tug on the spent flower, it will easily come off:

However, you are left with the flower’s ovary, which is small and can appear like it is just part of the stem.

You need to also remove the ovary, otherwise that tiny ovary (below, right) will turn into the large seed pod (below, left).

I find it easiest to gently grab the spent flower by the bottom, where you can feel the ovary inside of the thin blossom covering it. Gently snap off the complete spent flower with its ovary and throw it away.

That’s all there is to it.

Once you get the hang of deadheading Stella D’Oro daylilies the right way, this becomes an easy chore you can do regularly.

And if you deadhead Stella D’Oro daylilies properly, you will prevent those giant seed pods from developing.

What are those brown stems that appear in my Stella D’Oro Daylilies?

Once you snap off the spent blossom with its ovary, a new stem or flower will not form in its exact spot. Instead, once all of the Stella D’Oro flowers on that stem have finished blooming, the stem will just turn brown and die.

When you’ve removed all of the spent blooms on a particular stem, cut back that stem as close to the base of the plant as possible. I usually try to at least cut those stems down into the leaves so they aren’t as visible when they begin turning brown.

The good news is that once those stems are brown, they are easy to pull out of the plant without needing pruners.

New stems (with new buds and flowers) will continue to form from the base of the plant.

How to prune Stella D’Oro Daylilies

I prune my Stella D’Oro Daylilies twice a year.

  • Fall: main pruning and clean-up for the Winter months.
  • Spring: secondary clean-up from the Winter, possible (optional) pruning if needed.

First, grab those dead leaves around the outer base of the plant and gently tug — they come right off. (They look like dried grasses, don’t they?)

Next, use your fingers as a rake and comb “up” from the center base of the plant to remove the rest of the dead leaves.

Look at this ugly mess I removed from just one plant . . .

Using your favorite pruners — I use these from Fiskars — start trimming the green leaves down.

I hold a bunch with one hand, then cut them with the other. This way, I’m holding the remains that go right into the garden trash, no mess in the garden bed.

When you see any stiff brown stems — stop and pick those out. Most will come up readily, you might need to gently tug on a few of them.

Finally, continue cutting the leaves down to just a few inches tall.

I kept any remaining flowers, just because.

Check out this before-and-after shot . . .

Such a huge difference, and it only takes a few minutes per plant once you get the hang of it.

Doesn’t this section of the garden bed look like it could be early Spring instead of early October? Kind of funny!

How about you?

Do you love your Stella D’Oro Daylilies?

Or does your affection wax and wane like mine does?

Happy gardening!

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