In a section of our yard, I have a small field of beautiful daylilies, nine varieties in all. (I can't take credit for them, as they were here when we bought the house a few years ago!) True to their title, the flowers are at their best for only a day or two before they begin wilting. At that point, I can either gently pluck them off, or wait until they shrivel up and fall on their own.

I know that with some plants, removal of the spent blossoms is important so the energy can be used to produce new flowers. With daylilies, is deadheading necessary, or even helpful?

I understand it makes them look better, but I'm not always in the mood to climb through the field to reach those in the back.

I couldn't resist adding some pictures! Click on them for full size.

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You don't have to, although there are many sources that say you should for the reblooming varieties in particular. In reality, it doesn't make much difference to blooming. I've never bothered, frankly, unless I've got nothing else to do, so if you're not busy, like a tidy garden and don't have a back problem, then it might be a useful and relaxing way to wile away an afternoon. Link below to an Australian site on this subject - its the most sensible article I've seen on this subject


  • That's definitely an interesting article. Even when I do deadhead, I usually just slip the flower out. Apparently snapping off the whole pod is a much healthier choice, which I never would have known! Jul 28 '16 at 0:02
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    That's true with all deadheading - roses are probably the most extreme instance, they should be cut back to the next healthy outward facing leaf when deadheading, which means taking stem as well as flowerheads, rather than just pulling off dead flowers. With perennials, its usual to clip out the whole flowering stem at the base if its completely finished producing.But with that article, I like their relaxed attitude as to whether you do or don't deadhead, life's too short if its not critical to do it, after all.
    – Bamboo
    Jul 28 '16 at 10:53
  • Interesting, I do tend to clip out the whole flowering stem on most plants, but am careful while there are still buds on the daylilies. Definitely a consideration here as with all others, I just hadn't thought of it! I'm in full agreement about picking and choosing which are the most important garden tasks, which is why I turn to the experts like you to help me learn which is which! Wilty daylilies are rather pretty in their own way! Jul 28 '16 at 23:07
  • Love that darker pink one....
    – Bamboo
    Jul 31 '16 at 0:41
  • Thanks! We do too. I've never seen anything like it, and am very grateful for whoever planted it before we got here! I have about 10 of them, but they've pretty much gone by. In full bloom, it's quite a sight. Jul 31 '16 at 18:07

Daylilies are named perfectly. The flower is ONLY open one day and then dies. YES you should pop off those flowers, not only will it keep the entire plant healthier but all the unopened flowers will be induced to open, in succession per stem. Flowers are meant to attract pollinators. The plant has to use a tremendous amount of energy to make that flower! To compound that once the flower dies and if it got fertilized it then begins to produce seed/fruit. Another huge energy expenditure. If you are not growing for seed (trust me you are not) get those flowers off of that plant. I even go out and pop off flowers in the evening. All of them, or almost all of them when I have the energy. You won't believe the response by the plant! The more flowers you get off the plant and the sooner one can bear to do so the more vigorous, more floriferous your plant will become and there will just be too many flowers to worry about cutting them off. The energy you are saving the plant is directed to other aspects the plant needs...more leaves, thicker stems, more buds for flowers and fruit. If one doesn't take those flowers off, the plant goes on trying to produce seed, or start the process of abscission where the plant cuts nutrients/water to the flower. Causing the flower to dry up and fall off. Still, waste of energy.

btw, I learned a few years ago that ALL of the 'lilies' are poisonous to cats.

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    – Bamboo
    Jul 31 '16 at 0:40
  • sorry stormy, can't get used to this blasted touch screen, then I dropped the keyboard attachment! You;re right, Hemerocallis can cause kidney failure in cats
    – Bamboo
    Jul 31 '16 at 0:45
  • Oh don't I know it...I have such a hard touch with these electronics...seriously. When I learned (from a client with this fancy phone who had all this garden software) about lilies and cats, I was a bit distressed that I had not known that earlier. Not only Hemerocallis, but even shoot, now I'm having a 'moment'...oh Calla Lily, Iris, all lilies. Gee, how long have you been using a touch screen? (have you ever used the punch cards and put them in the hopper? way before computer screens and personal computers...way, way before? Ever see anyone drop their cards)? Haven't things changed!!?
    – stormy
    Jul 31 '16 at 2:23
  • Punch cards? Nope, no clue about that. What I'm rapidly learning is not to use this new bit of kit on my lap, I don't make mistakes with it when its on the table, nor do I drop it! It's much, much lighter than my old laptop, not stable if its not on a solid surface - its really a tablet that clips to a keyboard.Love it though...
    – Bamboo
    Jul 31 '16 at 10:57
  • Grins...for real Bamboo? Then I must be older than you...or you weren't in school at the time. Horticulturists probably didn't have much use for the computer, then! So MUCH work to use a computer it was kinda silly. Not so silly however when someone dumps their punch cards on the floor. I saw complete meltdowns. Also, no automatic saving ones work. Two weeks into a huge dissertation I lost everything and I had my own meltdown. Started all over and it turned out even better...Mag card typewriters? Another story for chat sometime...
    – stormy
    Aug 1 '16 at 18:40

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