When Should Daylilies Be Cut Back?


Daylilies are a perennial flower with bright blooms that appear amidst sword-like leaves throughout the summer. In order to protect daylilies so that they come back each year, it is best to cut them back.

Daylily Growing Steps

  • Daylilies begin with the tips of green fronds emerging from the soil in early spring. These leaves continue to grow and as summer moves in, stems and buds appear for the bright flowers they produce. Daylily blooms generally only last a day or two and then either drop off or wilt and wait for the gardener to deadhead them. Deadheading is removing the dead blooms so that new blooms might form. Throughout the summer the daylily will provide daily blooms. After the blooming season, the leaves of the daylily will remain green and full until colder weather sets in, then they will begin to droop and turn brown. This is the ideal time to cut back your daylilies.

Cutting Back Daylilies

  • Once the leaves have begun to droop and turn brown you can cut back your daylilies using simple garden shears and cutting them off at ground level. This is also the best time to thin or move your daylilies. There is no need to dig up daylilies for the winter. Simply cut them back and cover them with compost and mulch. They will reappear in early spring refreshed and new after winter dormancy.

Why Cut Back Daylillies?

  • Being perennial flowers that spread through underground tubers and rhizomes, daylilies always winter better if they are cut back. It’s much the same as when a plant has one broken leaf, it sends nutrients and moisture to that area in order to repair it. If the leaves are dying, the root continues trying to support them even though it is entering the dormant phase. This can cause your daylilies to become weak and sickly, leaving a thinner batch each year instead of a fuller patch.

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