When do you cut back daylilies?

aachenelf z5 MplsJuly 18, 2012

I've always waited until late fall to do this, but I would love to do it now if I wouldn't be hurting the plants performance next year.

I've always figured you should leave foliage intact as long as possible because that's what manufactures the food for a plant - you know, stored energy and all that, but in another thread a couple of people mentioned cutting back iris foliage at this time of year. I've always left that intact until fall for the same reason. Maybe I'm wrong.

Anyway - daylily foliage is really bugging me this year. Cut or not?


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mistascott(7A VA)

You can deadleaf them (meaning rip out the dead leaves only) to tidy up their appearance or you can cut them down to 6 inches or even just a couple inches without harming them. The plant will produce new leaves that will die with the frost in fall provided you keep them watered during droughts.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 9:56AM
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Purists will have a fit, but I cut my daylilies down to the ground, feed them and keep them watered, they grow back before fall and I have fabulous day lilies every year. Otherwise, they mess up the garden with dying foliage.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 8:39PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

I got rid of most of my daylilies because of the summer-post-bloom death look. I used to 'dead leaf' but now just cut them back when I get tired of them. Doesn't seem to bother the plants.

I also cut back on the number of rattier iris. The only big clumps I have are some that keep nice foliage all year. I want my garden to look best in August, not tired and burnt out (because if my garden looks that way, I will follow.... and winter's too long to get sick of the garden in July)

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 8:40AM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

Thanks for the responses. I'm going to do it - hopefully today if the rain stops anytime soon.

IMO daylilies have some of the nicest foliage in early spring. It's just go lush and optimistic looking. I love looking at it. Hard to believe they can turn so ugly right in the middle of the gardening season, but they do as we all know.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 9:16AM
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You will be amazed that they get that spring fresh look again in August. However, if the season is long enough, they do have the potential to get ratty again, but at least it will really be the end of the season by then.

I do hold back on severely cutting back the rebloomers - Happy Returns and Rosy Returns, but I do still cut them back a good amount.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 11:47AM
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I laughed when I read this post title, because my daylilies looked especially ratty this year. I'm sure it's the combination of the heat and the sprinkler system not working at the moment. Tuesday or Wednesday I couldn't take it any longer, and gave them all a "pony-tail" cut to about eight inches. I have lots of rosy returns and they do rebloom, so I didn't want to cut them any shorter.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 12:23PM
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