What should I do with my daylilies after they bloom in the middle of summer? That question is one of the most popular ones of all coming into the blog right now, and with good reason.
Daylilies are a fantastic choice for the landscape. They are low-maintenance, hardy, and for the most part, both deer and drought resistant. Even better, they are also quite easy to split and divide into new plants.
But as these plants near the end of their big, early summer blooming cycle, many gardeners are at a loss for the best way to care for them after the blooms begin to die off.
Should I be cutting them back? Do I need to fertilize? Is there anything I can do to help keep them blooming longer? Can I divide them in the summer if they have grown too big?
All of these questions and more about summer daylily care make it to our inbox. And with that in mind, we thought it was the perfect time for a little how-to summer daylily care article to help answer them all and more.
Summer Daylily Care 101 – What To Do With Daylilies After They Bloom
From the common Orange daylily to the ever popular Stella D’oro and the hundreds of more varieties in between, daylilies can be found in a plethora of colors, shapes and sizes.
Some varieties bloom for a single session. But many, like the Stella, can re-bloom several times through the summer. Especially if they are given a bit of extra TLC.
But no matter which variety you have, summer care is important to their long-term healthy and vibrancy. Not only can it help foliage stay strong and beautiful through the long summer months, it can also help the plants to a better, more vigorous bloom cycle the following year.
Here is a look at what to do with your daylilies this summer to keep them looking great, and depending on the variety, perhaps even bloom again and again!
Daylily Care 101 – Bloom Maintenance
After the first initial onset of blooms, it is important to remove any flowers that begin to fade past their prime. By doing this, you keep the plant’s energy focused on producing new blooms.
An entire blooming period can extend anywhere from a few weeks to as long as 45 days. It all really depends on the variety of daylily. But removing old blooms helps extend that time to the longer side – no matter which type you are growing.
Unfortunately, when old blooms stay on the plant, they continue to use resources from the plant. Resources that should and could be going to create more blooms and brighter foliage.
Removing old bloom stems can be done by hand, with a sharp pair of scissors, or as we prefer doing, with a handy set of hand-held pruners. Product Link : Fiskars Bypass Pruners
Bypass pruners make quick work with little effort, and also work great for some of the woodier stems. One of the nice things about daylilies are that their blooms tend to last for long periods. That means you have plenty of time to enjoy them before having to take them off!
Removing Daylily Scapes & Seed Heads
Next, let’s talk about seed heads and daylily scapes. This topic can be especially important for varieties of daylilies that are able to bloom again.
Once daylilies stop their initial bloom set, they begin to form seed heads. These seed heads, or lily 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.
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.
For any variety of daylily, this is also a great time to give them a bit of all purpose plant fertilizer. This allows them to build up strong roots and energy for the next bloom cycle.
Plant Maintenance In Mid-Summer
Are your daylilies becoming too large? Believe it or not, unlike many perennials, you can split and divide them right in the middle of summer!
If plants have become too large, this is a great way to keep them in shape and create a few new starts. When daylilies become too large and overcrowded, bloom sets begin to suffer. But splitting and dividing allows for plenty of new room, and new plants.
Dividing Daylilies In Mid-Summer
Dividing daylilies couldn’t be easier. Simply dig up the plant, and divide through the roots with a sharp shovel. (See : How To Divide Perennials In The Summer With Ease)
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.
First off, this foliage will most likely die off after they are transplanted into the ground. So cutting it off right as you dig them up keeps your transplants from looking sad in your beds while the new growth comes on from below.
Even more importantly, cutting back that growth spurs on a faster rate of growth for the new transplant, and encourages the plant to re-leaf much quicker.
Division can be done at any time, but we always wait until our lilies have finished their first main bloom to dig up. Once the plants have been replanted, it will take about 3 to 5 weeks to start seeing some good growth come up through the crown.
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.