The Q&A Archives: Care Of Fortnight Lily

Question: I live in a condo complex and we have many fortnight lilies around. What is the proper time and way to deal with spent blooms? I have been breaking off the big seed pods when I can, but what about the whole flower stalk? What about the partially or fully dead leaves? Our gardeners completely sheared back a few of them (I wouldn't let them do them all) to the ground. Now those look terrible. Thanks for any advice.

Answer: The long, branching flower stems on your Fortnight lily usually last from year to year, so leave them on the plant if possible. It's okay to snap off the seed pods, but leave the stems alone. Dead leaves should be cut off the plants. The partially damaged leaves should be cut back as well. Shearing the entire plant back to ground level isn't a good idea. Dietes have a clumping habit and new leaves will be produced in the spring from the crown of the plant. Sounds to me as though you've saved a few of the plants from a terrible fate! Best wishes with the remaining Fortnight Lilies!

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