The Q&A Archives: Pruning of Daylilies, Mould in Mulch

Question: I found out from an associate at one of your centers that it is wise to prune the stems of daylilies after the buds on them have bloomed and they only have seed buds left on them. This practice, I am told, is to encourage them to rebloom. I would like to have you confirm this and give me more information on how far down on the stem to go to prune. Do I go all the way to the the bottom of that stem to prune? Will that stem produce more flower buds in the same season or would the pruning foster flower buds on other stems on the plant?

My 2nd question has to do with what looks like mould in mulch - the mulch that I put on my flower bed late last Fall has some whitish stuff that tends to make the mulch stick together. Is this harmful to the plants? Is it advisable to throw more fresh mulch or decorative stone on this old sticky mulch or should I remove the old mulch first?
Thanks for your help - it is greatly appreciated.

Answer: Daylilies bloom over a short time and each flower lasts a day. You can snap off each bloom when it is faded and then when all of the flowers on a tall stem or scape have faded the scape itself can be removed. Cut it off at the base down near the ground. If the plant is going to bloom again it will send up another scape. Some (most) varieties produce scapes to bloom over a week or two once a year, while reblooming varieties will rebloom one or more times in a season if conditions are favorable. The deadheading serves to conserve the plant's energy by preventing it from setting seed. The scape is removed because it eventually just turns brown and looks unattractive.

The fungus or mold in the mulch will not hurt your plants. It is part of the natural process of decay and helps the mulch break down naturally so it can feed the soil slowly over time. You can mulch over top of it if you wish or just ignore it. When conditions are no longer favorable (eg the mulch is drier or the particular material it is growing on is used up) it will disappear on its own.

Enjoy your daylilies!

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