The Q&A Archives: Trimming Fortnight Lily

Question: I've seen fortnight lilies with its leaves and flower stalks trimmed back to about 3-4 feet. Is this a recommended practice, or is it strictly aesthetic? If it's recommended, when and how often should the trimming take place? Thank you, David Leslie.

Answer: What you describe seems to have come into common practice recently, perhaps in an effort to make plants in commercial areas and near housing complexes look neat and trim. Sadly, the plants groomed in this fashion suffer poor health. I think it looks cookie-cutter clean, but quite unnatural. The long, branching flower stems on Fortnight lillies 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, and partially damaged leaves should be cut back as well. This can be done at any time of the year. Dietes have a clumping habit and new leaves will be produced in the spring from the crown of the plant.

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