Daylilies forum: Spent Blooms - Live Head, Dead Head or Let Them Be?

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Name: Char
Vermont (Zone 4b)
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Char
Jun 28, 2014 1:31 PM CST

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While I sit here still looking out at a sea of green, blooms are late this year, I found myself thinking about how much I enjoy the evenings in the garden. I'm a "live header" picking the days blooms at the end of the day once the shade has covered the garden and I have it all to myself. Days during bloom season start very early in the morning with a first run around to see what's open complete with photos and notebook. Then it's on to seedlings, tagging, photos, recording, who stays who goes... Hybridizing next as the pollen dries, with more observations throughout the day as the temps warm changing the blooms, for good or bad. Visitors, sales, a few weeds...along with the everyday chores of having animals and a home.

Evenings are my time with the blooms... to relax and enjoy each one as I pick it off with my fingers and put it in the bucket. I'm always a bit sad after to see what I did, the wheelbarrow loads of blooms dumped on the compost pile and the garden bare, except for those pollinated...but come morning the garden is refreshed with new blooms in an ever changing piece of living art.

I do "dead head" occasionally, when the day is just to long or hot, picking the mushy, slimy blooms off as fast as I can the next morning just to get it done. And the hybridized blooms, well I just "let them be".
So I guess even though I actually do all three...nothing beats "live heading" in the cool evening when it is just me and the garden.

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Polymerous
Jun 28, 2014 2:21 PM CST
For me, it depends.

For daylilies that have been pollinated, I leave them alone until the next morning, when I prune the dead flower off (above the hopefully baby pod).

Daylilies that are in the side yard (not visible except from one bedroom window) or the "Back 40" (somewhat but not highly visible) I try to live head in the evening. Yes, it makes me sad too Sad , but at least it gives me the get-up-n-go to get out there to do the job, and in doing so I also enjoy the evening garden time.

Daylilies that are in the "Near 40" and visible from the kitchen/dining room/living room areas (not all are), particularly those in the Moon Garden, I generally leave alone and deadhead first thing the next morning.
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Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
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Hemlady
Jun 28, 2014 2:37 PM CST
If I have pollinated a flower I usually leave it alone so I don't accidently take too much off and ruin the possible pod forming. If I do not pollinate a flower I like to deadhead it the next day. It makes the flower beds so much nicer looking.
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Name: Jan
Hustisford, WI
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philljm
Jun 28, 2014 6:55 PM CST
I usually do it the next morning when I am messing around in the gardens. Often I am home too late for evening stuff. I also have several night bloomers and I have to be careful not to bother them
Name: Juli
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daylily
Jun 28, 2014 7:12 PM CST
I am usually the only person that sees my daylilies. Can't see other houses or the road from my flower beds.

It all depends on the weather, but I detest dead heading slimy blooms. So, I live head in the evening.

However, if it is going to be really hot, and flowers will be "shot" by noon... I take a nice look around early in the morning, maybe take some photos, then live head right then. I don't do much pollenating anymore (learned to be very selective!). So, I see them fresh and pretty, then pluck them off.

I don't know of anyone else that does this.... It is rather.... Odd? But, if I get to see them when they look great, and I will then be inside the rest of the day, who's going to see them?

Except the yellows... My favorite daylily color. Lovey dubby They always seem to look good... So I will leave them on in case the evening is nice enough to be back in the garden for a while.
Name: Tina
Where the desert meets the sea (Zone 9b)
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chalyse
Jun 29, 2014 12:26 AM CST
Brings a smile to read about each person's dance with their daylily blooms. Nothing is odd when it comes to enjoying daylilies in the most meaningful way in our own gardens. For my daylilies, garden display is also behind fencing and off the street, so I love to leave the flowers on. Our dry and hot temps mean that I only very rarely find a spent bloom to be moist or mushy - they are like parchment by late afternoon.

I've come to include spent flower appearance in my list of desirable characteristics when I choose cultivars to include in my home hybridizing. I love the mostly pale spent colors, softly curling or umbrella'd forms that appear as they age, and the way some will almost turn into new flower form by a day or two later ... long, penciled-up throats curved gracefully down and sometimes end in a burst of tiny sprayed tips outward. Lovey dubby
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Name: Catherine
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Cat
Jun 29, 2014 1:16 AM CST
I am outside several times a day. I have always done live heading at the end of the day. When I just had a few Stella's and Happy Returns daylilies and my iris's (the lilies take a few days longer). A habit I really have to watch now that I have started hybridizing! When I read the first part of your post, it made me want to go back out side Lovey dubby .

I like to go out when the light has just started to fade and walk around alone to enjoy the days blooms and growth once more. It is my time alone with the garden, in the coming night air and sounds. I also have a small pond and enjoy the water and plants in the evening. I would not trade that time of the day for anything. It is my time to rejoice in the beauty of my labor! Smiling
Cat
"Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers." - Veronica A. Shoffstall

caitlinsgarden
Aug 4, 2014 7:57 AM CST
chalyse said:Brings a smile to read about each person's dance with their daylily blooms. Nothing is odd when it comes to enjoying daylilies in the most meaningful way in our own gardens. For my daylilies, garden display is also behind fencing and off the street, so I love to leave the flowers on. Our dry and hot temps mean that I only very rarely find a spent bloom to be moist or mushy - they are like parchment by late afternoon.

I've come to include spent flower appearance in my list of desirable characteristics when I choose cultivars to include in my home hybridizing. I love the mostly pale spent colors, softly curling or umbrella'd forms that appear as they age, and the way some will almost turn into new flower form by a day or two later ... long, penciled-up throats curved gracefully down and sometimes end in a burst of tiny sprayed tips outward. Lovey dubby


Spent flower appearance - Ah, that's one we are not likely to find listed anywhere! But I am beginning to dislike those DLs that turn into big piles of slime. I suppose this group could be "live headed" to avoid this? Mostly I dead head when I get around to it, and I am starting to notice the ones that are fairly neat as they die.
Name: Sue
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sooby
Aug 4, 2014 8:09 AM CST
I agree with caitlinsgarden. IMHO anybody hybridizing and hoping to make it big in the landscaping daylily business (maybe hardly anybody does, though Smiling ) should not deadhead. Then you'll see what your daylily will look like in parking lots, commercial landscaping and probably most backyards, etc.

caitlinsgarden
Aug 4, 2014 2:45 PM CST
Good point! Note to myself: if there is a big messy I can't stand to pitch, plant it close to the lane so it can be easily dead headed. If you have to reach 3 or more feet into the clumps you are less likely to dead head it. I have a couple in this category - one is wild one and it is way back in a corner of the garden so I don't have to watch it's death throes!
Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
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blue23rose
Aug 5, 2014 4:49 AM CST
chalyse said: I've come to include spent flower appearance in my list of desirable characteristics when I choose cultivars to include in my home hybridizing. I love the mostly pale spent colors, softly curling or umbrella'd forms that appear as they age, and the way some will almost turn into new flower form by a day or two later ... long, penciled-up throats curved gracefully down and sometimes end in a burst of tiny sprayed tips outward. Lovey dubby



I guess I've never thought of the spent bloom as desirable, but maybe I will look at them in a different way now! Interesting, Tina Smiling

I have very rarely live-headed. And this year, rarely dead-headed because I want to see which ones easily pollinate.
Vickie
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Name: Tina
Where the desert meets the sea (Zone 9b)
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chalyse
Aug 5, 2014 9:44 AM CST
Lovey dubby Some favorite parchment heads. I do know what you all mean by slimers, had my first one this year and it got re-homed immediately, even though it was lovely (its been in my avatar pic now for a few days). Very odd to have a flower melt onto your arm and leave tracks! But, please send all of your interesting curling slimers here and we'll see if the sun and heat can't dry them into some interesting shapes! Rolling on the floor laughing

Thumb of 2014-08-05/chalyse/13d9ca Thumb of 2014-07-03/chalyse/90fe27 Thumb of 2014-08-05/chalyse/5565ff
Thumb of 2014-08-05/chalyse/7abe71 Thumb of 2014-07-03/chalyse/3d6d77 Thumb of 2014-08-05/chalyse/a51c45
Thumb of 2014-08-05/chalyse/6e19d6 Thumb of 2014-08-05/chalyse/00309f Thumb of 2014-08-05/chalyse/cd3939
Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of old; seek what those of old sought. — Basho

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Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
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blue23rose
Aug 6, 2014 4:33 AM CST
Well that's one way to get more than one day of beauty out of a daylily bloom Smiling I do kind of like that last one!
Vickie
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Name: Susan
Southeast NE (Zone 5b)
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stilldew
Aug 7, 2014 10:42 AM CST
I work nights and sleep in the evenings right before going to work, so I mostly deadhead first thing in the mornings about 7:30 AM. On the nights I don't work and the weather is nice, I will sometimes live head. I think If I didn't work, I would live head all the time. I like seeing how the blooms look at the end of the day and it's nice to see everything fresh and clean first thing in the morning. Hate to admit it, but by this time of the year, I often don't deadhead my back yard. Just not enough time to always do it and no one sees it but me most of the time.
Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
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Hemlady
Aug 9, 2014 2:14 PM CST
Susan, this time of the year with so few blooming, I often do not deadhead either.
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