Daylilies forum→How Do You Hide Them After Flowering?

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Name: Clint Brown
Medina, TN (Zone 7b)
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clintbrown
Jul 20, 2021 10:45 PM CST
Before I dig all of my daylilies and give them away, is there a way to hide them after blooming? Can I mow them down now? They are just so ugly now and only lasted a couple of weeks. I've been buying award winners like 'Primal Scream' and 'Ruby Spider'. I just don't see how they won awards. If they can be mowed down after blooming, that would be awesome. I have them in front by themselves, and it won't effect any other plants.
Name: Sue
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sooby
Jul 21, 2021 4:54 AM CST
If you cut them back they will produce new clean foliage, so if it's a choice of toss them or cut them back you've nothing to lose by mowing them down now. In theory it may affect flowering next year but that's probably not a big deal for established clumps in your climate.
[Last edited by sooby - Jul 21, 2021 4:55 AM (+)]
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Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
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Seedfork
Jul 21, 2021 7:08 AM CST
clintbrown,
PRIMAL SCREAM(Hanson-c., 1994) RUBY SPIDER (Stamile, 1991)
Normally the cause of the daylilies looking so bad as far as the foliage is concerned is rust, leafstreak, and insect damage. Rust on daylilies appeared here in the U.S. in 2000, so maybe time to get some newer hybridized plants that are more rust and disease resistant. Of course I grow those two plants, but since rust has become such a problem in the warmer zones where winter does not normally kill the rust I think the care of daylilies in many ways is now similar to roses. If you want them too look nice all season a spray program similar to what roses require to keep them looking good is now required for those plants that are not resistance to disease and pests.
But if you do cut the daylilies with a mower, I would suggest using a good sharp blade and not cutting them shorter than about 3 inches. It might be good to collect the cut foliage and bag it. I have never cut mine back with a mower (I have been tempted) but I have cut back selected plants with shears or a knife. But, being yours are by themselves it might be safe to mow all those plants even if it spreads rust spores all through out the air. I have never read any info about mowing rusty plants in that regard.
Name: pam
gainesville fl (Zone 8b)
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gardenglory
Jul 21, 2021 8:13 AM CST
Neither of those would do well here as they are dormants, I have no dormants that look like anything this time of year. Most just die. You are a bit farther north but maybe try some evergreens and stay ahead of the rust....much easier said than done. Tim Herringtom and spacecoast daylilies are my most resistance. Stay away from single fans when your buying. Thats mainly an issue on lily auction. Water more important than even fertilizer. Just dont water in evening when leaves wont dry.
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4b)
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sooby
Jul 21, 2021 8:50 AM CST
What to do about ratty daylily foliage after flowering was a common question even before the arrival of daylily rust in North America. It may just be related to the daylily trying to do a "normal" lifecycle. It would be interesting to observe if deciduous ("dormant") daylilies are more prone to it than evergreens or whether it is just an individual cultivar thing.
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
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Seedfork
Jul 21, 2021 10:52 AM CST
If you only have a few daylilies and they are fairly new plants, I think that when you are deadheading you could stay ahead of the brown foliage problem just by pulling the brown and yellow leaves as you deadhead. I can do that pretty much in some of my beds that just contain potted plants. That just is not practical with hundreds of daylilies many which are now large clumps.
Name: Debra
Nashville, TN (Zone 7a)
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shive1
Jul 21, 2021 11:38 AM CST
Clint - Mowing them down WILL affect their performance the following year. I am in TN also. I would recommend cutting the foliage down to 6 inches. Just use scissors or hedge trimmers. That way they can continue to get sunlight and store energy for next years blooms. Primal Scream and Ruby Spider should bloom at least three weeks, if not more. Try some fertilizer in the early Spring next year. You likely don't have rust or leaf streak. Foliage just starts looking ratty this time of year.
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SummerBee
Jul 21, 2021 12:40 PM CST
I agree with Debra!
Don't mow them unless you want to stunt their growth. It can take years for them to flower again.
If you really are planning to give them away then just cut the foliage back like others suggested.
Name: pam
gainesville fl (Zone 8b)
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gardenglory
Jul 21, 2021 2:00 PM CST
I know you asked about hiding them, Im stumped there, but I do like it this time of year when the four o clocks have grown up and hide the daylilies. My pots are hidden by milkweed. It very tall right now.
Debra has gorgeous flowers so they for sure are capable of showing off in TN.
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Name: Orion
Boston, MA (Zone 6b)
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plasko20
Jul 21, 2021 2:23 PM CST
Easiest way to hide them would be to grow a disposable annual in front of them, each year.
Marigolds are easy, and very useful to deter critters. Different kinds grow up to different sizes so choose based on the daylily foliage height.
Parkseed sells many novel kinds online.
Petunais are also nice and many can form decent sized clumps (my patch of purple picotee petunias are now about 18" high, and 3-4ft wide). I am using some petunias right now to hide dead spring foliage from various plants, and shade the bed so weeds do not grow.
My annuals will then get yanked and composted come winter, to start the whole cycle again.
Or if you do not wish to disturb your garden daylily bed, you can easily move a planter with something growing in it in front of the daylilies.
Alternatively, grow other perennials that have similar, but cooler foliage around the daylilies. e.g. black Mondo grass, or golden japanese forest grass, to emphasize that the daylilies are real intended plants and not just huge ugly weeds. The Kwanzo daylily that people generally are cautious of due to some spreading, also comes in a variegated form, so the leaves will be a pleasing multi-color.
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Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
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Calif_Sue
Jul 21, 2021 5:28 PM CST

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gardenglory said:Neither of those would do well here as they are dormants


Actually, both would probably do fine there. Ruby Spider was hybridized in Florida and Primal Scream is one of the few dormants that does just fine in warmer zones, it's one of my favorites and I have it in two places and it has always done very well for me where other dormants just disappeared.

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Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
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Seedfork
Jul 21, 2021 5:37 PM CST
I grow them both here in zone 8b, but I took photos of some of my plants today and PRIMAL SCREAM had some of the worst looking foliage in the garden, and I do spray. I am about a week behind due to the weather(rain every day) and my injured foot.
Thumb of 2021-07-21/Seedfork/b6d0d3
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PRIMAL SCREAM: It is very slow to increase.
Thumb of 2021-07-21/Seedfork/241a38
RUBY SPIDER: It seemed to have done pretty well here this year judging by the dead scapes.
Thumb of 2021-07-21/Seedfork/2cf899
If I pulled the dead scapes RUBY SPIDER would look much better.
Name: Clint Brown
Medina, TN (Zone 7b)
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clintbrown
Jul 22, 2021 10:20 AM CST
I think I just don't like them when they stop blooming. Someone I know buys the super tall daylilies and plants them in the back behind the big rocks and shrubs. I think they are 5 to 6 feet tall when blooming. I was just disappointed that the plants look like weeds now. I wish hybridizers would improve the plants themselves instead of just making weird flower shapes and things like that.
[Last edited by clintbrown - Jul 22, 2021 8:07 PM (+)]
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Name: pam
gainesville fl (Zone 8b)
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gardenglory
Jul 23, 2021 6:46 AM CST
ooo they do think about plant habit. I know even for me I will cull a bad plant before a bad bloom.
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Name: Justine
Maryville, Tennessee (Zone 7a)
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Hembrain
Jul 24, 2021 1:39 PM CST
I'm in East TN in 7a. 7b can overwinter rust in a mild-winter year, so it may be possible that your plants have this issue, depending on your plant source. Foliage in my garden tends to look grassy but I wouldn't call it unsightly. Rusty plants can look rough, though. And thrips, aphid damage, leaf streak etc can take their toll.

We've had a weird year. Daylilies are generally blooming late and not as well as usual, for whatever reason. In dry spells, daylilies love some water to help them stay lush. Mulch helps. It's best not to cut back green foliage as it is helping to feed the plant and strengthen the roots.

Both the ones you mention don't rebloom and show up midseason. For extended color, rebloomers can prolong the color, and having some early and late bloomers helps.

Phlox, echinacea, black-eyed susan and a host of other perennials or annuals can be planted among your daylilies to color things up if you like.

Daylilies can be most stunning when they have grown for 2 to 4 years and formed a nice clump. They often need a year or two to get established. Hope you'll give them a chance. They may be more rewarding in the future.
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hawkeye_daddy
Jul 25, 2021 12:30 PM CST
I know the big name landscape architects say that daylilies are best displayed en masse in drifts by themselves, but I'm not a fan of that look. I like something tall in the back of borders or centers of beds. Over the years, I've kind of figured out that the bands and throats of daylilies can be enhanced simply with foliage plants of different colors, like burgundy and chartreuse. Glaucous foliage seems to work with anything. Annuals might include the red caster bean, coleus, or cannas. If you don't want to mess with annuals, then try either some dwarf conifers or well behaved ornamental grasses and sedges. Either of those choices would provide some winter interest, too. Grasses probably have a wider color range, but there are some great little chartreuse conifers. Conifers would give you contrast, while grasses would provide repetition. I also use some obelisks with vines, tall containers, and hanging baskets in parts of my long border, so I can have a few flowers before and after the daylilies bloom.
Name: Orion
Boston, MA (Zone 6b)
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plasko20
Jul 26, 2021 1:19 PM CST
clintbrown said:I think I just don't like them when they stop blooming. Someone I know buys the super tall daylilies and plants them in the back behind the big rocks and shrubs. I think they are 5 to 6 feet tall when blooming. I was just disappointed that the plants look like weeds now. I wish hybridizers would improve the plants themselves instead of just making weird flower shapes and things like that.


I agree with you completely. They are shaggy and unkempt, like someone who does not cut or brush their hair. I am the type of person that has to cut bushes if a single branch is out of place, to keep everything neat and tidy. I always carry a pair of garden scissors everytime I enter the garden as there is always some mess than needs tidied up. I hate things looking rough and wild. But, I decided to grow daylilies specifically to challenge my neatness OCD. I also want to get my hands on as many leaf-variegated cultivars as possible to breed them with nice-flower varieties (variegated ones are like unicorns, to get a hold of). I am with you regarding the ugly foliage needs a specific focus to improve it. Even if the leaves were made twice as wide as now, that would get a thumbs-up from me.
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Name: Zoia Bologovsky
Stoneham MA (Zone 6a)
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Zoia
Jul 26, 2021 11:17 PM CST
Have you noticed that the ones with the healthiest foliage are the ditch lilies? Annoying. Kwanso too. But it's also helping me ID which ones to dig up. I'm trying to get rid of all those.
Name: Orion
Boston, MA (Zone 6b)
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plasko20
Jul 27, 2021 6:53 AM CST
Lastnight when I got home I saw one of my small SF from this spring had multiplied like mad.
It was a fantastic mass of healthy leaves, I was so proud. The seller said it was a fast multiplier, and boy I was impressed.
Then I looked closer. Weeds with almost identical leaves were growing right next to the SF, crowding it out! I think it was some type of grass. D'Oh! *Blush*
After I pulled up the grass clump I still had my small SF looking up at me, thankfully.
I think this illustrates what we are talking about, perfectly.
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Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
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Seedfork
Jul 27, 2021 10:41 AM CST
Plasko20,
When I was just first getting into daylilies, I bought a daylily up at Lowe's one year, I got so excited to see it doing so well, it was multiplying like crazy. I posted photos of it and how fast it was multiplying. Then it was pointed out to me that my multiplying fans were nice clumps of nut grass.

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