Daylilies forum: Trimming/tidying daylilies after flowering

Views: 266, Replies: 17 » Jump to the end
Yorkshire, UK (Zone 8a)
Scatterbrain
Jul 17, 2017 3:48 AM CST
Hi,

I was just wondering if I should be trimming my plants back after flowering to keep them tidy. I have a mix of all foliage types and the dormants don't go dormant here either so they are all starting to look rather untidy.

Should I cut them back in the same way as you get them when they are shipped to you and should I do it after flowering or in spring?

What do/should I do with ones with seed pods on? Do I leave those until next spring or after collecting the seeds?

All advice much appreciated! Thank You!
Name: David McCausland
Horseheads, NY (Zone 5a)
Daylilies Region: New York Enjoys or suffers cold winters Plant and/or Seed Trader Hybridizer Hostas
Bedmaker
Jul 17, 2017 3:54 AM CST
I usually don't tidy up the daylily beds until the scapes turn brown. The plant would have reabsorbed the nutrients in the scape.

David
Yorkshire, UK (Zone 8a)
Scatterbrain
Jul 17, 2017 4:00 AM CST
Bedmaker said:I usually don't tidy up the daylily beds until the scapes turn brown. The plant would have reabsorbed the nutrients in the scape.

David


What do you do then, David?

Do you just remove the scapes or do you cut the leaves back too?

Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
Jul 17, 2017 5:03 AM CST
It's really an option, whether you prefer the look of the new foliage regrowth after cutting back or aren't bothered by any "rattiness" if you don't. To some extent cutting back mostly green leaves stresses the plant by removing its "food-making factory" (the photosynthesizing leaves) and making it use stored food to regrow, but we are growing garden plants for their aesthetic appearance so many consider the trade-off worthwhile. Cutting back is not likely to lead to the demise of the plant unless it's a weak (or maybe newly planted) one going into a harsh winter. In your climate the regrowth may be early enough that photosynthesis can make up for the temporary use of stored food reserves.

Those of us in severe winter climates (more so than Yorkshire) have all the otherwise surviving leaves killed every winter by the cold whether the cultivars are registered ev sev or dor/de, so every daylily starts from scratch in spring.

Contrary to what you might read, daylily dormancy is far from well understood so I'm not surprised that yours do not die back there. Technically the foliage dying back is not dormancy, dormancy is a suspension of growth. Suspension of growth doesn't have to be accompanied by death of the leaves. Thus daylillies can be dormant while still having green leaves. So I'm curious now as to whether your "dormants" that don't die back actually continue to grow during mild spells in winter?

That they don't die back there also suggests a temperature component rather than the leaves dying back due to daylength since you are so far north compared to most of North America.

I also have a mix of foliage types and some southern registered evergreens do go dormant (set dormant buds) in winter here so they either switch behaviour according to climate or they were registered evergreen because they stay green in warmer areas (what we don't know in that case is whether they continue to grow or if they do set dormant buds there as well and just don't die back). There are also daylilies that were hybridized in cold winter climates registered as "dormant" but which stay green in warmer winter areas. To complicate things even further, there are some that behave as evergreens in the "north" (or try to) and lose their leaves in "southern" winters.

Anyway, I'm rambling on here....if there aren't too many of them would you mind, to help with a better understanding of daylily dormancy, listing the daylilies that are registered "dormant" there but are not deciduous?
[Last edited by sooby - Jul 17, 2017 5:30 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1504258 (4)
Name: Mayo
The Netherlands, Europe (Zone 9a)
Region: Europe Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Organic Gardener Container Gardener
Rabbit Keeper Hellebores Dog Lover Irises Daylilies Cat Lover
Image
Mayo62
Jul 17, 2017 5:40 AM CST
I have never (in all 3 years Hilarious! ) trimmed back green leaves or green scapes.
Like David said: as long as they are not brown they give all nutrients in them back to the plant.
(same with flowers: I don't deadhead until the spent flowers 'let go' by themselves)

The scapes turn brown when there are no seedpods or prolifs attached and can be pulled easily when they are truly dead.
Same for the leaves: when they turn brown and can be pulled without any force they go onto the compost heap to make compost, or I leave them between the plants as extra mulch.
This time of year only the oldest leaves turn brown. When winter approaches some DL's will loose all their leaves, but those I leave until spring as extra cover in case the temp drops below freezing. I do however pull them free of the plant so any new growth isn't restricted.

I like the way my DL's are growing and performing now, but I don't know what the (visible) effects would be if I did trimm of course...
I just like the idea of letting my plants do things at their own pace and I'm not bothered by an 'untidy' garden Hilarious!
(And I also have enough annuals mixed in that are covering a lot by now Big Grin )

Mayo
a DL flower a day keeps the doctor away
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
Jul 17, 2017 5:49 AM CST
Mayo, do the ones that lose all their leaves lose them before or after frost? Would you mind listing which daylilies lose their leaves there, if you have a note of that?
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Region: Alabama
Image
Seedfork
Jul 17, 2017 6:59 AM CST
I have just discovered that right now in my area seems to be a good time generally for most cultivars for me to pull brown dead scapes. That is what I have been doing for the past few weeks. As I pull the scapes I collect them take them to the shed, and measure each one, get a branch and bud count. I try to take a photo of the plant also. I have also, like mentioned above, discovered that if the plant has a seed pod or a proliferation the scapes tend to stay a little green. I have pulled a few by mistake, but am learning that if I tug a little and the scape does not release then check to see if it partly green, or if it has a seed pod (petty easy to see that) or if is growing proliferations (often hidden in the foliage). After pulling the scapes, I start pulling the dead leaves and the yellow or diseased leaves from the plant.
They look so much better afterwards, plus this way nearly all the green healthy leaves remain and the ugly leaves are removed, a win win situation as far as I am concerned.
I write down all the info gathered then come in and either post the info for the "plant of the day' thread, or write up a plant performance report if that plant has not been featured as a plant of the day. I will not get all the plants in the garden done by the end of the season doing this, but doing two or three a day does make a noticeable difference in the overall appearance of the garden.
[Last edited by Seedfork - Jul 17, 2017 8:04 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1504313 (7)
Name: Mayo
The Netherlands, Europe (Zone 9a)
Region: Europe Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Organic Gardener Container Gardener
Rabbit Keeper Hellebores Dog Lover Irises Daylilies Cat Lover
Image
Mayo62
Jul 17, 2017 10:17 AM CST
sooby said:Mayo, do the ones that lose all their leaves lose them before or after frost? Would you mind listing which daylilies lose their leaves there, if you have a note of that?


@sooby
I know for sure of 2 that lost áll leaves last autumn: Walt Reinke and Scandinavia.
Both lost all leaves in October, long before any frost! Thumbs down
I was shocked at the time and was afraid they had died on me.. But they came right back this spring and both flowered their little hearts out Lovey dubby
Scandinavia was new to my garden last year, Walt Reinke I bought in 2015.

Other daylilies I'm not sure about...
as you perhaps know I had a though year last year and 'made' my garden last year form scrap.
Almost all my DL's are bought in 2016 and I didn't pay much attention to their habits in winter, sorry.

I plan to take notes this fall/winter so, if you want, I can report to you later this year? Big Grin

Mayo
a DL flower a day keeps the doctor away
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
Jul 17, 2017 11:15 AM CST
Thanks Mayo, those two names are useful to have. It would be great if you could observe this fall/winter and compare registered foliage behaviour with how they actually behave in your climate.
Yorkshire, UK (Zone 8a)
Scatterbrain
Jul 17, 2017 1:38 PM CST
Thanks guys,

I think I'll carry on as I have been and just removing dead leaves and brown scapes. I'd rather have an untidy garden than lose a plant!

@sooby,

Here are the ones that in my garden which are listed as dormant.
Novelty Number
Frans Hals
Lake Effect
Patchwork Puzzle
Baby Blues
Aquamarine

Hope that helps. I grow all my daylilies in large containers so maybe that's why they don't die back?
Name: Mayo
The Netherlands, Europe (Zone 9a)
Region: Europe Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Organic Gardener Container Gardener
Rabbit Keeper Hellebores Dog Lover Irises Daylilies Cat Lover
Image
Mayo62
Jul 17, 2017 1:45 PM CST
@sooby

I think it's interesting as well, but that expected as it is my garden Hilarious!

What is your reason to want this info?
If I know why I can perhaps write down more data for you like when night (and day?) temps go below certain values or what time the sun goes up/down.

I'm not sure whether I can register (true) dormancy... it means absolutely-zero-zilch-nada growth, right?
How on earth do I detect that in the middle of winter??
But I can write down what happens to the foliage Thumbs up Hilarious!


Mayo
a DL flower a day keeps the doctor away
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
Jul 17, 2017 2:18 PM CST
Thank you Scatterbrain (I assume you have the daylily 'Scatterbrain'?) and Mayo. It's for scientific interest to try and get a better understanding of daylily behaviour. I noticed this year in spring that most (but not all) of the registered evergreens I grow had actually set dormant buds (because of the way they looked on emergence in spring). Conventional wisdom has had it that "evergreen" daylilies don't set dormant (resting) buds. Also the belief that dormancy is fixed, i.e. that a daylily registered as dormant will go dormant wherever it is grown, which appears not to be true, or at least if they do go dormant the leaves are not dying back in milder climates. Yes, Mayo, it is a bit difficult to tell if they are growing but if they are I would expect to see new leaves emerging from the centre, maybe slowly at that time of year. Knowing which daylilies behave a certain way in other climates helps suggest cultivars to test in other ways.

Name: Mayo
The Netherlands, Europe (Zone 9a)
Region: Europe Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Organic Gardener Container Gardener
Rabbit Keeper Hellebores Dog Lover Irises Daylilies Cat Lover
Image
Mayo62
Jul 17, 2017 3:36 PM CST
sooby said:...most (but not all) of the registered evergreens I grow had actually set dormant buds (because of the way they looked on emergence in spring).


@sooby

Sue, can you explain to me what you mean by that..? How are emerging dormant buds different from non-dormant buds..?

I will do my best to share all info this fall/winter. Sounds very interesting! Thumbs up
I have several cultivars at my allotment (garden is very open on all sides) ánd in my home garden (enclosed, small garden, more sheltered from cold temps) and I'm curious to see if they will perfom the same Whistling I'll let you know!


Mayo

a DL flower a day keeps the doctor away
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
Jul 17, 2017 4:17 PM CST
Mayo62 said:

@ sooby

Sue, can you explain to me what you mean by that..? How are emerging dormant buds different from non-dormant buds..?



It's easier to see the difference here where all the leaves are dead in winter, but maybe this will help.

If you look closely at this first picture you can see that last year's leaves are resuming growth but with last year's dead growth still attached. There are no short green leaves on the outside of the new growth.

Thumb of 2017-07-17/sooby/1b75cb

This next one had set dormant buds, there is no old dead growth from last year attached to the outer leaves and there are short leaves on the outside of the shoot which do not elongate, suggesting that they surrounded a resting dormant bud.

Thumb of 2017-07-17/sooby/b0b7d6

This is going to be harder to determine where the leaves don't die in winter.
Yorkshire, UK (Zone 8a)
Scatterbrain
Jul 17, 2017 4:54 PM CST
@sooby-funnily enough I don't have Scatterbrain (the daylily)

I got the nickname after a car accident that caused memory problems among other things.

I should get the daylily though shouldn't I--when I find the room? Smiling
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
Jul 17, 2017 5:15 PM CST
Yes, you should get it! I assume someone sells it there in the UK? I have it here, it's a nice daylily. It really should be your avatar (pretty sure one of us can supply you with a picture for that if you'd like). That's too bad about your car accident, how unfortunate.
Name: Frank Richards
Clinton, Michigan

Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Image
frankrichards16
Jul 17, 2017 5:34 PM CST
I do not really have the time to trim daylilies. I have a big yard..

I have over 160 daylilies. Many are yellow.

I have some planted in a row that allows me to use the mower.

Name: Mayo
The Netherlands, Europe (Zone 9a)
Region: Europe Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Organic Gardener Container Gardener
Rabbit Keeper Hellebores Dog Lover Irises Daylilies Cat Lover
Image
Mayo62
Jul 18, 2017 2:40 AM CST
@sooby
thanks Sue, you've explained it perfectly!
Yes, it will be easier to see when (all) the old foliage has died, but I'll do my best on the others as well Whistling

@frankrichards16
Frank, do you mean that you use your mower to 'trim' your daylilies..?? Oh wow... Hilarious!
I have around 300 daylilies and they are cuddled and pampered and talked to in a soft voice ..
Nah, not really of course Rolling on the floor laughing But a mower..?

Mayo
a DL flower a day keeps the doctor away

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Daylilies forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Member Login:

Username:

Password:

[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by wildflowers and is called "Summer at the pond"