I have daylilies in my flower bed. They bloomed beautifully. Now that the blooms are drying, how do I dead-head? Is there anything I can do to extend the bloom season?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Debbie: Daylilies (Hemerocallis) are an old-fashioned favorite. Ditch lilies, as they are called in the trade, are in full bloom right now (mid-late June). Of course there are now many hybrids to choose from and like all perennials, daylilies have their bloom time, typically a three-week period in early summer. There are some varieties that are better re-bloomers than others. ‘Happy Returns’ is probably the most common re-bloomer. Certainly cutting back faded blooms will encourage more to come on. Use your gardening scissors or pruners and take back the flower and stem all the way to the base of the plant. Each stem will only produce one set of flowers each season so after the blooms have faded go ahead and remove them. Daylilies will bloom best when given optimal growing conditions; for these perennials this means they should be planted in full to part sun with nutrient-rich soil. Each spring it is a good idea to side dress the soil with organic matter or apply a fertilizer lower in nitrogen and higher in phosphorus and potassium. If your lilies are established and have been in the ground for three to five years they will benefit from being divided. Over-crowded plants do not bloom well.