Sunday, July 7, 2013

How to Deadhead Daylilies

'Buttered Popcorn'
An All-American Daylily (2006)
Sometimes the simplest things can seem, well, not quite so simple when it comes to actually doing them.  I made a comment the other day about how I love to deadhead, and I especially love deadheading daylilies. My friend said, "How exactly do you do that?"

There are a few reasons why gardeners deadhead blooming plants:

  • to clean up the plant by removing the spent blooms
  • to stimulate the plant to bloom again
  • to prevent the plant from spending energy on making seeds

Daylilies are no different and these are all good reasons to do it.  But for me, I simply can't stand seeing dead blooms hanging like limp, dirty rags at the tips of the scapes, and I definitely want my daylilies to get larger by spending more of their energy on growing the plant itself, not making seeds.

'Siloam Double Classic', which often doesn't bloom double

One of the things that I really enjoy about deadheading daylilies in particular is the snapping off part.  And when I say "snap," I mean SNAP!  It feels good when they snap off between my fingers and I love the crisp snappy sound it makes.  It's so onomatopoeia-ish.

What you do is to place your index finger under the junction of the bloom and the stem, then push down from the top with your thumb while pushing slightly upward with your index finger in one motion. (See video below.)

That snap is the sound of the developing seed head breaking away.  If the flower didn't get pollinated, it won't snap - the flower just either falls off in your hand or requires very little effort to remove it.

Sometimes the flower comes off easily, but the developing seed pod remains.  If that happens, go ahead and either pinch that off with your fingernail or repeat the snapping maneuver with it so that it doesn't stay on the stem.  When all the flower buds have bloomed on a scape, I cut the scape off at its base.

Daylily seed pod

You can always use pruners to cut things off, but what's the fun in that?  Snapping off daylily heads is akin to popping bubble wrap and we all know how much fun that is!

Hemerocallis 'Prairie Blossoms' with
Heliopsis helianthoides var. scabra
'Loraine Sunshine'

P.S.  I regularly remove any yellow foliage from my daylilies, too.  Some are worse about yellowing than others, but it's removed easily enough. The plants just look better when you do.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this info, Kylee. Question - could you ID the yellow-flowering plant to the left of the daylily in the last picture, please?
Kind regards,

Kylee Baumle said...

Hi Barb! Yes, that's Heliopsis helianthoides var. scabra 'Loraine Sunshine'. I'll edit and put a caption there, because you probably aren't the only one who wanted to know that. Thanks for asking! ;-)

Daricia said...

love to deadhead daylilies too. I even guessed what you were going to say about it—that snap is so satisfying!

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