Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Cut Back Daylilies

The daylily is a very hardy flower that can be grown just about anywhere. Easily adaptable and sun-loving, it is resistant to insect pests and spreads rapidly, overflowing borders with bright splashes of color. The daylily is also popular as a cut flower due to its pleasing fragrance and its ability to last a long time in a vase. Like most bulb plants, daylilies should be cut back in late summer or early fall.

Wait for the right time. In order to bloom again, a lily bulb must store up its nutrients over the winter. It gets these nutrients from the stem and leaves of the lily flower. Wait until the foliage starts to turn brown and wither; usually in the late summer or early fall, before cutting back your daylilies.

Slip on some gardening gloves and gently pull off any completely dead foliage. It should just slide out of the ground. Take care not to scatter any seeds if you don't want more daylilies to grow, as daylilies can reproduce by both seeds and tubers.

Use pruning shears to cut back the stems and leaves to around 4 inches above the ground. Again, take care to place the foliage in a trash bag if you don't want daylily seeds to spread. For this reason, it is also a good idea to avoid putting daylily foliage in a compost bin.

Cut Off The Foliage Of My Daylilies In The Late Summer?

Daylilies and daffodils have similar-looking foliage, yet vastly different needs when it comes to handling foliage. Daffodils won't flower the following year if you remove their leaves, which channel sunlight to nourish their bulb systems. Most daylily cultivars are perennial in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 to 10. Not all daylilies will go dormant and turn an unsightly brown in the process. Some cultivars have evergreen leaves and are best suited to warmer regions. Their leaves will begin to turn brown and scraggly. Take pruning shears to the remaining foliage.


If you are dividing your daylilies after the first bloom (midsummer), cut back the flower stems to about 5 or 6 inches before digging up and replanting the tubers.

Garden Guides