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How to Cut Back Daylilies

By April Sanders ; Updated September 21, 2017

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.


Things You Will Need

  • Gardening gloves
  • Pruning shears
  • Trash bag


  • 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.