Asked on Jul 23, 2015

What to do With dead daylily stems?

Pamela Knott
by Pamela Knott
A master gardener told me last night that when the flowers are done, twist the stem, bend it in two, and put a rubber band around it. She says this stem is where next year's plant gets it's nutrients. I have never done this before and my lilies do just fine. Has anyone else heard of this. We live in Iowa and here, late in July, my daylilies are about done. There will still be flowers for several weeks, but some have beige dead stems and all the lower leaves are dying. Anyone else seeing this? (I stole this picture from another post but I swear its a picture of MY lilies!)
  18 answers
  • Ida Granny Ida Granny on Jul 23, 2015
    My niece just cut's hers off as soon as there is no more blooms, and they do fine. I forget and leave them to dye on the plant, So if yours is doing good keep doing it your way.
  • Monica Koch Monica Koch on Jul 23, 2015
    I have never done anything other than either clipping them or pulling them when they are done blooming and dry up a bit. I have daylilies all over our place and it's big. If I bent and banded them all it's all I would ever get done. I do split my daylilies every other year because they do spread and grow so much. I say if yours are thriving and growing stick with what you are doing.
    • Amy Traywick Amy Traywick on Sep 18, 2019

      it was so hot down south my lillies died after blooming and I never cut them but did pull them up. Will they come back next year?

  • LoveLee3 LoveLee3 on Jul 23, 2015
    I just leave mine till they are dead and dried also. I had heard the rubber band trick for daffodils, and was told it`s an old wives tale.
  • Trudy Trudy on Jul 23, 2015
    I have never heard of this. Some of my brown stems develop seed pods. I believe leaving them on takes energy away from more flowers and into reproduction. I cut them off or pull them out.
  • Barb Barb on Jul 24, 2015
    If they took that much work mine would be dead! I live in Minnesota and I have a huge bunch of them and they have been growing beautifully for years.. I don't even water them. I will have to divide them this fall, however, as they are getting out of hand.
  • Carol Carol on Jul 24, 2015
    I've heard of doing this with daffodils. When I volunteered at a local city garden we used to braid the daffodil foliage but I've never heard of doing it with daylilies. I cut my dying stems off as I don't want them to go to seed, always get seed pods when they are left to completely die back.
  • Mary Mary on Jul 24, 2015
    Never heard of this. I pull out the dead stems and dead leaves. They come back every year larger and just as beautiful.
  • Jane Jane on Jul 24, 2015
    I have gathered the seed pods, dried them and planted them in potting cups. Some develop, some don't. Worth a try.
  • Jennifer Thompson Jennifer Thompson on Jul 24, 2015
    I've heard of this with spring bulbs but not with lilies or other flowers. I snip my stems as they show signs of dying and put them in my compost bin.
  • Linda B Linda B on Jul 24, 2015
    While it's true that you want to leave BULB FOLIAGE in place until it dies back on its own, that's not at all the same as the spent FLOWER STEMS on daylilies. (Daylilies are not "bulb" plants at all, while daffodils are, and the flower stems are not actually foliage.) Daffodils need their foliage to remain in place as it fades in order to store nutrients in the bulb for the following season's growth . . . . but the flower stems on daylilies do nothing for the plant once they brown. It's a fairly simple (and satisfying) matter to walk through your daylilies and tug on the brown stems. The ones that are "ready" to come off will be released from the plant easily, and you can compost them, coming back in following days to remove the others as they die off. (Or, you can leave them right where they are; they do no harm, just look a little bit ratty to some folks who like a well-groomed garden.)
  • Pamela Knott Pamela Knott on Jul 24, 2015
    Thank you everyone! You've confirmed that what I've been doing is what you all do! And they always come back bigger the next year. So if the lower foliage is dying, it's ok to pull that away also? I always compost!
  • MaryAnn B MaryAnn B on Jul 24, 2015
    Once the plant is done flowering cut the stem serves no purpose. You can either wait until it turns brown and pulls out easily or cut it off when still green.
  • Renae Breskovich Renae Breskovich on Jul 24, 2015
    I agree with Mary Ann B - I have never had issues by doing this - seems more like a tactic for tulips, etc., early spring bulbs. - snip away
  • Marlyn Smith Bisher Marlyn Smith Bisher on Jul 24, 2015
    I have heard of doing that with daffodils but not daylilies.
  • Jane Jane on Jul 25, 2015
    I save the green, wrinkled parts of the stem, dry them and replant the black seeds. Some sprout, some do not.
  • Caroline Nordstrom Caroline Nordstrom on Jul 25, 2015
    Some Master Gardeners get carried away with their advice. Iknow, I have one in my immediate family. I cut the stems off when all the buds on that stem are done. What daylilies need are the leaves. Yours look beautiful so whatever you are doing must be good.
    • See 1 previous
    • Pamela Knott Pamela Knott on Aug 05, 2015
      @Linda B Ahha! I'm an antique appraiser and it is the same...I know where to look up the info, I don't know it all and if I studied for the rest of my life I would never know it all. changes every day! This lady has a beautiful yard so I look up to her as knowing more than I do about some plants. I always heard you couldn't kill daylilies, so I'm not too worried. Actually, my husband went a little crazy last year and bought more than we needed, so if I lose a few, no big deal. Thanks for your advice!
  • Becky P Becky P on Jul 27, 2015
    my mother always said not to pull the dead stalks, because as a child they are fun to play "sword" with. I, to this day, don't pull them out until they easily come lose.
  • Karen Collier Karen Collier on Aug 19, 2018

    I wait until the stems are dry and crunchy, and they just pull out easily.

    I have never seen this before, but this before, but this year my day lilies have made baby plants on the bloo stems. Some even have small roots. I have cut them off, and potted them up to see what happens. Has anyone else had this in the past?