Asked on Jul 16, 2013

What ate my day lilies?

Cathy Murphy
by Cathy Murphy
I have a few of these but don't know the name. I went out the other day to cut a couple for my table and they were GONE! Something ate them. There were no tracks around anywhere. They looked like they were cut off clean. Any ideas what got them?
  43 answers
  • Cathy , if you have deer it could be them although they usually just go for the buds.
  • Lori J Lori J on Jul 16, 2013
    A neighbor with a pair of scissors? I have kids pick from my alley garden. Caught the pair at it and since I started it as a community beautification project, I asked them to not to cut more than one lily and take as many of the heliopsis as they want.
  • White Oak Studio Designs White Oak Studio Designs on Jul 16, 2013
    I too suspect deer. The deer here wait for the buds to just open and then over night they are gone. It's very frustrating!
  • Cathy Murphy Cathy Murphy on Jul 16, 2013
    If you look closely in the picture to the right of the blooms you can see where the others used to be. There are no deer tracks in the yard, or in the dirt near the flower bed and we have had a lot of rain. We moved to NC from WV and we had deer in the yard every day almost, but they always left tracks. Nothing has touched my Tiger Lilies...yet.
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jul 17, 2013
    Light-footed deer.
  • White Oak Studio Designs White Oak Studio Designs on Jul 17, 2013
    The stem looks exactly like mine do when the deer have visited our "B & B" (i.e. my garden!) They browse, so they eat some stems and not others. They also appear to have certain taste preferences, eating some favorites and not others.
  • Peg Peg on Jul 17, 2013
    The "day lily" last for...a Day. They'll go limp and eventually drop off and leave a void on the stem. The deer will usually nip off more than just the bud. Sometimes the entire top of the stem with all of the buds will be gone. Yum! But, they can pop off just the bud. A Fresh bud is harder to pop off then a "spent" one though.
  • Cherie Cherie on Jul 17, 2013
    To me your daylilies look like the spent blooms naturally fell off. Most of mine require deadheading to look good but a few of them self-deadhead. Yours may be one that does, or you say you had rain and that can also break off blooms! Check the ground around the daylily for spent blooms.
  • Elaine Simmons Elaine Simmons on Jul 18, 2013
    Do you have ground squirrels around your place? I saw one chomping on mine. He bit most of the leaves off before I caught him.
  • Jude Jude on Jul 18, 2013
    There are a certain type of beetles who like to eat lilies of ALL varieties, and often lay eggs inside the developing lily head as it is growing, the lilies then look normal until it comes to them opening and then there is nothing! Here in the UK I grow yellow lilies and it is a bright RED beetle that decimates my flowers - this year, every day, I went around my garden and crushed them and have an almost perfect crop of wonderful flowers for my troubles. Lily's are a favourite for all types of insects - useful one that help to pollenate, and others that eat through the petals to get to the nectar. Have a look for small puncture marks at the base of the petals, and keep a look out for insects that seem to spend a LONG time on your lilies! I hope this helps - we are lucky that deer can't get into my garden, but a visiting fox, hedgehog and other nocturnal creatures do!
  • Starla Swanson Starla Swanson on Jul 18, 2013
    First thought is deer. We are also seeing birds 'feathering their nests' with petals. One friend caught blackbirds stripping flowers off the stems and flying off, presumably to a nest with their harvest.
  • Kathy Kathy on Jul 18, 2013
    I have day lilies all over my yard. They are a favorite of the deer. They can strip a garden in a short time.
  • Shelly M Shelly M on Jul 18, 2013
    The deer ate my Tiger Lillies...every one! It looks like a clean cut, but we actually caught them at it!
  • Nancy ONeil Nancy ONeil on Jul 18, 2013
    I have a deer problem and they just love daylilies. The picture you posted does not look like the end result of a deer feast, just the natural drop off of spent blooms. The deer leave a ragged torn stub and will eat multiple stems at a browsing. To Jude - we have the red lily beetles here as well. They are nasty little devils and can totally strip a plant of all leaves and flowers.They eat Asiatic Lilies but do not bother the daylillies (Hemerocallis). They were so destructive I was forced to stop growing Asiatics.
  • B B on Jul 18, 2013
    Deer love mine! The buds just disappear overnight.
  • Denise Disinger Denise Disinger on Jul 18, 2013
    I have day lilies on the side of my house and they were full of buds but a few days later they were all gone. The deer ate them all. I hope they enjoyed them :-)
  • Elizabeth Gladden Elizabeth Gladden on Jul 18, 2013
    Cathy, I live in Morganton, NC. I have had lots of daylilies over many years. This really looks as if the spent bloom has fallen off. I love daylilies and iris.
  • Sandra R Sandra R on Jul 18, 2013
    Don't forget turtles tortous(sp).
  • Kathleen Kathleen on Jul 18, 2013
    Your chopped off stems look just like those at my place, and in my case definitely deer. Sprinkle egg shells, human or pet hair around and deter them from taking more. So very upsetting! I had rabbits do that to my tulips in the spring too:(
  • I agree with those who said that just looks like a spent flower....not deer damage...they eat the flower and leave a piece of the flower behind. Day lilies last a day.
  • Joanie1051 Joanie1051 on Jul 18, 2013
    That's what daylily scapes look like when the spent flowers drop off them. They aren't for use as a cut flower since they only last a day, then wither. Unless you only need a few flowers for one day for some event.
  • Nancy Williams Nancy Williams on Jul 18, 2013
    buy a cheap bar of face soap, carve a small hole in the middle, thread heavy butcher string thru the hole, leave a long strand, tie tight, hang close to your flowers, shrubs or in a tree nearby...deer don't like the smell of bar soap. I've done this for years, no deer eating my bird seed or flowers. N.W.
  • MaryAnn B MaryAnn B on Jul 18, 2013
    Perhaps they were yesterday's blooms and they just fell off.
  • Kathleen Kathleen on Jul 18, 2013
    Nancy reminded me of the soap, and it really works!
  • Deb Powell Deb Powell on Jul 19, 2013
    I too had a problem Its either a rabbit, squirrels or a deer.. Like I said before squirrels do a lot of damages I have seen them eat my lilies, daisy's, Pumpkins, and many other gardens plants spray pepper spray it does the trick Most of the time but after it rained you should spray again
  • Andrea Andrea on Jul 19, 2013
    We have those little red beetles here also and they will do damage to Lilies in no time at all..They lay their eggs under the leaves and you have to smear them have a friend who does that for and she also squishes any and all beetles with her fingers!!!! YUCK....cut worms are good for clipping tops off of flowers too..dig around the plant, just a little, and see if you have cut worms under the soil near the plants, if so KILL them...
  • Kathy Kathy on Jul 19, 2013
    The last few years I have had the little red beetles. I dug a little trench near all my lilies that had problems with the beetles and put in a banana peel. I had read that as the banana peel rots it gives off a smell.. I have seen a few red beetles, but the didn't eat my plants. I still squished them anyway.
  • Mary Richard Mary Richard on Jul 19, 2013
    Neighbors!! These are gorgeous. ; )
  • Margita Margita on Jul 28, 2013
    @Nancy Williams, the soap does not work!! (Note the bar dangling next to the deer's head). I am not sure if it is an old wives tale and I fell for it. But I saw a squirrel soaping up with the bar and running through the sprinklers ;)
  • Elaine Simmons Elaine Simmons on Jul 29, 2013
    Margita, had no idea squirrels were that clean! LOL
  • Peg Peg on Jul 29, 2013
    Looks like those ends are simply from the spent flowers that fell off. If they were pollinated, you will get a seed pod there. BTW -the Red Lily beetle does not eat the "day lilies". They devour the asiatic and oriental lilies which are a different plant.
  • Margita Margita on Jul 29, 2013
    Elaine, those Virginia squirrels are very clean! )
  • Cathy Murphy Cathy Murphy on Jul 29, 2013
    I think they must have just fallen off. I sure have enjoyed all of the posts.
  • JANIS S JANIS S on Jul 29, 2013
    Deer ate my lilies, actually ate all the buds! No flowers this year. I am putting up a l0' plastic fence all around. I lost all the beautiful blooming fragrant lilies. So sad
  • Nancy Williams Nancy Williams on Aug 04, 2013
    Sorry the squirrels decided to bathe in your yard, but, yes, the soap works, perhaps you didn't have it hanging low enough or you bought just the right kind they use! ☺
  • Becca Frierson Becca Frierson on Aug 04, 2013
    moth balls ... yes they stink ... but they deter a lot of things .. people too .. ha ha
  • Elizabeth Gladden Elizabeth Gladden on Aug 05, 2013
    Cathy, we need to get together sometime & share tips & plants. If you are on FB, pm me.
  • Joan Raines Joan Raines on Sep 08, 2013
    Where did your day lilies go.? The neighbor. Clean cut.
  • Taylor Taylor on Sep 08, 2013
    Might be caterpillars
  • Luis Luis on Sep 08, 2013
    Cathy I am sure you know but Day Lilies flowers only last one day and they die, there not that many bugs or animals that will eat them
  • Lisa McGee Lisa McGee on Sep 08, 2013
    yup 1 day!
  • HPI22683320 HPI22683320 on May 04, 2017

    My day lilly bulbs were eaten before they came out of the ground. What animal does this?