If you grow Stella de Oro, Happy Returns, or Early Bird Cardinal (aka ‘Endless Heart’) daylilies, your weekend project is to clean them up! These varieties are the earliest to flower, and they all might rebloom if they are deadheaded in mid-July as their flowering fades. And let’s be frank…is there any plant that’s uglier than an un-deadheaded Stella de Oro daylily?
The stems and seed pods make these Hemerocallis look cluttered and ratty. And the letting the seeds grow will prevent any repeat flowering. So getting out into the garden and clipping those stems down into the center of the plant will make the garden look better and help to stimulate more bloom. Here are some photos that explain the process.
Here is how one of my Early Bird Cardinal looked before I cleaned it up.
This plant shows how much better early flowering daylilies look once those stems and seed pods are removed. The plant on the far left still has the old stems, however, so you can see the difference cleaning the daylily up makes.
Some people don’t want to cut the stems down because they think that the seed pods are new flower buds. This photo shows the difference between the two. Seed pods are round and green or green and reddish-brown. Flower buds are lean and taller, with yellow coloration. When I’m cleaning up a daylily I might cut this entire stem off, however. Yes, that bud will open into a flower, but it’s only one bud. As we well know, these are called “daylilies” because the flowers only last one day. So if I leave this stem I’ll just have to come back and cut it down in two days. I choose to maximize my time in the garden, so I’ll remove this as I do the cleanup so I won’t have to come back and do it soon. I cut these stems about four to six inches from the ground, trying to avoid snipping the leaves along with the stems. Sometimes that’s hard, but if the leaves are healthy we don’t want to remove them!