What to Do With Lilies after Flowering – When and How to Cut Them Back

What to Do With Lilies after Flowering – When and How to Cut Them Back

Last updated on September 14th, 2021

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While in full bloom, lilies stand tall and majestic creating an exotic scene that many appreciate. However, what happens to the lilies after flowering? Do you just let them be, or do you deadhead them and prune them in preparation for the next season?

Experts indicate that it is essential to prune and cut back your lilies followed by mulching for healthier growth. In this article, you will discover tips on when and how to cut lilies to provide optimal growth for the flowering season. Read on to unveil more information.

Steps to undertake after lilies flower

1.     Deadheading

After the peak of the bloom, spent flowers need to be eliminated immediately. If there are fresh lily blooms or buds, one can cut them and use them for decorative purposes. The spent flowers should be removed by hand or cut by shears as this prevents the plant from wasting resources to produce seeds. This is especially if the buds available are to be utilised the next season.

Lilies are stunning plants and generally, you should deadhead each flower as it finishes but pruning depends on a few factors. Learn more now

Deadheading lilies also assists in clearing the plant’s appearance because dead flowers and buds are not aesthetically appealing. Be careful to clear away only the spent flowers as removing the leaves causes the plants to produce less energy.

2.     Pruning the lilies

Pruning is essential for any plant’s healthy growth. Lilies need pruning after flowering to make room for new growth in the coming season. Pruning lilies prematurely is a disadvantage as it may cause the blooms and growth to diminish significantly. It is commendable to prune the lilies around late fall when the leaves are brown and falling off.

While pruning, use lightweight shears with sharp blades to administer clean cuts and also make sure the shears are disinfected to prevent plant infections. You can make your disinfectant by using water and vinegar in the ratio of 2:1 respectively.

3.     Cutting lilies back

Eventually, lily stalks will turn yellow or brown but they should not be cut back until after the first frost. This is because the yellowing stalks still play a part in providing the energy required for the next flowering season. Lilies are usually cut back in autumn and spring when the plants have died back completely, and the leaves and stems no longer serve a purpose.

Pruning back lilies after first frost once they have turned brown

While cutting back, you need to mark where the stalks are to know where the lily buds are. This is to avoid damaging them unexpectedly by digging.

4.     Mulching is crucial

Once you cut back the lilies, it is essential to apply mulch as it helps the soil stay moist during winter. Mulch also acts as insulation from the cold thus preventing ground freezing. The mulch is to protect the roots until after the first frost in spring. The mulch will be eliminated once new shoots emerge and there is a need for space.

5.     Division for better health

If your lilies have been suffering from stunted growth, it is good to divide the buds into new pots that offer space. Although dividing should be done every couple of years, it offers you a chance to let the lilies grow optimally without competing for nutrients. 

Dividing and replanting lily bulbs

What you need to do is dig up the original plants and separate the bulbs to be transplanted into new pots or slots. Regardless of whether you have lilies planted in the ground or in pots, understanding when to prune and cut them back is a useful skill. This is because every time you witness your lilies explode into glorious blooms, you will know exactly what to do to keep the blooms majestic every season.

Read next: What to do with Alliums after flowering


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