How to Prune Lilies: Deadheading, Trimming, & More

Опубликовал Admin
19-06-2023, 21:10
Fragrant, beautiful lilies make a lovely addition to any garden. Plus, they're super easy to prune—all you have to do is deadhead wilted flowers during the blooming season and cut back lilies in the fall. In this article, we’ll teach you when and how to prune your show-stopping lilies, so you can count on them looking gorgeous in the spring-summer months and staying healthy during winter to promote the best blooms around. Flowering foliage, here you come!
  • Deadheading
  • Pruning after Blooming
  • Video
  • Expert Q&A
  • Tips
  • Things You'll Need

Deadheading Dying Blooms

  1. Cut off dying blooms throughout the blooming season. If any of your lilies begin to wilt or look brown during peak blooming season (spring-summer months), deadheading them is a great way to get rid of unwanted decay. Removing dead lily heads may encourage new growth and make help make your lily plant and garden look neater.
  2. Use small, lightweight shears to prune your lilies. They tend to make a gentler cut than other types of shears, like grass shears or loppers and are ideal for your delicate lily blooms. From deadheading to pruning, this multi-purpose tool has got you covered.
  3. Deadhead the stem by cutting the flower spike at its base. Follow the stalk of the lily to the base of the flower spike (a group of flowers arising from the main stem). Lilies flower at the end of a long stalk attached to the center of the lily plant. To “deadhead” lilies, follow the stalk to the flower spike and locate the first set of leaves on the stem needing removal. Use pruning shears to clip the stalk at a 45-degree angle at the first set of leaves arising from the flower spike
    • If you cannot see into the center of the plant, use your hand to follow the stalk down to the base. Get as close to the leaves as possible to encourage new growth.
    • Wear gloves to protect your hands during gardening.
  4. Disinfect your shears with rubbing alcohol between cuts. If you’re shearing dead or diseased blooms or foliage, it’s important to disinfect the shears in between cuts. Otherwise, you risk spreading disease to healthy parts of the plant. To disinfect, dip, spray, or wipe the blades of the shears in rubbing alcohol with a concentration of 70% or higher.

Cutting Back Lilies after Blooming Season

  1. Leave yellowing or browning stalks until late fall. If you notice that some of your lily’s foliage is turning yellow but not brown, leave it alone. The yellow stalks won’t affect the overall health of your plant, and cutting them down early actually decreases the amount of energy the plant can put into creating new flowers for the next blooming season.
  2. Prune back yellow stalks after the first frost. Once the first frost has occurred, your lily plant no longer needs the energy produced by the foliage stalks, making it a-ok to cut them back. Use your shears to cut the yellow foliage stalks down to the ground at a 45-degree angle.
    • Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) of stalk above the soil to mark its location.
    • Add 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) of mulch around the base of your lovely lilies to protect the bulbs from the winter cold.
  3. Remove entire stems of mostly brown leaves. Remove the entire stem if quite a few leaves on one stem are brown. Follow the stem to the base of the lily plant, then use your pruning shears to cut off the entire stem at a 45-degree angle.
  4. Clip the tips of browning leaves. If you notice that just the tips of the leaves on your lily plant are browning, you don’t need to remove the whole stem. Instead, make a 45-degree clip just below the browning tip.


  • Researching the specifics of the type of lily in your garden is helpful, particularly if you have lilies with unusual blooming habits. For instance, the Resurrection Lily has a flower that emerges after the leaves die away, making it especially important to allow the leaves to die back on their own instead of removing them!

Things You'll Need

  • Lightweight pruning shears
  • 70% Rubbing alcohol
  • Water
  • Gardening gloves
  • Mulch (optional)
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