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Finally got my day lillies to flower this year with loads of potash, but should I cut back all the spent foliage now or leave it to over winter?  I usually take all foliage on my perrennials down this month - just wonder if this is a bit too early.


Leave it till it's gone completely brown and then just pull it off by hand.


I quite happily cut back foliage of day lillies now.

Beverley jones. Day lilies are evergreen for me so I do not cut back til spring but you wont harm them by cutting now. I didn't think to add potash so I will do that too. Some of the newer varieties don't flower too well for me so will try this treatment......I do it for my fruit bushes though

I am sorry but I am getting really confused and think I have messed up again my book said that day lilies were herbacous perennials so I thought that this means that they die back and that the leaves go brown and you need to remove them. Why do you need to remove them? Should they be evergreen and have I messed up by trimming them back. I need help


Sorry, they are herbaceous generally. I live in sw Cornwall and here they are virtually evergreen. So. Newbies flowergirl28, yes cut them back to tidy them up. Etc. they will,die down. You have not messed up. Even though with me the
Leaves often remain over winter I still cut them back. I split them every year too and they are so easy. Sorry for confusing you. I prob will be told off by some posters now! Oops!

Christopher thank you for explaining that I am new to gardening and still trying to work out the difference between text book advice and the wisdom of experienced gardeners. Could I trouble you for some more advice I still cannot work out the difference between tender perennials and half hardy perennials.

Tender perennials are plants are plants that would survive in our gardens if we had winters without frost. Because we do get frost or low temperatures in winter some plants will die. So we bring them indoors for,winter and plant out again in spring. Half hardy perennials and tender perennials are same,thiing. Wiser folks than me may correct me with some technicality. Are you,thinking of,hardy perennials? These will survive the winter and come again and again every,year. There are hardy and,half hardy annuals too but the difference is same as with perennials. I grow lots,of tender perennials but dahlias would be tender or,half hardy. The plants you see growing in the winter are all hardy won't see any,half,hardy ones then. Sorry if I've not answered you or if I seem patronising and written,stuff you already know. This forum has a lot of experienced and knowledgeable posters who I'm sure will add to this
gwelyrynys Garden

Hi, I find that in North Wales they usually go brown and I remove the leaves. I will move some tomorrow so I will trim the leaves back then.

Christopher thank you for that some books call plants tender and others half hardy and I was getting so confused. I am trying to grow lilies but some seem hardy like day lilies but others like calla lilies are half hardy, is there an easy way to work out which is which?

It's confusing isn't it? These are "common" lily isn't a calla lily or an arum lily or a lily bulb. Treat yourself to a good gardening reference book like the Readers Digest encyclopaedia of plants and flowers. This gives descriptions, advice, Latin names (I know, sounds pompous doesn't it, but they ensure you get the exact plant you want and avoids problems with "common" names) and pictures of thousands of plants. I've made so many mistakes but you learn from them. Have you tested your soil yet? Found out what sort it is....acid or alkaline? Get a cheap PH tester and find out. You will know then what plants you can grow. You got heavy soil or light and sandy? Is it a sunny or shady garden. When you find out these things read your books during the winter and see what plants "fit" and buy a couple. Newbeeflower girl 28 I'm sure you will do just fine

My hemerocallis thrive in my clay soil but last year the deer came into the garden and took the heads off every single one. I have some really unusual varieties so it was v upsetting. I have now lifted them all and replanted in a raised border close to the house our of reach of deer. I tend to leave them to die down before cutting but I need to clear some space to plant tulip bulbs so am going to risk cutting them down now.

i do the same as Obelixx leave them and pull them when they are totally brown.  They grow really well in my clay soil, but not flowered too well this year.  They probably need dividing, I am never that successful with dividing plants, always end up with lots of roots and not soil!!!  However i do keep trying, but will also try the potash next year.

Thanks for all the information and advice.. Really helps us inexperienced gardeners.


Hemerocallis need to be divided regularly or they become congested and lose flower power.   They are very forgiving and can be done now.   

Water the clump thoroughly and leave for an hour then dig up as much as you can and split it with your spade or a bread knife depending on how big and thick the roots are.   Replant in small clumps in the ground or in pots if you want spares for swaps or insurance.   Trim the leaves back to about 6" to reduce moisture loss while the roots recover.

Great to have your advice Obelixx. will try that and the clump is really quite big, but not many flowers this year, so that must be problem.  Thanks



I do as obelixx does, wait until they come off clean with a sharp tug, if they don't come away easily, I leave them a while longer and try again.

I agree too with Verdun's point about "latin" names. Once you know the basics you'll get the hang of them.

Every plant only has one "latin" name but might have lots of "common names" and some plants have the same "common names" eg both cistus and helianthemum have the common name " rock rose" neither are roses and the two plants are completely different.

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