How to Keep Stella de Oro Daylilies Blooming All Season

The golden, glorious Stella de Oro daylily.
The golden, glorious Stella de Oro daylily.
Sally’s Trove

Daylily gardeners were thrilled when the first reblooming daylily plant hit the market in the 1970s. Stella de Oro, created by Walter Jablonski in 1975, was an immediate hit not just for its new and rich yellow-gold color, but also for its reblooming habit.

While most daylilies bloom only for a short time during the growing season, leaving behind a ragged mass of long, grassy foliage, Stella de Oro blooms continuously, that is, with the proper maintenance. I’ve been growing Stellas for five years, but it took the first two of those years to learn the craft of keeping them blooming all season long: deadheading.

When my daylilies begin to bloom in late spring, I am on the spent blossoms like a beagle on a fox. In one day this season, I removed 167 faded blossoms from a planting that measured only six feet long by two feet wide. Two days later, I removed 285 spent blossoms from the same planting. Yes, I counted them all.

Without removing the spent flowers throughout the growing season, the Stella de Oro daylily plants will become a sea of ugly greens and dull, dead, brown sticks with few to no blooms.

Deadheading Is the Key to Continuous Stella de Oro Blooming

Deadheading is the practice of removing old blossoms before they have a chance to produce seeds. It is a form of pruning that encourages flowering plants to put their energies into producing more blossoms, thereby promoting an extended display of form and color in the garden.

Without deadheading, re-blooming daylily plants put their energies into producing seed instead of blossoms, leaving you with a ratty display of plant material. However, there is a right and a wrong way to deadhead daylilies. First, let’s do a quick lesson of the parts of the daylily that are involved in deadheading.

Parts of the daylily
Parts of the daylilySally’s Trove

Know Your Stella de Oro Anatomy

Scape

This is the stalk that produces the daylily blooms. One Stella de Oro scape may produce as many as a dozen buds.

Bud

The bud is the immature flower. For the most part, only one bud on every scape will bloom per day, although a scape will not necessarily produce a fully formed flower every day. In other words, if there are eight buds on a scape, the scape may produce blossoms over a two-week period or longer.

Flower Stem

The part of the plant that attaches a daylily flower to the scape is the flower stem or pedicel.

One-Day-Old Blossom

If you haven’t grown daylilies before, you may mistake a one-day-old blossom for a bud about to bloom. Both are similar in color and shape; however, the old blossom will not have the fresh aspect of a bud about to bloom and the tips of the petals will show a watery, translucent appearance. Don’t worry though. With practice, you will learn quickly!

Two-Day-Old Blossom

This one is easy to spot. It’s completely withered and dry. Three-day-old blossoms look much the same, only more withered. Both are still attached to the plant, but without deadheading, the spent petals will drop off the scape and create a mess under the greens. Worse, these older dropping petals will be a sure sign that the plant is producing seed and taking the plant’s energy away from blossoming.

Ovary

This slightly swollen area at the bottom of the flower is where seed will be produced if fertilization is successful.

Exhibit 1a: The Ovary With Spent Blossom Still Attached

A 2-day-old spent, fertilized blossom showing the bulge of the developing ovary.
A 2-day-old spent, fertilized blossom showing the bulge of the developing ovary.Sally’s Trove

Exhibit 1b: The Developing Ovary With Spent Blossom Removed

The ovary, with the spent blossom removed to reveal the early swelling that means seed development is in progress.
The ovary, with the spent blossom removed to reveal the early swelling that means seed development is in progress.Sally’s Trove

How to Deadhead Stellas for Continuous Bloom

Deadheading a daylily plant means removing both a spent blossom and its ovary from the scape by detaching the blossom from its flower stem or detaching the flower stem from the scape.

Deadheading Methods

1. Snapping or Pinching off

You can pinch through the flower stem with your thumb and index finger or snap the flower stem off the scape in a quick, downward motion. When you need to deadhead your way through 285 spent blossoms, snapping and pinching make the most sense. However, until you’re well-practiced with these techniques, you will be more likely to damage the scape and dislodge neighboring immature buds.

2. Cutting

You can use a small, sharp pair of scissors to cut through the flower stem. This method is more time-consuming but causes less damage to the scape and its remaining buds.

Deadheading Tips

1. Don’t Let the Dry, Withered, Oldest Petals Fool You

You will find that the withered petals of two- and three-day-old spent blossoms come away more easily than those of one-day-old spent blossoms. In fact, when touched, the older faded petals almost fall away by themselves, but the ovary is left behind, still attached to the flower stem. The ovary must be removed, by snapping, pinching, or cutting, to prevent the production of seed and encourage new Stella de Oro scape and bud growth.

2. Plan to Deadhead at Least Every Third Day

Every other day is best to make sure you nip the ovaries in the bud, so to speak, but you will get into your own rhythm based on your finickiness and schedule. Try not to panic at the thought of this effort, because after the first riotous weeks of blossom production, things will slow down and you won’t be removing hundreds of faded blooms every two days. Only dozens, perhaps.

Exhibit 2a: Stella de Oro Planting Before Deadheading

The full, fresh blooms of the day are lost among the one- and two-day-old spent blossoms. Overall, a quite unkempt appearance.
The full, fresh blooms of the day are lost among the one- and two-day-old spent blossoms. Overall, a quite unkempt appearance.Sally’s Trove

Exhibit 2b: Stella de Oro Planting After Deadheading (300 Deadheads Later)

Now, each fresh blossom is showcased only by buds-in-waiting and fresh green growth. Gone are the wilted and faded, sad and sorry spent flowers.
Now, each fresh blossom is showcased only by buds-in-waiting and fresh green growth. Gone are the wilted and faded, sad and sorry spent flowers .Sally’s Trove

Source: How to Keep Stella de Oro Daylilies Blooming All Season – Dengarden – Home and Garden

Author: Dennis Hickey

There are no limits to success to those who never stop learning. I want to help you succeed by sharing what I have learned about life skills. Knowing these skills can nourish your personal growth. I hope you enjoy this blog, and visit often so you keep learning too!

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