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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.
Know Your Stella de Oro Anatomy
This is the stalk that produces the daylily blooms. One Stella de Oro scape may produce as many as a dozen buds.
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.
The part of the plant that attaches a daylily flower to the scape is the flower stem or pedicel.
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!
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.
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
Exhibit 1b: The Developing Ovary With Spent Blossom Removed
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.
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.
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.
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
Exhibit 2b: Stella de Oro Planting After Deadheading (300 Deadheads Later)
Stella de Oro and Other Daylily Variety FAQs and Information
Are Stella de Oro daylilies edible?
Some say yes, definitely, and some say yes but with caution. Some even say no. If you have never eaten daylilies before and would like to eat your Stella de Oros, you should know that many people eat them with no ill side effects, while others believe they are harmful to humans and other animals. Here's an article on the edible daylily dispute for some more information.
Does a daylily really only last one day?
Gardeners in temperate regions know that the shortest-lived blossoms in the garden belong to members of the genus Hemerocallis and are commonly called daylilies. The daylily flower lasts only for a day, hence the name. At the beginning of its day, the daylily bud unfurls to show its full form and color, but by the next day, the flower has wilted and faded.
Why do I see Stella de Oro spelled so many different ways?
You may have noticed while shopping for Stella de Oro daylilies that the spelling is not consistent. You may see Stella d’oro, Stella doro, and other variations. The person who originally created the hybrid, Walter Jablonski, also had the honor of naming it. He chose the name Stella de Oro. While the name looks like it might be Italian or Spanish, it's actually neither (or both)! Stella means star in Italian, and de Oro means of gold in Spanish.
Obviously, the name has been misspelled every which way and now one of the most common spellings is Stella d'Oro, which actually corrects the name to what it would be if it were all Italian. There's a section in this article that goes a little more in-depth into the linguistic background of the plant.
Is Stella de Oro the only everblooming daylily?
Although Stella de Oro is the most popular daylily (re-blooming or not) in the world, it is no longer the only re-blooming variety. Take a look at Just Plum Happy (rose-pink and purple), Happy Returns (lemon yellow), When My Sweetheart Returns (lemon cream and rose, with ruffles) and more re-bloomers.
Where can I find more information about planting and caring for Stella de Oro?
Here is a resource that has good information on becoming a daylily master, along with a second link that is a bonus article about the history of the Stella de Oro variety.
- Specifics for Stella de Oro Cultivation
- CUTTINGS: Hybridizers Create Vigorous Day-Lily World
What Do You Think?
Please leave a comment below to join the discussion on this article and share your thoughts. Let me know what you think.
© 2012 Sherri
Theresa Taylor on September 02, 2020:
Stellas will bloom more after dividing. If they are crowded, less flowers. Divide maybe every 4 years. This article was great on taking the ovary off with the dead bloom. I’m going to divide my clumps very soon and share with neighbors.
Md on August 27, 2020:
Does this plant get old and not bloom as much?
Mine is 28 years old and not blooming as much
Patty on July 27, 2020:
Great help but there are no answers!
I didn’t know I was suppose to deadhead
They should mention this when purchasing these beautiful flowers!
Bernardina Negri on July 23, 2020:
VERY HELPFULL INFORMATION
Cheryl McAlack on July 16, 2020:
Very informative article. I've been growing daylilies for years and love them. Just spent a couple of hours walking around a friend's yard admiring her daylilies and deadheading while. We talked.
Mary Sakowski on July 08, 2020:
I still don't know where to deadhead, just the stem or also the ovary???
Jean L. on June 30, 2020:
Informative article. I would usually only deadhead the 2 day old or older blooms and never knew whether I should remove what I now understand is the ovary. Good to know it should also be removed.
Becky Hendrix on June 12, 2020:
I enjoyed your article but wish I could see it better. There are so many pop up ads going on that I can’t really see the pictures well. I use a tablet and Pinterest ads are gradually discouraging me from using the app.
Jane Jolly on May 18, 2020:
I love day lilies, but did not know I had to deadhead them, is it too late to stimulate that growth,or lack of, after many years, I also have different kinds, do they all need deadheading?
Ed on May 01, 2020:
Excellent article and excellent identification of plant parts.
Cathy on April 04, 2020:
My son-in-law ran over mine with the lawn mower. They are not coming up this year. Can i dig the bulbs up and replant them?
Carolyn Major on October 27, 2019:
I need to move some of my stella ores, how do I dry the bulbs until spring?
Carolyn on September 11, 2019:
Excellent indepth article!
mary on August 24, 2019:
all the reblooming don't rebloom. finly cut them back . had removed spent flowers . what else could I be doing wrong
MK on August 19, 2019:
The leaves are turning brown. What is causing it and how to fix this?
[email protected] on August 18, 2019:
Very helpful article, but should you cut off the pods when the plant has been neglected and gone to seed? Is there a way to revitalize them?
Gail on August 05, 2019:
Thanks for this info. I deadhead every day, but I have not had any reblooming this year. What am I doing wrong. What about fertilizering?
Joyce Thomas on August 05, 2019:
This is such a great article, especially to someone who just didn't know what was wrong with my Stellas. At last I know what to do to keep them blooming! I really liked how specific you were about deadheading since I never knew exactly where to break off the flower. I can't thank you enough!!
Edna Verona Latta on July 31, 2019:
Please define reblooming
Have had reblooming hybrids for several years. No reblooms after first display. Have cut thise stems off, nothing replaces them
Melissa K on July 31, 2019:
Great to know, just moved into my home with a ton of daylilies! Ive had oriental/ stargazers before but none of these!! Thank you for the info!!
Harriet Grice on July 29, 2019:
Thanks for the info ! I have the orange ones.....the ones you usually see along the rd. Never knew about the ovary. Wondered why they didnt flower long. Now I know ! Again, thank you.
Paul H. on July 27, 2019:
Do day lilies need full day sun.? Or can they grow in a partially shaded area?
MrsVickie on July 22, 2019:
Thank you so much! I could not understand why my Daylilies would not bloom all summer. Now I know!
Jamie on July 19, 2019:
Hi, thank you so much for this very informative article. Can you tell me what’s best to do if you don’t cut back the flowers in time and the seed pods develop? I have always cut those stems all the way at the base of the plant but I don’t know if that is the right thing to do. Thank you!
Lumen on July 16, 2019:
I have not done this to my daylily but now I think I have to do this so the bloom will be continuous. Thanks.
Kayla on July 16, 2019:
Gail Elane (commenter): First of all lilies aren’t unkempt and bushy so I completely disagree with your husband. The foliage is similar to various ornamental grasses and jungle-looking plants. That’s a GORGEOUS look. I suggest giving your husband a short scientific-based article to read about how and when (if at all) to trim your type of lilies and how they are harmed when done improperly. If he still wants to mow them down then I’d say the actual problem here is that he cares more for his need to have things look just so (control freak perhaps?) than your enjoyment of something clearly beautiful.
Ruch on July 13, 2019:
A short video on deadheading to show exactly where to deadhead for amateurs like me would be very helpful.
Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on July 06, 2019:
Thanks for sharing this. I like the suggestion of removing dead parts. I do that with petunias----pluck off the dead bloom and voila, a new one appears very soon. I did not know I could do so with these lovelies Angels once again are on the way ps
Diane on July 05, 2019:
Excellent information. I am friends with some professional growers who recommend lots of fertilizer. I’m lucky to know a few farmers with plenty of manure to share. In the fall I put my lilies to rest topped with a rich mix for the winter. My garden is spectacular this year with all the rain.
Colleen on June 26, 2019:
Finally I know how to encourage new blooms! I've always been puzzled
Kelly on June 21, 2019:
It’s mid June and my Stella de oro still haven’t bloomed. I’m from Toronto and we have had a lot of rain this year and not as much sun as last year. There are many small buds but no blooms.
D. Cowan on June 20, 2019:
My Stella de Oro have quit blooming, probably b/c they aren't getting enough sunlight. The plants, however, have many seed pods (ovaries). Would removing these help the plants to bloom?
Marilyn Thompson on June 12, 2019:
You answered exactly the questions I had. I don't need to be an expert, just wanted to know the basic care. The info re dead heading was very clear and easy to understand. Thanks I'm headed out the door to correctly deadhead my Stellas:):)
Gail Elane on June 11, 2019:
My husband says my stellas are out of control because of their bushyness or fullness and wants to prune them back but they are just beginning to bloom. I told him if he does that, I will not be able to enjoy the flowers and he said; so you go without flowers for one season, big deal! I said that would spoil the plant; but he said at least they would be under control and look more uniform. What"s your opinion?
Very informative. Thanks for pictures, they really help us weekend warriors on June 08, 2019:
Very informative. Thanks for pictures, they really help us weekend warriors
Danni on June 02, 2019:
I live in canyon lake tx. I planned my lily in my flower burm and it has big buds on it but it looks like they are withering away. I dont know what im doing to make it not bloom. I water every day. I did put mirical grow in her last week, not a lit just a little bit . I keep the catapilers away and off of it. I would like to show a picture but not sure if i am able to on here.
Mehrun on May 26, 2019:
Very informative. My question is my plant looks very healthy and the past bloomed but this year does not seem to be blooming reason
Wyna Stewart on May 19, 2019:
Thank you for the video and information. I will be planting Stella de Oros for the first time this year. I am a bit nervous about it.
Claudette on March 20, 2019:
Thanks for the great illustrations!
BePersnickety on August 11, 2018:
Very informative! Thanks so much for posting the video of removing the old blooms! Most helpful.
Chevys grandma on August 05, 2018:
Thanks for the video! I have been doing it wrong but for some reason -at least it appeared to be so- new blossoms came from the not-yet-swollen ovary.
vegetablegardenh on July 29, 2018:
That video was all I needed to see. Thanks! :) Now I know how I'll be spending my mornings for a little while! Very good.
mjvawter on June 18, 2018:
Thanks for the info. I was wondering why mine seldom, if ever, rebloomed. Mine are in part shade but still bloom.
Chevys grandma on June 03, 2018:
I have deadheaded other types of Lilies by carefully slipping the spent flower from the stem without removing an ovary. By the way, I didn't know until this article anything about a plant ovary! If the blossom is too dried up this is not possible. I have also slipped dead blooms from Azaleas which was basically for fun but now have over 50 Azaleas so that isn't happening anymore.
Barb on May 29, 2018:
Very helpful. Appreciate the diagram! Thank you
Paulav on May 19, 2018:
I have 7 Stella d’oro lilies in a row, and one blooms every year. How can I get the others to bloom?
Sarah from Tulsa, OK on May 16, 2018:
Thank you for " deadheading the blossom and ovary tip!" I always got the spent blossom but not the ovary. I thought that I was not fertilizing enough. Now I hope to have many more blossoms.
Eileen on August 09, 2017:
To Rose from Michigan and all those who asked about stalks from deadheaded lilies: once all blooms have been removed properly, the stalk will get stiffer and start to brown. Yes you should pull it out. I find that you should wait until it browns: with 2 hands and a firm pull it will come right out, but if it doesn't just wait a few days and try again. I only answered because it seems that the author isn't answering anymore. Good luck!
Sarah McGeen on August 09, 2017:
Fantastic! Most informative article I've come across on this subject. Been having trouble getting these lilies to repeat their bloom. Your pictures are excellent at showing precisely where to deadhead. Will give this a shot. Thanks for posting!!
Eileen on August 09, 2017:
Hi! I read this article last year and have followed the instructions for deadheading meticulously. However, my day lilies aren't re-blooming except for a few I found, oddly, right close to the ground. How long does it take to re-bloom? I also have been pulling the dead or dying leaves and there are more and more each day. Is this normal and should I be pulling them out? Thanks! Eileen
Lesley on August 04, 2017:
What about the scape? Should brown spent scrapes be removed? Will their removal increase blooms ?
Danny68 on July 26, 2017:
will the flower be on a new scape or will it use the old one that I have dead headed?
Candi soll on July 23, 2017:
Very educational post. Thanks !!!!!
Mary Witteborg on July 21, 2017:
Thank you so much! This was so helpful. The illustrations, video and detailed tips are wonderful. I should of searched and done my homework before cutting off the scapes. :(
Rose from Michigan on July 18, 2017:
After most of the deadheading is done, do you cut the long stems that they were on. I have a lot of stems sticking up with nothing on them. Will new stems shoot up from the ground?
[email protected] on July 16, 2017:
Great info about daylilies thank you
Dixie L Jackson on July 12, 2017:
So glad I found this article. I've been deadheading all wrong, never removing the ovary. Just pulling off the spent blossom is not the way to do it. Thanks for all the great information.
Judy Anderson on July 05, 2017:
question.....should I remove the long Stella d'oro flower stalk when all of the buds have bloomed on that stalk?? Want to keep plant in flower as long as possible..... what do you suggest????
Jean From Buffalo, ny on June 26, 2017:
Great illustration and information. What and how much fertilizer do these plants need. i don't get a lot of blooms after frost bloom.
Margie Donze on June 23, 2017:
Thank you so much! I never was sure if I should dead head my Stella de Oro lilies, and if I would have done it, it would have been
wrong! Now I can take better care of them, and I know why other people's re bloom! Now I'm going to check on my orange day lilies! Thank you again!
Mary Alice Shannon on June 11, 2017:
After all blossoms on a stem are spent, and have been removed, do you cut the stem back down to the ground??
Victoria on June 10, 2017:
SUPER THOROUGH article! THANK YOU! I've grown Stellas for a few years, and always wondered if I was deadheading them correctly. I tried to research it, but found only articles without pics, or not clear & thorough enough. Thanks again!
Knirpsi on June 10, 2017:
Thank you so much for this great article. It is sooo useful. And sooo practical. You have done a great work. Thanks!!!
Bets on May 27, 2017:
When there are no more buds on the scape, should they be cut back to the ground?
I didn't see any reference to that.
Rosemarie on May 23, 2017:
Great information and it helped me make my day lilies bloom even more.
Do you feed your plant?
Eddie on April 27, 2017:
I plent day lilies lest year with slots of blooms this year they came back slots of green leaves no blooms help me what I need to do
Karla on July 21, 2016:
What happens if I cut the scape?
Frederick Hemsley on July 20, 2016:
I don't understand your deadheading advice since I see Stella d'oro lilly
all over my area (Pike/Wayne counties- PA). I guarantee you no one deadheads these flowers and they come back every season. Meanwhile
my bank of lillys produce only one or two blooms per clump. I'm quite frustrated by this.
Brigid on July 19, 2016:
Thank you for the tips. I have "reblooming" lillies but never knew all of this and though I deadhead, I am doing it way too late. I really appreciate you sharing.
Martha on July 17, 2016:
Thank you so much for the tips... My day lilies are now no reblooming and I will be out there first thing tomorrow deadheading
Eileen on July 14, 2016:
The only thing is that deer will eat enough of your day Lillie to keep it from ever blooming
Pam on July 07, 2016:
What do I do if my daylillies already have seed pods on them? Can I prune them off now, or is it too late?
Catnapper on July 04, 2016:
Absolutely loved the article! The diagram and through explanation were so valuable. I'm headed out to dead head right now. So excited that I can get my Stella de Oro daylilliies to rebloom. And keep them looking tidy!
Pam on June 29, 2016:
I am confused about the deadheading. I have had my Stella doro daylilies for about 5 years. I believe I have been getting blooms back because I mistakenly deadheaded some of them the right way. What I want to know is the stem that is left with little white leaves attached will they bloom or do I have to cut the stem down for more daylilies to bloom.
Jane G on June 28, 2016:
Thanks for your article which I just found. Like Bonnie, above, I am wondering if it's too late for me to get more Stella flowers from my plant that I just got this spring, since I've left ovaries in place and seed is definitely being produced, and now there are no more flowers coming, after a month or more of bloom. Could you please let me know if I deadhead tomorrow I can hope for a new round of flowering? Sorry I didn't see your excellent article earlier, but am glad I found it!
Rob G. on June 26, 2016:
Awesome article and very informative.
Steve on June 26, 2016:
Informative article! Outside Boston, the thoughtful gardener cuts through the time, expense, and effort by planting Stella d'oro in the sun and hosta in the shade. Both are terrific for dividing and sharing.
Eileen on June 24, 2016:
Thanks for the detailed info. Only thing is when you show in the video how to pinch off the dead blooms, the words on the page cover up what your hands are doing so I couldn't see! Just my constructive thought!
Bonnie on June 19, 2016:
What if I am late starting the deadheading process and there are already many ovaries? Should I snap them off? Cut the stem at the ground? Thanks!
Joan on June 08, 2016:
Once the last bloom on the stem is removed should i cut the stem down or will new blooms appear on it ir will a new stem begin to grow?
Rosy on June 07, 2016:
Why would my Stella be dark red?
Bob in SW Indiana on June 02, 2016:
Great article, and the illustrations are super! Thanks for keeping it simple, clear, and complete.
cezedor on May 27, 2016:
I'm so glad I came across this article in Pinterest. I have Stella d'Oro for years and I've been wondering why there were buds left in summer but never opened.
I will try deadheading this time and I hope it works. Thanks a lot for this info.
Betsy on May 13, 2016:
Moved to new home in NE Ohio and believe that I have Stella d'Oro lilies to come. Thank you for the tutorial on dead heading- I plan to do it!!
Rick in Boston on May 07, 2016:
Great tips...I have had Stellas for a few years and was wondering why they didn't continuously bloom as advertised...getting only two rounds of blooms - early summer and again with less in late summer. Your tutorial was great and look forward to dead heading this summer. Can they be divided? if so how/when and at what size should they be split?
Janna on April 30, 2016:
Such wonderful info, we just planted them tonite and shall now know how to do it!
Dotty on April 09, 2016:
I had these for years never knew that had to be deadheaded, but use to pull the spent flowers off. Thanks soooo much for the info. Love this site, I just found it. You are super, thanks again. I'll be back.
Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on September 06, 2015:
This is a very informative and useful hub. I hope these daylilies are in my home country Philippines. I want to plant them in my tropical garden. Thanks for the tips.
peachy from Home Sweet Home on August 25, 2015:
too bad, I don't find this type of flowers here, any tips for bougainvilleas?
Ellie on July 24, 2015:
Thanks for this information. I've been religiously pulling the spent blossoms off, but didn't know about the ovaries. No wonder my efforts didn't seem effective ;-)
Lucie on July 23, 2015:
For the last 2 summers, my Stella de Oro do not produce much flowers.
My plants are 8 years old. They do look a bit crowded. Should I be removing some of the plants or reducing each plant individually.
I do the deadhead procedure...
So many thanks
christina on July 17, 2015:
This was very helpful to me.I have a row of 10 Stella de oro's in a brick border.They look pretty healthy & many blooms,didn't know how to deadhead properly tho..there are these big,green,pod thingys growing.Are those the ovary's growing?Also,why would the leaves turn yellow.Not all just a few on the bottom.Thanks!
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on July 14, 2015:
Sherri, this was just beautiful and useful on how to grow and deadhead daylillies. I love those flowers! Thanks for sharing and voted up!
Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on July 08, 2015:
I got only 2 blooms on my daylilies this year. Very disappointing. What went wrong?
The Reminder from Canada on July 07, 2015:
Beautiful hub and very useful info. So many nice flower pictures
Deborah Morrison from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada on July 05, 2015:
Easy and practical tips about how to create an abundance of blossoming day lilies for the garden. I had no idea that you have to be so precise about how to remove the lilies after they have bloomed. What a difference this will make.
Stephen J Parkin from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada on July 03, 2015:
Very useful information. We have many of these plated by the previous owners of our home and I had never known the proper way of deadheading them. They are beautiful and will flower nearly all summer long.
Irene on June 23, 2015:
Thank you for the detailed information. This is only my 2nd year growing Stella's. I remember reading about deadheading last year a little too late in the season. But knew there was a right way and a wrong way to keep them blooming. I have watched and/or read about 10 other postings and none of them even mention the importance of removing not just the spent blossom but the ovary as well. They just started blooming the last two or three days and I am so glad I finally found your post! Thanks again.
Ann on June 15, 2015:
Thank you very much for your knowledge about Stella Dora's.
DebMartin on June 02, 2015:
Beautiful flowers, helpful info. Thanks!