General gardening topics

How to deadhead lily plants

Our site is reader supported, this means we may earn a small commission from Amazon and other affiliates when you buy through links on our site.

Lilies are a very popular group of plants with fragrant flowers but at what point should you deadhead those flowers and should you even do it in the first place? Do you have to cut them off or can you leave them?

Deadheading lily plants

The process of deadheading is fairly simple. Once you see the flower has faded you can break it off very gently with your hands or you can use a clean pair of secateurs to simply snip it off. Avoid cutting any of the leaves because those are imperative when it comes to storing energy for the winter.

Is deadheading lily plants necessary?

Deadheading refers to the process where you remove spent flowers from a plant. Most of the time people deadhead their flowers to encourage new flowers and prolong the flowering period and this is the case for most plants.

Recommended secateurs

Lilies don’t flower more than once on the same stem in the same year

However, that’s not what happens with lilies. Once the Lily stem has finished blooming, you won’t get any more Blooms from that stem. Cutting off the flowers won’t give the plant room for new flowers. So why do you have to do it?

Improve the appearance

Deadheading lilies is good because it cleans up the overall appearance of your lily plant. If you are growing for the beautiful flowers, having a smattering of spent flowers to detracts from that.

Don’t cut back the foliage

You also want to keep the foliage through the summer to help the plants come back the following spring and given the plants have a finite amount of energy, removing the spent flowers helps your plant focus more on keeping the foliage all year round.

Energy allocation

Don’t let them to seed to get bigger better flowers the following year

That said, remember that your Lily flower can be pollinated and if that happens it will shrivel up in order to reproduce by way of a seed pod. If you plan to use the same bulb to produce more lilies the following year, you can’t let this happen. Producing the seed pods requires energy from the plant that would otherwise be allocated to storing carbohydrates in the bulb for next season. If you don’t deadhead, those carbohydrates don’t get stored because the plant can either make the seed head or prepare for next year. It can’t do both. So you have to decide what you plan to do with your plants the following year.

Last update on 2022-03-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at

Write A Comment