Skip to main content

How to Keep Stella de Oro Daylilies Blooming All Season

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

Sherri has expertise in landscape design. Some of her hobbies include gardening and cooking.

The golden, glorious Stella de Oro daylily.

The golden, glorious Stella de Oro daylily.

All About Stella de Oro Daylilies

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 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 on the parts of the daylily involved in deadheading.

Parts of the daylily.

Parts of the daylily.

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.

Scroll to Continue

Read More From Dengarden

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.

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.

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

Here are two methods for deadheading a daylily plant.

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

Follow these tips for best results.

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.

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.

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.

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 is 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 the history of Stella de Oro?

Here is a resource that has good information about the history of the Stella de Oro variety.

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

Comments

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!

Too bad!

I didn’t know I was suppose to deadhead

They should mention this when purchasing these beautiful flowers!

Thanks

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?

Thanks

Barbarahaynes1@yahoo.com 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

Thank you.

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: