When Should You Cut Back Tiger Lilies?

Cutting back and pruning Tiger lilies annually helps preserve their longevity and appearance. 

The Tiger lily is a lovely plant for sprucing up any garden or home. The first-time gardener may receive quite a shock the first time their lilies enter dormancy.

Tiger Lily flower on a background of blue skyPin
Attractive Tiger Lil flower, When should you cut them back? | NataP-DepositPhotos
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When Should You Prune Back Tiger Lily Plants?

Cut or prune back tiger lilies before winter arrives, but before they enter the dormant stage.

Best Time For Pruning Back Tiger Lilies

The best time for pruning back Tiger lilies is in the fall before winter. During the end of summer, the leaves of the Lily plant turn yellow and die back. This prepares the plant for its dormant stage for winter. It needs to shed any excess leaves.

This does not mean that the plant is dying. Trim off the dead leaves. Allow any yellow leaves to remain as the plant moves towards its winter dormancy.

Why You Should Cut Back Tiger Lily Plants?

Annual pruning helps protect plant health and ward off unwanted pests. Trimming dead leaves from your plant gives the plant the necessary space it needs to thrive when spring arrives.

Preserve Plant Health

Most importantly, trimming the dead leaves in the fall preserves the health of your Tiger lilies. Tiger lilies are hardy. But, are still susceptible to disease. Two types of diseases impact Tiger lilies:

  • Lily Mosaic Virus
  • Basil Rot [source]

Lily Mosaic Virus is a virus spread between lilies. While this disease does not harm tiger lilies, they are carriers. If other lilies are nearby, the virus will spread.

Basil Rot is a disease where the Tiger Lily bulb begins to rot. This is often due to overwatering and lack of drainage in the summer months. 

By pruning the Tiger Lily, allows time for a yearly inspection of the plant to ensure it is in good health. Cutting off dead leaves helps prevent any rot once the leaves have fallen to the ground.

Prevent Pest Infestations

Two pests, in particular, harm the Tiger Lily: 

  • Aphids
  • Lily beetles [source]

Aphids are common pests in gardens. In small numbers, they cannot damage the plant, but they are well known for transmitting plant diseases. 

Lily beetles are a less common occurrence for American gardens. This is because the red Lily beetle originated in Europe and has only recently spread in the United States. 

This beetle species are known to eat the leaves of lily plants, which can be dangerous for your Tiger Lily.

The best way to keep away these pests is with Neem oil. Neem oil is an all-natural insecticide that deters pests with its putrid smell.

Kills pests who chew on leaves sprayed with the oil. It’s an excellent natural insecticide to guard lilies against aphids and beetles.

How Often Should I Prune My Plant?

Many experts suggest that you prune your Tiger Lily annually. The best time to prune the leaves of your plant is in the fall. 

As previously mentioned, the Tiger Lily leaves turn yellow towards the end of summer and fall. While there is no cause for worry, remove brown and dead leaves eliminate disease and pests’ chances. 

During spring, you also have the option to divide new sprouts and propagate new plants. Or, let your Tiger Lily grow on its own. 

Things To Be Aware Of When Pruning

Keep an eye on these issues while pruning tiger lilies. 

Over-pruning

A great danger when cutting back Tiger lilies at the end of the growing season is over-pruning. 

It can be challenging to know which leaves need cutting. One tip for gardeners is to only trim off the dead leaves near the base of the plant. 

Yellow leaves will be able to grow back healthy and full the following spring. 

Cutting off too many leaves at once can damage the plant. Reduced foliage can cause the tiger lily to lose its ability to flower as it will not have enough energy to form seeds.

Dividing

Divide Tiger Lily bulbs in the late fall or early spring once every four to six years. Dividing helps the plant to propagate and keeps new lily bulbs healthy. 

When dividing, it’s essential to ensure there is lots of space for the new plants.

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