Cutting Back Lily of the Valley

I live in Massachusetts; do I need to cut back my lily of the valley patch? It is fall and a lot of the leaves have died back or are turning yellow. Some are still green. This is a new house, new garden, I don't want to kill anything! Thanks!


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October 6, 20170 found this helpful
Best Answer

Living in Massachusetts you will need to prepare these plants for winter.

  1. October is the best month to start preparing your lily of the valley plants for winter.
  2. Cut back any diseased or dead foliage.
  3. If there are small stands on the plant, cut all the top foliage off. You can cut these down to the ground level to keep your garden looking good during the winter months.
  4. It isn't necessary to cut back all the foliage on the plants. If the leaves are green, just leave them. They will either die or remain green during the winter months.
  5. If you have a large plant, cutting it all the way back to the soil isn't necessary. Leave the plant and let it remain like it is, so that it will feed your soil.
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October 10, 20170 found this helpful
Best Answer

These are hardy plants that thrive in USDA zones 2-7/9. Your plants should not require very much care except occasional trimming of dead or yellow leaves.


  • You can cut/trim the yellow or dead leaves almost to the ground but leave the green leaves unless you just wish to cut the entire plant back.
  • If left intact, the deciduous leaves turn a lovely golden hue in the fall, accompanied by colorful (but inedible) orange berries.
  • Allow the foliage to remain after blooming as this will feed the pips for more flowers in the next spring.
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May 9, 20190 found this helpful

I live in western KY and my lily of the valley blooms in May. I didn't know I should wait to cut them back in October. It's a good size patch that grew from one small plant. There are small tree sprouts, taller grass and other weeds that grow in the patch that are hard to get to and remove without wading through tender, new growth in early spring. So, I always wait and mow them down a few weeks after they bloom. They reappears each year and the patch gets larger each year. Just wanted to share what a hardy plant they are. I must be very fortunate to have had them 45 years.

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October 5, 20170 found this helpful

Cut when blooms turn yellow or brown. Cut 1/4 inch above where the stalk meets the main plant.

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October 6, 20170 found this helpful

Now is a good time. Trim the old flower stems when they're wilting. Cut the stems at their base.

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October 6, 20170 found this helpful

Cutting Lily of the Valley.

Step 1
Use pruning shears to cut off yellow or brown leaves.


Step 2
Water it often.

Step 3
Add a fertilizer high in potassium every two weeks.

Step 4
Starting in early spring until 6 weeks after it flowers.

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