How to Divide Daylilies

Stella D Ora Daylilies

Daylilies are one of the easiest perennials to grow and to divide. Fall is the best time to divide your lilies since they are finished blooming for the season. With very little effort; these beautiful flowers can be transplanted to new areas in your yard.

Their botanical name hemerocallis means “beauty for a day” because each daylily bloom only lasts for one day. Even if you do not have a green thumb you will be successful since daylilies can handle neglect, drought and other abusive conditions in the landscape.

They are truly a beautiful plant to have in your yard and are very easy to maintain and divide if you follow these simple steps.

Common Orange “Ditch” Lilies

Cut Back the Leaves

Cut back the leaves of the daylily plant so you can easily see the root base and also when you transplant it; more energy will go to the root system instead of it trying to keep the leaf alive. Simply take a pair of scissors and cut back the leaves to the third of its current size.

After cutting back the leaves; the clump is ready to be dug up.

Dig the Clump Up

Daylilies multiply by growing new individual fans next to an existing fan. As the clump grows; one is able to divide it to help that clump to thrive or to spread the color throughout your yard. This is done simply by digging up a clump with a shovel or fork. Dig wider than the exposed plant being careful to minimize the root damage.

Divide the Clump

Flip the clump over on a tarp and you can plant this clump as a whole or divide it with a shovel or sharp knife or dip the clump in a bucket of water so the topsoil separates from the roots making it easier to separate each individual fan. A healthy fan division will have the roots attached to it.

Use a shovel or sharp knife to divide your clump

Replant the Divided Clump

Morning sun is preferred but you new location needs 6-8 hours of sun. Most soils will work fine for your daylily, but they do prefer a slightly acidic soil that moist and well-drained. Depending what look you want would be how you will plant your new starts. If you are transplanting larger clumps; probably install them 24” apart. If you are planting several for a mass planting; install them 6”-12” apart. Either way, install the clump or fan so the crown of the leaf (where it comes out of the ground) is ½” to 1” below the level of the soil.

Use water to help separate each individual fan if you want more starts

Sit Back and Enjoy

Newly divided daylilies may not bloom the following season since their root system isn’t fully established or because of the stress of the transplant. Once your daylilies are reestablished; they will return to their full blooming potential and give you many years of lovely summer color. Once transplanted; you can now sit back and enjoy their beauty.

By Brian Hill


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