After 5 or 6 years, the mass of fibrous roots a Daylily produces
becomes overgrown producing fewer flowers each season. Dividing these clumps and
replanting new divisions rejuvenates the plant. Of course, you do not have to wait
the 5 years to divide your Daylilies; dividing once a year is good or once every two years
The absolute best time to divide and replant Daylilies is after they have finished
blooming, in late summer, early fall or early spring.
To divide daylilies:
1. Prepare a new Daylily bed.
Preparing the soil for a new daylily bed before digging the old clump allows you to get
the divisions into the ground without delay, before their roots become dried and damaged
from exposure to the open air. Remove any weeds from the chosen spot and work the
soil to a depth of a foot or so, incorporating several inches of peat moss to make the
soil more pliable and moisture-retentive.
2. Dig the clump
Cut back the
Daylily's long outer leaves to about 6 inches to make it easier to handle. Try not
to damage the new inner leaves growing in the center of each fan. With a pitch fork
loosen the soil all around the clump. Work around the perimeter several times to
free as many of the roots from the soil as possible. Because daylilies develop
extensive root systems, it may be necessary to dig down 10-12 inches.
Next, use the fork to pry the entire clump out of the ground. Shake or wash
excess soil off the roots so you can see the individual fans.
3. Make Divisions
Once out of the ground, a large, solid clump of daylilies can look pretty daunting.
Begin by separating it into two sections; use two spading forks placed back to back
in the center of the root mass to pry the halves apart. Then pull each section apart
or use a sharp knife to cut the clump into smaller and smaller chunks.
4. Plant the Divisions
Dig the planting holes 18 inches to 2 feet apart and wider than the root masses.
Then make a small mound of soil in the center of each hole, set the crown of the division
on it, and spread the roots evenly around it. If some roots are too long, trim them
back to eight inches or so rather than cramming them into the hole. Firm the soil
over the roots, covering the crown with no more than an inch of soil. A plant buried
under too much soil may rot.
Water the plants well and tuck a light mulch in around their bases (but not over the
crowns) to help the soil retain moisture. During hot spells, shade the new plants
with shingle or shade cloth supported on stakes. When freezing weather approaches,
cover them with a mulch of straw or evergreen boughs. The covering protects the
young plants from being heaved out of the ground by alternate freezing and thawing of the