Dividing Daylilies

Daylilies (Hemerocallis sp.) are one of the most carefree perennials you can have in the garden. They tolerate a wide range of soil requirements and have an incredible amount of colors and flowers shapes. But once you have them in the garden and they have been there for a few years, they have a tendency not to be as prolific a bloomer as they once were. So that is when it is time to divide them.

When To Divide Daylilies

There are two times a year that daylilies can be divided:

Spring - The best time to split the plants is early spring when they are about 6 inches tall.

Late Summer/Early Fall - You can also divide the plants in late summer/early fall once they are done blooming.

Tip: If you are dividing them in late summer, make sure to remove the flower stem (it’s the woody stalk) to make it easier to divide the plant. You also want to cut the leaves down to half the original size before replanting. Make sure you only do this in the fall!

Digging Up Daylilies

Preferably using a pitchfork, dig approximately 8- 10 inches away from the base of the plant depending on its size. Dig around the plant, gently lifting the plant out of the ground. When you finally are able to remove it from the ground, gently shake off as much soil as possible. 


Splitting Daylilies

There are several methods to splitting the roots and plants apart.

  1. The best method is to take your fingers and try to separate the fleshy swollen roots. You have to kind of tease them apart. If they are so thick that you can’t do that, there are alternative methods to dividing them.
  2. Take a sharp shovel and just cut them apart that way. This method is not recommended, because you can damage a lot of the roots.
  3. Use a small pruning saw that allows you to cut the roots and do minimal damage to them.
  4. The 4th way is a bit messier. Get a 5 gallon bucket of water filled with water and dunk the roots up and down until the soil is almost removed, then start pulling them apart. This is called root washing.


Replanting Daylilies

Once you have them divided into the number of fans (leaves), you can replant them in the ground or share some with a friend. You don’t have to separate them into individual plants, just a couple of plants together will bloom beautifully for the next 5 years or so before needing to be divided again. 

Sometimes when you buy daylilies there is more than one plant in the pot. You can divide them as well and share with a friend.

Once you replant them, water them well and they will reward you with more blooms than before.


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 Author Denise Schreiber - Published 2-28-2020