How to Divide Daylilies

Daylilies should be divided from time to time and they can be expanded to other parts of the garden. How do you do it properly?

Daylilies are some of my favorite perennials. They have eye-catching flowers that only last a single day.

Daylilies don’t require much attention once they’re established, but they should be divided every few years to keep them healthy and blossoming.

Today, I’ll show you how to do it properly so that your plants thrive after division.

Why Should You Do It?

As daylily plants expand, their root systems become overcrowded, resulting in competition for sunlight, soil nutrients, and moisture. Above-ground foliage becomes dense, casting a shadow on itself and hiding blooms in the center of huge leaves.

Splitting a daylily means breaking an overgrown clump into smaller plants, which adds to your collection and rejuvenates each plant, allowing it to produce more flowers the next season.

persian daylily flowers along with some other flowering plants in the garden

When Is the Best Time of the Year to Divide?

Daylilies should be divided every three to five years for optimal health. Newer Daylily varieties grow at a slower rate. You can wait a little longer before dividing them.

Splitting daylilies is best done after they have finished blooming, which occurs in late summer or early fall. Because daylilies are hardy, you can split them in early spring, but then they may not bloom as well during that year’s blooming season. Daylilies divided in the autumn have more time to develop and establish themselves before producing flowers.

If you want to do the division in the fall, you can wait until the weather cools down, but don’t wait too long. You want to give the young seedlings enough time to establish themselves before winter approaches.

How Do You Know Your Daylily Is Ready?

Use this simple method to determine whether to thin your daylilies or when they’re ready to be split into multiple plants: Examine the core of your daylily plant for any dead growth.

If your daylily is leggy, not blooming as well as it once did, overgrown, or showing some dead leaves towards the interior of the plant, it is ready to be split.

A leggy daylily with yellow flowers that is ready to be divided

5 Steps to Dividing and Replanting

Daylily division is a straightforward process. You’ll need a shovel or spade and a sharp dividing tool or scissors. Follow these instructions to split daylilies:

  1. Dig up your daylily’s whole root system.
  2. Gently shake or brush the dirt away from the roots.
  3. Divide the roots into two or more clusters. Each group should have at least three stems and a reasonable number of roots.
  4. After cutting the roots apart, discard those that are broken or infected by disease.
  5. Replant the daylilies. Set the crown at ground level and take advantage of the opportunity to replenish your growing area with compost or fresh garden soil.

That’s all there is to it! Your new daylilies should grow in the same manner as the originals, giving even more color to your garden.

Alaine Connolly
Alaine has been working way too hard in horticulture since 1992, beautifying golf courses, resorts, and hotels. She is a part time landscape designer who works full time caring for a 28,000 square foot public garden. At home, she maintains her own 400 square feet plot. Alaine lives in northern Illinois - zone 5b.
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