Daylilies should be split approximately once every three to four years, ideally in the late summer to allow the roots some time to grow and settle in place before winter. They are vigorously growing clump-forming plants and will easily become overcrowded, producing fewer and less attractive flowers if not thinned out every few years. You can split daylilies with your hands or with various gardening tools, depending on how thick the clump has become.
Things You’ll Need
- Spade or garden shovel
- Garden fork
- Pruning shears
- Use a garden fork to help you remove each plant from the ground. Place it in the ground about 1 foot away from the base of the daylily, and then press down on the handle gently to pry out the plant and roots. Work around the entire plant in this way until it can be easily lifted out, leaving as much of the root structure intact as possible.
- Remove large clumps of dirt from the roots with your hands, and then submerge the roots in water to remove as much excess dirt as possible.
- Split the roots using your hands. If they are too tough or tangled, split using a sharp knife or spade. Divide each plant into three or four equally sized sections, and this should thin them sufficiently.
- Dig a hole approximately 6 inches wider than the daylily root section. Place the daylily plant into the hole, and then fill it in with dirt, tamping down lightly.
- Add mulch to the area around the plant, 1 to 2 inches in depth. This will discourage weeds from taking over your newly split daylilies. Water the area thoroughly, and cut back any foliage to about 12 inches in length, using clean pruning shears.
Tips & Warnings
Do not attempt to divide daylilies after early fall, as they won’t have enough time to recover before winter. Splitting them in the late summer yields best results.