Hunter's Torch Day Lily Garden

Dividing Daylilies

Dividing large clumps:

It is easiest to do this while the plant is still in the ground. Using a sharp spade, divide the clump into as many pieces as you want (pie shapes seem to be the easiest). Then dig the pieces out from the outside edge. I know that many gardening books tell you to dig the clump and divide it with 2 garden forks placed back to back. Unless you have incredible upper body strength, this is, at least for me, an exercise in futility.

Dividing to get as many undamaged fans or small clumps as possible:

1) Dig out the clump, leaving all the foliage on, and remove as much dirt as possible by lifting and dropping the clump or using a hand claw to rake through the roots.
2) Using a jet nozzle (those dial-a-spray nozzles are great) on your hose, remove the rest of the dirt. Use the foliage to manhandle the clump around so that you get all sides and the bottom.
3) Cut the foliage back to 8" - 12".
4) Inspect the clump and find what looks like a natural division between the two fans.
5) Insert a large screwdriver or knife (I use a 10" boning knife) into that spot and give it a sharp twist. You should hear it crack.
6) Remove the knife.
7) Grab the roots near the crown on either side of where you inserted the knife and start to wiggle it apart. If it doesn’t come apart easily you may have to insert the knife somewhere else.
8) Continue with this method until you have as many pieces as you want.
9) Trim the foliage back to about 4”. You may also trim back the roots as well – this is a personal preference, but my experience has been that many of the roots will die anyway once it goes back into the ground, so I always trim the roots back to about 4-6” and also remove any broken or damaged roots. I also think that root pruning sends a wake-up message to the plant, so that it starts making new roots very quickly.

It is also OKAY (Daylilies are incredibly resilient) to just slice through the crown and roots with a sharp knife. If you are doing this while the weather is hot, it is best to let the knife wound heal overnight before replanting.


Copyright 2004 Night Hawk Publications. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without
permission from the editor is prohibited.