Please start here. forum: How to divide a daylily clump

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Feb 4, 2010 9:27 AM CST
A question was posted by fernman Feb 1, 2010 1:19 PM
which is the best 'thread' to ask about ''splitting'' a dayliily OR are they only seed planted? I wanted to split an adult plant to share with a frieind...

There are many ways to divide daylilies. The good thing is that they are very forgiving, and are not very fussy about how they are divided.

Here is a YouTube link to one way to divide daylilies. I have seen this done with a shovel, and also with two sturdy garden forks.

Unlike the video above, I always cut the foliage down to 10" or so before dividing. It makes it much easier to see what you are doing, and to see how the fans are growing, so you know where to separate them at.

Keep in mind it is better to take out to much soil when you dig the clump up, than to cut to close and cut into a lot of roots.

I found this description at "" and it is the method I use. The goal is to do as little damage to the roots as possible.
"To divide a daylily clump, cut into the soil around the plant with a spade and then lift the entire clump out of the soil with a garden fork. To separate the plant into individual fans (a grouping of leaves with roots attached), shake it to remove as much soil as possible. If necessary, use a hose to wash away excess soil, then work the roots apart into good-sized clumps of 3 - 4 fans each. You should replant the new divisions as soon as possible, however, they should be able to survive for several days if protected from the heat and sun."

You can wiggle the fans apart by hand if the clump is not to large. You can also use a large, sturdy screwdriver to stick into the clump and wiggle it to loosen the fans apart, or even two screwdrivers. I try not to cut the roots. Sometimes there is just no other way than cutting them with a sharp spade or sturdy garden knife. Some big clumps come out of the ground and just sort of fall apart into nice divisions without much convincing, and others you would think were planted in cement the way they stick together. You won't know till you dig it up and give it a go. I keep working a strong jet of water around the clump's roots to get off the dirt, which will help you to get the roots apart.

I have also seen a "Saws All" (sp?) tool used to divide the plants into chunks before they are taken from the ground... but I prefer a more gentle technique.

You can divide them any time the ground is not frozen, but most people divide in spring, in fall (at least a month or 6 weeks before frost) or even right after they finish blooming. Generally, I would not divide the plant while it is still in bloom. If you have to divide when in bloom, it is best to cut all the scapes off to allow the plant to recover from being divided.

If you were to plant the seed, the resulting plant would not be a clone of the mother plant. They do not come true to seed. So, you will want to divide the plant you have.

I divide down to the point of having 4 or 5 fans in each division. If you divide down to single or double fans, you probably won't see good bloom for 2-3 years.

Come on over to the Daylily forum for more information, photos and chat about Dayilies

Jules, Daylily admin

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