Dividing Daylilies in the Spring

By GenerousGardeners.com

Prepare new planting area.

If you are transplanting in your own yard, it is always best to have the new planting area ready before you divide anything. For just a few plants being moved in an existing garden bed, simply amend the soil with compost. If you are planting an entire new garden bed or border, it is best to get a soil test from your local agricultural extension or university. See my previous blog regarding soil testing at http://generousgardeners.info/2012/04/03/ever-get-your-soil-tested/

Get set.

Check the weather. Try to plan on a dividing day when it will be overcast and light rain is  forecasted for a few days following your transplanting. If no rain is expected, then water the plants to be divided a day early. Gather a clean, sharp, digging spade


Dig deep, about 8” away from the base of the plant or around the outer drip line (area where water would drip off the outermost leaves of plant).


Dig all around emerging foliage.


Dig deep enough under to get all the roots.

For the small to medium size daylily rootball that is easily taken out of the ground. 

Gently pull or cut apart off sets (small baby plants) especially those on the edge of the clump and shake apart or cut the main portion.


If the daylily is small enough, lift it out with your hands.


Gently separate if it is small and loose enough.

For the large rootball too big or difficult to remove from the ground.

Dig all around the drip line and half or quarter the plant in the ground using a sharp spade or two garden forks inserted back to back and pull it apart. Once it is out of the ground, cut away any dead or empty center. Depending on the size, you may be able to divide each half or quarter again.


For larger clumps divide with a spade.


Separate then cover roots from the sun.

Label with the correct name. 


All daylilies can look alike. Label with a permanent marker.

Replace old holes with compost.


Mix some compost into the hole where the transplant came out.


  1. Trim off any dead leaves and stems.
  2. Cut away any dead or decaying old areas.
  3. Get them in the ground or pot them up as soon as possible.
  4. If you need to hold transplants out of the ground, store in buckets or bags with drainage. Cover roots with damp soil, newspaper or burlap and keep in a cool shaded area until ready to plant. Soak roots in water up to an hour before planting.
  5. Separate each plant to account for mature plant spread.
  6. Dig new holes wider than root spread so roots continue to grow out.
  7. Make a cone of soil in the hole to spread the roots around.
  8. If weather is hot and dry; fill hole with water and let it drain. Plant immediately.
  9. Plant crown of plant at the same level it was growing before.
  10. Back fill with soil.
  11. Water throughly without splashing on the stems or leaves.
  12. Mulch to help conserve moisture. Take care not to mulch the crown or stems.
  13. Keep well watered until established.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.