If you’re in the right area, June is awash in the vibrant colors of daylilies. Interestingly, while single blooms only last for one day, each plant will continue to produce blooms throughout the month. Find out when to divide your daylilies so you can keep your plant healthy and beautiful.
Gorgeous, bold, and vibrant, daylilies are hardy plants that will continue to bloom each year. They also grow outward and over time you can have a wild mess of daylilies. If not properly cared for, these plants can actually produce fewer flowers, so you want to keep to a proper schedule of division.
When to divide daylilies: Every three to five years, you will need to divide your daylilies. Start by digging them up, being sure not to cut through the root ball. With your hands, and possibly the help of a small shovel, divide the root clump and keep what you want to replant. Dig new holes and fill them with compost for extra nutrients. Then, place the smaller clumps of daylilies in the holes and fill them with soil. Give good water and add a layer of mulch for better water retention and a natural defense against weeds. Try to replant right away to keep your daylilies as strong and healthy as possible.
Remember that if you have too many daylilies, there is usually a neighbor or two who will be happy to take them from you.
When can you divide and replant daylilies?
While daylilies are gorgeous, they grow in clumps and when there are too many together, you won’t be able to get as many blossoms. However, they are easy to divide and as long as you don’t mind getting a little dirty, this task can quickly be completed.
There are two main times you can divide daylilies, in the early spring or the late summer. Daylilies blossom in May and June, although some may be later, in July, so you don’t want to disturb them during this period.
For spring, you don’t have to wait until the last frost date but you should wait until the ground has thawed. Think April for best results. Also, there doesn’t have to be a long gap between dividing and blossoming, so if you have to wait until late April, that will still be plenty of time.
You can also divide your daylilies after they are finished blossoming. August is the perfect time for this. Just make sure it is well before the first frost date as you want to allow their roots to settle back into the soil.
How to Divide and Replant Daylilies?
Dig up the entire plant
You don’t need to be too delicate with daylilies as they are a very hardy perennial. Start by digging around your clumps of daylilies, giving them enough space for hidden roots.
Dig the entire plant up as this will make it easier to separate the bulbs. You may need to push aside mulch that is covering the plants so you can see the clump easier.
When digging, be sure to go deeper than you think the bulbs are. This way you won’t accidentally slice through the roots.
Separate the clumps
Once you have your entire daylily clump exposed, it’s time to get your hands dirty. It should be a mess of smaller clumps, so start by pulling these apart.
If you need to, use a small shovel but be careful not to cut too deep into the roots. Sometimes you may even need to use a sharp knife, but again, be careful with it.
As for the foliage, cut it back to about 12 inches in height. For late summer dividing, you can cut the foliage back even more as it will grow back the following spring.
Decide how many daylilies to keep
The good thing about daylilies is they keep growing on their own. The bad thing is you can quickly have too many daylilies for your own garden.
Think about where you want to plant the flowers, remembering that they will continue to grow and multiply. It’s ok if you simply don’t have enough room for them all.
Those with excess daylilies should ask around as neighbors are often happy to take free plants. You can also advertise online and help out your gardening community.
Time to replant
Now that your daylilies have been separated into more manageable clumps, it’s time to replant them. Try not to wait too long as they will thrive better if replanted quickly.
Dig a hole, either where you dug the original clump from or new places around your garden. Fill the hole with about two inches of compost or manure for extra nutrients.
Then, place the daylilies into the hole, making sure it is large enough for the entire root ball structure.
With a shovel or your foot, tamp the soil down so it is nice and compact. You may need to add more soil once it settles.
After planting, be sure to give your daylilies a good watering. You can also put down a layer of mulch as this will keep the soil moist and prevent weeds from growing.
How often should you divide daylilies?
You should divide daylilies every three to five years. This is nice as it isn’t an annual event, so it takes less effort than you might imagine.
If you feel like your daylilies are producing as many blossoms as the previous year, this is a sure sign you need to divide them.
You may notice that your daylilies aren’t as large or vibrant after dividing. This is normal and a small side effect of being disturbed.
If you are worried about this, try dividing them in the late summer. This will provide the flowers with a longer period of growth before they blossom.
Daylilies are full sunflowers that brighten any garden. Their root structure is known to expand rapidly, so you will want to divide your plant every three to five years for optimal health and more bountiful blossoms.