How to lift and divide hemerocallis

Do it:

Mar, Apr

Takes just:

30 minutes

At its best:

Jun, Jul, Aug

Dividing summer-flowering perennials helps reinvigorate them and encourage stronger growth. If left to their own devices, herbaceous plants can form congested clumps after three to four years, resulting in weaker growth and fewer flowers of a poorer quality.

Hemerocallis (daylilies) produce a mass of fibrous roots that can be difficult to separate if the clump is old and your soil is heavy. You may have to slice through the clump with a spade. This might seem drastic but as long as each new section has a few healthy shoots and as much length of root as top growth, it will be ready to grow well.

You will need

A spade

A fork

Garden compost or well-rotted manure


Push a spade deeply into the ground a few inches from a large, congested clump to loosen the soil.

Rock the spade gently to loosen the clump and break deep roots, then lift the clump out of the ground with your hands.

Select young growth from around the edges of the clump. Try to break off individual crowns by hand, each with roots and shoots.

Fork through the soil and add garden compost or well-rotted manure. Replant divisions in groups, firming round each plant.

Lightly fork through the soil surface before watering. The new divisions should produce a few blooms this summer.


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