Dividing Daylilies

Daylilies are one of the easiest flowers to grow in the garden. Plant them in a sunny spot and they'll reward you with their bright blooms for many years to come. Daylilies are not fussy, and they'll grow just about anywhere and in any type of soil. They prefer to grow where they'll receive at least six hours of sunlight daily to bloom profusely, but when the plants multiply and become overcrowded they begin to to produce fewer blooms. Dividing your daylilies and giving them more growing room will revitalize the plants so they continue to bloom abundantly.

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The ideal time for dividing daylilies is in late summer to early fall, after they are done blooming for the season.

When dividing daylilies, use a sharp spade or garden fork to lift the clump from the soil, carefully digging about 6-12 inches from the plants, then pushing down on the handle to completely pry out the clump.

Once you have the clump out of the ground, give it a good inspection. You may find that the plants in the center of the clump appear to be weak and spindly, proof that the plant is ready to be divided.

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Now this is the part of the process that strikes fear in the hearts of those who are dividing daylilies for the first time. Take two garden forks - garden forks look like smaller, stronger versions of pitchforks - and push the forks back to back into the midst of the clump. Then gently pull the garden fork handles apart, which will force the daylily roots to separate into two smaller clumps. If the clump is really large, you may have to separate it into several divisions.

If the daylilies haven't been divided for a while and the clump is a tangled mess of roots, it can be helpful to wash off some of the surrounding soil with a garden hose. This will make it easier to see where to divide the daylily clump.

To replant the daylily divisions, start by digging a wide, shallow hole. The hole should be about six inches wider than the rootball of your daylily clump. Place the rootball in the hole at the same depth the plant was at before it was dug up. Tamp the soil into place, water the area thoroughly and add an inch of mulch around the plants to keep down weeds and help the soil retain moisture. Trim back the foliage to about 12 inches now. This will help the plant put its energy into re-establishing itself in its new home.

The next summer, thanks to your dividing efforts, your daylilies will again reward you with an abundance of beautiful blooms.

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