Splitting Daylillies – The Easiest Way to Propagate Daylilies

Splitting daylillies is one of the easiest ways to propagate them in your garden, or to a new location. Daylilies are extremely hearty, so do not be afraid of taking a shovel to them and doing what you have to do.

Daylillies can be split every 2-4 years and the splitting should really be tagged by the size of the plant. If the thing is looking like Chewbacca from Star Wars or your last Chia Pet, it's likely time to split. You can generally split the plant at any time during the year, but I prefer the fall after the daylilly has flowered because the plant has time to recover from any potential shock that the transplant may induce. Remember you're a daylilly surgeon now. This is not an activity for the timid, so put on your work gloves and grab the following:

  • A 5 Gallon Bucket
  • A spade shovel
  • Proper gardening shoes (remember, do as I say, not as I do)
  • Watering can
  • Extra dirt (does not have to be from a bag)

The first thing I would recommend doing is finding a spot in your yard that you can get some extra dirt and put about 2-3 shovel-fulls in the 5 gallon bucket for each daylilly that you will be splitting. If you MUST, you can buy planting soil from your local home improvement store or nursery, but why spend the money; you have perfectly good soil in your yard. Do not overfill the bucket past the point that you can carry it, and if you're splitting a lot of daylillies, make sure to use a wheel barrow instead.

The shovel is going to be the main star of today's show. There are many types of daylilies, but for the most part, the splitting is the same. The stella d'oro variety (the ones that look more like bushhes or the hair from a troll doll), simply require that you place the shovel tip right down the center of the plant and give the shovel a good stomp with your foot. Remove the half that you're digging up and fill the hole with the dirt that you have in the 5 gallon bucket or wheel barrow. Give it a little water and the splitting part is complete.

Now take the part of the plant that you removed from the ground and move it to its new location. Dig a hole deep enough to cover up the tubers or roots and fill it with dirt while suspending the daylilly at just the right height above the hole. Tamp the dirt with your foot and give it plenty of water over the next few days. You may notice the plant turning yellow during this time. This is normal and is simply shock. The plant should come back full steam ahead next season.

The splitting process is identical with larger varieties of daylilies, but you can see the "fans" more clearly and a little extra precaution should be taken with the angle of the shovel. It is very easy to separate the fan from the tube or root system. Do not worry, you will not be a murderer, the original plant will regrow, but you will not have much to transplant at the new location.

Keep the obsession and happy gardening!