Daylilies are easy to grow, and a favorite perennial in Kansas because theyll bloom all summer long. But, if youre seeing fewer blossoms, it may be time to divide them.

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Dividing Daylilies

Daylilies are another one of our great backbones of the perennial garden for Kansas. But, as with any plant, they tend to get larger and larger. And the signals for when a daylily needs to be divided is that you don’t get as many blossoms. You just have less overall impact floral display.

You can divide daylilies two times in Kansas. One is early spring, when they’re just starting to come up out of the ground. Or the other time is to do it just after they’re finished flowering. A lot of daylilies go naturally dormant after they flower. If you’ve ever noticed a healthy green clump of foliage starts to brown out in July and August – that’s because the plants in a natural dormant state in summer. And that signals that it’s a good time to divide.

It’s best when you divide a daylily that you go ahead and dig the entire plant. Because you’re going to want to get in there with a knife, with a saw, or whatever it takes-- because it’s a very thick, tight clump.

So with a daylily, you’ll start around the edge of the plant. And you’re just going to take your spade, and you’re going to slice down into the soil. It’s best to work your way around the entire plant, because you’ll have a fairly good-sized root ball that you’ll be lifting.

You want to get enough soil that you support a lot of the root growth. A nice sized division on daylilies is going to be somewhere around three to five growing shoots or these fans of leaves that come out.

There are a couple of ways to divide a daylily clump. One is to just take your hands, and just force it apart. A lot of times, they just have a natural break. You can see the root system in there, it’s healthy and all ready for a new group. I could just go ahead and plant this back, but my concern is with this much growth. Instead of dividing a daylily every three to five years, which is recommended, I would have to be here sooner because there are so many fans, or shoots in here. So, then I can get in here and try to break that apart again, or I can take a butcher knife, or a sharp saw, and there you have a nice division with about three fans to start your new clump.

This feature story prepared with Dennis Patton, Kansas State University Research and Extension Horticulture Agent, Johnson County. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at

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