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How to divide daylilies in 4 simple steps

Before dividing daylilies, cut them down to make

Before dividing daylilies, cut them down to make them easier to handle, then insert a garden fork or shovel into the soil around the plant to loosen the root ball. Credit: Jessica Damiano

It's time to divide daylilies. These low-maintenance plants are tough enough to withstand the stress of division during all but the hottest of summer days, but if you do so from late August through October, you'll avoid disrupting your garden during its prime showtime.

Dividing perennials every few years has benefits beyond aesthetics; it entices the plant to produce more flowers. If your daylilies are getting too crowded, haven't performed as well this year as in the past -- or if you'd just like to share some with your friends -- here's how it's done:

1. If you're dividing at the end of the season after blooming has ceased, cut the plant back to 8-12 inches to make it easier to work with.

2. Insert a garden fork into the soil about a foot away from the base of the plant. A fork is preferable to a shovel because it offers the best chances of digging up the entire root ball without severing it.

Apply pressure to the tool's handle to raise the clump. Remove the fork and repeat the process all around the plant until you have loosened all the roots and are able to lift the plant out of the ground.

Insert two forks, back to back, into the center of the root clump and pull the handles in opposite directions toward the outside of the plant until the clump separates into two pieces. Very large clumps can be divided into three or even four plants.

3. Dig a home for your newly divided daylilies. The hole should be wider than the clump and only deep enough so that the top of the root ball ends up slightly above the soil line.

4. Cover with soil, tamp down and keep well-watered.

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