How to Lift Daylilies


According to "Burpee Complete Gardener," "Daylilies are nearly perfect perennials." Thriving in full sunlight, these hardy flowers grow in all types of soil and weather and are available in a wide range of colors, sizes and shapes. Lift daylilies to transplant them anytime from spring to fall. Propagate daylilies by lifting the plant and dividing them in the fall or early spring.

Step 1

Prepare the new site for the daylilies several weeks before moving the plants. Dig up the garden and remove weeds, rocks or other garden debris and mix in compost or well-rotted manure.

Step 2

Soak the ground around the daylilies with water before lifting to reduce transplant shock. Cut the foliage to 12 inches long if the plants are going to be divided.

Step 3

Loosen the soil around the daylilies by inserting a shovel or a garden fork approximately 6 to 12 inches away from the clump on all sides. Lift the shovel if you feel resistance; established daylilies send out runners underground. Move the shovel out further and dig again.

Step 4

Lift the daylily clump. Divide the daylily by shaking off the soil from the root ball and cutting the clump with a sharp knife. An alternate method is to insert two garden forks--back to back--into the clump and pull the handles apart.

Step 5

Dig a hole that is 6 to 9 inches larger than the root ball. Place the daylily into the hole and cover the root ball with soil until the hole is half full. Water thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots. Finish filling the hole with soil, tamp down gently and water again. Space 6 to 12 inches apart, depending upon the size of the mature plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel or two garden forks
  • Compost or well-rotted manure
  • Sharp knife
  • Gardening shears


  • "Burpee Complete Gardener;" Barbara W. Ellis, Editor; 1995
  • "The Complete Flower Garden Book;" Catie Ziller, Publisher; Murdoch Books; 2001

Who Can Help

  • U.S. National Arboretum: Dividing Daylilies
Keywords: perennials, daylilies, lifting, transplanting, dividing

About this Author

After attending Hardin Simmons University, Kay Dean finished her formal education with the Institute of Children's Literature. Since 1995, Dean has written more than 2,000 articles for publications including “PB&J,” Disney’s “Family Fun,” “ParentLife,” "Living With Teenagers,” and Thomas Nelson’s New York Times best-selling “Resolve.” After 17 years of homeschooling her five children, Dean discovered that motherhood doesn’t stop with an empty nest.