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How to Propagate Daylilies

By Cindy Hill ; Updated September 21, 2017

Daylilies (Hemerocallis var.) are hardy fibrous-rooted plants which tolerate a wide spectrum of light conditions from sun to medium shade and soil types from clay to sand. Tens of thousands of daylily varieties are available in dozens of different colors, bloom sizes, and growing habits. Although cultivation requirements differ slightly depending on the variety, most daylilies are easily propagated by division, preferably done in the early fall to allow the division time to establish roots before winter dormancy.

Cut back the foliage to about 8 inches high on the clump of daylilies to be divided using utility shears.

Dig a circle around the entire clump of daylilies to be divided, about 4 inches from the edge of the growth, using flat-bladed shovel. Gently lift the entire clump (which may be heavy; secure assistance if necessary) of daylilies into a wheelbarrow or onto a gardening workbench for ease of access.

Spray the daylily root clump with hose, using water to force away dirt from between the roots. Ease the root clump apart by hand, using a pointed trowel to help get between root segments, separating the daylily roots into individual sections called "fans".

Mix two parts topsoil with one part well-aged compost. Add 1/2 cup of bone meal per gallon, approximately, of mixture. Refill hole with this soil mixture and replace portions of the daylily clump which you wish to replant at the same location, inserting the root fans into the soil with their roots spread out and the top of the root crown about 1 inch below the surface of the ground. Tamp the soil down firmly around the replanted root crown, water thoroughly, and add a 2-inch layer of organic mulching material around the replanted daylilies.

Fill 1-gallon nursery containers with soil mixture and water lightly, if planting the daylily divisions in pots rather than the ground. Dig a hole 24 inches wide by 8 inches deep at desired transplanting location for direct transplants of the propagated daylilies, and fill this hole with soil mixture and water lightly. Insert the root fans in the newly dug hole or the nursery containers as described in Step 4 above.


Things You Will Need

  • Daylilies
  • Utility shears
  • Flat-bladed shovel
  • Hose with spray-handle end
  • Water
  • Top soil
  • Compost
  • 1 gallon nursery pots (optional)
  • Organic mulching material (straw, shredded leaves, wood chips)
  • Bone meal
  • Wheelbarrow or gardening workbench
  • Pointed gardening trowel


  • Divide daylilies every 3 to 6 years. Replenish the well-aged compost at the parent plant site while dividing.

About the Author


A freelance writer since 1978 and attorney since 1981, Cindy Hill has won awards for articles on organic agriculture and wild foods, and has published widely in the areas of law, public policy, local foods and gardening. She holds a B.A. in political science from State University of New York and a Master of Environmental Law and a J.D. from Vermont Law School.