Daylilies forum→Newbie help with dividing, scapes, and replanting

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jhb50
Aug 28, 2019 12:38 PM CST
I am a new member in south-west Ontario (Zone 5) and new to gardening having purchased a house with wonderful established gardens (photo). We want to use daylilies as colour accents in small clumps throughout the garden. There are currently a number of large mature clumps of Bonanza and Stella De Oro daylilies which I am currently dividing after reading many posts in the forum, and I would appreciate some guidance from the members.

Since my objective is to get lots of blooms for an extended period each summer, my goal is to ensure each plant (root,crown and fan) has sufficient room and resources to produce a scape and new fans each year. Is it realistic to expect each plant to produce a scape each year? How many new fans should I expect a plant produce in a season? Will those new fans produce a scape the following year?

The existing clumps contain many more plants(root/crown and fan) than scapes and are packed together. The photos show one clump of Bonanzas which only had 8 scapes; my use of a garden fork and a dandelion fork to pry it apart (Works great); and the resulting yield of about 50 plants. The 13 large plants (some doubles) had the 8 scapes, with an equal number of medium, small and tiny plants.

I plan to replant the 13 large ones as in the last photo, expecting they will double over time and then I can remove the middle plants to give the remaining plants room to grow. Can I expect those large replants to at least produce the same scapes, branching structure and number of blooms next year as they did this year or will dividing and replanting impact that? What about the others? Can I expect the medium, small and tiny plants to produce scapes next year if planted separately or is it dependent on their size? I would like to plant them in a side bed and when they develop scapes and blooms in the future give them to friends or sell or trade them.

Lots of questions! Thanks for your time to help me!
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Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Daylilies Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
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Seedfork
Aug 28, 2019 1:26 PM CST
jhb50,
Being I am down in Zone 8b, what ever I say will probably not all be true for your zone.
I think it would have been better and less work to not have divided the clumps down into individual fans (some were doubles). I know you were probably thinking to it better to make sure each fan had enough space and was not crowed out and deprived of nutrients. And that brings up the question of "Is it better to plant two or three fans together than single fans". I wish I had a scientific study to quote from here but I do not. I will mention that a lot of daylily people do feel it better to plant a few fans together rather than just a single fan. Nothing saying those singles cannot still be grouped together, but I don't think that is the same as having left two or three fans together (love some more feedback here).
I don't think you can expect anywhere near all the fans to produce scapes next year even if they had not been just dug this year. Being the plants were dug this year, many or even most may not bloom next year (not that familiar with growing those varieties in your zone however). I would never expect the same performance from any fans dug the previous year to have the same results the next year. I have some plants that have taken as long as three years to recover from being transplanted or divided. Admittedly,
some plants recover much faster than that. Some do amazingly well after being transplanted or divided, but I don't ever recall having one that performed just as well the year after as the year of the dividing.
When I have that many fans from one clump I normally like to plant them in groups of three to five fans when replanting.
[Last edited by Seedfork - Apr 17, 2020 7:41 PM (+)]
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jhb50
Aug 28, 2019 2:37 PM CST
Thanks Larry. Exactly what I was looking for. Unfortunately the density of these old clumps was such that the decent fans were scattered throughout the clump so I had no opportunity to keep a few together. There were a huge amount of tiny sprouts throughout the clump and adjacent to the fans I kept and I threw away more than I kept. My hope is as the individual plants produce new fans that I can remove them based on your advice in clumps of 3-5 and leave the rest undisturbed to grow without the disruption you indicate for the transplanted clumps. I also have other daylilies which have 10 or more distinguishable separate fans which I will also try to divide in the spring by removing and transplanting in groups of 3 to 5 leaving the rest undisturbed so that they continue to bloom as this year. So long as the fans remain distinguishable in small clumps I think I can devise a way to extract them from the midst of the others. I'm thinking the "Root Slayer" shovel at HD would do the job. Thoughts?
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Daylilies Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Region: Alabama
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Seedfork
Aug 28, 2019 5:10 PM CST
Maybe others have had a different experience, but I have found that I might as well dig the entire clump and divide it(much easier) than try to pick fans from around it. Even though it seems you are not really disturbing the original clump it seems I do, maybe others have better luck with that. But when I try to just pick out a few fans (unless they are on the fringe or edges) it seems to set the plant back till the next season.

jhb50
Aug 28, 2019 5:38 PM CST
Aaarrg! I hate to think if I divide a clump every 3 years that I am going to lose the blooms every 4th year. I would like to hear if others have found a way to divide without losing the next years blooms. It may not matter to those with beds of lilies but I am looking to maintain small clumps throughout the garden in bloom every year. I know that the potted in-bloom lilies that I bought and planted last year, bloomed again this year and threw off new fans, so perhaps someone can suggest a way to do that when I divide my planted clumps after they bloom.
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
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Paul2032
Aug 28, 2019 7:18 PM CST
I don't think you need to divide every 3 years.
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Daylilies Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Region: Alabama
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Seedfork
Aug 28, 2019 8:11 PM CST
Paul is right. You may not have to divide some of them for years, but your goal is to get as many blooms as possible over a long period of time, that means optimizing your plant growth to get the scapes you need and that means creating new fans. How large you want your clumps to get before you divide has to be taken into consideration also. You have been dividing some pretty large clumps, so you know how much work that is, if you let them get too large they are really heavy and awkward to handle.
A lot of people do not want large clumps, so they divide often. I like to have some large clumps just for show, but it is so much easier to work with smaller clumps when dividing. But that does normally mean not many or any blooms for a while. The way around that I have found is to have so many varieties you hardly notice when a few are not blooming. Whistling
Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: United States of America
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blue23rose
Aug 29, 2019 4:47 AM CST
Seedfork said:The way around that I have found is to have so many varieties you hardly notice when a few are not blooming. Whistling



Good strategy, Larry! Thumbs up

Vickie
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
Charter ATP Member Annuals Echinacea Vegetable Grower Hybridizer Tomato Heads
Garden Photography Birds Cut Flowers Foliage Fan Houseplants Tender Perennials
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Paul2032
Aug 29, 2019 10:45 AM CST
I have a clump of Hudson Valley that has been in the same spot for 20+years. I have dug divisions off a number of times and it is still lovely. 6 bloom stalks this year.
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: United States of America
Region: Indiana Garden Art Annuals Clematis Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 2
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blue23rose
Aug 29, 2019 11:06 AM CST
@Paul2032, I got a start of Hudson Valley from a friend two years ago and I just love it! I had read somewhere on this site that it had a nice fragrance, so when my friend and I decided to trad a few daylilies, I asked if she had HV. She was shocked that I would want such an old variety that was a plain yellow. So glad I got it because it does have a nice fragrance.


@jhb50, your plan to plant some of your daylilies in another area in order to trade/sell/give away is a good idea. When I get a double fan of a daylily, if I can separate the two, I will plant them about a foot apart so I can dig up one of them if I need to.

It is hard to say whether your medium/small divisions will bloom next year. Each daylily has its own characteristics. I just tried to dig up a piece of Mascara Snake and that darn thing was the most tangled, matted mess I have ever seen! I ended up having to cut into it and I really hate doing that.

Vickie
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Daylilies Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Region: Alabama
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Seedfork
Aug 29, 2019 11:38 AM CST
When I do dig a clump for division, I have started keeping some aside when I plant some of the fans back in the original spot. I then pot those up for trades, and giveaways. I just spent the entire day yesterday working the pots.
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Name: Nancy
Bowling Green Kentucky (Zone 6b)
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alilyfan
Aug 29, 2019 1:57 PM CST
I don't know if my experience helps any, but I have Bonanza too. Years ago I divided it into several small clumps and pla nted them around. In some cases they were just a couple of single fans. All the larger plants bloomed the following year, and none were fertilized, given additional water, and in some of the worst soil in my garden. All those clumps have grown as big or bigger than the original clump. A very vigorous daylily, much harder than many newer varieties

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